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Tag Archives: non-fiction

Blood, Bullets, and Bones: The History of Forensic Science from Sherlock Holmes to DNA

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Title: Blood, Bullets, and Bones: the Story of Forensic Science from Sherlock Holmes to DNA
Author: Bridget Heos
Recommended for: 12th Grade and Up
Pages: 264
Call Number/Link:  J 363.25 HEO

Synopsis: “Blood, Bullets, and Bones provides young readers with a fresh and fascinating look at the ever-evolving science of forensics. Since the introduction of DNA testing, forensic science has been in the forefront of the public’s imagination, thanks especially to popular television shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. But forensic analysis has been practiced for thousands of years. Ancient Chinese detectives studied dead bodies for signs of foul play, and in Victorian England, officials used crime scene photography and criminal profiling to investigate the Jack the Ripper murders. In the intervening decades, forensic science has evolved to use the most cutting-edge, innovative techniques and technologies. In this book, acclaimed author Bridget Heos uses real-life cases to tell the history of modern forensic science, from the first test for arsenic poisoning to fingerprinting, firearm and blood spatter analysis, DNA evidence, and all the important milestones in between. By turns captivating and shocking, Blood, Bullets, and Bones demonstrates the essential role forensic science has played in our criminal justice system[.]”– Provided by publisher.

My Thoughts: Blood, Bullets, and Bones is a curious book. In terms of reading level, it would be accessible for middle schoolers, or even advanced elementary students. In terms of content, however, this book lands squarely in the advanced high school or post-secondary category. Blood, Bullets, and Bones details the history of forensic science, illustrating many of the important scientific advances with actual cases.
These crimes, including those of Jack the Ripper and other serial killers, are described in somewhat graphic detail and some include descriptions of rape cases; arson; adultery, and other inappropriate relationships, one of which involves a 34-year-old man’s inappropriate relationship with a (later murdered) teenaged girl. Some of the other murder cases involve young teenagers, either as rape and/or murder victims, perpetrators, or both.
Much of the scientific and historic information in this book may be useful for academic study. Moreover, footnotes are plentiful, and there is an extensive bibliography. That being said, I would have a difficult time recommending this to anyone but an advanced high school or even college student pursuing a career in forensic criminology, as the disturbing content will almost certainly be too much for younger readers.

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Posted by on November 10, 2016 in Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized

 

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When Lunch Fights Back: Wickedly Clever Animal Defenses

Title: When Lunch Fights Back: Wickedly Clever Animal Defenses
Author: Rebecca L. Johnson
Series: n/a
Recommended for: 1-6th grade
Pages: 48
Call Number/Link:  J 591.47 JOH

Synopsis: Presents the various types of defenses mechanisms used by animals, including the bone spikes of the African hairy frog, the delunch fights backadly poison of the blue-spotted N. taracua termite, and the hammer-like punch of the peacock mantis shrimp.

Did you know that the fulmar chick when it’s threatened will spew a foul smelling orange-yellow vomit to chase away its attacker or that a  horned lizard has the ability to shoot streams of blood from it’s eyes to defend itself?  These are the kinds of facts that are in this book about animal defenses.  Each chapter is about an animal that has a weird and disgusting way to defend itself.  The first part of the chapter describes a narrative in which the creature is under attack, and the later part describes the science behind the story, sometimes including information about how scientists made their discoveries.

This book could possibly used for a child writing a report for basic information, but I think this will really appeal to the kids who really likes the gross stuff.  The photography shows these animals in great detail, and often while they are doing what they do to defend themselves. 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2015 in Juv, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized

 

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Blood, Bullets, and Bones: The Story of Forensic Science from Sherlock Holmes to DNA

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Title: Blood, Bullets, and Bones: The Story of Forensic Science from Sherlock Holmes to DNA
Author: Bridget Heos
Recommended for: 12th Grade and Up
Pages: 264
Call Number/Link:  J 363.25 HEO

Synopsis: “Blood, Bullets, and Bones provides young readers with a fresh and fascinating look at the ever-evolving science of forensics. Since the introduction of DNA testing, forensic science has been in the forefront of the public’s imagination, thanks especially to popular television shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. But forensic analysis has been practiced for thousands of years. Ancient Chinese detectives studied dead bodies for signs of foul play, and in Victorian England, officials used crime scene photography and criminal profiling to investigate the Jack the Ripper murders. In the intervening decades, forensic science has evolved to use the most cutting-edge, innovative techniques and technologies. In this book, acclaimed author Bridget Heos uses real-life cases to tell the history of modern forensic science, from the first test for arsenic poisoning to fingerprinting, firearm and blood spatter analysis, DNA evidence, and all the important milestones in between. By turns captivating and shocking, Blood, Bullets, and Bones demonstrates the essential role forensic science has played in our criminal justice system”– Provided by publisher.

My Thoughts: Blood, Bullets, and Bones is a curious book. In terms of reading level, it would be accessible for middle schoolers, or even advanced elementary students. In terms of content, however, this book lands squarely in the advanced high school or post-secondary category. Blood, Bullets, and Bones details the history of forensic science, illustrating many of the important scientific advances with actual cases.
These crimes, including those of Jack the Ripper and other serial killers, are described in somewhat graphic detail and some include descriptions of rape cases; arson; adultery, and other inappropriate relationships, one of which involves a 34-year-old man’s inappropriate relationship with a (later murdered) teenaged girl. Some of the other murder cases involve young teenagers, either as rape and/or murder victims, perpetrators, or both.
Much of the scientific and historic information in this book may be useful for academic study. Moreover, footnotes are plentiful, and there is an extensive bibliography. That being said, I would have a difficult time recommending this to anyone but an advanced high school or even college student pursuing a career in forensic criminology, as the disturbing content will almost certainly be too much for younger readers.

 
 

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Mesmerized

Mesmerized

 

Mesmerized

Cover of the book Mesmerized by Mara Rockliff

 

Title:  Mesmerized : how Ben Franklin solved a mystery that baffled all of France
Author:  Mara Rockliff; illustrated by Iacapo Bruno
Recommended for: Grade 3-6
Pages: 24
Call Number/Link:  E ROCKLIFF, M.

Synopsis: Discover how Benjamin Franklin’s scientific method challenged a certain Dr. Mesmer’s mysterious powers in a whimsical look at a true moment in history.

Review: Mesmerized is one of those rare non-fiction picture books that is colorful yet substantive.  This is no forgettable picture book, I would be surprised if it did not pick up at least a Caldecott Medal or Honor. Mara Rockliff tells the story of how Benjamin Franklin disproved the work of Franz Mesmer.

1784 a French Royal Commission, which included Benjamin Franklin, was set to investigate the methods of Franz Mesmer.  Mesmer was acting as a doctor in Paris. Mesmer claimed he was curing aliments via the power of “animal magnetism,” a natural energetic transference of fluidic energy using physical touch and iron rods. While the commission agreed that some of the cures claimed by Mesmer had an effect on patients; they also concluded there was no evidence of the existence of his magnetic fluid, and that its effects derived from either the imaginations of its subjects or through charlatanry.

In discussing the Scientific Method, as it related to how Franklin and the other members of the commission debunked Mesmer, this is an excellent instructional text.  It also manages to highlight the topic of the Placebo effect.  Wonderfully detailed end notes complete the book and make it an excellent text for classroom or home school use.

While beautifully illustrated by Iacopo Bruno, Mara Rockliff’s story is complex enough that I would not recommend it for younger readers; but it finds its place in a classroom or for grades 3-6.

 
 

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Brown Girl Dreaming

20821284Title: Brown Girl Dreaming
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Series: N/A
Recommended for:  4th Grade and Up
Pages: 337
Call Number/Link: JB Woodson, J

Synopsis: Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

This book has won awards left and right and it’s easy to see why. Verse is done excellently and moves you seamlessly from one point to another. At times, I would have loved to have more details, but verse is rarely about the details. It’s about hitting the point and moving on. And of course, it’s not easy to write about your own childhood when so much is vague memories/told to you by others. It is easy to relate to Woodson’s struggles, no matter who you are; from struggling to read to losing the spot as the “baby” to finding freedom in words/stories.  While this one is great for 4th grade and up, I do think middle schoolers will like it most.

How to Sell it/Quick Spiel: Quick, well written verse memoir for those looking to read about an author. Not sure it would work for a report on Woodson, although there’s plenty of info there, but would be excellent for when they’re covering non-fiction genres.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2015 in Juv, Non-Fiction

 

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