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#CelebrateLU- December 16, 2016/ #NFPB2016 Catch-Up

16 Dec

It’s been awhile but I’m slowly getting back to blogging. I just spent about an hour or so catching up and reviewing all the nonfiction picture books since I took a break. There’s a lot of them! But I’m celebrating the fact that there are so many incredible titles! I hope you find some that inspire and/or entertain you!

Mountain Chef: How One Man Lost His Groceries, Changed His Plans, and Helped Cook Up the National Park ServiceMountain Chef: How One Man Lost His Groceries, Changed His Plans, and Helped Cook Up the National Park Service by Annette Bay Pimentel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’d wanted to read something to commemorate the centennial of the National Park Service and this title kept coming up. I love hearing about little-known people and the impact they’ve made. History is long and lots can be forgotten so I’m glad they get the recognition they deserve. You can tell lots of research was done here. Beautifully illustrated.
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Living in . . . IndiaLiving in . . . India by Chloe Perkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Living in… is a new series that will introduce beginning readers to kids from around the world. We learn some of the different geographies of the land and some of the major cities. Then, we spend a day in the life of each child from getting to ready for school to the end of the day. In between, we learn a little bit of history and some other facts pertaining to arts, culture, or sports. A page of country facts is included at the end.
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It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to DrawIt Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw by Don Tate
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was reading through some Lee & Low books and came across this one. Artist biographies are always fascinating because their inspirations and rise to fame are so varied. I wasn’t familiar with Bill Traylor or his art and story before this.
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Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee StorySixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story by Paula Yoo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was reading through some Lee & Low books and came across this one. I’m not a big fan of sports but this was a great inspirational read. Not only did Sammy Lee (and lots of other people of color) have to deal with unfair treatment but also familial expectations. Somehow he overcame these and I’m glad people will know his story now.
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Who Was Anne Frank?Who Was Anne Frank? by Ann Abramson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
With our current political climate, it was rather hard to read this since I couldn’t help but compare the situation Anne Frank, her family, and Jews found themselves in during Hitler’s reign (and all the victims of World War II, particularly the Japanese Americans being sent to internment camps) as what could happen if we don’t stand up to hate and abuse of power. This provided a broad look at the times and the legacy of Anne Frank’s diary.
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Who Was Nelson Mandela? (Who Was...?)Who Was Nelson Mandela? by Meg Belviso
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Alongside Gandhi and MLK, I wanted to learn more about Nelson Mandela and his practice of nonviolent protests and noncooperation. I’ve really been impressed with the Who Was…? series so this was a great way to read about him. Great to pair with the picture book Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
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The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter SolsticeThe Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Jam-packed with information, this is a great addition to any library. Learn about the winter solstice and how it was and is observed (literally and figuratively). Includes activities in the end as well as more information on how seasons “happen.”
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What Does Peace Feel Like?What Does Peace Feel Like? by Vladimir Radunsky
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Peace becomes a full sensory experience as kids share what peace feels, looks, tastes, smells, and sounds like to them. In the back is a list of what the word “peace” is translated in various languages!
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Peaceful HeroesPeaceful Heroes by Jonah Winter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I don’t know how this skipped my radar so I’m glad I stumbled upon this wandering around one of my neighborhood libraries! Beautiful illustrations accompany the short biographies of 14 people who fought to change the world not with violence but through love and peace! Inspiring. I definitely learned about some people I want to know more about- like Paul Rusesabagina of Rwanda, Ginetta Sagan of Italy, and Corrrie ten Boom!
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Preaching to the ChickensPreaching to the Chickens by Jabari Asim
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
With the March trilogy being my favorite book(s) of 2016, I was very interested in this picture book focusing on John Lewis’s childhood activity of (as the title says) preaching to the chickens as a way of practicing his sermons. The illustrations are glorious.
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A Nation's Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe LouisA Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis by Matt de la Pena
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’ve become such a fan of Matt de la Pena’s work so I made sure to read this. I’ve heard about this boxer and his most famous fight when I read Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. It’s always cool to see the same event from different perspectives.
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Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel BasquiatRadiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was getting lots of buzz and is on lots of people’s favorite of 2016. It’s definitely a beautiful biography of a talented and troubled genius whose artistic legacy lives on. I can see why his art affected- and continues to affect- so many people .
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Martin Luther King and The Montgomery StoryMartin Luther King and The Montgomery Story by Fellowship of Reconciliation
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was thrilled to find a copy of this comic online after hearing about it as being an inspiration to tell John Lewis’s graphic novel memoir trilogy March. I loved that it makes what they’re doing- and why- accessible to readers especially to a young audience.
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Halloween (National Geographic Readers)Halloween by Laura F. Marsh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Simple guide with enough text and pictures for super young readers about Halloween.
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A Poem for PeterA Poem for Peter by Andrea Davis Pinkney
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A celebration of Ezra Jack Keats’s life and how it lead to his beloved character Peter. Definitely a treasure of a book for those who love The Snowy Day!
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I am AmericaI am America by Charles R. Smith Jr.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book celebrates the diversity in our country. We are struggling to remember that it was our differences that were the building blocks of this nation. We must continue to build upon that- not a wall to keep others out but a platform to raise each other up. And I hope we continue to fight for our melting pot, our rainbow, and our divided but still united states of America.
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Science Comics: Volcanoes: Fire and LifeScience Comics: Volcanoes: Fire and Life by Jon Chad
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Science Comics continues to impress with their latest installment- this time focusing on volcanoes. I’ve enjoyed Jon Chad’s other works (his Leo Geo series) and looked forward to reading more of his storytelling style mixed with nonfiction elements. In a future frozen world, Aurora and her tribe must rummage through people’s rubble to find things to burn for their survival. She feels there must be another solution to their problems. After stumbling upon books on volcanoes in a deserted library, she’s convinced she’s found the answer. Readers will learn what she learned as she tries to get her team on board with her recent discovery. This is a great example of educational entertainment!
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Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis BrailleSix Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille by Jen Bryant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A fascinating look into the life of Louis Braille. (As mentioned in the Author’s Note,) I didn’t realize he was so young when invented this alphabet for the blind. It was truly inspiring to read about someone who didn’t settle for what life dealt them but tried to improve their lot- and ended up helping others along the way. It would have been cool if some of the text (particularly the cover or the endpapers with the Braille alphabet and a quotation by Helen Keller) had raised dots.
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My Night in the PlanetariumMy Night in the Planetarium by Innosanto Nagara
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
From the author of A is for Activist and Counting on Community, Innosanto Nagara shares a story from his childhood. His dad puts on plays that provide social commentary on the political landscape which sometimes gets him in trouble. This shows how important the arts are and how we must speak out against injustice despite the consequences. Very timely.
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Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’ve been meaning to read this one. It’s mind-boggling how certain situations are allowed to happen. It’s so inspiring that despite everything else that had to done, people still manage to stand up against unfair treatment.
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The Great Antonio: TOON Level 2The Great Antonio: TOON Level 2 by Elise Gravel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I didn’t realize this was a playful biography of an actual person- a strongman and wrestler that’s like a Canadian version of Paul Bunyan, but real.
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Who Is Malala Yousafzai?Who Is Malala Yousafzai? by Dinah Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I can’t say enough good things about this series.

I’m sure everyone has heard about Malala right now. I’m sure everyone’s been inspired by her strength and determination to ensure that education is a right for everyone, especially girls. I’ve read plenty of picture books about her but, because of all her accomplishments, it was kind of hard to imagine her as a real person. After watching the outstanding documentary- He Named Me Malala-, I saw she was just an ordinary girl forced into extraordinary circumstances. I’m glad kids- and adults- have someone like her to look up to!
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Gay & Lesbian History for Kids: The Century-Long Struggle for LGBT Rights, with 21 ActivitiesGay & Lesbian History for Kids: The Century-Long Struggle for LGBT Rights, with 21 Activities by Jerome Pohlen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Jerome Pohlen’s Gay & Lesbian History for Kids and hoping that kids and their families will actually read it as well. It’s a great introduction to LGBTQ history and the people who fought for rights. Marginalized people have often found ways to get their voices heard in the face of injustice and oppression. May people who are feeling lost, afraid, and angry now find the power and the inspiration to come together and stand up against evil. And let us encourage our youth to find their own passions because they can learn from our mistakes and our struggles to create a better world for themselves and for everyone.

I definitely learned about some people I hadn’t heard of people. The activities were unnecessary and seemed out of place.
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Once I found out Wendy Pfeffer wrote nonfiction picture books for all seasons, I was eager to check them out. I really enjoyed We Gather Together and The Shortest Day. As with those two, A New Beginning and The Longest Day– in turn- provided some background about the spring equinox and summer solstice respectively as well as some cultural celebrations. Activities are included in the back of the books.


I’ve been inspired to read about people who’ve made differences in times of adversity- particularly using nonviolence means but still managing to accomplish something. Of course, I’ve read books about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela and my favorite book is John Lewis’s March trilogy. I hadn’t really read about Gandhi.

The first two picture books I ended up reading about him were coincidentally about the Salt March incident. A Taste of Freedom: Gandhi and the Great Salt March (not pictured since it’s a fictional account) was told through the eyes of a boy who was intrigued and inspired by Gandhi and his actions. Gandhi: A March to the Sea is a beautiful nonfiction picture book, very lyrical in its storytelling.

Demi’s picture book gave an overview of Gandhi’s life. I felt it was lacking even though I had nothing to compare it to and since I wasn’t even all that familiar with him.

Who Was Gandhi? provided a more comprehensive look. I can’t say enough good things about this series!

I definitely want to know more about Gandhi and to practice his beliefs.

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8 responses to “#CelebrateLU- December 16, 2016/ #NFPB2016 Catch-Up

  1. Maria

    December 17, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Thank you for adding books to my TBR pile. There are several new titles that I will be searching for over Christmas vacation.

     
  2. lindabaie

    December 17, 2016 at 9:35 am

    I loved The march To The Sea, and so many of those you’ve shared, Earl. I still want to read some of the others, like Peaceful Heroes and Preaching To The Chickens. Glad to see you back. Happy Holidays!

     
  3. Terje

    December 17, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    What a wonderful list. Thank you so much.

     
  4. carriegelson

    December 17, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    Wow lots of reading!

     
  5. mentortexts

    December 18, 2016 at 6:46 am

    Ohmigosh! So many good books! It Jes’ Happened and Peaceful Heroes caught my attention…but they all look really good! Thanks for sharing and celebrating!

     
  6. jarhartz

    December 18, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Wow, what books! I must study these titles. Some I have and some I must get. Thank you for sharing!

     
  7. crbrunelle

    December 19, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    Whew! What a lot of books. Glad you’re back in the swing of blogging. 🙂

     
  8. Michele

    December 22, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    I’m glad you spotlighted the Wendy Pfeffer books. I was able to find The Longest Day. I’m going to see if we can order the others for our library.

     

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