The first Ordinary People Change the World book I read was I am Jackie Robinson, and I immediately loved the way the book was set up. I am Lucille Ball is the same way. Like I stated in my review of Jackie Robinson, I love that it is in first person which sucks the reader into Lucy’s life. The series is also a picture book/graphic novel mix which not only adds to the engagement aspect of the book, I think it really makes you feel like you know the subject more. It also is where Meltzer puts some of his funniest parts of the story.
The reason why I knew I had to review this book, though, was because of the subject matter. All of the other subjects of the books in the series (Lincoln, Parks, Einstein, Earhart, and Robinson) are pretty well-known amazing people although they did all start out with quite ordinary lives. Lucille Ball deserves to be talked about along with them though many do not know that she does. I love that Meltzer decided to tackle a story about someone that not everyone may understand why he chose her. Brad Meltzer addressed this on his Facebook page:
“To my surprise, some have asked: Why Lucy? So let me explain: I wrote this book because I wanted my daughter to finally have a female entertainment hero who wasn’t famous just because she was thin and known only for her looks. Lucy is different than everyone else. She’s funny, driven, and the first woman to run a major movie studio (producing Star Trek and Mission: Impossible). Her success came from her drive — and because she so perfectly wasn’t like everyone else. Plus she taught me, throughout my own childhood, that humor can take on anything. I wanted my daughter to learn that.
But in terms of Lucy and Ethel crazy ideas, here’s my most Lucy and Ethel-ish. Share this book with someone who’s different. Share it with little girls and boys, as well as big girls and boys. Show them that it’s not just okay to be different…it’s SPECTACULAR to be different.”...more
I love books that mix narrative and information nonfiction within one book. This text introduces Scout as she exits the hive and goes about her bee-siness (hehe!). This part of the story is told as a story. Then on each page, there is information about bees in general to help the reader understand Scout’s journey. This unique text structure mixed with the realistic yet artistic illustrations really makes Flight compelling to read. In addition to learning about bees and the vocabulary included in the book, this book could be a great addition to a lit circle inquiry group about insects or as a mentor text to create student narrative and informational mixed writing about a animal after researching. ...more
I love this entire series! Nathan Hale has taken history and made it accessible (with a dash of humor!). If you don’t the concept of the series, it revolves around Nathan Hale the Revolutionary War spy who, in the first book, was eaten by a history book so now knows all that has happened in history and is sharing it with the hangman and British officer who are guarding him before he is executed. The first book is Hale’s own story and then each of the following are his telling of different times in history.
This installment of Hale’s graphic novel series may be my favorite so far. I found it to be the most intense of his stories even though it is up against stories of wars, but Harriet Tubman’s story is one of one person’s resilience in the face of pure doom. Although it is evident through any story you hear of Harriet how truly brave she was, Nathan Hale’s story immerses you into Harriet’s life and shows you how much she truly did and faced....more
Just as good as the rest of the series! These books are so wonderful when introducing a topic to students. Helps make it more fun and stick in their bJust as good as the rest of the series! These books are so wonderful when introducing a topic to students. Helps make it more fun and stick in their brains.
I loved learning about Huntsville! It is amazing that in the middle of the violence and ignorance that ran rampant during the Civil Rights Movement, there was a Southern town that was peaceful and worked together to integrate. The story is so inspiring and gives me faith in humanity! I love how Bass ties together history and the movement throughout the nation to what was going on in Huntsville. It really shows the comparison between the rest of the nation and Huntsville. The illustrations are also extremely beautiful. I fell in love with his art in Each Kindness, and I am so happy to experience it again. ...more
Louis Fuertes is an inspirational man, and Engle’s biography of him is perfect. I think what I enjoyed most was how Fuertes was not only an artist, but an animal activist, family man, and educator. He is a role model for any kid that wants to grow up to be happy. Like Ricki shares below, this book shares an important lesson about how there are so many different special things out there to be observed. Nature is phenomenal.
I loved learning not only of Fuertes and his journey to live his passion, I loved the beautiful poetry and watercolor that were used to craft his story. Both the poetry and the artwork do Fuertes’s story justice like no other format would have. The format also gives the reader a chance to look at each poem as a stand alone and also part of the whole biography which gives each poem two different purposes and two different ways they can be analyzed....more
I know I have said this before, but I love the trend of writing picture books about strong woman who should be well known because of their brilliance. Melba Liston is an inspiration. What I loved most about this book is that I think it captured Melba’s spirit as well as the rhythm of the music. The lively oil paintings mixed with Melba’s amazing story make you feel like you know her by the end of the book. I was excited to read the back matter to learn more, and immediately went to You Tube to hear some of her music. I am so glad I was introduced to her....more
This book is phenomenal. It takes art and history and combines them into an epic look at the history of photography and the world. I am definitely going to use this book in my classroom next year. Each photograph includes information about the photo, information about the photographer, three photo thoughts questions, a “blow up” section that looks at a certain part of the photograph, a “zoom in” which looks at elements of the photograph, and a quote from the photographer. This information is fascinating, but it is just an introduction to the time period of the photo, what makes the photo a true piece of art and who the photographer is. I would love to see students delve deeper into each of these photos using this book as an amazing jumping off point. The book also gives a nice lesson at the beginning about the different types of photographs. I can definitely see myself using that in my journalism class when we look at photography. ...more
I loved the story of The Red Bicycle. It just shows how one thing can change so many peoples’ lives. The Red Bicycle would be a great way to discuss hI loved the story of The Red Bicycle. It just shows how one thing can change so many peoples’ lives. The Red Bicycle would be a great way to discuss how even kids can change someone's life. ...more
This book is a great introduction to scientific exploration and then to bacteria itself. I love that the protagonist is a young girl who is exploring the world around her. I think students will see themselves in her, and that along with the interesting, rhyming information about the different types of bacteria will really persuade kids to want to explore.
I do think that this is just an introduction though. Each bacteria is briefly mentioned along with a fun illustration. I would love to see this book be a jumping off point to an inquiry unit about bacteria....more
What a fun baseball fact book!!! I enjoyed the humor that was included as well as all of the graphics. It was very easy and fun to read and had greatWhat a fun baseball fact book!!! I enjoyed the humor that was included as well as all of the graphics. It was very easy and fun to read and had great information. ...more
Since Brad Meltzer published his first “Ordinary People Change The World” book, I have been intrigued by them. I am a huge fan of how he and Chris Eliopoulos format the books, and how they truly help engage their reader throughout. Their newest book in the series focuses on Jackie Robinson and how he went from a young kid loving and excelling at sports to changing the world by becoming the first black MLB player. It deals with acceptance and bravery and overcoming obstacles.
What makes this story of Jackie so unique though is how it is executed. First, I love how it is told in first person. Second, they included humor throughout. For example, there are two kids that keep guessing what the “B” on Jackie’s hat stands for, and they are such comic relief. Finally, the book is a picture book/graphic novel mix which I think really adds to the engagement of the book. And on top of all of this, the book is inspirational! Jackie’s story is always an awe-inspiring one, but this book specifically focuses on how you can truly change your own life if you put your mind to it even if there are truly tough obstacles....more
Overall enjoyed this memoir GN. The illustrations are striking and the story is important and worth sharing; however, I wish that the story had been fOverall enjoyed this memoir GN. The illustrations are striking and the story is important and worth sharing; however, I wish that the story had been fleshed out more, the conflict was a little more suspenseful, and the timeline hadn't jumped around so much....more
Emmanuel is inspiring. It is no wonder that Laurie Ann Thompson wrote this story: Emmanuel is truly a changemaker. What gets me about Emmanuel’s story is that he never gives up even when faced with challenges that most of us would crumble under. He proves that kids can make a tremendous difference and that we should be strong in the face of hardships.
Laurie Ann Thompson and Sean Qualls did an amazing job on this text. The story is perfectly paced and truly takes readers on Emmanuel’s journey with him. Additionally, the illustrations are pieces of artwork. I think mixed media was the perfect form for the story.
Please read this story to your students. Talk about Emmanuel, talk about the theme of his story, talk about how he changed the world, and talk about how anyone can do the same....more
Wow! Candance Fleming's research is flawless and the fascinating story is told brilliantly with a mix of narrative about the Romanovs, information aboWow! Candance Fleming's research is flawless and the fascinating story is told brilliantly with a mix of narrative about the Romanovs, information about the state of Russia, and primary sources. ...more
I really loved how this author tied Dr. Sagan's childhood of curiosity and exploration to his success as a scientist. He is such an inspiring man and his story shows how anyone can build a repertoire of knowledge and grow up to make a difference. ...more
This is quite the book! When I ordered it, I hadn’t realized that it was illustrated chapter book biography, but after learning about Josephine, I can see why she couldn’t be confined to less pages. Her life is an explosion of adventure from running away at 13 to standing up for her civil rights to spying for France during WWII to adopting her “rainbow tribe.” Like Melba, Josephine was a new name for me, but I cannot believe I hadn’t heard of her before. She is the epitome of strength and was a large part of the civil rights movement. I am so glad that I read this picture book that truly captures her spirit through the rhythmic prose and colorful, lively illustrations....more
Steve Jenkins beautiful illustrations and to-the-point informational text always make his subject matters so interesting to read about. This one doesSteve Jenkins beautiful illustrations and to-the-point informational text always make his subject matters so interesting to read about. This one does not disappoint. He found fascinating examples to focus on, and the illustrations are as beautiful as his always are. ...more
Alyson and Carrie both nominated this book for our Mock Sibert Award, so I knew it was a book I had to read. After requesting that my library purchase it, I was so happy to finally receive the book. This book is beautiful. Each aspect of the book can stand alone: the poetry is full of imagery and figurative language, the informational aspects are interesting and fact-based, and the illustrations are exceptional and bring the animals to life....more