Reviewed for THC Reviews "4.5 stars" Rosa is a lovely rendering of Rosa Parks' courageous act in a picture book format that is accessible to younger re...moreReviewed for THC Reviews "4.5 stars" Rosa is a lovely rendering of Rosa Parks' courageous act in a picture book format that is accessible to younger readers. I think most people are familiar with Mrs. Parks refusal to move to the back of the bus which sparked a huge wave in the civil rights movement, but author, Nikki Giovanni, gives the reader a little more information about the before and after. She begins by giving a bit of background on Rosa Parks which even educated me. I didn't realize that she was married, caring for an elderly mother and worked as a seamstress. Ms. Giovanni continues by detailing Mrs. Parks act of civil disobedience which led to her arrest. I was a little disappointed that she didn't tell any more about Mrs. Parks herself following that event. Instead the author finishes up by explaining how Rosa Parks' actions sparked a whole movement which eventually led to the Supreme Court ruling against segregation.
Artist Bryan Collier's illustrations are a lovely compliment to the text. I really felt like he captured Rosa Parks' essence in the pictures of her and the details are amazing. The textures and patterns of the clothing and accessories as well as some other items were very realistic looking, almost more like a photograph than a painting. Each one also has a kind of pieced-together look. I spent quite a while perusing each one, trying to figure out how Mr. Collier accomplished this. It wasn't until I read on his website that he incorporates watercolors and collage that is started to make sense. All in all, some very impressive artistic work.
Rosa was the winner of both the Coretta Scott King award and a Caldecott Honor Book, both of which I think are well-deserved. Overall, it was a lovely book that would be a great tool for teaching younger children about Rosa Parks and this particular chapter in the civil rights movement.(less)
Reviewed for THC Reviews Henry's Freedom Box is a wonderful storybook for teaching younger children about slavery and the Underground Railroad. It is t...moreReviewed for THC Reviews Henry's Freedom Box is a wonderful storybook for teaching younger children about slavery and the Underground Railroad. It is the true story of Henry “Box” Brown who mailed himself to freedom. Henry's bravery and ingenuity were inspiring to read about. It is very sad that Henry lost his entire family when they were sold and apparently was never reunited with them, but it seems that his pain may have been a driving force in his quest for freedom. He also became an internationally renowned spokesperson for the Underground Railroad and abolition, and even wrote an autobiographical account of his life as a slave and his escape which I hope to read at some point.
Half the beauty of a picture book are the illustrations and the ones here are quite lovely. I was very impressed with how realistic and emotive they are. The pictures almost tell the story all by themselves. Kadir Nelson is a very talented artist. His illustrations combined with Ellen Levine's words to create an amazing book that became a Caldecott Honor book as well as winning numerous other awards and accolades. In my opinion, they are all well-deserved. I recommend Henry's Freedom Box to both children and parents, and I'll definitely be acquiring a copy for my own keeper shelf.(less)
I really like the ...If You... series of children's history books for their interactive question and answer format. My kids enjoy trying to guess the...moreI really like the ...If You... series of children's history books for their interactive question and answer format. My kids enjoy trying to guess the answers before we read them aloud. I thought this one was particularly nice, because it had quotes from actual slaves scattered throughout giving a first-hand account of various topics. At the end, it also has a list of historical landmarks and museums relating to slavery, complete with websites that would be great for continuing education.(less)
This book has nice pictures of different types of whales with easy to read text, a good book for early readers who like animals and nature or want to...moreThis book has nice pictures of different types of whales with easy to read text, a good book for early readers who like animals and nature or want to learn more about whales specifically.(less)
There are few sea creatures who can match the colorful beauty of coral. DK 24 Hours: Coral Reef really captures that be...moreReviewed for www.thcreviews.com
There are few sea creatures who can match the colorful beauty of coral. DK 24 Hours: Coral Reef really captures that beauty while educating on the diversity of life found on coral reefs. I love reading children's books (or any book for that matter) that teaches me something I didn't already know. If I am learning new things as an adult, then I can be assured that my children are learning new things too. One of the fascinating facts I learned from this book is that coral reefs have cleaning stations where shrimp and small fish clean away parasites and other organisms both inside (mouth and gills) and outside from turtles and larger fish without being eaten. Until reading this book, I didn't know that the whale wash in the movie, Shark Tale, had a basis in reality. I was also introduced to many new species that I hadn't seen before such as Harlequin ghost pipefish, mandarin fish, flashlight fish, and Christmas tree worms to name just a few. Overall, I thought this was a wonderful book that will appeal to both parents and children alike.(less)
Magic Tree House Research Guide: Space presents a lot of interesting information about space in a fun, easy-to-read for...moreReviewed for www.thcreviews.com
Magic Tree House Research Guide: Space presents a lot of interesting information about space in a fun, easy-to-read format that is accessible to younger readers. As a child, I was very interested in the solar system and space travel. For a time, I studied and followed space travel very closely, and this book was like a nice walk down memory lane. There were a few notable omissions from the book though, such as the Pioneer and Voyager interstellar space probes, Mars exploration (it was really only mentioned in the future of space travel), and the dangers of space travel such as what occurred with Apollo 1 & 13, and the space shuttles, Columbia and Challenger (there was only one brief mention of the Challenger explosion in a photo caption). I'm sure though that much of this was in deference to the younger readers for which the book was intended, so as not to present disturbing information and also to keep the book at a reasonable length so as not to loose the intended reader's attention. There is also the problem of the book becoming too quickly outdated, as many outer space related events have occurred since the publication of this book, such as the declassification of Pluto as a planet, the more successful Mars missions, the Columbia explosion, the continuing work and drama aboard the ISS, and the flights of privately funded space missions and tourists. I was generally able to overlook these downfalls though as I found the information that was presented in the book to be accurate and well done. I thought Space was a fun, informative read especially when taken in light of the age group for which it was intended. It is also great for parents and children to read-aloud together, an overall enjoyable book that I would definitely recommend.(less)