This is a tame biography of Frida Kahlo, but does the job. I wanted to read one of the books in this series because they are quite popular. I found itThis is a tame biography of Frida Kahlo, but does the job. I wanted to read one of the books in this series because they are quite popular. I found it a bit dry, but thought they did a fairly good job of showing who Frida was.
I appreciated the addition of historical background materials in between the narrative. Young readers will benefit from the help building context....more
I loved the middle grade nonfiction book No Crystal Stair that Vaunda Micheaux Nelson wrote earlier. It shared this history in a different way, but waI loved the middle grade nonfiction book No Crystal Stair that Vaunda Micheaux Nelson wrote earlier. It shared this history in a different way, but was too lengthy and complex for my students. I was excited to find out about this picture book that makes the story accessible for my students.
As a book lover, I can appreciate someone loving books and learning so much that they want to share that with the world. Vaunda's great-uncle, Lewis Micheaux, created a hub of learning and book loving in Harlem through his National Memorial African Bookstore. The first line was a sign that was posted above the door, "This house is packed with all the facts about all the blacks all over the world." Another line that I really appreciated was, "Not every book is true, he says, but the more you read, the easier it is to figure out for yourself what was true." He didn't have a college education, but, "He had grown to believe that books could change the lives of black people."
In this book, Vaunda Micheaux Nelson tells about this man through the eyes of his son so we see it from a child's viewpoint. This makes it easy for young readers to understand. This would be great for our teaching units about people making a difference in the world....more
This is a unique look at the Siege of Leningrad. It follows Dmitri Shostokovich and his life up to and beyond WWReview copy: final copy from publisher
This is a unique look at the Siege of Leningrad. It follows Dmitri Shostokovich and his life up to and beyond WWII and how his music played a role in the siege. I was fascinated by the story. The story was told powerfully. It was very hard to look at the death though. The numbers are mind-numbing. There was a point where I was overwhelmed by the horror, but Anderson must have known that it would be difficult for readers to continue because right after that, he turned he focus to people who did amazing kind and loving things. He started to share stories of people who were brought together during the siege rather than torn apart.
Robbie was a young man in love with music. He played the guitar practically non-stop. He even slept with it. If he woke in the night, he would play evRobbie was a young man in love with music. He played the guitar practically non-stop. He even slept with it. If he woke in the night, he would play even then. With such a consuming fire for the guitar and music in general, Robbie put in hours and hours of practice to become an amazing musician. This book shares the story of how he made his way to a group called the Band. They became world famous and have been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He also went on to have a solo career.
The book includes a narrative followed by a wonderfully thorough timeline and an interview with the author. The narrative was mostly choronological, but started with the final performance of the Band and shared how they got to that point. The interview was quite interesting and I'm glad that they included photographs from Robbie's life in both the timeline and interview.
One confusing thing was the headings. I didn't realize that they were song titles and lyrics. They don't always go with the narrative. Like "Stage Fright" was the heading above the section that described Robbie's first major public performance. There was nothing in the text indicating that he was afraid prior to performing. In the interview where they discussed Robbie having stage fright later in his life and the song he wrote about it. That's when I realized the headings were songs. I looked up a few and some are from lyrics too. I thought it was a little clunky because my brain would try to figure out how the headings and the text were related and sometimes it was only very loosely. This may not bother most readers and may have been done for readers to discover on their own.
I was fascinated by Robbie's story and wanted to know more about him. Fortunately, there are many videos of performances and lots of information about him online. I would have liked to see resources provided, but readers will likely head to the Internet, as I did while reading, and will find things on their own. I'm happy to have this book in our collection because it is hard to find picture book biographies that are about contemporary Native people. Robbie's mother is Mohawk and that is pointed out in the narrative. Some of his later music explores his Native roots and is mentioned in the timeline. Debbie Reese shared a great review of the book on her blog American Indians in Children's Literature.
I would highly recommend both of these picture book biographies and I look forward to sharing them with students....more
I loved the illustrations in this picture book bio. I also enjoyed the topic. Gordon Parks was not a person I was familiar with so I appreciated gettiI loved the illustrations in this picture book bio. I also enjoyed the topic. Gordon Parks was not a person I was familiar with so I appreciated getting to know him a little. The text was kept simple and that was okay. There is a section at the end that fills in a little more, but I think a serious gap is leaving out what the name "American Gothic" meant. I also noticed a conflict between the text and back matter. In the story, he is 15 when his mother dies and goes to live with his sister in Minneapolis. In the back matter he is 14 and goes to live with his sister in St. Paul. I checked at the Gordon Parker museum in his biography there and the back matter was correct.
The illustrations and topic make this one worth the read, but I wish that the mistakes weren't there and that things were explained just a little more for younger readers. Resources would be helpful too....more
Obviously, with a librarian as the focus, this book will be capturing the attention of librarians. Miss Dorothy ends up living in a place without a puObviously, with a librarian as the focus, this book will be capturing the attention of librarians. Miss Dorothy ends up living in a place without a public library. She can't even imagine not having books available for everyone. She sets about changing that situation.
Miss Dorothy didn't have the ideal situation for a library, but she used what she had to share her love of reading with the people in her community. Even without a big physical library like the one she grew up visiting, she made it work. The author was one of the school children able to check out library books because of Miss Dorothy
I think children will be fascinated with the idea of a library on wheels and can't help but imagine what that would be like. This would be great paired with My Librarian is a Camel: How Books are Brought to Children Around the World by Margriet Ruurs or Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown & John Parra....more
This was certainly a new perspective for me. I have not heard about Islam from this viewpoint before. Once started, I had difficulty putting the bookThis was certainly a new perspective for me. I have not heard about Islam from this viewpoint before. Once started, I had difficulty putting the book down. The development of her personal beliefs was interesting. I appreciated her need to ask questions and try to match what she was learning about Islam to what she saw in her daily life growing up.
I don't know if I share the same beliefs or agree with all of her political views, but there is no doubt that she is a brave person and admire her willingness to speak her beliefs in the face of opposition....more
I loved this alternate look at what happened in the house where Anne Frank lived sReview copy: Digital audio book through http://www.audiobooksync.com
I loved this alternate look at what happened in the house where Anne Frank lived some of her last years. I recently re-read Anne Frank's Diary and we were also able to visit the house in Amsterdam where she and her family hid. It was nice to have another perspective.
Mien shares her own history along with that of the Frank family. It reinforces the idea that it was a very difficult time for many people. There were so many indignities and needless deaths.
She also shares the vibrancy of Anne's personality. Going through the memories and telling the story was not an easy ing for Miep to do, but she celebrates Anne's spirit too....more