Posts Tagged ‘junior non-fiction’

All About Art!

July 15, 2016

tullet 1If you’re familiar with Herve Tullet’s  books, you’ll know he’s all about free expression and interactivity in art.  Art Workshops for Children applies that philosophy to group art projects and provides lots of ideas based on Tullet’s own art sessions, done around the world and in live art sessions.  According to Tullet, “art is a means and not an end.  My workshops are based around getting children to…create freely.”

You’ll find these are workshops that may be done with many, or only a few, children.  Each workshop description includes information on getting ready, conducting the workshop and suggestions for variations.  Most of the projects require only paint and paper.  Colorful photos serve as the background for the white blocks of text, so the book design is as appealing as the art projects.

One of the projects, The Magic Dice, asks children to draw a monster based on the roll of a dice.  Throw a number 4, and that’s how many eyes children draw.  Throw a two and that’s how many mouths children draw.  Tullet suggests having the children swap papers after each throw of the dice.

With plenty of variations and encouragement to simply enjoy and embrace the process of art, hopefully this book will inspire you and your children to get messy and make some art!tullet 2


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Cecil’s Pride

June 23, 2016

cecilWhen Cecil the lion was killed in 2015, the news made international headlines.  In Cecil’s Pride: The True Story of a Lion King, young readers learn more about Cecil and his extraordinary life before his death.

When Cecil was challenged by another male lion, and forced to abandon his territory, Cecil unexpectedly paired up with another male lion.  Male lions are fiercely protective of their prides and typically do not pair up, so this was highly unusual.  Cecil and Jericho, however, were stronger together. When Cecil was tragically killed by hunters, Cecil’s pride (especially the cubs) were in danger.  Amazingly, Jericho spared the cubs and adopted them into his own pride.

Young animal lovers (and budding conservationists) will pore over the quality photographs and enjoy the narrative of this unlikely friendship.  The author team is a father and his two daughters, and they’ve produced many photo biographies of true animal friendships.  Check out this one or another one by the Hatkoff’s.

cecil and jericho

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Their Great Gift

June 17, 2016

6122RV-bYRLTheir Great Gift

By John Coy

Photographs by Wing Young Huie

Immigration is a major topic in our world. Their Great Gift is a book for more than children, it can help adults and children alike understand how hard it can be to leave home for a new country. Using very simple text and real photographs of immigrants, it gives a snapshot of both families and individuals and their lives in their new country. As it discusses challenges, it’s aimed at the children of immigrants and how their advice to their children is shaped by their own hardworking ideals.

“Work hard.”

“Do well in school.”

“Never give up.”

With this advice and the great gift of bettering their lives for the sake of their children, this story poses a meaningful question about what those children will do with that gift.

Recommended for ages 5-9.

Nicki P.

Schimelpfenig Library

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Beastly Verse

June 15, 2016

img_7300Beastly Verse

by JooHee Yoon

When I was a child I had a book of poems that included Laura E. Richards’ Eletelephony:

Once there was an elephant,
Who tried to use the telephant—
No! no! I mean an elephone
Who tried to use the telephone—
(Dear me! I am not certain quite
That even now I’ve got it right.)
Howe’er it was, he got his trunk
Entangled in the telephunk;
The more he tried to get it free,
The louder buzzed the telephee—
(I fear I’d better drop the song
Of elephop and telephong!)

I thought it was hilarious, and I memorized it and recited it back to my parents any time the words “elephant” or “telephone” were mentioned around me for probably the next year-and-a-half. So that was my introduction to poetry, and from it I learned that poems can be interesting and fun and silly and wonderful, and the fact that I memorized this poem without being prompted at the age of five or six still amazes me. So imagine my delight when I picked up JooHee Yoon’s vibrantly illustrated Beastly Verse and found, among 15 others by poets such as Christina Rossetti, William Blake, and Lewis Carroll, Laura E. Richards’ Eletelephony!

This is a collection of 16 delightful poems about animals, with bright, bold, whimsical illustrations, several of which fold out, hiding some surprises! There’s enough variety here to make you wonder what will come next, and Yoon has done an excellent job of picking a small number of quality poems that will keep the book from feeling overwhelming. If you’re looking for an introductory book of poetry to read aloud with your child, I can see this one sparking the imagination just as the one I had as a child did mine.

Happy reading!

Reviewed by: Lara (Haggard Library)

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Sea Bones

June 1, 2016

Sea Bones coverSea Bones

By Bob Barner

As a child who loved all things ocean-related and a grown-up fan of Bob Barner, I couldn’t pass up the chance to review such a great book!

The illustrations are everything you’d expect from a Barner book; bright, colorful and engaging.  Spanning two pages each, they are crafted by collage using torn and cut paper, string, and watercolor to capture the whimsy of the underwater world.

The text is split-level with rhyming lines for younger children in big, bold font and more detailed information for readers with longer attention spans in smaller print.  This book introduces complex concepts of anatomy such as exoskeletons, endoskeletons, and cartilage in a fun and playful way.  Children meet animals from every part of the ocean from coral reefs to the deep sea and learn fun facts about them.  At the end of the book, there is a neat chart of “sea facts” for some of the featured animals in the book. This chart helps reinforce what was covered in the book and shares additional tidbits such as what each animal likes to eat.  With something for all age levels to enjoy, this books is bound to delight any ocean or animal enthusiast!

For more educational books about bones, check out two other Bob Barner titles, Dem Bones and Dinosaur Bones.

Dem Bones cover          Dinosaur Bones cover

Reviewed by: Meredith (Harrington Library)

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Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea

April 6, 2016

mariaSolving the Puzzle Under the Sea

By Robert Burleigh

Illustrated by Raul Colon

Illustrated biographies are a great way to introduce your child to important historical figures without reading straight from a textbook. Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea is written in first person about the determined scientist Marie Tharp. Growing up the daughter of a mapmaker, Marie always had a love of maps. She traveled with her father and family as he created maps for farmers. When she reached college, she began to wonder why all of the continents could be seen on globes and maps at school, but not what was hidden beneath the ocean.

It was not easy for a female scientist in the forties and fifties, but Marie stuck with it. She did every job she could as a research assistant, even when her boss told her it was ‘unlucky’ to have a woman on a ship. This beautifully illustrated books will give insight to this interesting woman and what she had to overcome to map the ocean floor.

Recommended for ages 4-8.

Nicole P.

Schimelpfenig Library

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Scratch for Kids

March 11, 2016

scratchScratch for Kids

by Derek Breen (second degree black belt in scratch ninjitsu)

What is Scratch? In simple terms, it’s a kid friendly software designed by MIT to encourage kids to get into programming. The long version is that it’s a tool capable of handling animation, photo editing, character design, video game creation, comic book layout, oh and it teaches kids programming at the same time. Scratch is free to download from the MIT website, so you can get started right away, but if you want to understand all the cool stuff kids can do with this program, I would recommend Scratch for Kids.

This book teaches the different capabilities of Scratch through fun, easy to understand projects. Derek Breen encourages the readers of the book to explore on their own, but gives readers the tools they need to get as much out of Scratch as they can. If you and your kids are considering exploring Scratch, start with the sixteen projects in this book and you’ll be an expert in no time.

Recommended for grades 5-9.

Nicole P.

Schimelpfenig Library

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Not-Your-Everyday Illustrated Thesaurus

January 22, 2016

The Usborne Not-Your-Everyday Illustrated Thesaurus

Boy you can say that again! This reference book from Usborne offers a unique and entertaining approach to helping young writers perform their best.

The first pages cover how to use the book: using a thesaurus, knowing types of words (noun, verb, adjective, adverb and preposition), and using topic pages. This is followed by lists of words in 70 interesting subject categories ranging from feelings to noises to food to Vikings. For example, to write about size turn to the Size Words page which is illustrated with goofy looking monsters of all shapes, colors and sizes. Here’s an example from that page:

long (adjective)





After that there are a few helpful writing tips on comparisons, scene setting, characters, and conversation. This advice will help writers create some stellar stories. Then it’s time for fun with a good friend playing one of the suggested word games that follows.

And for thesaurus users who prefer a more traditional approach the Word Finder at the end of the book is an alphabetical listing of words and their alternatives.

So what’s not to like/ adore/ love? Check this out at once/ now/ promptly/ straightaway!

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Día de los Muertos

October 31, 2015

The Day of the Dead/El Día de los Muertos: A Bilingual Celebration

By Bob Barner;  Translated by Teresa Mlawer

This brightly illustrated picture book follows a family as they prepare for the traditional Mexican holiday known as Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).  They make sugar skulls, bread, and other traditional foods and gather marigolds and candles to take with them to the graves of their loved ones.  This holiday is a time of celebration and remembering the lives of those past.  The author conveys the joy of the holiday with bold, festive collage style pictures.  With rhyming English text on the left side and a Spanish translation on the right, this book makes a great read-aloud book for English and Spanish speakers alike.

This book is also available as an audio CD/book combo and an animated DVD or you can check out these NEW Día de los Muertos books:


If you would like a chance to join the celebration, be sure to check out all the local festivities!  The holiday is celebrated from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 with most festivals and events held on the last two day.  At Harrington Library, we will be celebrating tomorrow from 2 PM to 4 PM.  We will start off with a storytime and then make fun crafts including calaveras to take home!

Reviewed by: Meredith (Harrington Library)

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Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova

October 21, 2015

9781452118901Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova

by Laurel Snyder and Julie Morstad

The world is big.
Anna is small.
The snow is
and all around.
But one night . . .
One night, her mother takes her to the ballet, and everything is changed. Anna finds a beauty inside herself that she cannot contain.

So begins the journey of a girl who will one day grow up to be the most famous prima ballerina of all time, inspiring legions of dancers after her: the brave, the generous, the transcendently gifted Anna Pavlova.

This beautiful and inspiring picture book biography follows Anna Pavlova throughout her life, from her first time seeing ballet and wanting it herself, through the very end of her life. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous, and the text perfectly and hauntingly describes the power of Anna Pavlova’s dancing and the beauty of her life.

This is definitely one of my very favorites of the year!

Be sure to check this out if you love ballet, interesting biographies, poetry, or incredible illustrations.

Reviewed by: Lara (Haggard Library)


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