Posts Tagged ‘junior non-fiction’

My Weird School Fast Facts: Geography

October 14, 2016

GeographyMy Weird School Fast Facts: Geography

By Dan Gutman

If you have a child who is reading chapter books, there is a good chance they’ve read at least one book in the My Weird School series. With over 50 books in the series, they’ve had a lot of fun at Ella Mentry School. AJ and Andrea have learned along the way too and they are now ready to share what they know. In the newest additions to the series, AJ and Andrea are teaching us what they’ve learned. In My Weird School Fast Facts Geography there are “a million hundred Weird facts about maps, mountains and everything in between”. Did you know the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth was 134 degrees in Death Valley’s Furnace Creek in 1913? Did you know that the 60 tallest volcanoes on Earth are in South America? Or did you know that by the definition of desert, the largest one in the world in in Antarctica? These very true facts and many more are presented to children in a way that will have them spouting of information like an exploding volcano in no time. AJ and Andrea may never get along in a loving fashion, but they sure do enjoy telling you all about what they know.

Be on the lookout of other topics in the My Weird School Fast Facts series to be released soon.

Reviewed by Ashley (Davis Library)

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Miss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber

August 23, 2016

missmarycatalogMiss Mary Reporting written by Sue Macy and illustrated by C. F. Payne.

As a child, Mary Garber played football with the boys and attended sporting events with her father.  She also loved to read about sports so she was a natural to be a sportswriter as an adult. It wasn’t that simple though, since Mary lived during a time when women didn’t usually have the opportunity to become sportswriters.

At first Mary accepted a job as a society reporter just to start working on a newspaper but she didn’t have any interest in writing about parties and fashion. During World War II, many of the male sportswriters became soldiers so Mary was given a chance to write about sporting events.  During her sports-writing career, she covered various teams from local to professional sports. Mary wrote regularly for the Winston-Salem Journal  newspaper until she was 86 years old.

Although it was often a challenge to be a woman sportswriter, Mary loved her job.  She covered baseball when Jackie Robinson became the first black player to join the major leagues and “was inspired by his quiet dignity”.   Many lively anecdotes and energetic images convey Mary’s inspirational story in this picture book biography.

Recommended for children in grades 2-4.

Reviewed by Donna (Library Technical Services)


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I Am Pusheen the Cat

August 12, 2016

pusheenI Am Pusheen the Cat

By: Claire Belton

There is no doubt you have come across Pusheen at some point, whether it is the local comics bookstore, or as a meme on Facebook and Tumblr. Pusheen is the delightfully plump gray cat with a naughty streak. This book is a collection of stories and comics that have been seen in social media, but are now in one handy book. Tips for cats, their owners, and other random tidbits. While there is not a large amount of substance in this collection, it is an enjoyable quick read for elementary age children, and quite possibly the teens and adults in their lives.

Recommended for those who love cats, memes, and silly comics.


Review by: Diana (Schimelpfenig Library)

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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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