Posts Tagged With: nonfiction

The Way Downtown by Inna Gertsberg

cover114613-mediumThe Way Downtown by Inna Gertsberg is a wonderful book that teaches about public transport in the city. The book covers details about several aspects of public transportation; such as, tickets, trams, trolleybuses, modern light transportation trains. The illustrations are wonderful. They are simple but interesting through the transportation and maps.

Throughout the book the reader “meets” a few families as they take public transportation. A couple of the families are; the Zanies are street performers who take public transportation where they perform on the didgeridoo and juggle and Dr. Brody takes a ferry to go to work each day. The maps, explanations of the sights and sounds are useful to kids. The book even gives advice on what to do if someone gets lost. The pictures are both helpful and hilarious.

I received this ARC from NetGalley and Kids Can Press in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: book review, books, Canada, Canadian, children, Children's Nonfiction, downtown, kids, Kids Can Press, NetGalley, picture books, public transportation, transportation, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fight to Learn by Laura Scandiffio

cover87601-mediumFight to Learn by Laura Scandiffio brings interest and excitement to going to school. While most people have heard of Malala, they may not have heard of all of the great people in Scandiffio’s book: people helping to change education for poverty-stricken Indians and Roma, Pakistanis denied an education because of their gender, children ripped away from schools becoming soldiers, and separate, but not equal, schools on First Nation land.

Liked that the book was divided into different challenges children face rather than by geography. It even included an example in the U.S. I also liked that the book highlighted the people, many of whom are children, who are finding solutions to this issue.

A fantastic resource for older students.

I received an ARC copy from Annick Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Categories: Annick Press, book review, books, Children's Nonfiction, Middle grade, multi-cultural, Multicultural Interest, NetGalley, nonfiction, Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Animals Do, Too!: How They Behave Just Like You by Etta Kaner, Marilyn Faucher

31934707Animals Do, Too!: How They Behave Just Like You by Etta Kaner, Marilyn Faucher is very informative book with beautiful illustrations. The book is fun and engaging, which allows  the reader to discovers how similar humans and animals act. 

The illustrations are colorful and bright, and help to compare kids and animals doing the same activity. I liked that the kids are shown in different spaces, like a park, beach or their home, and accompanied by their family and friends. Each animal is also portrayed in its environment and surrounded by their own. Beautiful picture book.

 This book combines an adorable, easy to read picture book with nonfiction and unique information about animals. The animal facts are presented in a manner that a young child can understand.  I appreciate the added facts about the animals at the end; however, some are redundant. 

At the end the author has listed more interesting facts about the animals she has included in her book. It is a wonderful picture book from cover to cover and I highly recommend it.

I received this book from Kids Can Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: animals, book review, books, children, Children's literature, Children's Nonfiction, education, Kids Can Press, NetGalley, nonfiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hedy’s Journey by Michelle Bisson

cover109383-mediumHedy’s Journey by Michelle Bisson is a horrific, true story about a Hungarian Jewish girl named Hedy who had to travel through Germany during the Holocaust in search of safety. She takes a portion of the journey to America alone, as she is required to separate from her parents.

She and her family suffered through trials and tribulations on the unpredictable journey. Plans often changed, and she had no choice but to be brave. Follow along in the story to learn there destination and future.

The author, Michelle Bisson, is Hedy’s daughter. She tells the story of Hedy’s (Hungarian Jewish) journey to safety, from the Nazis to the US. The story is sort of passing of the baton. Someone has to continue to tell their stories, history in its worst manifestation, and I appreciated the effort of this daughter. The story is told with extreme delicacy and the designs convey this emotion. I truly appreciate that she has taken the story about her mother’s experience and offered it to others so that they can retain this piece of history that is so essential to children’s education. In addition, I appreciated the author mentioning that it wasn’t just Jews who were persecuted.

The book also contains lots of photographs of Hedy and her family as well as a timeline of events. This book is one I believe should be integral to children’s curriculums and should be in every library.

I received this ARC book from Capstone and Capstone Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: book review, books, Capstone, capstone press, Children's literature, Children's Nonfiction, family, Germany, hero, history, Holocaust, Middle grade, Nazi, NetGalley, war, WWII | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mae and June and the Wonder Wheel by Charise Mericle Harper

cover87336-mediumMae and June and the Wonder Wheel by Charise Mericle Harper is about June who loves to play with her dog Sam, especially since she is the only one to whom the dog can talk. When her grandmother sends her a big chalkboard on a wheel, with detailed instructions on how to use it, June is thrilled, and she and Sam have a lot of fun completing the suggested tasks. It’s even more fun when a new girl moves in next door and ends up in June’s class. Mae seems really nice, but classmate April is bound and determined that Mae will be her friend. The girls have to learn to get along, and eventually Mae and June become fast friends.

This is a very positive, fun story for beginning readers. The illustrations are very helpful in showing what is going on in the story and add a lot to it. Other nice touches are June’s sometimes cranky teenage sister, the fact that Mae is a character of color without this fact taking over the story, and the adventure of the wonder wheel. This was a cute book about friendship, about pets, about family. June was a fabulous little kid, though a bit too much over the top at times. Still I liked how she stayed true to herself

Thank you NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group and HMH Books for Young Readers for the advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Adventure, book review, books, children, Children's Fiction, friendships, HMH Books for Young Readers, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group, NetGalley, Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Animal Planet: Strange, Unusual, Gross & Cool Animals by Animal Planet & Charles Gingha

28964071Animal Planet: Strange, Unusual, Gross & Cool Animals by Animal Planet & Charles Gingham has a wide range of interesting things to read and learn about of animals. The book is divided in four parts, Strange, Unusual, Gross, and Cool. The book has wonderful and abundant pictures.

There are more than 200 photographs in this book that is divided into four different focuses: “Galleries” to explore a theme, “Featured Creature” to spotlight particular extraordinary animals, “Creature Collections” with groups of animals to compare and contrast, and “Macroview,” showing tiny details.

The featured animals are just amazing, and include the blobfish, the deep sea octopod, the ghost octopus, the red-lipped batfish, banded gila monster, and as you can tell by the names, a host of unusual creatures. On all of these pages, you learn astounding facts about what makes these animals so unusual.

The book includes a glossary, annotated links to find out more, and an index. I really appreciate that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of books benefits the principal partners of R.O.A.R. (Reach Out. Act. Respond) – Animal Planet’s project to help make the world a better place for animals.

I highly recommend this book for animal aficionados, both child and adult. It is a book that allows readers to learn about animals and spark interest to continue learning.

I received this book from Time Inc. Books and Animal Planet via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: animal planet, animals, book review, books, children, Children's Nonfiction, education, nature, NetGalley, nonfiction, Outdoors & Nature, Review, teacher, Time Inc. | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Alligator’s Smile Jane Yolen, and Jason Stemple

29056288The Alligator’s Smile by Jane Yolen, and Jason Stemple is full of smiling alligators.  Each poem in this entertaining and instructive collection is accompanied by a related informational blurb. I like the idea of pairing alligators and poetry together. Each page features a poem about an alligator and pairs it with a factoid. On the opposite page of the poem are high quality photography of alligators that depict the fact shared. The photographs are intimate close-up photos. The reader is able to see the sparkle in a critter’s eye. These type of photographs typically are reserved for picture books about puppies or kitties or frogs not alligators. Some of these alligator photos exude such cuteness.

At the back of the book are more detailed alligator facts and references for further investigation. A wonderful book to be used when teaching a unit on alligators as well as poetry. This book will interest both boys and girls of various ages. A must for all school libraries.

I received this book from Lerner Publishing Group and Hillbrook Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Adventure, alligator, animals, book review, books, children, education, Hillbrook Press, Lerner Publishing Group, Middle grade, nature, NetGalley, nonfiction, Review, school | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Boy Who Runs: The Odyssey of Julius Achon by Julius Achon and John Brant

27876452The Boy Who Runs: The Odyssey of Julius Achon by Julius Achon, and John Brant is the story of  Julius Achon, who was born in Uganda. The story follows Julius Achon who rose from nothing.  He grew up in a small village and eventually he become a world class middle distance runner. He was able to compete in the Olympics and now he does  humanitarian work to improve life in Uganda and where ever there is a need.

The reader first learns about Achon’s childhood. The good and the bad. Throughout the beginning of the story, the reader learns early on that there is something special about Julius. Achon does not alway do the right thing, but he tries his best to do so. As he grows so does his running. Eventually he makes it to the US to train and become and Olympic running. The reader is able to follow Achon through his life. The reader sees how his choices are not always his.

The authors did his research to get to know Achon and the important people in Achon’s life. In the end, there is a hopefulness and happiness in seeing the kind of man Achon has grown into. Brant also seems to understand what it is to be a runner, based on how he describes Achon’s training regimes and how they affect him along the way. This is a book for any runner, and really anyone wanting to hear a uplifting story of a man growing out of poverty only to turn around and help those still in it.

I received this book from  Random House Publishing Group- Ballantine, and Ballantine Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Adventure, African American Literature, america, Ballantine, book review, books, culture, education, memoir, NetGalley, Random House Publishing, Review, Running, Sports, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport by Emma Carlson Berne

31330941Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport, Emma Carlson Berne is a book that is written for middle school students about the Jews in Nazi Germany. The book contains stories of seven children who escaped Nazi Germany on Kindertransports funded by humanitarian groups in the years 1938 through 1940. Each story has pictures of the children and their parents.  It’s heartbreaking to think of parents who had to make the difficult decision to send their children alone on transports with some family pictures,  an important item, or whatever would fit into a small leather suitcase.

The physical book is designed with the look and feel of a family picture album. There are seven chapters that focus on individual children who were part of the 10,000 children rescued from Nazi controlled areas and relocated to the United Kingdom prior to the beginning of World War II. Their story is told in the third person but from the child’s perspective. In the book, the reader reads emotions of the children recalling memories they have whether it be the last time they saw their parent’s face or the bullying they experienced based because they were Jewish. Each story gives background to the time leading up to the Holocaust. This shows the cruelty of the Nazi’s and what they were capable of accomplishing.

The first chapter begins with a poem “The Leather Suitcase” written by Tom Berman who was saved as a 5 year old child by a Kindertransport. Background is given about the poem as it describes what it must have been like for such a young boy to be separated from his parents for a long trip to an unfamiliar country with a different language, not knowing if he would ever see them again. This chapter captures the reader’s interest immediately.

The next chapter, “From Kristallnacht to Kindertransport,” gives more historical details about the increasing persecution of the Jews and their limited options for survival. Then the book returns to the stories of individual children, ending with a chapter that briefly recounts what happened to each child after the Kindertransport. It might be specifics of their time living with another family, further emigration, or an ultimate career, depending on their circumstances and the source documents available. There is also general statistical information about the 10,000 children of the Kindertransport.

We learn what happened to the children after the war and the memories they carried and what they did in their lives to honor their parents and remember the Holocaust. The book has an impressive bibliography and questions at the end suitable for classroom discussion. I was very moved by this book as an adult, and I think it would be a very powerful book for children and young adults.

There are study resources at the end of the book. The “Timeline” integrates important historical dates of the war with major events related to the Kindertransport and the seven children whose rescues are detailed in the book. The “Glossary,” of course, defines unfamiliar terms such as “haftarah” and “pogrom” which are used in the book. Next is a page which explains The Kindertransport Association (KTA), whose president was a consultant for the book. The KTA is comprised of the rescued Kinders, as they call themselves, and their descendants. “Read More” lists three more books on the topic for young readers. There is a page of discussion questions to evoke higher level thinking and several pages devoted to bibliography, source notes, and an index.

Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport is a valuable teaching resource, drawing from original sources. The length of the chapters is appropriate for this age level as well as for typical time periods in the school day. It could be used for independent reading or group study, but because of the difficult nature of the subject matter and the age of the intended reader, I definitely suggest adult support. The author handles the ugly reality of Nazi Germany with restraint without hiding the brutal truths of beatings, interments, and death. Being drawn into their stories will be troubling for some youngsters, especially those for whom this is their introduction to Holocaust studies.

I highly recommend Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport as an integrative teaching tool combining reading with social studies, especially history and geography. It abounds with possibilities for discussions to stretch young thinkers to make make new connections and offers opportunities for deep enrichment of vocabulary. Even as an adult, I found the book well written, interesting, and a source of new learning.

I received this book from Capstone and Capstone press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: book review, books, bullying, Capstone, Capstone Young Readers, children, culture, death, German, Germany, hero, history, kindertransport, Middle grade, Nazi, NetGalley, nonfiction, Review, teacher, WWII | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Daddy Coming Back in a Minute? by Elke Barber, Alex Barber

26014735Is Daddy Coming Back in a Minute? by Elke Barber, Alex Barber is lovely little picture book that explains death to a young child. Mother explains that his father cannot come back because his body has stopped working and that it is ok to be sad. The book continues and shows that a year later, Alex is mostly happy, but it is still ok when he is sad sometimes.

Alex and his daddy are having a boys weekend when his father suffers a heart attack. Alex, only 3 years old, goes and finds help. The ambulance arrives and takes his daddy while Alex waits for him back at the campground. When his mommy arrives instead of his daddy Alex begins to ask questions. His mom answers his questions honestly and in a way that he can understand. I loved the follow up explaining that even a year later, he still feels sad and cries sometimes when he misses his dad. This book is touching. This is a great book for families to use when they need to explain death to a young child, whether it is a sudden death or one that was expected due to health or age.

star_png1597star_png1597star_png1597star_png1597I give this book 4/5 stars.

I received this book from Jessica Kingsley Publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Categories: book review, books, children, death, NetGalley, nonfiction, Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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