Posts tagged ‘Nonfiction’

Our Choice: How We Can Solve the Climate Crisis by Al Gore (Viking/Melcher Media/Rodale, 2009)

First the bad news: global warming, over population, droughts, dust bowls, deforestation. But for every ill there is a remedy, if we will it. Gore describes the problems by using facts, charts, photographs, maps, capital letters, headlines, diagrams, etc. The happy conclusion ( albeit, extremely difficult ) is that every problem can be solved. The last chapters detail how big business has sabotaged solutions and how people can be blind to unsavory facts. Indeed, Gore’s thrust is that young people are our best hope because they accept the need for change. The book, unfortunately, looks like a school textbook. It lacks an index which would be helpful for reports. Overall, this is a valuable book for everyone of every age because the ongoing menace couldn’t be more urgent and the solution could not be made clearer.

J Nonfiction (8 – 14), Recommended—Lillian Hecker (PEL)


January 23, 2010 at 12:46 am Leave a comment

OUR CHILDREN CAN SOAR: A CELEBRATION OF ROSA, BARACK AND THE PIORNEERS OF CHANGE written by Michelle Cook. Foreword by Marian Wright Edelman, illustrated by 13 distinguished artists. (Bloomsbury)

soar“Rosa sat so Martin could march.  Martin marched so Barack could run.  Barack ran so our children can soar!”  An inspiring celebration of African American history and the power of individual lives to make a difference—this beautifully illustrated book puts the pieces together into a single story that is thrilling.  Westchester artist Eric Velasquez did the spread on Obama, capturing the excitement and the promise of his campaign.

Nonfiction/Picture Book, highly recommended- Judith (WLS)

July 1, 2009 at 3:14 pm Leave a comment

MARS AND THE SEARCH FOR LIFE by Elaine Scott (Clarion Books 2009)

marsThe cutting edge of science in today’s world is seen in the tremendous breakthroughs in biology, pharmaceuticals, cloning, armaments, and more. It is clearly evident, as well, in space and planetary exploration. Scott begins her study of Mars with H. G. Well’s 1898 classic science fiction story, The War of the Worlds. More than 100 years later, our explorations on Mars are equal to any fictional tale. Today’s scientists search for signs of Martian microbial life and water. They believe that Mars was once habitable, had once had water, and had once been able to support life. They cannot, however, explain what happened to the water and whether the same thing could happen on Earth.

J Nonfiction, Recommended- Lillian Hecker (Pelham)

May 18, 2009 at 2:20 pm Leave a comment

YOU ARE WEIRD : YOUR BODY’S PECULIAR PARTS AND FUNNY FUNCTIONS by Diane Swanson and by illustrated by Kathy Boake

weirdThis is a humorous look at some of the unusual ways the human body works. For instance, on average, one person sheds about 35,000 dead skin cells every minute. That’s more than two million cells an hour … no wonder we have dust bunnies under the bed! And, speaking of skin, an ancient Greek once tattooed a slave’s head, waited till the hair grew back, and then sent him to deliver the message. The slave shaved his head again. The message was: Rebel against Persia.  Swanson devotes double page spreads to body parts. In the pages devoted to eyes, for example, she includes an experiment to find your blind spot. Other pages deal with ears, teeth, hair, sinuses, feet, appendix, and nose. Colorful, goofy-looking kids and animals enhance the work. Included is a glossary and index. Emphasis on ancestors and evolution make this a fun teaching moment. This is not a biology book; it is more like the Guinness Book of World Records because it capitalizes on the gross and the bizarre nature of body parts. The author leaves the reader with the notion that science is always relearning and redefining facts. Readers are invited to participate in this ongoing investigation.

J Nonfiction

Recommended- Lillian Hecker (Pelham)

February 17, 2009 at 4:13 pm Leave a comment

ARMADILLO TRAIL : THE NORTHWARD JOURNEY OF THE ARMADILLO by Stephen R. Swinburne and illustrated by Bruce Hiscock

armadilloAn armadillo gives birth to four female babies in Texas, and we follow their fate as they confront dangers growing up and as they slowly migrate northward toward Kansas, become independent, and find new homes of their own.  Written with a scientific approach, the text is authoritative in its facts, while the illustrations give a sense of the wilderness and encounters with humans from the armadillo’s perspective.  An afterwords gives more scientific information on the armadillo and its migrating pattern in the United States.

Ages 7-9, 32 pages Non-fiction

Recommended- Amelia Carling (Pelham)

February 17, 2009 at 4:05 pm 1 comment

THREE CUPS OF TEA : ONE MAN’S JOURNEY TO CHANGE THE WORLD… ONE CHILD AT A TIME by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin and adapted by Sarah Thompson

teaThis title is an excellent adaptation of the adult version. In 1993, Greg Mortenson tries to climb K2, the second highest mountain in the world.  Weak and disoriented during his dissent, he takes a wrong turn and ends up in the village of Korphe, where the chief of the village and his family save his life.  Greg observes what education is like for children; doing lessons with sticks in the dirt in freezing temperatures, a lack of books and supplies, teachers who come a few days a week, and often never receive their pay.  He promises to return and build a school.  But inhabitants of these small tribal villages have heard that before. 

Greg’s journey is amazing.  He needs to raise funds to build the school, and faces multiple obstacles thereafter.  His remarkable mission continues to grow after one school is built, and through his organization, the CAI, many more are built throughout Pakistan.  A major part of this effort is to educate the girls, and help them become strong women and leaders. Greg’s mission to fight terror and guns with education for children and a chance for real opportunity is inspiring, courageous, full of suspense, and is a most noble effort.

Included in the young reader’s edition, is a who’s who, (very helpful), a glossary, a timeline, and an interview with Greg’s 12 year old daughter.  These help the reader to understand why Pakistan, Afghanistan and to some extent India are plagued by instability.  Greg’s true story provides a strong context for recent past historical events and a solid primer to follow future events.

Age:  5th-8th Grades, Nonfiction

Highly Recommended.  Anne Beier-Hendrick Hudson Free Library


January 7, 2009 at 7:26 pm Leave a comment

THE BOOK OF WIZARDS selected and illustrated by Michael Hague

wizardsHague retells nine famous stories that feature wizards or sorcerers. They include Merlin, Circe, Baba Yaga, Prospero, King Solomon’s Ring, and others. Each tale comes from a different country and Hague points out the significant features of the land and people in connection with the story.  In Baba Yaga, the evil stepmother sends the young daughter to a witch in order to be rid of her and to keep the husband for herself. By being kind, the daughter gets help from others and thwarts the stepmother’s design. Ulysses, with the aid of a flower from Mercury, rescues his crew from Circe’s charm that changed them into pigs. Prospero avenges himself from the evil done to him by his brother with the help of Caliban and Ariel. In each tale, save one, the protagonist overcomes the spells and magic of the supposedly overpowering wizard through cunning and intelligence. The exception is the story of Merlin. Merlin’s weakness is falling in love with treacherous, beautiful maidens. In this tale, the duplicitous Vivian charms Merlin into teaching her all his charms. After learning his spells, Vivian entombs Merlin forever.  Besides being rousing good tales, Hague has added wonderful colored illustrations of hideous dragons, beautiful maidens, snapping dogs, and unfortunate sorcerers. This is a good addition to any story collection.

J Nonfiction

Recommended- Lillian Hecker (PEL)

January 5, 2009 at 3:39 pm Leave a comment

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