Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Non-Fiction Inspiration

    Thanks to Alyson Beecher at KidLitFrenzy who hosts this community. It's exciting to discover so many good non-fiction picture books!

         I managed to read two n-f books, two I'm sure that one of you, or more, have shared and that's why I ordered them from the library. I'm very happy I did! Both are worth more than a look!

Barbed Wire Baseball - written by Marissa Moss and illustrated by Yuko Shimizu
            It's a wonderful thing to discover so many kinds of heroes in the recent numerous picture book biographies. We've learned about sports heroes, adventurers, visual and musical artists, women who defied the usual stereotypes, and stories about writers, much in these past few years. 


This time, Marissa Moss has researched a baseball player who didn't let his enthusiasm for the game stop him from playing baseball, even in an internment camp for the Japanese during World War II. Though quite short, Kenichi "Zeni" Zenimura was already known as an accomplished player when his family was put into a camp. With much hope and determination, he managed to build a real baseball field in the Arizona desert. He organized teams, even built bleachers for the fans! It's an inspiring story told here, and the illustrations by Yuko Shimizu are marvelous, big and bold, flashy and action-filled, like baseball. Don't miss sharing this with students. They need to hear of people who do great things, even behind barbed wire! There is extended back matter and a good bibliography included.

Henry Knox, Bookseller, Soldier, Patriot - written by Anita Silvey and paintings by Wendell Minor
         For those studying the American Revolution or great problem-solvers, this book will be a good one to add to your collection. I've heard of this hero, one of General Washington's greatest aids in the war effort. The problem was that the army had little artillery, and Boston could not be taken without a great barrage of fire power. This story tells of Henry Knox, quitting school at age 9 to help his family because his father abandoned them. He became a bookseller's assistant, then later a bookseller. Eventually having to flee Boston with his family, he then learned to become a soldier, and the rest of his story is an important point in our American history. Anita Silvey gives good background to help the reader understand the problems, and the hard work that occurred while solving those problems. Henry Knox just never gave up, and hundreds of pounds of artillery was hauled by men and oxen in boats across Lake Champlain, on sleds across frozen terrain, even through mountain passes with no roads. It's an amazing story that will spark further research about this amazing man. The illustrations help tell the tale too with color and detail of the action described in the story. There is a good timeline, suggestions for further research, a map and further pictures in the end papers. It's a terrific story.

       I'm leaving on a road trip with my daughter, two granddaughters and grandson from Texas, off to Missouri to see other family. I'll be reading your posts, and will try to comment when I can! Happy Reading! For those who know that my grandson had the baseball/eye injury, he received a good report today and is back to regular activity! Hurrah! 

11 comments:

  1. Hi Linda,
    I teach the American Revolution so I will be looking for this Henry Knox book. I also discussed a baseball nonfic. book today. There are so many.

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    1. This will be a good book for you, Gigi! Guess since baseball is our summer sport, time to be sharing them. Thanks!

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  2. So glad to hear that news about your grandson! I've been hoping to see such a good report!
    I loved the Baseball story! And after reading Lisa See's China Dolls this weekend, it was interesting reading the little bit about the Japanese internment. There was a quick part where the brother talks about coaching and teaching in the camp.
    Our 4th graders do a unit on the Revolution so I'll be sure to check out the Henry Knox story! Have a fun and safe road trip!

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    1. Thanks Michele, for all, hope you enjoy the Knox book. It is filled with good information!

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  3. I loved Barbed Wire Baseball. Such a great example of engaging nonfiction for young people.

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    1. Yes, it is a good story for several reasons, Beth. Thank you!

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  4. Thanks for another book recommendation post, Linda! I put The Goldfinch on hold at my library when you featured it on your blog...it just came in! I'm excited to read it. Safe travels! = )

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    1. Good to hear, Bridget. Hope you enjoy it! Summer traveling is indeed fun!

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  5. So glad your grandson is well! Barbed Wire Baseball is one of my favorites. First for sharing about that time in our history and the resilience of people, but the illustrations are also just so cool.

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    1. Yes, the pictures are terrific, I agree, Crystal, & I really loved the inspiration of the story. Thanks!

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  6. The Henry Knox title sounds like one I MUST find soon for our upcoming reading theme on War and Poetry. Unfortunately we don't have Barbed Wire Baseball yet in our library - perhaps early next year or late this year we'd have the title soon. It's good to catch up with you on FB! Lovely photographs of the family. :)

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