I had a good time with non-fiction books this week, some amazing books and interesting stories are available. Thanks to many of you who've shared these titles so I could enjoy them too!
Move! – by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
It’s a book new to me by this team, a “gallop” through actions done by many animals. I imagine using this for descriptions in stories, a lesson in verbs. Jenkins uses clever wording to move from animal to animal. For example, a spider “dances to impress”, and then “floats away on a thread of silk.” But the next animal connects, to “float”, a polar bear floating in the sea. There is additional information about each animal at the back, and the illustrations are the usual lovely collages.
The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse – written by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Hadley Hooper
Patricia MacLachlan has chosen to dig into Matisse’s life to discover why he painted the ways he did by focusing on his early life, living in a gray mill town in the north of France. He credited his mother for bringing color into his life (she painted plates and put beautiful red rugs on the dirt floors of their small cottage) and his father for giving him birds (he kept pigeons). It’s a lovely basic introduction for younger children to Matisse’s life. Hadley Hooper (Here Come The Girl Scouts!) explains her creative ideas for the illustrations in the author/illustrator page. And, there is some added information at the end.
My Season With Penguins, An Antarctic Journal – written and illustrated by Sophie Webb
This is an ultimate field experience, and Sophie Webb took the chance to spend two summer months with the Adelie penguins in a remote spot where they nest in the Antarctic. There’s so much to learn about this adventure and about the penguins. Sophie and one other researcher are set up at Cape Royds, a special place because Shackleton’s hut is in this area, left nearly exactly as he left it, set up as a museum of sorts. Even the penguins like hanging around it, examining the things outside. Sophie explains that it’s so cold here, nothing rots, so the hut is still in good shape. Even in freezing weather, she’s managed to create beautiful watercolors of the experience. Penguins build ‘scrapes’, depressions on the ice, then gather small rocks to surround these “nests”. One page showed that these mischief-makers sneak up on each other’s nests to steal a rock for their own nests. Funny small arguments! She and her co-worker band penguins, weigh them, and actually catch them as they return from eating, make them throw-up so the contents of what they’re feeding on can be discovered. What a job! Sophie writes with excitement over all that she is learning and observing. I think this will be a wonderful book to open students’ eyes to the possibilities available to them in their futures. It was filled with interesting information and gorgeous pictures that enhanced the story.
Of Numbers and Stars, The Story of Hypatia – written by D. Anne Love and illustrated by Pam Paparone
Throughout the years, different students have studied famous people, both ancient and recent, and Hypatia was often chosen to research. While this book is for younger students, I know my older students would have enjoyed hearing of the life of this woman, who studied many things because her father thought girls should study as well as boys. The story shows the beginning studies, like learning about the fish in the sea, stars in the sky, and birds in the air. But when Hypatia, already an accomplished scholar, discovered mathematics while visiting her father at his university one day, she fell in love. She became respected and sought out for her knowledge. The illustrations add information as Hypatia’s story is told. It’s a good biography, with a page of extra information at the end.