Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Non-Fiction Picture Books - A Good Week


           Thanks to Alyson Beecher, we discover favorite non-fiction picture books every Wednesday when others link up on her blog, KidLit Frenzy

       When Marian Sang – written by Pam Munoz Ryan and illustrated by Brian Selznick

          Somehow I missed this when it was published several years ago. The story begins with Marian’s childhood, all the way to her triumph singing at the Lincoln Memorial, with some follow-up of changes that occurred after that. The author and illustrator notes at the back are also of interest, adding more to Marian’s story, and the spark that started both down the path in crafting this book. The story of Marian’s voice is celebrated by interspersing songs she sang throughout her lifetime, and the illustrations fill the pages with a kind of celebration too. Even the background surrounding her on each page is meaningful in a historic sense. I enjoyed it very much.



Firebird, Ballerina Misty Copeland Shows a Young Girl How to Dance Like the Firebird – written by Misty Copeland, illustrated by Christopher Myers
            “In a pas de deux/a music box for two”, Misty Copeland tells her story to a young girl, hopeful for her own ballet success. It’s a loving story of a beautiful mentor, showing that everyone who has a dream can realize it. The illustrations, of background cutout paper and emotional paintings of the two dancers, are gorgeous and inviting.

Electrical Wizard, How Nikola Tesla Lit Up The World – written by Elizabeth Rusch and illustrated by Oliver Dominguez
           This story of Nikola Tesla is inspiring. His life shared is accessible for young children (third grade and up) and will be interesting for older ones, too. The early curiosity, the persistence he showed to realize the ideas that he worked out in his head amaze. From an early age, he noticed the electricity in lightning bolts, then when he petted his cat. Later, he built a wheel with a stick pushed through a hole in its middle, and watched a small waterfall spin the wheel without stopping. Years later, the energy of Niagara Falls would be harnessed from that same idea, this time producing electricity for millions. The story includes the conflict with Thomas Edison, so well known for many inventions, but it is Tesla that gave us alternating current. Rusch included many explanations in the extensive back-matter, including how AC works, the way Niagara was harnessed, etc.  The full page illustrations show the history and background well from Tesla’s youth to adulthood.

                 I didn't have time to read all the N-F books that I have from the library. They'll have to wait until next week. One is The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sis. It looks great.

Enjoy your reading week!

13 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing these books, Linda. I've checked out When Marian Sings from the library a couple of times and haven't gotten to it--I really need to remedy that. The Tesla book sounds fascinating. Firebird is one of my favorites this year.

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    1. So happy you found some books you haven't read, yet, Elisabeth. All three are beautifully done.

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  2. 3 books I hadn't read but have been meaning to. Thanks for sharing some great finds all the time!

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    1. You're welcome, Earl. Enjoy every one! And you share books I haven't seen yet. Guess that's why our lists grow so long!

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  3. I LOVE _When Marian Sang_! I have yet to read the others, and especially look forward to _The Electrical Wizard_.

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    1. I really enjoyed the Tesla one, Jane. As I said, the story is good, but the extra information and activities are terrific. Thank you.

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  4. I haven't read Firebird or the Tesla one. Adding to my list. Marian is gorgeous. (I liked Misty Copeland as a SYTYCD judge--I'll be interested to see her children's book!

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    1. Wow, Laura, did you work with Misty as a judge? Enjoy the books, perhaps for your poetry project?

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  5. I loved Firebird, but haven't read the other two. I will look forward to getting to them both.

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    1. Thanks, Crystal. Hope you find and enjoy them!

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  6. Great books! I especially loved Firebird! There were a few lines that stuck to me on that one - ended up pulling on my heartstrings more than I thought! And I loved the letter from Misty at the end!

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    1. It was really well done, I agree, Michele. What a wonderful thing she did for young people with that book!

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  7. All beautiful picturebooks, dearest Linda. I have them in the list of PBBs I will be sharing during my NAGC presentation next week! :)

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