Thanks to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at her blog, Kidlit Frenzy.Come read to discover everyone's recent non-fiction picture books.
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Learning about animals from the inside out, and taking care of them are themes in two of the books read recently. The final one is about caring for human beings, and ensuring that everyone has the same rights. I hope we all get better at that than we have been in the past, and I also hope we improve our care for animals, too.
Bone by Bone - written by Sara Levine and illustrated by T.S Spookytooth
Brief, but full of beginning information about bones. Interesting approach where pages begin with a ‘What if” question. For example, “What kind of animal would you be if you had really big vertebrae in your neck?” The illustration shows a young boy with a long neck that is held by large vertebrae, and the real answer is “a giraffe”. Answering the repeated questions helps to learn new things about an animal body, including the human animal. It’s quite a fascinating book.
Special Note: My granddaughter Ingrid is studying big cats this year, which means the anatomy of them connects also with domestic cats. One of her teachers found a dead and decaying cat while hiking and brought it in to help Ingrid clean and put together a display of the skeleton. Ingrid has pet cats, but this did not bother her at all. She spent quite a bit of time last year at our Natural Science Museum studying the skeletons of large sea creatures (her main study then was manatees), so she is passionate about bones. They have spent hours cleaning and examining the bones, carefully reconstructing. I can't wait to see the final result, and will be sure she gets a copy of this book!
Lillian’s Right To Vote: A Celebration of The Voting Rights Act of 1965 - written by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Shane W. Evans
It’s a good time to celebrate this book because today is Election Day. Winter tells the story of Lillian’s journey to vote, using the metaphor of climbing a steep hill on voting day. As this one hundred year old climbs, she remember important parts of history, hers and that of the United States, from her great-great grandparents being sold on an Alabama auction block, to the Selma March, and to the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Each page offers a part of history when groups were given the right to vote, although often enough things were put in place to prevent that voting anyway, like poll taxes. Even today, as the back matter tells, some states require a state I.D., a costly thing to obtain for some, thereby taking away their voting rights. Shae Evan’s paintings are watercolor, giving the effect of shadowy memories. But those of Lillian’s pictures on her way up that hill are in full color. I love the double spread of a young Lillian and the one on that day. She was turned away more than once at the polls, but this time, at age 100, she will vote.
Counting Lions: Portraits from the Wild - written by Katie Cotton, illustrated by Stephen Walton
The illustrations take one’s breath away. At first one thinks photographs, but no, these are gorgeous charcoal drawings of ten animals. Virginia McKenna (the actress who played Joy Adamson in the movie, Born Free) writes a beautiful forward of the need for concern for all the earth’s animals, not just these, and the back matter gives more evidence of the importance of protection. Virginia is the head of the Born Free Foundation, a world group fighting for animal protection everywhere. Counting animals is one part of protecting them, but there is more to do. Each double-page spread shares a brief paragraph about the animals. It should spark some interest in further research of endangered species, or just one of these creatures. There is also a page of organizations to find additional information, and there is a surprise at the very end!