Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Two More Amazing N-F Picture Books

Thanks to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at Kidlit Frenzy!

         Come read to discover everyone's recent nonfiction picture books.

       Tweet - #NFPB16

        I'm doing some catching up with non-fiction books that either won awards last week, or have been on my list to be sure to read. How could I have NOT read these? I guess there are just too many to get to them all. But now I have read more outstanding books. I hope you've enjoyed them if you have read them, or find them soon if you haven't.


Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement - written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Ekua Holmes


Earning the following awards: Caldecott Honor Award, Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award, Robert F. Sibert Informational Honor Book Award

          There is a scope in this book that I hadn't imagined. From six years to death, Fannie Lou Hamer worked hard, first for the landowner where her family sharecropped, and then, defying danger, perhaps death, she worked for equal rights, for everyone's rightful place in the world. Those small things shared don't need expansion, but one could by reading more of the books given in the bibliography, or by looking through Carole Weatherford's timeline. Here are some lines that say much in only a few words. Fanny is telling her story.
            "When I was born, on October 6, 1917, the plantation owner paid my mother fifty dollars for producing a future field hand." Fannie was the youngest of twenty.
             "I was just six when I dragged my first bag down a row of cotton."
             "Before I could cast a single vote, I had to pay a poll tax that I couldn't afford--"
              "They put us in separate cells and made the other prisoners beat us. Black and Blue."  Fanny suffered from these injuries her whole life.
            "I called racism America's problem."
            "I had always believed: We serve God by serving our fellow man."
           There of course is more to the story, more heartbreak and humiliation, almost nothing to celebrate except the strength and courage of this woman, a person I have never heard of until this picture book. The illustrations by Ekua Holmes (her debut) show well the subject of each page in mixed media and collage.  I have so many favorites, but the best is the last, Fannie's portrait as an older woman. It's a book to treasure.

Glow: Animals with Their Own Night-Lights - written and illustrated by W. H. Beck
          One evening, on a sailing trip with my students in the Pacific waters near Catalina Island, we jumped into the ocean from the ship and we glowed! I don't remember the kind of creatures with their own "night-lights" or bioluminescence, but it is one of my favorite memories ever. This book tells about many creatures, mostly in the ocean, who glow, and it tells about the numerous reasons they do glow, like for protection, to connect, to hunt. I didn't know about every animal, but also didn't know about the glowing Foxfire mushrooms. It would be marvelous to see some of those. The photographs are wonderful to view and examine, and at the back are small sketches of each. The author explains that the pictures are so difficult to take, sometimes deep in the water, and with a flash. And the creatures mostly are very small, so the sketches show where the bioluminescence occurs within or on the animal and gives the size. Some of the creatures are rather alarming to see, but also amazing in their evolved bodies. There is a bibliography for further research.

          Happy Reading everyone. I hope you discover more wonderful non-fiction this coming week!


10 comments:

  1. Oooh, "Glow" looks like something I need to get my hands on, pronto. I love cool science books with great photography, photographs really capture the imagination. Thanks for sharing this one!

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    1. You're welcome, I enjoyed it thoroughly & hope you do, too. There are so many interesting living things in our world!

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  2. It's so unusual to see first person narration in picture book biographies, but I think that helps give Voice of Freedom a lot of its power. Margarita Engle also just did a first person biography--Sky Painter.

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    1. You're right about Sky Painter, another beautiful one, Annette. I really loved Voice of Freedom.

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  3. I had to read Voice of Freedom after the Youth Media Awards because I hadn't gotten to it yet, and it got such accolades. Definitely earned them! GLOW has such an awesome cover! I noticed it was by W.H. Beck - the Malcolm at Midnight author!

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    1. Yes, I did read that Beck authored that book, too, Holly. I enjoyed Glow very much. It was lucky to get Voice of Freedom from my library so fast. It deserves all the awards for sure.

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  4. I am still waiting to get a copy of Voice of Freedom, Linda. Our library does not have their copy ready yet. It looks amazing. Thank you.

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    1. You're welcome. Hope they get it to you soon!

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  5. I really enjoyed Voice of Freedom. Too old for my students, but one I was glad to have read!
    I received Glow for Christmas, I really need to get reading that one. I flipped through it and the photos are stunning!

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    1. Both books-so good, Michele. Glow just made me want to study even more about these amazing creatures.

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