Thanks to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at Kidlit Frenzy, everyone shares wonderful non-fiction picture books. We learn much from authors who are sharing about special topics.
Three good non-fiction books about innovation and caring about doing something well. If you know them, you'll understand what I mean. Each one is an inspiration.
Using collage of people and things, against a background what seems to be trash, Sally Wern Comport tells the story in picture, while Susan Hood share the words of this inspiring story of how Favio Chávez helped begin the recycled orchestra of Paraguay. He came to the town of Cateura to help families learn how to dig through the trash safely, but soon became concerned for the children. Although they weren’t supposed to be working in the dump, their abilities to search and carry were needed too. Favio Chávez offered to teach music to those who wanted to learn, but soon realized there weren’t enough instruments. Thus began this amazing journey of invention, instruments from trash! The story focuses on Ada, whose persistence and hard work has made her an accomplished violinist. Now this group has grown from a class outdoors of ten kids to over 200 students. They have traveled the world in concerts, and one of the first ones was hosted by the rock band Metallica. And they, along with Favio Chávez, give hope to the poor in this town. There is an author’s note, and additional information at the back. What an inspiring story.
With the endpapers filled with dozens of doughnuts, Vincent X. Kirsch begins the fun with whimsical illustrations for this story researched and told by Pat Miller. The illustrations or text on each page are in circles (holes)-quite fun. Hanson Gregory started as a ship’s crew at the age of 13, soon apprenticed to the cook. At 16, after apparently eating many “sinkers”, Gregory had an idea. These fried round cakes that were good on the outside, but a doughy uncooked mess in the middle were served for breakfast. They were named “sinkers” because they sunk to the stomach’s bottom, undigested. Gregory grabbed the round top of a pepper can and cut out the middle. It was a hit. These new inventions were called “holey cakes”. Later, Gregory’s mother began to cook large numbers of the doughnuts to sell at a local store. They were hits! Pat Miller has found terrific information about this sweet treat, myths shared like that Gregory’s first mate brought him sinkers to keep up his strength while fighting a terrible storm. It was told he grabbed a sinker and speared it on a wheel spoke, too busy to eat. Not true! Gregory left the sea at the age of 36, but lived a long life, marrying and raising five daughters. There is an author’s note, a timeline, acknowledgements and a bibliography. There’s even a small story of a connection with Dunkin Doughnuts. This book must be shared with DOUGHNUTS!
I love Jen Bryant’s books, and recently discovered this one from 2006. She’s written about Horace Pippin, Louis Braille, William Carlos Williams, Georgia O’Keefe and others. This book is considered biography, but Jen herself writes that it is an imagined event at a zoo where a young boy who's ridden the bus to see a particular lizard and notices a lady in black with a tri-cornered hat who also gets off at the zoo. That woman is the poet Marianne Moore. The boy Jonathan notices the hat on the ground later, finds the woman to return it. They make their acquaintance and Jonathan asks Marianne what she’s writing about in her notebook. Thus begins a friendship for the day and they tour the zoo together. Jonathan asks what a poet does, Marianne explains about observations so that a poem tells what is “just right”. It's a special moment when Marianne gives the boy his own notebook, telling him to write his own poem.
There is a long page of information shared at the back. The illustrations appear to be ink drawings, with speckled background in various colors, as if it is a story of long ago. Those of the animals are gorgeous.
I have some great new books for next week. Reading these non-fiction picture books is so enjoyable. Thanks to everyone for sharing their own picks!