Thanks to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at Kidlit Frenzy, those who link up share wonderful non-fiction picture books. I am grateful for all that I've learned through reading non-fiction picture books.
This is not a comprehensive book, but one that shows an assortment of insects who have to change behavior in the fall to ensure their survival. It's happening now in many states that can have a freeze any time. It shows varied adaptions, insects that hide, fly away, and lay hides are most of the behaviors, plus one amazing insect in the arctic that really does freeze, the arctic woolly bear caterpillar! Through adaptations and a special antifreeze, this insect might take seven years to finally become a moth! I enjoyed learning new things, like ladybugs that gather together in a bundle, wiggling constantly to keep just enough warmth to stay alive. They rest in a kind of hibernation termed "diapause". The illustrations show scenes with the insects, and sometimes "close up" inserts with more detail. There is an author's note, two experiments concerning freezing, and a page of extra resources. It's a book to add to a collection for winter studies.
Jen Bryant shows an interesting perspective in this story of young Louis Braille by telling his story in first person. Not only is there the early life and how Louis Braille became blind through a tragic accident, she tells some brief history of books made for the blind "before" braille was invented by Louis. Books were written with raised letters, taking huge amounts of space for only a page of information. It was so frustrating for one who wanted to learn fast as Braille did. Then a code read by feeling dots was invented for sending wartime secret messages. Using many dots didn't help when translating whole books, and it was so hard to learn! Finally at fifteen, Louis shared a system he had worked out, a system of only six dots. According to the book, only minor adjustments were made some time later. I enjoyed learning this early story, and seeing the clever, cartoon-like illustrations by Boris Kulikov. They remind me of the style of historical political cartoons. There is an author's note and added information about braille that includes resources. Jen Bryant has been blogging about her thoughts concerning this book's journey. You can find those posts on her blog, Electric Moccasin.