Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Non-Fiction Picture Books Celebrate Women

   Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy -- hashtag #nfpb2020! Thanks to her hosting and sharing and those who add their posts, you can discover and celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books! 

        Wishing everyone safety and good health in your lives, family and friends, too. It's a time filled with questions, learning how to adapt to new ways of living. 

         It's wonderful always to read stories of women and more about their lives. These two following stories show two women who kept their passions all their lives. They are both inspirations.

         Shy, smart, pushed herself to be strong, found that her Grandmother's words helped her gain strength to do what she knew was right: "Take the high ground if someone insults you. When someone opens a door to you, go forward." She was lucky to go to college at a time when girls were not expected to go. There, like her noticings when she was younger, she became even more aware of those who were working in terrible conditions. She knew she wanted to speak up and as Kathleen Krull writes Frances Perkins' story, Francis "realized she had to make her voice hear, even when speaking made her uncomfortable." And her voice was heard, over and over again. 

The endpapers are delightful!
part of the opening endpaper
endpaper at the back
        I won't tell the whole story, best to read and be proud to know how much she accomplished, as the first woman cabinet member under FDR, beginning during the Depression, creating his New Deal, the CCC, Social Security. Her list, which she brought to President Roosevelt before accepting his nomination as Secretary of Labor, was long and daring. He told her he would support it. Remember that 'door' in her grandmother's quote? She went through it! Within the story, too, Kathleen Krull tells about Francis Perkins' approach to working with men, including the backlash she experienced by being female and how she managed to prevail.
        With colorful scenes of action that deftly accompanied the words, Alexandra Bye helps tell this inspiring story, highlighting special words like the quotes above. There are additional notes at the back and a source list.

             The author of Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau and On A Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein and the illustrator of Sleep Tight Farm, all books I love, bring another beautiful book, about Emily Dickinson. It feels as if you need to SEE and READ this gorgeous book, perhaps to introduce Emily to young students, perhaps to learn a bit more about Emily that you didn't know or had forgotten. Here she is as a young girl where every part of nature 'seemed to speak to her'. As the story is woven, Berne inserts Emily's own words. In this beginning, we read "The bee is not afraid of me, I know the butterfly" while Emily walks out into her home's garden, surrounded by flowers, butterflies, and rabbits. There are some dark moments alluding to loss and the way she was thought of in her town. Those are shown poignantly by Becca Stadtlander like in a double-page spread of Emily, out this time on a bluff overlooking a river, "I am out with lanterns,/looking for myself." 
          Berne takes readers to a poignant ending, showing Emily's sister's discovery of the hundreds of poems left in drawers, trunks, cabinets, etc. She adds a note about Emily's poetry, a page for readers about "Discovering The World of Poetry", and her own author's note. Stadtlander adds an illustrator's note where she shares that her illustrations are based on real parts of Emily's life, like the house in which she lived all her life. It is a marvelous book!


  1. Great reviews, Linda. Thanks for sharing them during Women's History Month.

    1. You're welcome, Carol. Thank you very much for coming by!


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