Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Non-Fiction Books - Learn About People & Things

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

                       Thanks to Candlewick Press for the following books!

           Learning about one's DNA seems more popular today thanks to businesses like and so much talk about where one is from. This is one gorgeous book, just perfect for beginning to know about DNA. Nicola Davies revolves her explanation of DNA around different things growing, thus the title. As she explains, all things grow and in vastly different ways because of their environment. I loved seeing the words about bristlecone pines that live in harsh mountain conditions. I've seen some of these trees which grow high in our Colorado Mountains. They adapt and take "forty years to grow the size of a pencil. They can live for more than 4,000 years." Change in growing means seeds do not get bigger, they grow (change) into plants. 
            The book includes the spiraling ladder of DNA with its thousands of steps, uses the term "code of instructions" that creates all living things, and creates their differences. 

        The explanation of DNA is clearly worded and illustrated. Emily Sutton has created pictures of so many examples of living things as Nicola explains the way DNA works. For example, a family with mom and dad and five children are shown on a picnic, all similar but not exact copies because "the exact mixture of instructions that you get from your biological parents" is not the same for each child, unless you're an identical twin!  The double-page spread of many living things is special to see and to read that while we are all so different, we do share some parts of our genetic code.  

            There is an Afterword with a specific explanation of how a human grows, from one tiny cells but with growth, all kinds of cells begin to form, in fact, 200 different kinds! It's a gorgeous book that will add to a fascinating explanation of what DNA is and how it works.

           This unique biography of these Zhou Brothers, world-renowned contemporary artists,  is written by Amy Alznauer but it is unique in that the Zhou Brothers themselves illustrated it. The tale is told that first there was one brother, then a few years later, another arrived. They had good times together but argued, too. They lived with their grandmother, Po Po who had a bookstore and taught them the beauty of knowledge that comes from books. She also told the ancient legend of paintings that flew through the air, landing on high mountain cliffs, free!

            Unfortunately, it was the time of the Cultural Revolution and soon both parents were taken away, the bookstore destroyed and Po Po took the boys to live in a village hut. She told them of the paintings found in the mountains. Through hard times, one working hard on a  mountain, while the other still young, stayed at home, still loving art and looking for paper scraps for his drawings,. As they grew older, one was finally accepted at an art school while the other was left behind again. They did eventually unite and discovered that, even in disagreement, they could create paintings, wonderful ones, together. Some years later they took still another leap by immigrating to the United States. They now have their own studio but exhibit all over the world, supporting young artists. They believe art can bring people together and can set one free. 

The brothers working together

            There is an Afterword from Amy Alznauer which adds to the story of these boys who even as young children, always wanted to do art, to be free!


  1. I am really looking forward to reading Grow. I love her other books, they bring big topics into manageable pieces (especially for me, lol).

    1. I know what you mean, I learned from this, too! Teachers can use it to introduce the topic for younger students. I loved Tiny Creatures and Outside Your Window! Thanks, Michele!


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