This is an excellent account of the short voyage of the Titanic. It covers everything from its construction to the aftermath. I especially enjoyed the first person accounts that were interspersed throughout the book. It helped make the tragedy come alive. I listened to the book on audio and it was wonderful. The narrator did a great job telling the story and distinguishing between the different people. There are a lot of interesting facts in the book which help shed light on how the tragedy came about. Some myths are dispelled…like the fact that the 3rd class gates were not locked as the rumors said. There are also amazing accounts of heroism until the very end. Many of the passengers and crew helped so many people only to perish themselves. Truly one of the great tragedies of our time.
2013 Sibert honor book.
Alice’s best friend, Aunt Polly, was a kind-hearted woman who made pies and forged friendships like no other. When she dies, she leaves her award-winning pie crust recipe to her cat, Lardo. Alice is left in charge of Lardo, Lardo disappears, pie making fever abounds as a pie baking contest looms closer, Charlie works with Alice to find the cat thief, and Alice comes to realize that her gifts are worth sharing. Aunt Polly always brought out the best in people, even in her death.
This was a slower moving book but it had a great message. I enjoyed the peek into the future in the epilogue. This was a 2013-2014 Mark Twain Award Nominee.
I am so glad narrative nonfiction is becoming the “in” thing because it is so much more interesting to read than boring old regular nonfiction! This book is as compelling as any novel I have read. Sheinkin did an amazing job researching the events and the people that led up to the creation of the bomb. I can’t imagine all the FBI files he had to read to get some of this stuff. In Bomb, he takes a look at how the Americans started the race to beat the Germans to the atomic bomb and how the Russians stole the plans. We get first-hand accounts of the events and what the people involved thought at the time. It was truly fascinating and hard to put down.
This is a 2013 Newbery Honor Book, the 2013 Sibert Medal Winner, and a 2012 National Book Award finalist.
There are many stories of people helping their Jewish neighbors during WWII, but this is one I had not heard of. The Grand Mosque in Paris was responsible for saving many Jews by hiding them and getting them Muslim identification papers. Of course this only worked on those Jews who could pass for Muslim. There are many individual stories in this book and it all paints a picture of heroism at a time of great risk. The illustrations are wonderful and beautiful. Definitely a book to recommend to those interested in WWII, history or heroism.
There is just something about WWII stories that really pulls at my heart. I find the people who worked for the underground movements and helped the Jewish people fascinating. There is something about their courage and heroism that really makes you look at your own life and wander what you would have done in a similar situation. Not everyone was strong enough to stand up for what was right, but Irena Sendler was definitely one of those heroes. Her story is similar to others who rescued Jews during the Holocaust, but it is definitely worth knowing. I thought this picture book biography did a good job of showing her courage and dedication to doing what is right. She is a hero from a very dark time in our history and her story deserves to be told.
It is amazing how much Ben Franklin did in his long life. I am not sure there is any part of life that he did not explore and conquer. He was an inventor, a scientist, a statesman, a diplomat, an educator, an author and so much more. Many of the things we use in every day life can be attributed to Franklin. Many of the institutions and concepts we rely on were first suggested by Franklin. If there is any man who is responsible for our way of life it might be Franklin. He is an amazing historical figure. This biography does a great job of breaking his life down into its most important eras. I loved all the information and the sidebars the author provided not just about Franklin, but life during his time period.
This book was a Sibert Honor Book and an Orbis Pictus Honor Book in 2013.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were two of our founding fathers. They could not have been more different yet they believed in the same thing…an independent America. Together they helped this country become free and were both presidents. They even died on the same day. I think their story is an interesting one and this book does a great job of illustrating the time period and their friendship. The illustrations are wonderful and very child friendly. The entire book read like a Saturday morning special…School House Rocks maybe. 2013 NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children honor book.
Pearl is a young lady who lives with her mom and grandma as a group of three. At school, she believes that she is a group of one, but through a series of events she realizes that her group of one has expanded to include classmates. This is a heart wrenching story written in verse through Pearl’s viewpoint as she struggles with rhyming in school when her grandma taught her that free unrhymed verse can tell a story much more effectively, sometimes. This story really touched my heart as the little girl has to deal with her grandma’s decline. I recommend reading it with a kleenax ready!
After repeatedly hearing what a great book this is from several people, and most importantly my 10 year old son, I decided to read it out loud to my 8 year old daughter. Neither of were prepared for the emotional impact his book would have on us and for me, it lingers in my mind to this day. Meet Melody. She is a 5th grader who suffers from cerebral palsy. Although Melody has never spoken a single word or walked one step, she is one brillant young girl. Her mind is always working overtime! This book is about assumptions….the ones we make about people who are different than us, especially people with disabilites. Everyone in Melody’s world assumes just because her body doesn’t work that her brain doesn’t either. This book is told in Melody’s unsentimental voice, and she tells it exactly how it is! With the exception of her parents and another caregiver, she is considered invisible and incapable of interaction, let alone actually being able to learn something or contribute in a classroom setting. She is literally going “out of her mind” from boredom and frustration and the inability ot express herself. She is wasting away in school classes that don’t even begin to quench her thirst for learning….until a special teacher sees her potential. Soon after, with the help of her devoted after-school care giver, Melody acquires a medi-talker (a machine that gives her a voice) and a whole new world is opens up to her….but it isn’t necessarily an accepting one. Melody still struggles against preconceived notions about her and her disability….even from teachers! This book is a must read for 3-6 graders, and is a Mark Twain nominee with a strong chance of winning this year’s award. My money is on Sharon Draper! This is a great book with a tough, but realistic ending.
Bad Girls is the perfect foil to the book I just read about women who changed the world. While Girls who Rocked the World was about scientists, activists, and heroes who made the world a better place, Bad Girls is about women who made their mark in a different way. There are blood baths, axe slayings, fallen women, and outlaws. Mata Hari, Typhoid Mary, Catherine the Great, and Salome. Yolen and her daughter and co-author Stemple debate in asides between the chapters whether the women were really as bad as history paints them or were there other circumstances to consider. Fun read and who doesn’t love a bad girl?
What a wonderful book! This book has Martin Luther King Jr.’s I have a dream speech and tells you what he meant. I love how the speech is broken down and translated for today’s young readers. The translation let’s you know what King was saying and what was going on at the time of the speech. Wonderful introduction to the civil rights movement.
This story of a homeless, nameless girl’s plight to be well fed, warm, and content with her place in life is set in the 14th century in England. She becomes the apprentice of the local midwife, Jane. As she toils to earn her keep, she learns the part-doctor, part-magic profession of midwifery. The author’s descriptive telling of sometimes shocking adventures opens the reader’s mind to a culture far removed from present day. I can definitely understand why this bravely written book that makes you rejoice with each success the child has and also feel sorry for her suffering is a Newberry Award winner.
The story of the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for several months captured the world’s attention. It was an amazing rescue effort and their story is a fascinating one. Unfortunately, I don’t think this book does their story justice. This is more the story of the rescuers than the miners. We hardly learn anything about the miners and what they went through while they were trapped. We don’t get personal anecdotes or first hand accounts of what life was like for them. It had to be harrowing…they were surviving on a cap full of tuna every three days! Don’t get me wrong; the rescue effort was interesting and impressive. But I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that it is the miners who are the real interest. Aronson did a good job describing the rescue efforts, but he had a tendency to go off on tangents. There were whole sections on the Greek gods and bronze and how the earth was made. I could have cared less. It had nothing to do with the story at hand and seemed really misplaced. I am sure there are other books out there that describe this event and hopefully they are more entertaining and informative.
This little gem of a book tells the story of what happened in Salem during the craziness of the witch trials. Schanzer does a great job portraying the events as they happened. Her narrative shows the ignorance of the people involved and the greed and determination to proceed no matter what. She relies on historical information, including actual trial transcripts, to reveal the events. It is sad that so many innocent people died and those that perpetrated their accusations felt no consequences.
Over the course of history men and women have lived and died. In fact, getting sick and dying can be a big, ugly mess-especially before the modern medical care that we all enjoy today. How They Croaked relays all the gory details of how nineteen world figures gave up the ghost.
This was a most interesting and enjoyable book to read, and I am not one to read nonfiction, for the most part. It held my interest and will hold the interest of probably most kids. It was factual and informational and just gory enough for those wanting gore. The entries were short, usually one or two pages, with larger print, which appeals to a lot of kids. The accompanying facts were also very interesting to read. I will be recommending this one.
Bootleg is a brilliant look at the prohibition era. It details life before prohibition and how it came about, life during prohibition and how it was repealed. There is a lot of good information here about the people of the time and what they wanted. I was fascinated to learn that many people thought of Prohibition as a social experiment, an experiment that ultimately failed. The “Drys” wanted to sober up the population and get rid of crime, they wanted to get kids back in school and make homes safer. The prohibition amendment was partially successful. The consumption of alcohol did decrease and more kids did go to school. But crime rates rose and Prohibition saw the influence of the gangster grow to unbelievable heights. Al Capone, Bugs Moran and others came to power during this era as they supplied the alcohol to a thirsty population. Blumenthal did a great job imparting the feelings of the people at that time. I love how she focused on the women who brought about Prohibition. She also provided a lot of additional sources at the end of the book. This is definitely a good first look at the Prohibition era and it makes you want to read more about these people and the time the lived.