03. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Biographies, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

Bad Guys and Gals of the Wild West by Dona Herweck Rice, 64 pages, read by Angie, on 10/01/2013

This book gives us the biographies of some of the Wild West’s most notorious bad guys and gals. People like Billy the Kid, Belle Star, Doc Holliday are featured. We learn their history and how they became outlaws (in most cases). The book also asks what it truly means to be bad. It was an interesting look at the topic and the people in the book are all ones that kids would like to know more about. I do think the word “bad” is overused, but other than that it was a nice offering.

I did receive a copy of this book free from the publisher after attending a Booklist webinar.

29. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, NonFiction, Science

The Mystery of Darwin's Frog by Marty Crump, Steve Jenkins (Illustrations), Edel Rodriguez (Illustrations), 39 pages, read by Angie, on 09/28/2013

Darwin’s frog is the only frog that carries its young in its mouth. When the eggs hatch the male frog scoops them up and carries them around until they turn from tadpoles to baby frogs. Fascinating species and really interesting book.

Lee Berger has spent his entire life looking for the next big adventure and that quest paid off in 2008 when he discovered a cave in South Africa’s Cradle of Humankind. The cave, Malapa, contained bones from an ancient species of hominids, perhaps the oldest ever found. The Australopithecus Sediba bones of five beings were found in the cave, some nearly complete. The bones tell the story of a species that contained both human and ape characteristics and changed the way scientists think about evolution. This is an immensely readable account of Berger’s discovery and its implications to the scientific community. Our origins are fascinating and mysterious and this book will just wet your appetite to know more about human evolution and our ancient ancestors.

10. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Informational Book, NonFiction, Poetry

Cowboy Up!: Ride the Navajo Rodeo by Nancy Bo Flood, Jan Sonnemair, 40 pages, read by Angie, on 09/10/2013

The rodeo comes to life in this book. We live through an entire rodeo from setup to takedown. Each event is introduced by the rodeo announcer, a poem gives life to the event, and an explanation is given on the event. We learn about sheep riding, bronco busting, barrel racing, steer wrestling and rodeo clowns. The history of the rodeo is given as is its importance in Native American and Western culture. This book is very informative and interesting. It will make you want to go see a rodeo!

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March by Cynthia Levinson , 180 pages, read by Angie, on 08/28/2013

The Civil Rights Movement was at a standstill and organizers were not sure how to get it started again. Then the kids started marching and things started moving. The jails were soon filled with children and students, but more and more kept joining the movement. They were determined to make changes in their world and their determination and fearlessness paid off. This is the story of several of the young people who marched in Birmingham that year; they were jailed and hosed with fire hoses and chased by dogs and jeered at by whites, but they stayed strong. They have told their stories to Cynthia Levinson in a moving account of how things happened. I loved the first person aspect of this book; it makes you feel like an insider to a part of history. The back matter of the audiobook included the actual interviews with those featured in the book. This was a wonderful peak into history.

24. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Biographies, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves, & Other Female Villains by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple, 164 pages, read by Angie, on 08/23/2013

Who doesn’t love a bad girl? Jane Yolen teams up with her daughter to give us brief glimpses of the lives of several bad girls throughout history. We learn about such bad girls as Salome, Cleopatra, Bloody Mary, Lizzie Borden, and many, many more. The information is presented in two to four page chunks that will whet your appetite for more information about each of these women. Yolen doesn’t gloss over their bad deeds but she does offer explanations for the times and for history’s retelling. Interspersed between the chapters are one page graphic novel format sessions of Jane and Heidi doing “research” and arguing over the latest bad girl. These segments are funny since a lot of their research involves eating, traveling and shoes. I think kids will enjoy these bad girls and their stories. You can read them all or just your favorites and with only a couple of pages for each lady it doesn’t take very long.

21. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

The War to End All Wars: World War I by Russell Freedman, 192 pages, read by Angie, on 08/19/2013

Russell Freedman is a master of children’s nonfiction. His work is readable and interesting. His look at WWI, the War to End All Wars, was a fascinating read. He gives us the history and politics that started the war and the major campaigns and battles in the war. He also takes a look at the aftermath and how it led to WWII. This was a war that changed how wars were fought. 20 million people were killed during WWI and yet the world went to war again 20 years later. It is like we learned nothing. I would definitely recommend this for fans of military and historical information.

19. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Biographies, Children's Books, NonFiction

Wild Boy: The Real Life of the Savage of Aveyron by Mary Losure , 176 pages, read by Angie, on 08/17/2013

Victor, the Wild Boy, of this tale was found roaming the countryside. He was captured and eventually ended up at a home for deaf/mutes. There is no information on whether he could actually hear, but he never learned to talk. He communicated through gestures. This is a fascinating tale. Losure does a great job laying out the details of Victor’s life and speculating on what might have happened. All the information came from the notes of those doctor’s that studied him. The book is short and easy to read. The story is engrossing and really makes you want to learn more about this and other feral children.

01. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

Seven Wonders of Ancient Greece by Michael Woods and Mary B. Woods, 80 pages, read by Angie, on 07/31/2013

This book covers the seven wonders of ancient Greece; it includes things like the Parthenon and the Oracle at Delphi. It gives really good historical information and facts about each wonder and their condition today. Lots of good information; educational and entertaining.

30. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Informational Book, Lisa, NonFiction

Wolves and Other Wild Dogs by Mary E. Reid, 64 pages, read by Lisa, on 07/29/2013

Questions and answers explore the world of wild dogs, with an emphasis on wolves.

29. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson, 194 pages, read by Angie, on 07/27/2013

Chasing Lincoln’s Killer is a fast-paced, exciting read. It details the plot to kill Lincoln and the manhunt for Booth afterwards. There is a lot of details about why John Wilkes Booth wanted to kill the president, how he set it up, and how he escaped into the Maryland/Virginia countryside. There are also a lot of details about how General Stanton took over the death watch for Lincoln and the manhunt for Booth. This book reads like fiction even though it is nonfiction. I listened to the audio and Will Patton has the perfect voice for this type of material. It was compelling and fascinating.

15. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

Discovering the Iceman by Shelley Tanaka, 48 pages, read by Angie, on 07/12/2013

In 1991, a couple hiking in the Alps discovered the frozen remains of a man. At first many thought the man was a lost hiker, but it turns out he was 5300 years old. His body had been preserved in the ice on the mountain for all those years. It was only discovered because the ice had been retreating and melting. Scientists studied the remains and learned a lot about this prehistoric man. He died where he was found and had many artifacts with him, including jewelry, weapons, tools and clothing. We may never know exactly what happened to this man, but his discovery was very interesting.

This book talks about the discovery of the man, his possible life and what we learned from him. Tanaka did a great job researching the find and its importance. I especially enjoyed the side items explaining things that were discussed in the text; like prehistoric tools, glaciers, and animals.

12. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Biographies, Children's Books, NonFiction

Amelia to Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World by Cynthia Chin-Lee, 32 pages, read by Angie, on 07/12/2013

This is a wonderful collection of mini-biographies of women who have made history. Cynthia Chin-Lee offers glimpses into the lives of a wide variety of women from different time periods and locations throughout the world. These women made strides in science, literature, politics, society and many other areas. They were pioneers of their times, many risked imprisonment and persecution for their work. All were brave, intelligent and determined. I especially loved the mixed media collages that accompany each bio. They are beautiful!

12. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Biographies, Children's Books, NonFiction

Wild Women of the Wild West by Jonah Winter, 40 pages, read by Angie, on 07/12/2013

I was really looking forward to reading this book about the wild women in the Wild West, but was disappointed with the execution of it. The book does profile some truly fascinating women like Carrie Nation and Annie Oakley, but the information given about each is too brief. Winter barely gives each woman a page of text to tell their entire life stories. Some of the information seems very general and random. Winter also seems especially fascinated by the bigger women. There are at least three in this book who were giants…6 feet tall and 180 pounds…yes all three were those dimensions exactly. Really?!?! I think the biggest disappointment was the poor writing. The transitions between sentences were horrible; my English teachers would have covered this book in red ink. Too brief, poorly written and sketchy research. Not a book I would recommend.

06. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Informational Book, Madeline, NonFiction

E is for ethics : how to talk to kids about morals, values, and what matters most by Ian James Corlett , 107 pages, read by Madeline, on 06/20/2013

Teaching children ethics, values, and morals has become a real challenge for parents today. These topics aren’t usually covered in school curriculums, and many families no longer attend religious services, so most modern moms and dads are clamoring for a helping hand.

Ian James Corlett, an award-winning children’s TV writer, was inspired to write this book as his own family grappled with this issue. When Ian’s two kids were very young, he and his wife started a weekly discussion period he dubbed “Family Fun Time.” Every Monday after dinner, they all sat down and Ian would tell his two kids tales about two young children, Elliott and Lucy, who were much like them.

– They hated going to the dentist.

– They were disappointed when a favorite aunt couldn’t visit.

– They dreaded raking the leaves in their backyard.

Ian’s kids really looked forward to these talks and they hardly even realized that the stories were serving a deeper purpose — to teach tact, understanding, and responsibility. So he decided to write these stories down to help other parents — like you. The result is in your hands: twenty-six simple, clear, original, and entertaining stories for you to read aloud with your child.

Teaching your children values, life skills, and ethics has never been so much fun!

06. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, History, Madeline, NonFiction

We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March by Cynthia Levinson, 176 pages, read by Madeline, on 06/10/2013

The inspiring story of one of the greatest moments in civil rights history as seen through the eyes of four young people who were at the center of the action.
The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March was a turning point in American history. In the streets of Birmingham, Alabama, the fight for civil rights lay in the hands of children like Audrey Hendricks, Wash Booker, James Stewart, and Arnetta Streeter.
Through the eyes of these four protesters and others who participated,¬†We’ve Got a Job¬†tells the little-known story of the 4,000 black elementary, middle, and high school students who voluntarily went to jail between May 2 and May 11, 1963. The children succeeded – where adults had failed – in desegregating one of the most racially violent cities in America.
By combining in-depth, one-on-one interviews and extensive research, author Cynthia Levinson recreates the events of the Birmingham Children’s March from a new and very personal perspective.

A terrific book! I’ve read a good amount about the civil rights movement but didn’t know about this.

24. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Informational Book, NonFiction

The Great Katie Kate Tackles Questions about Cancer by M. Maitland DeLand, 32 pages, read by Angie, on 06/23/2013

In this book a young girl learns she may have cancer and she has a lot of questions. So the Great Katie Kate answers all her questions and shows her that she doesn’t need to worry. I really liked the idea of a Worry Wombat so she had something to focus on. The explanations of what you go through with cancer treatments were also spot on and appropriate for very young children; didn’t go into a lot of detail, but just enough to alleviate fears. My only concern with this book was the doctor telling the little girl she might have cancer before even running tests. It set up the book, but I think it might have been better for the girl to have been diagnosed first so she wouldn’t worry needlessly.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com.

31. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Informational Book, Lisa, NonFiction

Wombats by Barbara Triggs., 39 pages, read by Lisa, on 05/14/2013

Presents, in text and photographs, the habits, life cycle, and natural environment of the Australian wombat, one of the world’s largest burrowing animals.

31. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

Ariel Bradley, Spy for General Washington by Vanita Oelschlager, 56 pages, read by Angie, on 05/27/2013

This is the story of how young Ariel Bradley became a spy for General Washington during the Revolutionary War. His job was to get into the British camp and find out how many men and weapons they had. Ariel does this by playing the country bumpkin, but it gets the job done. This is a very short book that only deals with this one incident. I kind of wish we would have found out more about Ariel and his family, but it was still interesting.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com

31. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

Titanic: Voices From the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson, 304 pages, read by Angie, on 05/28/2013

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.