Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Thursday, February 28, 2019

New Nonfiction Releases- March 2019

Here are some nonfiction titles that hit the shelves in March.

Superlative Birds
by Leslie Bulion and Robert Meganck
On shelves March 1st

Karl’s New Beak: 3-D Printing Builds a Bird a Better Life
by Lela Nargi
On shelves March 1st

by Lori Mortensen and Kristy Caldwell
On shelves March 1st

When Plants Attack: Strange and Terrifying Plants
by Rebecca E. Hirsch
On shelves March 1st

The Woolly Monkey Mysteries: The Quest to Save a Rain Forest Species
by Sandra Markle
On shelves March 1st

Daring Dozen: The Twelve Who Walked on the Moon
by Suzanne Slade and Alan Marks
On shelves March 5th

Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible Story of the Man Behind the Machines
by Sarah Aronson and Robert Neubecker
On shelves March 12th

Like a Lizard
by April Pulley Sayre and Stephen Laberis
On shelves March 12th

Beware of the Crocodile
by Martin Jenkins and Satoshi Kitamura
On shelves March 12th

Dreaming in Code: Ada Byron Lovelace, Computer Pioneer
by Emily Arnold McCully
On shelves March 12th

Finding the Speed of Light: The 1676 Discovery That Dazzled the World
by Mark Weston and Rebecca Evans
On shelves March 12th

Baby Animals with Their Families
by Suzi Eszterhas
On shelves March 15th

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Roots of Rap

The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the Pillar of Hip-Hop  
by Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by Frank Morrison
Little Bee Books, 2019
Grades K-6

Weatherford and Morrison pay homage to the history of rap in this gorgeous nonfiction picture book for readers of all ages. The bold, realistic-style illustrations fill the page as the lyrical narrative scrolls along the bottom of the page. Weatherford pays respect to poets Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar as she takes readers on a musical journey that traces the history of hip-hop.

"A generation voicing stories, hopes and fears founds a hip-hop nation-wide. Say holler if you hear."

Graffiti, breakdancing, boom boxes and turn tables play an important role in the musical genre. Influential rappers, deejays and artists are represented in the stunning illustrations: DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and Furious Five, Queen Latifah, Salt-N-Pepa, The Sugarhill Gang and more. Readers can learn more about the artists by reading Hip-Hop Who's Who in the back matter.

Give The Roots of Rap to the music lover in your family. It would also make the perfect book for an interactive, preschool story time.

The Roots of Rap Book Trailer

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Away With Words: the Daring Story of Isabella Bird by Lori Mortensen

Away With Words: the Daring Story of Isabella Bird
Written by Lori Mortensen; Illustrated by Kristy Caldwell
Peachtree. March 2019
Grades 2 and up

In the English countryside, in 1831, Isabella Bird was born. A sickly child until a doctor suggested she spend more time in the fresh air. The more time spent in the fresh air the more she saw, the more she saw the more questions she asked and the more Isabella flourished. The world was full of amazing places and thrilling possibilities. “What faraway places would she explore/ What stunning details would fill her letters?” But the expectation of women during the Victorian era, confined to a dull existence caring for a home, sent Isabella into another depression. 

The doctor’s advice? “A change of air – this time, a sea voyage.”  And travel she did. Mortensen’s picture book biography tells the story of Isabella Bird who had many adventures traveling around the world. She turned her amazing journeys into bestselling books. (My library system has most of her titles available). 

Caldwell’s digitally rendered color illustrations bring to life the sparse text about a fascinating, inspiring female explorer.  

Back matter includes an author’s note, a timeline of Isabella Bird’s travels and publications, source notes, and a bibliography.

The publisher sent me an ARC that I used to review this title.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life: Hollywood Legend and Brilliant Inventor by Laurie Wallmark

Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life: Hollywood Legend and Brilliant Inventor
Written by Laurie Wallmark; Illustrated by Katy Wu
Sterling Children’s Book. 2019

Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) was an actress in Hollywood during the 1930’s and 1940’s. She was famous, not for her intelligence, but her beauty. “People seem to think because I have a pretty face I’m stupid…I have to work twice as hard as anyone else to convince people I have something resembling a brain.” Though acting was fun, and a nifty way to earn a living, Hedy’s passion was science and engineering. She loved inventing things. 

Wallmark presents to readers a glimpse of a very smart woman whose brain overflowed with ideas. Wu’s illustrations, rendered digitally, show many of Lamarr’s ideas – “An accordion-fold pocket on tissue boxes; glow-in-the-dark dog collar; a device with a few steps and handles to help people get in and out of the bathtub" –displayed all over the wall of her parlor.

The story hones in on Lamarr’s invention called “frequency hopping.” Though kept secret for over forty years, this one invention now allows us to use this technology in our most popular electronic devices. This technology is what helps keep cell phone calls and texts private. “it’s the trick that allows secure wireless communications between computers and the Internet.”

Back matter includes a timeline, an author’s note, selected bibliography, additional reading, and a listing of Hedy Lamarr’s films.

Add this to the growing list of wonderful picture book biographies celebrating the many accomplishments of women. It’s about time.

I borrowed a copy of this book from my local public library to write this review.