Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Beautiful Useful Things by Beth Kephart & Melodie Stacey

 

Beautiful Useful Things: What William Morris Made
Beth Kephart & Melodie Stacey
Cameron Kids, a division of Abrams. 2022


In this beautifully crafted book with lyrical text, readers will discover William Morris, an English man who loved beautiful things. Taking inspiration from the world around him, Morris believed all things crafted by hand were special. Best known for his colorful wallpapers and textiles, Morris also was a painter, poet, an environmentalist, and activist.


Morris was born in 1834. Possessing a rich imagination, Morris drew inspiration from nature. He felt you honored beauty by making items yourself. One at a time. He found items mass produced in factories to be ordinary and cheap. 


“One thing looking just like the next thing.” 


As an environmentalist, he saw the damage to nature as “the skies filled with smoke, the rivers polluted, and the forests thinned.”


Throughout his life, despite the proliferation of mass-produced items, Morris continued to create wallpaper, tapestries, rugs, stained glass, poetry, and, eventually he crafted books, one at a time.


Morris died in 1896.


The book includes a short author and illustrator’s note, and a list of sources used. 


Every time one buys local, you are honoring what Morris held dear. 


Share this book if you do story time at the Farmers’ Market. All the elements combine to make this picture book biography a memorable reading experience.


To learn more about William Morris and his lasting influence, click here to visit the William Morris Society website.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

The Sweetest Scoop by Lisa Robinson

The Sweetest Scoop: Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Revolution                                                                                  Words by Lisa Robinson; Pictures by Stacy Innerst
Abrams Books for Young Readers. 2022

What better title to review to celebrate the beginning of summer than a book about Ice Cream! And, not just any ice cream either. Robinson has crafted a mouth-watering narrative of the legendary Ben & Jerry, those hardworking, groovy guys who, together, created some of the best tasting, wackiest named flavors. 

Heather Kelly's illustrations, rendered in watercolor, ink and Photoshop, are playful. Just like the ice cream, the full page pictures are colorful and lend a sense of movement. 

Robinson emphasizes the partner's social activism and their goal of using locally sourced ingredients to make their ice cream, and their interest in making sure their packaging was environmentally friendly.  

An author's note gives a bit more depth on Ben & Jerry's commitment to social and environmental justice.  I was surprised to learn they sold their company in 2000 to Unilever, a multinational food corporation. 

Also included in a timeline and source notes.

The perfect book to curl up with on a hot summer day. Just before heading to the ice cream shop!


Saturday, June 18, 2022

New Nonfiction- June 2022

 



A Seed Grows
by Antoinette Portis
Neal Porter Books

Dolly: The Story of Dolly Parton and Her Big Dream
by Robyn H. McGrath
illustrated by Ellen Surrey
Christy Ottaviano Books

Gaudi: Architect of Imagination
by Susan B. Katz
illustrated by Linda Schwalbe
NorthSouth Books

My Name Is Jason. Mine Too.: Our Story. Our Way.
by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin
HarperTeen

Because of You, John Lewis
by Andrea Davis Pinkney
illustrated by Keith Henry Brown
Scholastic Press

Using Machines to Explore the Ocean
by Michelle Cusolito
illustrated by Nicole Wong
Charlesbridge

Hope Is an Arrow: The Story of Lebanese American Poet Kahlil Gibran
by Cory McCarthy
illustrated by Ekua Holmes
Candlewick

Friday, June 17, 2022

Blast Off! by Suzanne Slade

 

Blast Off! How Mary Sherman Morgan Fueled America into Space
Written by Suzanne Slade; Illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
Calkins Creek. An Imprint of Astra Books for Young Readers. 2022

Suzanne Slade has written many excellent books about space and women in STEM. Here, in her latest picture book biography, she shares the life of Mary Sherman Morgan, the woman who developed the fuel that launch the first U.S. satellite into space!


Born November 4, 1921 in Ray, North Dakota, Mary was expected to stay home and help with chores on the family farm. “All day long she fed chickens, milked cows, and cleaned the creamer.” 


At age 8, the sheriff and social services came and took Mary to school. It was the law!


She went to college, but after two years had to drop out for lack of money. During World War 2, Mary lands a job in a factory that works with chemicals that created powerful energy explosions. It was here her love for chemistry really took hold. While working at North American Aviation in California, she developed the rocket fuel hydyne. After several tests, on January 31, 1958, Juno I rocket would take off and launch the first American satellite into space.


Comport’s illustrations, a hybrid of collage, digital collage, primes drawings on vellum, and digital paint, are bright and capture the sites and emotions being mentioned in the text. 


An author’s note with more about Mary, timeline, selected bibliography round out this engaging biography that is perfect for readers curious about space, and ideal for those wanting to know more about women who did not let the educational and work discrimination stop them from pursuing what they loved. 


Click here to watch the book trailer.


Monday, June 13, 2022

We Have a Dream written by Dr. Mya-Rose Craig

 

We Have a Dream: Meet 30 Young Indigenous People and People of Color Protecting the Planet
Written by Dr. Mya-Rose Craig; Illustrated by Sabrina Khadija
Abrams. 2022

All too frequently, the voices of the people whose lives have been adversely affected by climate change are underrepresented in the environmental movement. Environmentalist and race activist, Dr. Mya-Rose Craig, is working to change that. In, We Have a Dream, readers meet 30 Indigenous people and people of color from all over the world who work to address the affects climate change is bringing to their communities. 


Each entry includes the persons’ ethnicity, when they were born, and what started their path to activism, how the changing climate is affecting their home, and the dream they hope to accomplish. The second part of the two-page spread is a drawing done digitally by Sabrina Khadija, a Sierra Leonean American illustrator. Khadija illustrations are bright, colorful, simple drawings shows smiling individuals.


From water conservation, deforestation to indigenous rights, these powerful voices share their dream…

A dream for climate justice.

A dream for a healthy planet.

A dream for a fairer world, for all.


These young advocates are an inspiration. Their passion and commitment will resonate with readers who, like them, are looking for ways to make the world a better place for all. Let’s hope their voices will continue to be heard.


Click here to watch a 6-minute video of Dr. Craig speaking about this important book.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Breaking Through the Clouds Written by Sandra Nickel

 

Breaking Through the Clouds: the sometimes turbulent life of Meteorologist Joanne Simpson
Written by Sandra Nickel; Illustrated by Helena Perez Garcia
Abrams. 2022

As I am writing this review, I see stratus clouds. They are close to the ground and completely cover the sky but do not produce rain. 


What kind of clouds are out your window right now? 


In this picture book biography, readers discover the life of Joanne Simpson, the first woman to receive a doctorate in meteorology. Joanne’s lifelong work, the study of clouds, led her to make a cloud model. The first of its kind. The model is used to make the weather predictions we depend on today. 


Joanne Simpson was born in Boston, Mass on March 23, 1923. Left on her own to explore the world, Joanne sailed solo at age ten and received her pilot’s license at age sixteen. During World War 2, she taught weather to officers going to war. When the war ended, Joanne was out of a job. Yet, she had fallen in love with the science of weather and wanted to become a doctor of meteorology and study clouds.


“When the men at the university heard Joanne’s plans, they laughed. Clouds were only currents of air filled with tiny beads of water, no more important than steam lifting off their coffee.” 


An even though no one would support her dream, stubborn Joanne taught herself about clouds, calculus, and studied the works of others. She went to Woods Hole in Cape Cod and, well, you’ll have to read the book to find out more about Joanne’s exciting life. 


Garcia’s illustrations, rendered in gouache, incorporate blue into every one. They are warm and show a very determined Joanne going through her life.


An author’s note, timeline, and selected bibliography is also included.


A great addition to your biography section and books on weather.


Click here to visit the Abrams site for more information about Breaking Through the Clouds.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Diving Deep by Michelle Cusolito

 

Diving Deep: Using Machines to Explore the Ocean
by Michelle Cusolito; Illustrations by Nicole Wong
Charlesbridge. 2022

This delightful informational picture book explores the different machines and equipment people use to explore the ocean.


“From snorkeling to free diving, scuba, submarines, and Challenger Deep.”


The text is poetic and set in white on Wong’s full-page, beautifully illustrated pictures created digitally on an iPad using Procreate. 


What drives humans to dive into the sea and sink deeper than the last inkling of light?

We are wired for wonder.

We delight in discovery.

For some, 

danger is the draw.

Other chase the thrill

of an unseen seascape—

to confront unknown

and push the limits of exploration.”


The double-page spreads includes a brief statement of how the tool is used, along with a scientific explanation of the machine or equipment being shown in the illustration. 


The book ends with possibilities: “Today, we explore a lush landscape deep below Antarctic ice. Tomorrow we may unlock more secrets of life on Earth.”


An author’s note, a note about measurements, glossary, and additional resources is included. 


A beautiful, inspiring book to spark questions for all level of readers.


Pair this with Cusolito and Wong's companion book, Flying Deep: Climb Inside Deep-Sea Submersible ALVIN.





Friday, June 3, 2022

Honeybee Rescue by Loree Griffin Burns

 

Honeybee Rescue: a Backyard Drama 
by Loree Griffin Burns; Photograhs by Ellen Harasimowicz
Charlesbridge. 2022


Loree Griffin Burns latest is an exciting, true story of a honeybee rescue. Told simply, the mix of action and science blends together perfectly like a peanut butter and honey sandwich. 


The tale begins one summer day when Mr. Connery noticed a buzzing was coming from his rickety old barn. When he looked inside, he noticed a colony of honeybees had moved in. As a beekeeper, Mr. Connery knew the old barn was so full of holes and leaks, if the bees remained there they would not survive the winter. 


Who do you call when honeybees need rescuing? Mr. Nelson, a beekeeper who specializes in removing hives from dangerous places. 


The rest of this page-turner of a book will keep even the most reluctant listener enthralled. 


Harasimowicz’s photographs could tell the story on their own. The color photos capture lots of emotion, action, and the beauty of keeping bees.


The book includes an interview with Mr. Nelson, glossary, author's note, sources, and further reading.


Click here to visit the publishers page for more information and resources.


A must-have for all libraries, school and public. A great resource for students, even in high school, who are curious about the ins and outs of beekeeping. 


I loved this book because a few years ago I had a swarm of honeybees set up a hive in my rickety, leaky garage. I called our local honeybee rescuer and within a few days the bees were safely in their new home. A very happy ending.

Monday, May 30, 2022

The Secret Life of the Sea Otter by Laurence Pringle


The Secret Life of the Sea Otter
Book five in the Secret Life series
                    
Written by Laurence Pringle;
Illustrated by Kate Garchinsky.
Boyds Mill Press. An imprint of Astra Books for Young Readers. 2022

This new title, book five, in their Secret Life series follows the life of a female sea otter. Using their Latin name, Enhydra lutris, readers will follow Lutris as she goes about her life. From sleeping, finding food to giving birth and caring for her young, Pringle is a master at weaving a visual narrative with scientific facts. 

After a nap and a grooming, our sea otter is hungry. “She dives down, down, down into the secret watery world of the kelp forest, where these plants hold fast to the sea floor. Kelp is a habitat of many creatures. Fish, squid, octopuses, crabs, snails, clams, mussels, sea stars, and sea urchins live there. Since Lutris is a predator, she has favorite animals to eat (prey).”


Copied from actual photographs, Garchinsky's digital illustrations created in Procreate fill every inch of the page. Lush and full of color, readers will be fascinated by these amazing creatures.


Additional information about Sea Otters, a glossary, and bibliography rounds out this enjoyable informational picture book.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Born Hungry by Alex Prud’homme


                                                                                                                                                   Born Hungry:  Julia Child Becomes “the French Chef”.


Written by Alex Prud’homme; Illustrated by Sarah Green.  
Calkins Creek. An imprint of Astra Books for Young Readers. 2022

This picture book biography of famous chef, Julia Child, is written by her grandnephew. His grandfather was the twin brother of Julia’s husband, Paul Child. 


The book offers an uplifting tone with the message that practice is how we master any skill.  “No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.” 


The book follows the six feet, two inches tall Julia McWilliams as she was born hungry for adventures. During World War Two, she does have many adventures, but it was after meeting Paul Child that her interest in cooking incredibly yummy foods began.


The books colorful illustrations, done digitally by Green, are delicious and historically accurate. Included is an author’s note, an extensive bibliography of books, tv shows, podcasts, websites and more on Julia Child. The book even includes a bonus recipe for Oeufs Brouill├ęs (Scrambled Eggs)!


Today, more Americans than ever consider themselves “foodies,” and Julia Child is one of the major reasons why. She was a revolutionary who taught America to cook with a smile.”


WARNING: Don’t read this book on an empty stomach.

Friday, May 20, 2022

The Woman Who Split the Atom Written and Illustrated by Marissa Moss

The Woman Who Split the Atom: the Life of Lise Meitner
Written and illustrated by Marissa Moss
Abrams Books for Young Readers. 2022


The Woman Who Split the Atom is the fascinating story of Lise Meitner, a Jewish female physicist working in a male dominated field, and who struggles to be recognized and honored for her ground-breaking work throughout her career. If that were not enough to make a riveting narrative, toss into the mix the rise of anti-Semitism in Hitler’s Germany. This page-turner biography propels readers into Meitner’s life making the book difficult to put down. 


Lise Meitner was born in Vienna, Austria in 1878. She was the first woman to enroll at the University of Vienna in physics and the second woman in the world to earn a PhD in physics in 1906. With little job opportunities for women, but with a passion to work in her field, Meitner moves to Berlin and becomes an unpaid lab assistant at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute (KWI). A young chemist, Dr. Otto Hahn, was eager in collaborating with Meitner after reading her one published article on radioactivity. The two would work together until 1945, when Hahn wins the Noble Prize for the discovery of nuclear fission, something that Meitner herself had discovered. The two break ties when Hahn refuses to acknowledge that it was Meitner who made the discovery. 


After her discovery of nuclear fission, Moss weaves into Meitner’s story the race to build the atomic bomb. Like Einstein, Meitner, a pacifist was horrified to be associated with such a weapon of mass destruction, refused to participate. 


Meitner’s story is captivating from page one as readers are drawn into the many frustrations that prevented her from receiving the recognition she deserved. Not only was she ignored by her male colleagues, she was nominated for the Noble Prize in Chemistry and Physics fourteen times, yet, never wins. With the rise of anti-Semitism during WW2 in Germany, Meitner will barely escape Berlin. 


Graphic panels open every chapter, which will be a draw for graphic novel fans. Also included is an afterward, author’s note, timeline of Meitner’s life and achievements, glossary of select terms in physics, profiles of scientists mentioned throughout the book, source notes, bibliography, and index.


Click here to watch a short video on Meitner's life.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

New Nonfiction- May 2022

 


Yes We Will: Asian Americans Who Shaped This Country
by Kelly Yang
Dial Books

The Astronomer Who Questioned Everything: The Story of Maria Mitchell
by Laura Alary and Ellen Rooney
Kids Can Press

The Deadliest Fires Then and Now
by Deborah Hopkinson
Scholastic

The Wonders We Seek: Thirty Incredible Muslims Who Helped Shape the World
by Saadia Faruqi and Aneesa Mumtaz
illustrated by Saffa Khan
Quill Tree Books

Time to Shine: Celebrating the World's Iridescent Animals
by Karen Jameson
pictures by Dave Murray
Groundwood Books

The Stonewall Riots: Making a Stand for LGBTQ Rights
History Comics series
by Archie Bongiovanni and A. Andrews
First Second

The National Parks: Preserving America's Wild Places
History Comics series
by Falynn Koch
First Second

Save the People! Halting Human Extinction
by Stacy McAnulty
art by Nicole Miles
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Honeybee Rescue: A Backyard Drama
by Loree Griffin Burns
photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz
Charlesbridge Publishing

The Whale Who Swam Through Time: A 200-Year Journey in the Arctic
by Alex Boersma and Nick Pyenson
illustrated by Alex Boersma
Roaring Brook Press

Celia Planted a Garden: The Story of Celia Thaxter and Her Island Garden
by Phyllis Root and Gary D. Schmidt
illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Candlewick Press

How to Make a Mountain in Just 9 Simple Steps and Only 100 Million Years!
by Amy Huntington
illustrated by Nancy Lemon
Chronicle Kids


Unequal: A Story of America
by Michael Eric Dyson and Marc Favreau
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism and Friendship
Adapted for Young Readers
by Adam Makos
Delacorte Press

How to Money: Your Ultimate Visual Guide to the Basics of Finance
by Jean Chatzky and Kathryn Tuggle 
illustrated by Nina Cosford
Roaring Brook Press





Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists by Carla Sonheim

Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun
by Carla Sonheim
Quarry Books, an imprint of The Quarto Group. 2019


I have kept a sketchbook to record my thoughts in words and drawings since 2016. I love the daily practice, yet sometimes I need motivation to know what to draw. In March of 2022, I signed up for a daily practice series called, Sketchbook Revival hosted by artist, Karen Abend. Each day you receive an email with two, 45-50 minute workshops led by an artist. The purpose of Sketchbook Revival is to inspire, energize, and revive your sketchbook habit with inspiration, tips, and techniques to support a creative practice. 

Why do I bring this up? One of the presenters was Carla Sonheim, an artist, who was so very inspirational I just had to request one her books from my local public library.  Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists is a year’s worth of “assignments, projects, ideas, and techniques” that will inspire ways to bring art into your life. 


The book is divided up into seven Units of inspiration with a wide variety of mixed-media activities. Each Unit contains 7 or 8 Labs with clear instructions on that particular activity. For example, Unit 4 : Inspired by Famous Artists,  bases each exercises on six artists (Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso Joan Mir├│, Paul Klee, Amedeo Modigliani, and Dr. Seuss. Each Lab is an opportunity for artists to discover their own unique style by studying these masters by doing blind contour drawing, tracing the Masters to drawing with your non-dominate hand. Pencils, crayons, collage, watercolors are just a few of the tools used.


This book, and others in the Quarry Lab series, are a refreshing source of ideas for creating art with all ages. You could base a year-long teen art program using the ideas from this book.


And, don’t we all need a little bit of inspiration to spark our creativity from time to time? Especially, as we await warmer temperatures, at least here in the Northeast.



Friday, May 13, 2022

Nellie VS. Elizabeth by Kate Hannigan

Nellie VS. Elizabeth: Two daredevil journalists’ breakneck race around the world

Written by Kate Hannigan; Illustrated by Rebeca Gibbon

Calkins Creek. 2022


Jules Verne’s classic tale of adventure, Around the World in 80 Days, was published in the U.S. in 1873 (in France in 1872). Over the years, the novel has inspired numerous attempts to imitate Phileas Fogg’s trip around the world and beat his record. By far, the most famous is the subject of Hannigan’s informational picture book: Nellie VS. Elizabeth.


The tale recounts the race between two female journalists, Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland who, in 1889, took off in different directions to try and circumnavigate the world in less than 80 days. Who would win? Both women were contemporaries, arriving in NYC in 1887.  Both women were journalists and knew first-hand the challenges of working in a male-dominated field. 


Would it be Nellie? By far, the most popular of the two, Nellie was “one of the most daring stunt reporters of her time.” Nellie wrote for the New York World, a daily newspaper. Her book, Ten Days in a Mad-House caused a sensation and prompted mental health reforms.


Or, Elizabeth? A quiet person, Elizabeth wrote reviews and essays for the monthly magazine, Cosmopolitan


The brief text is spirited and will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Gibbon’s vibrant illustrations, done in acrylic inks & colored pencil on acid-free cartridge paper, add movement and suspense to the adventure.


My only frustration is that the text was a bit too brief to allow for trip details. A map showing their route would also have been helpful. Included is an author’s note, bibliography, and a timeline listing other women investigative journalists.


A rousing tale of two women who pushed boundaries. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Interview with the Authors of In Harm's Way

In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Story of Its Survivors
A Young Readers' Adaptation
by Doug Stanton and Michael J. Tougias
Henry Holt and Co, 2022
Grades 6-12

Authors Michael J. Tougias and Doug Stanton describe the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis in 1945 in the young readers' adaption of In Harm's Way. Hundreds of U.S. sailors struggled to survive in the Pacific Ocean for four days and nights in this tragic and harrowing story of survival. The book is part of Macmillan's True Rescue narrative nonfiction series.

We had the honor of interviewing Doug and Michael about the young readers' adaption of In Harm's Way.


NF Detectives: Why did you feel this particular tragic story was important to adapt for a younger audience?

Michael: I had heard about this story but only in a general way, so I was fascinated to find out there was so much I didn't know.  Young readers need to see the futility of war and the "fog" of war, but more importantly young readers would find the stories of how the survivors endured inspiring.  The sinking of the Indianapolis gives the reader a microcosm of how WWII in the Pacific was conducted.  I wanted to tell the story not just to share what happened, but do so in an exciting way to ignited the curiosity of a young reader to want to read more non-fiction.

Doug: For a long time I received emails from teachers and students who were teaching In Harm’s Way in high school history, civics, and English classes, and it was clear that the message of the book was also appealing to Young Readers. Now they have the story adapted especially for them, and it’s fabulous. Thanks to Michael Tougias, the book reads with all the complexity and insight of the original but geared especially to a new audience. 

NF Detectives: Tell us about your process. How did you collaborate to adapt the story for young readers?

Michael: Doug had done a remarkable job with the research so I had everything I needed at my fingertips.  The adult book was lengthy so the first course of action was to identify areas that could be removed and get Doug's approval.  My next step was to get to work making the story as fast paced as possible, and reducing some of the background information.  Every now and then I'd shoot Doug a question.  When I had completed the first draft I submitted it to Doug and the editor.  The editor pointed out some areas that needed further explanation and other areas that could be cut. I then made the rewrite, and then Doug added his suggestions and comments along with final comments from the editor, and I now had what I needed to write the final version.

NF Detectives: How did you find the balance to not overwhelm young readers of the horrors and helplessness of the crew as it fought to survive?

Michael: In general if an incident happened several times, such as brutal shark attacks, we only needed to explain what happened once.  We tried to balance the helpless feeling of many of the survivors with other survivors who vowed they would fight on until they were either rescued or they died.  It was important to show that some of the men were unsure if they would make it out alive, but that they would use their last breath to continue to battle.

NF Detectives: Can you tell us more about the USS Indianapolis Survivors Fund Scholarship program that was founded by Doug?

Doug: What I discovered while reporting the book was that many of the survivors' families, particularly children and grandchildren, had never spoken with the survivor about their experience, which had so totally changed the course of their lives. Survivors will tell you that since their rescue, they’ve had very few bad days since then. I wondered why this was so, and answering it was the heartbeat of In Harm’s Way. Whatever knowledge the survivors had gained, like so many other veterans, like so many people who’ve suffered a trauma, I thought would be of interest to next generations.

I designed the scholarship program so that the grandchild of the survivor would interview their grandfather and write a 300 word essay and publish this in their local newspaper. This was, one generation would talk to another, and pass along the oral history, the story, for more to understand. My thinking was that the story of the USS Indianapolis would have to be carried on by future generations, and I called this building the group’s legacy. For the same reason, I suggested to the survivors that they collect their oral histories and publish them, and provide some seed money for the project, which is how they ended up self-publishing a book. There are so many stories extant in this story and in other WWII actions and it’s important that as many as possible are heard. 


Thank you to Michael and Doug for taking the time to answer our questions about In Harm's Way. 

Friday, May 6, 2022

Greta Thunberg by Tracey Turner

Greta Thunberg
First Names series
by Tracey Turner; Illustrations by Tom Knight
Abrams Books for Young Readers. 2022

First Names is a new nonfiction biography series from Abrams. The series highlights individuals throughout history, and today, whose actions have made a difference. 


In, Greta Thunberg, we learn how Swedish activist, Greta Thunberg, uses her white privilege to raise awareness around the world to the dangers of not doing anything to address the catastrophic impact of climate change. 


The book begins in 2011, when eight-year-old Greta learns how societies inaction to curb our dependence on fossil fuels was destroying our planet. However, it wasn’t just watching a movie in class that highlighted that “terrible things were happening to the planet because of climate change, pollutions, and plastic waste.” What clicked for Greta was that despite all they had just learned in class, her teacher was going on a trip to New York for a wedding! “How could they talk about flying around the world when they must know that aircraft pollution was making the planet’s problems even worse!”


The comic-style illustrations, complete with word bubbles, breaks up the text and keeps readers engaged. Highly researched, this series in not just a biography, but a passionately told story of the life and action that made this person notable. 


The book also includes a timeline, glossary, source notes, bibliography, and index.


Greta’s message is pretty clear. Her call to action (stop eating meat and dairy, and stop our dependence on fossil fuels) is essential to ensuring our children and grandchildren will have a world to live in when they are 20, 30, and 40 years old. 


To see other titles in the series, click here.


To watch Greta’s TedTalk, click here. 


Post written by Louise

Monday, May 2, 2022

How To Be A Difficult Bitch by Halley Bondy and more

How To Be A Difficult Bitch: Claim Your Power, Ditch the Haters, and Feel Good Doing It.                                              

by Halley Bondy. Mary C. Fernandez. Sharon Lynn Pruitt-Young. Zara Hanawalt; Illustrated by T. L. Luke.                                                                                                                                                  Zest Books, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. 2022


When I first saw the cover of this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But, after reading it, I sure wish I had this book when I was in school or even once I became an adult. It is a self-help book about empowerment. The word ‘Bitch’ can have a negative connotation, but in this book, it is all about figuring out “who you are and be that person unapologetically.” 


Think Greta Thunberg, Michelle Obama, Malala Yousafzai, Oprah, Jessica U. Meir, Taylor Swift, Amanda Gorman, Julie Rikelman, Alicia Garza, and many others. 


The book encourages readers to speak their mind with respect to others. Speaking your mind and asking for what you need can be done without being rude or disrespectful to others. 


How To Be A Difficult Bitch is divided into ten chapters that shares wisdom on different topics.

Each topic includes a hypothetical scenario that explores the complexity of each situation. From internet safety, body image to choosing extracurricular passions, the author’s encourage ‘Empowerment: “The process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights. There is nothing more fundamental to being a Difficult Bitch than this”.


The Difficult Bitch Commandments include, “Stand Up for Yourselves,” “Embrace Diversity,” “Be Imperfect,” “Break Boundaries for a Better World,” “Stand Up for Others,” “Learn from Mistakes,” and “Own Up.” 


Engaging text and thoughtful advice makes this book a must have for all teen collections. 


It includes an introduction, brief interviews with the authors, further reading, and index.


Click here to find more information about this book.