Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Friday, February 25, 2022

Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight by Jen Bryant

Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight : Patsy Takemoto Mink and the Fight for Title IX
Written by Jen Bryant; Illustrated by. Toshiki Nakamura
Quill Tree Books. An imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers. 2022

This inspiring story tells the story of Patsy Takemoto Mink, the woman responsible for Title IX(nine) that was signed into law by Richard Nixon on June 23, 1972. Title IX (nine) is a bill “that requires schools to treat men and women equally.” 

    No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participating in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. 

Pasty Takemoto Mink was born December 6, 1927 in Paia, Maui, Hawaii Territory. Bryant follows Mink’s life from a young child discriminated for being Japanese American after the bombing of Pearl Harbor to her frustrations at being denied admittance into medical school because she was a woman. In 1965, Mink became the first Asian American elected to the US Congress. Based on her life experience, Mink believed that everyone, regardless of sex, should be able to achieve their goals. 

The colorful illustrations, by Toshiba Nakamura, make the story pop. 

Add this informational picture book biography to any display on those who fought for equal rights.

Other books about activists published in 2021:

Fearless: the Story of Daphne Caruana Galizia, Defender of Free Speech
Candlewick Press. 2021

Stitch by Stitch: Cleve Jones and the AIDS Memorial Quilt
By Rob Sanders; Illustrated by Jamey Christoph
Magination Press. 2021

Art of Protest: Creating, Discovering, and Activating Art for you Revolution
De Nichols. Illustrated by Diana Dagadita, Molly Mendoza, Olivia Twist, Saddo, and Diego Becas
Big Picture Press. An imprint of Candlewick Press. 2021


Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Our review of Speak Up, Speak Out! by Tonya Bolden


Speak Up, Speak Out!: The Extraordinary Life of "Fighting Shirley Chisolm"            by Tonya Bolden                                                                                                     Forward by Stacey Abrams                                                                                              National Geographic, 2022                  

With her remarkable ability to grab readers attention at the first sentence, award-winning author, Tonya Bolden has penned another must-read biography. The subject of her latest is “Fighting Shirley Chisholm”, “the first Black woman from a major political party to run for president of the United States” in 1972. Shirley Chisholm “was the candidate of and for “the people of America,” the workaday folk who make up most of the nation.” Chisholm wanted to bring a new era into American politics. Her idea was to have an America free of poverty. Politicians to this day are struggling to find a way to make this a reality.

In nineteen chapters, Bolden traces Chisholm’s childhood and her involvement in local politics until she would become America’s first Black woman in Congress. Born Shirley “Shirls” Anita St. Hill to immigrant parents on November 30, 1924, in Brooklyn, NY, Shirls was well aware of the limited job opportunities to Black people. 

Her top campaign pledges when running for congress in 1968 was: 

Job creation.

Job training programs.

Better Housing.

More day care centers.

Throughout her life, Shirls, a force, was an outspoken pioneer who shattered racial and gender barriers, who worked tirelessly for underserved communities who were ignored when it came to jobs, education, housing, and care for their children. Sworn in to office January 1969, Shirs would remain in Congress until February 1983. After which, she would teach at Mount Holyoke College, but retired from public life in 1993, siting ill health. Following several strokes, Shirley Chisholm died on January 1, 2005. 

What moved me in reading Speak Up, Speak Out! was what Bolden writes in the Foreword. She states, “How we imagine ourselves in the world often depends on what we know of our past.” For me, a white woman, I believe it is my responsibility to read widely, to learn all aspects of history, especially about those who seek to divide our nation, how acts of violence are committed against others for purely selfish reasons. Power and money makes people think they have the right to take from others without so much as an apology or a reckoning. By being informed, I hope my actions work to acknowledge, apologize and then vote accordingly to ensure everyone has equal rights. 

This well-researched, well-documented biography, Speak Up, Speak Out! is a must have for all libraries, school and public, and a must-read for all.

In this interview, Shirley Chisholm share about her experience as a Black woman in Congress, click here

Posted by Louise

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Speak Up, Speak Out! by Tonya Bolden Blog Tour

Welcome to the Speak Up, Speak Out! by Tonya Bolden Blog Tour!

To celebrate Black History Month and the release of Speak Up, Speak Out!: The Extraordinary Life of Fighting Shirley Chisholm by Tonya Bolden (January 4th), 5 blogs across the web are featuring posts from the book and author, as well as 5 chances to win!

Author's Note

by Tonya Bolden

Writing a biography of Shirley Chisholm was a natural fit for me, a native New Yorker who lived for a time as a tot on Clifton Place in Bed-Stuy, who spent her wonder years in Harlem and did the rest of her growing up in the Bronx.

I was a kid when Shirley ran for the New York State Assembly in 1964 and when she ran for Congress in 1968. I was a teenager when she ran for president in 1972.

What I most remember about her during those days was her clear, clipped, bold voice. I was short on details, but I knew that she was a phenomenon, a force. When she ran for president, I remember being boggled, astonished—thinking, Wow!, and feeling so proud! For a Black girl to see a Black woman embark on such an endeavor—go where no Black woman had ever gone before—how could I not feel a surge of pride?

Making her historic announcement at Concord Baptist Church on January 25, 1972: "I stand before you today as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States of America."

When Shirley left Congress in 1982, though I still didn’t know all that much about her, I definitely understood that she was among the Black women who paved the way for me: for me to not hold back from any endeavor, any passion because I was Black and female.

In a way, with Speak Up, Speak Out! I’m saying, “Thank you, Shirley Chisholm!”


While researching Shirley’s extraordinary life, I discovered other Black female political trailblazers from my hometown—women who, in a way, paved the way for Shirley.

For example, there was Bed-Stuy activist Ada Jackson, known as the “Fighting Lady of Brooklyn.” In 1944, when Shirley was in college, Jackson ran (unsuccessfully) to represent the 17th AD in the New York State Assembly. She was the American Labor Party candidate, as she was when she ran again (and lost again) in 1946.

There was also the Republican Maude Richardson, co-founder of the CBCC of which Shirley was a member. Like Jackson, twice in the 1940s Richardson ran unsuccessfully to represent the 17th AD in Albany. In 1950 she became the 17th AD’s first Black co-leader.

Another example: In 1954, when Shirley was at the start of her career with Mac Holder’s Bedford-Stuyvesant Political League, former singer and dancer Bessie Buchanan, Democrat, became the first Black woman elected to the New York State Assembly, representing a district in Harlem.

By the way, when Shirley was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1964, another Black woman, civil rights attorney Constance Baker Motley, made history as the first Black woman elected to the New York State Senate. But she wasn’t there for long. This daughter of Caribbean immigrants resigned in early 1965 after the New York City Council tapped her to fill a vacancy for Manhattan Borough president, a first for a woman. And in 1966 Motley made history again—the first Black woman federal judge.

Before I began work on Speak Up, Speak Out!, I knew that Shirley wasn’t the first Black person or the first woman to run for president— seeking to make that someday come. I knew, for example, of the radical white woman Victoria Woodhull, who in 1872—nearly 50 years before women had the vote nationwide—ran for president as the candidate of the Equal Rights Party (which nominated Frederick Douglass for VP, but he never accepted). I also knew about Dick Gregory, Black activist-comedian, who in 1968 was a write-in presidential candidate for the Freedom and Peace Party.

But I didn’t know about George Edwin Taylor. In 1904 this Black newspaperman and community organizer then of Ottumwa, Iowa, ran for president as the candidate of the National Negro Liberty Party (also known as the National Liberty Party).

Nor had I heard of the white woman Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman to serve in both the House of Representatives (1940-49) and the U.S. Senate (1949-1973). In 1964 Smith sought to be the Republican Party’s presidential candidate.

Exploring Shirley’s life opened me up to so much history!

But there were frustrations along the way. COVID-19 lockdowns prevented me from accessing certain material, such as all of Shirley’s papers at Brooklyn College. But I did my best to make the most of what I could access, from her memoirs and other books to digitized newspapers and immigration records to other documents. These included censuses and her beloved dad’s World War II draft registration card where I learned details like the name of the bag company for which he worked, and where he claimed that he was born not in British Guiana, but in Barbados.

Barbados: Where his dear Shirls once fed chickens and other animals, hauled water from a well, enjoyed so many hot, sunny days, stunning white-sand beaches, clear-clear turquoise water, and palm trees sent swaying by a breeze.

Barbados: Where her grandmother told her time and again, “Child, you’ve got to face things with courage.”

That is something a grown-up Shirls most certainly did.

—Tonya Bolden, New York City, 2020

Tonya Bolden has authored, edited and co-authored more than 40 books. Her work has garnered numerous awards, including the Coretta Scott King Honor, the James Madison Book Award, the NCSS Carter G. Woodson Honor, the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, D.C.’s Nonfiction Award, the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, the Virginia Library Association Jefferson Cup Award and the Cleveland Public Library Sugarman Award.  Lauded for her skilled storytelling, impeccable research and lively text, Tonya lives New York City. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • One (1) winner will receive a hardcover of Speak Up, Speak Out! by Tonya Bolden

  • US/Can only

  • Ends 3/6 at 11:59pm ET

  • Check out the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!

Visit the other stops on the Speak Up, Speak Out! Blog Tour

February 21st - Pragmatic Mom

February 22nd - The Nonfiction Detectives

February 23rd - Ms. Yingling Reads

February 24th - Daddy Mojo

February 25th - Mom Read It

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Nonfiction News- February 2022



Mary Ann Cappiello of Lesley University and Xenia Hadjioannou of Penn State University have launched the #KidsLoveNonfiction campaign. They are asking the New York Times to report children's nonfiction bestsellers in three categories: picture book, middle grade and young adult. You can support the initiative by signing the online petition

2021 CYBILS Winners Announced

 The 2021 Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards (CYBILS) were announced this week. The CYBILS recognize books for literary merit and kid appeal.

Here are the winners in the nonfiction categories.

Elementary Nonfiction
Bartali's Bicycle: The True Story of Gino Bartali Italy's Secret Hero
by Megan Hoyt
illustrated by Iacopo Bruno

Middle Grade Nonfiction Winner
Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers & Revolutionaries Who Changed the World Through Writing
by Rochelle Melander
illustrated by Melina Ontiveros

High School Nonfiction Winner
 Punching Bag by Rex Ogle

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice Movie

Award winning nonfiction book for teens, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, is being made into a movie called Spark. Maine author, Phillip Hoose, won a National Book Award and received a Sibert Honor and Newbery Honor for his biography of Colvin.

2022 Cook Prize Finalists

The Bank Street College of Education announced finalists for the 2022 Cook Prize. The Cook Prize is recognizes the best STEM picture book of the year. The winning title will be selected by 3rd and 4th grade students in March and April. Educators can complete this form to register students to participate.

Butterfly for a King
by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore

Cougar Crossing: How Hollywood's Celebrity Cougar Helped Build a Bridge for City Wildlife
by Meeg Pincus and Alexander Vidal

The Great Stink: How Joseph Bazzalgette Solved London's Poop Pollution Problem
by Colleen Paeff and Nancy Carpenter

Nano: The Spectacular Science of the Very (Very) Small 
by Dr. Jess Wade and Melissa Castrillon

Sunday, February 13, 2022

New Nonfiction- February 2022


February 1st

 by Carole Boston Weatherford
illustrated by Jeffrey Boston Weatherford

Deadliest Hurricanes Then and Now
 by Deborah Hopkinson

Bok's Giant Leap: One Moon Rock's Journey Through Time and Space
 by Neil Armstrong
illustrated by Grahame Baker Smith

And We Rise: The Civil Rights Movement in Poems 
by Erica Martin

Revolutionary Prudence Wright: Leading the Minute Women in the Fight for Independence
 by Beth Anderson
illustrated by Susan Reagan

Me and White Supremacy: How You Can Fight Racism and Change the World Today!
Young Readers' Edition
by Layla F. Saad

February 8th

Born Hungry: Julia Child Becomes "the French Chef"
by Alex Prud'homme
Illustrated by Sarah Green

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

February 15

Nellie vs. Elizabeth: Two Daredevil Journalists' Breakneck Race Around the World
by Kate Hannigan 
illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon

Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American
 by Laura Gao

February 22

Hustle Bustle Bugs 
by Catherine Bailey
pictures by Lauren Eldridge

Friday, February 4, 2022

2022 Youth Media Award Winners

It may be old news, yet we wanted to post the 2022 Robert F. Sibert Award winner and honor books. Because, after all, our blog is all about celebrating nonfiction!

And the winner is...

The People's Painter: How Ben Shahn Fought for Justice with Art 
by Cynthia Levinson; Pictures by Evan Turk
Abrams. 2021

Honor books:

The Great Stink: How Joseph Bazalgette Solved London's Poop Pollution Problem
by Colleen Paeff; Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

Fallout: Spies, Superbombs, and the Ultimate Cold War Showdown
by Steve Sheinkin
Roaring Brook Press

We Are Still Here!: Native American Truths Everyone Should Know
by Traci Sorell; Illustrated by Frané  Lessac

Summertime Sleepers: Animals That Estivate
by Melissa Stewart; Illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre
by Carole Boston Weatherford; Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Click on the link to see the complete listing of the ALA Youth Media Awards just in case you missed the announcements.

Happy reading,

We're Back!!!!

The Nonfiction Detectives, Louise and Cathy, have decided to return to sharing our favorite nonfiction titles. I'm not sure what else to say except it is great to be back. We can't wait to highlight the new titles coming out in 2022!

Oh, Joy!

Happy 2022. 

Cathy and Louise