Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Monday, September 26, 2022

The Greatest Song of All written by Megan Hoyt

 The Greatest Song of All: How Isaac Stern United the World to Save Carnegie Hall 
by Megan Hoyt;
Illustrated by Katie Hickey
Quilt Tree Books.
An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. 2022

This informational picture book tells the story of how the violinist, Isaac Stern, upon learning that on March 31, 1960 the elegant Carnegie Hall would be demolished, fought to save this historic building in the heart of New York City, built in 1891. 

The narrative is engaging, and would work well for a terrific read aloud in music class to students of all ages. The addition of Hicky's art, rendered in gouache, coloring pencils, and Photoshop to create the digital illustrations, make this an overall engaging read. Read to students of all ages. Please!

Included is an author's note, more historical information about Carnegie Hall, more fascinating stories about Isaac Stern, a timeline, source notes, and the petition written by Stern that was signed by twenty internationally known musician. 

Friday, September 23, 2022

American Murderer


American Murderer: The Parasite That Haunted the South
by Gail Jarrow
Calkins Creek, 2022
Gades 6 and up
On shelves Sept. 27, 2022

American Murderer is the highly anticipated third book in Gail Jarrow's Medical Fiasco series.  Jarrow is known for writing about medical conditions and illnesses from an historical perspective. Her latest work focuses on a mystery illness that plagued rural communities in the South at the turn of the 20th century. 

Readers will be drawn into the story from the first chapter (entitled "Vampire") as Jarrow describes a "deathly, pale, hunched-over figure" standing on a train platform. A scientists on the train indicates the man is a victim of "America's bloodsucking murderer." 

The medical mystery is solved by parasitologist, Charles Wardell Stiles, who studied parasites and hookworms in Europe. Stiles identified the Necator americanus or American Murderer, a bloodsucking parasite that attaches to the intestines and cause anemia. pica and malnourishment. While Stiles traveled through the South sharing a cure for hookworm, Arthur Loos was determined to figure out how Americans are getting infected with the parasite. This leads to the story to another medical mystery for scientists to solve.

The engaging narrative grounded in mystery will keep readers turning the pages. Microscopic images of hookworms magnified 700 times (such as the cover image) are terrifying and fascinating. Primary documents such as posters, newspaper articles, cartoons, and photographs are thoughtfully placed throughout the book.

Equal parts science and history, readers will be surprised to learn how doctors, politicians and the public viewed and responded to this common and debilitating illness dubbed the "lazy germ." As government and philanthropic groups were created to study and eradicate hookworm in the South, the book explores issues of class, race, geography, and social status. Jarrow finds connections to present day in the final chapter, "The BloodSucker Lives On."

Highly recommended for public libraries, school libraries, and biology and American History classes. 

Monday, September 19, 2022

Side-By-Side Declaration of Independence: with side-by-side “plain English” translations! by David Miles

The Side-by-Side Declaration of Independence: with side-by-side “plain English” translations!
by David Miles 
Bushel & Peck Books. 2021

At a time in our world, when words are being twisted to serve a particular purpose, this 2021 title offers a visually appealing presentation of America’s historical document that was the first step in our democracy. 

In, Side-By-Side Declaration of Independence, Miles pairs the original text of the Declaration of Independence with “plain English.”

The book begins with five pages to explain the “Buildup to the Declaration,” then a brief explanation on “How To Use This Book.” The left-hand pages are in red and show the original text from the Declaration of Independence, written in 1776. The right-hand pages, in blue, provide the “Plain English” translation. The addition of pictures of Founding Fathers, maps, and additional information places what the text is saying into a historical context.

Let me give you an example:

Original text: “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

Plain English: “When a group wants to separate from another group and be independent, it’s polite to explain why.”

The book’s design uses collage illustrations from visuals sourced from illustrator Albert Pinilla, public domain archives, and Shutterstock. Though each double-page spread is quite active visually, the pairing of original document translated into present day English, historical facts, pictures of historical figures makes this a attractive and engaging. Because of the topic, older readers studying American history will find it very useful. 

Monday, September 12, 2022

Cover Reveal- Supermoms!: Animal Heroes

We are excited to reveal the cover of Supermoms!: Animal Heroes by Heather Lang and Jamie Harper today.

Supermoms! is an engaging, nonfiction picture book that is part of the Animal Heroes series from Candlewick. Look for Supermoms! in the spring of 2023.  We're looking forward to getting out hands on this science picture book with comic book elements.

Friday, September 9, 2022

10 Ways to Discover and Share Nonfiction with Young People


The Kids Love Nonfiction team of Mary Ann Cappiello, Melissa Stewart and Xenia Hadjioannou have created a flyer with tips for sharing nonfiction with young people. 

Click here to view the flyer.  Feel free to share this wonderful resources with parents, caregivers, teachers and librarians. If you share on social media, use the hashtag #KidsLoveNonfiction.

Monday, September 5, 2022

New Nonfiction- September 2022


Deadliest Fires Then and Now
by Deborah Hopkinson
Scholastic Focus

Dazzlin' Dolly
by Suzanne Slade and Edwin Fotheringham
Calkins Creek

Peace is a Chain Reaction
by Tanya Lee Stone
Candlewick Press

American Murderer: The Parasite That Haunted the South
by Gail Jarrow
Calkins Creek

A River's Gifts: The Mighty Elwha River Reborn
by Patricia Newman and Natasha Donovan
Millbrook Press

Call Him Jack: The Story of Jackie Robinson, Black Freedom Fighter
by Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

A Life of Service: The Story of Senator Tammy Duckworth
by Christina Soontornvat and Dow Phumiruk
Candlewick Press

Dressing Up the Stars
by Jeanne Walker Harvey and Diana Toledano
Beach Lane Books

Play Like a Girl: A Graphic Memoir
by Misty Wilson and David Wilson
Balzer + Bray

Secrets of the Lost City: A Scientific Adventure in the Honduran Rain Forest
by Sandra Markle
Millbrook Press

Shapes, Lines and Light: My Grandfather's American Journey
by Katie Yamasaki
Norton Young Readers

Maya's Song
 by Renee Watson and Bryan Collier

Bobby: A Story of Bobby Kennedy
by Deborah Wiles and Tatyana Fazlalizadeh
Scholastic Press

Rescue of the Bounty: Disaster and Survival in Superstorm Sandy
True Rescue Series
 by Michael J. Tougias and Douglas A. Campbell
Henry Holt and Co.

Over and Under the Waves
by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal
Chronicle Books

Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice
by Tommie Smith, Derrick Barnes and Dawud Anyabwile
Norton Young Readers

Friday, September 2, 2022

If You're a Kid Like Gavin words by Gavin Grimm and Kyle Lukoff


If You're a Kid Like Gavin: the True Story of a Young Trans Activist 
Words by Gavin Grimm
and Kyle Lukoff;
Illustrations by J Yang
Katherine Tegen Books.
An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. 2022

In this simply told powerful and empowering informational picture book memoir readers meet Gavin Grimm. "When you're a kid like Gavin Grimm, you know yourself best." Gavin knew he was a boy even though others saw him as a girl. His family supported his decision to trans to boy and be called, Gavin. But, would Gavin be able to use the boy's bathroom at school?

The book covers Gavin's fight - which went all the way to the Supreme Court - to uphold the right for trans kids to chose which bathroom they feel comfortable using. 

"But, when you're a kid like Gavin Grimm, you know the only choice you have is to fight back. To stand up for yourself. And your right to use the bathroom as yourself. And your right to be in school as yourself."

The tone of the book is calm, loving, supportive, while encouraging readers to believe in themselves and have confidence to speak up when they feel they are not being heard. 

Yang's full-page cartoon-like illustrations are rendered in Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint, Cintiq Companion 2, Wacom Bamboo CTH470, Dell Studio XPS 9000 PC on Windows 10, "and a good deal of effort to create the digital illustrations for this book."

A note from both authors rounds out this very important memoir.