Saturday, April 2, 2011
Turning Point Inventions: The Lightbulb
Written by: Joseph Wallace
"This engaging book begins by describing life without light bulbs. It then recounts Thomas Edison’s fascinating experiments as he met the challenge to create a simple, light-weight, movable, smokeless, noiseless, cheap, steady, and bright source of light. Several foldouts show details of lightbulb development."
Notable Trade Books for Social Studies Online
Robert Fulton: From Submarine to Steamboat
Written by: Steven Kroll
Illustrated by: Bill Farnsworth
"This concise, beautifully illustrated biography describes the life and work of the inventor who developed the steamboat and made it a commercial success."
Notable Trade Books for Social Studies Online
Extraordinary Women of the American West
Written by: Judy Alter
"This book chronicles the exploits and achievements of more than fifty women in the past and present of America's West, including the guide and interpreter Sacajawea, journalist Jessie Benton Fremont, and author Willa Cather."
At Her Majesty's Request: An African Princess in Victorian England
Written by: Walter Dean Myers
Upper Elementary, Junior High Grades
"Myers pieces together bits of history and letters to form a unique and dramatic mosaic: the life of Sarah Forbes Bonetta, a seven-year-old African (Egbado) princess saved by an English naval officer from a rival tribe's ritual sacrifice in 1850. Sarah is brought to England, where Queen Victoria puts the girl under her protection until Sarah's marriage. The queen also acted as godmother to Sarah's first child and met and corresponded with Sarah throughout her life. Through Sarah's story, Myers offers insights into Victorian attitudes and society and examines the flow of people and ideas between England and Africa during the period. The inclusion of passages from Sarah's correspondence helps bring her to life, and Sarah's photo on the jacket brings readers face-to-face with this remarkable young woman. An intriguing biography as well as an unusual source for those interested in British or African history."
Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg and Three Cups of Tea
Written by: Greg Mortonson
Illustrated by: Susan Roth
"Best-selling author Mortenson told his remarkable story in the adult book Three Cups of Tea (2006). After getting lost while trying to climb the mountain K2, he found himself in a Pakistani village. This, as it turned out was the beginning of a different journey. Here Mortenson and Roth retell his remarkable story through the eyes of Pakistani children. After being rescued and nursed to health by the villagers, Mortenson wonders what he can do to thank them. Advised by a wise elder to “listen to the wind,” Mortenson becomes aware of children’s voices, children he has helped teach during his convalescence, and he decides to build them a school. The steep terrain and remote setting present nearly overwhelming obstacles, but finally, the school is opened with great celebration. The picture-book narrative successfully compresses Mortenson’s story by focusing on the elements most important to children: the stranger’s appearance, the drama of the construction, the happy conclusion."
Book List Review
Sarah Emma Edmonds Was a Great Pretender: The True Story of a Civil War Spy
Written by: Carrie Jones
Illustrated by: Mark Oldroid
"Sarah Emma Edmonds started pretending at a very early age. Her father only wanted sons, so Sarah pretended to be one. Unlike most kids, though, Sarah never really stopped pretending. In 1861, during the U.S. Civil War, Sarah pretended her way into the Union Army, becoming a male nurse named Frank Thompson. Being a nurse didn't quite satisfy "Frank," though. She wanted to keep her fellow soldiers from getting hurt. So when the Union Army needed a spy, she leapt at the chance. While still pretending to be Frank, Sarah also pretended to be a male African American slave, a female Irish peddler, and a female African American laundress. She slipped behind enemy lines time after time, spied on the Confederate Army, and brought back valuable intelligence to the Union. Sarah was not only good at pretending; she was also very brave. Later in life, Sarah Emma Edmonds wrote a book to tell her story. She explained, "I am naturally fond of adventure, a little ambitious, and a good deal romantic." She was also truly a great pretender."
Monday, March 7, 2011
Chee-Lin: A Giraffe's Journey
Written and Illustrated by: James Rumford
"Linking the Chinese mythological creature, the Chee-Lin, to a 1414 Chinese portrait of a giraffe, Rumford imagines how a giraffe may have journeyed to China. From his birth and capture in East Africa to a short stay in Bengal and a stay in Nanjing and finally landing in Peking, lonely Tweega (Swahili for giraffe) survives frightening voyages, cruel and tender caretakers, and cramped quarters, ending up in the emperor’s spacious grounds. Tweega inspires awe everywhere and stirs optimism among the Chinese, who believe the Chee-Lin to be an omen of good fortune."