Today I’m delighted to be hosting Nonfiction Monday. If you’ve a new post about a great nonfiction book today, please leave a comment below, or add it via the linky and I’ll round them all up in this post as the day goes on.
My own contribution today is review of A String of Beads written by Margarette S. Reid, illustrated by Ashley Wolff.
Ostensibly a tale of a girl rifling through her Grandmother’s bead collection, this is a beautiful information book which covers everything from the different shapes beads come in, to the materials used to make them, via various ways in which beads have been used throughout history. It finishes with an invitation to make your own beads; a tutorial disguised as an activity the child shares with her Grandmother.
M has been doing work at school about how to identify whether a text is fiction or nonfiction. I’ve been a little frustrated with the school’s approach because it doesn’t deal well with texts exactly like this one, so called creative or narrative nonfiction. Whilst some children love (traditional) nonfiction, others fear it – perhaps they think it will be dry, dull, and without imagination. This is exactly the sort of book for them – it’s beautiful, welcoming, but oh-so-full of information and ideas that could be easily linked to maths, geography, history, science, art, design as well as creative writing.
Whilst the text is not only accessible and inviting, perfectly capturing and reflecting a child’s curiosity and wonder, the illustrations are mouthwatering. The black background on each page heightens the sense that you are looking at treasure. If you don’t have a bead collection yet, you’ll find yourself wanting to start one after your fingers have enviously stroked over Wolff’s beads.
Sadly out of print this is definitely a book to hunt down in your library or second hand bookshop.
It was such a delight to get out our own tin of beads to explore alongside reading this outstanding book.
We sorted our beads into different colours.
We found treasure!
Then we chose our favourite beads to create a “story string”: Inspired by Native American story sticks, we threaded beads onto a length of string and told each other stories using the different beads as prompts or inspiration for the twists and turns in our stories.
“As the night stars faded the elephant walked around the lake and watched the red sun rise”
I wonder what sort of necklace we’ll make today with the string of reviews you’ll be submitting?
Prose and Kahn is first in this week with a review of National Geographic book, Alien Deep: Revealing the Mysterious Living World at the Bottom of the Ocean. “The picture book format belies the depth and complexity of the text here as the audience is decidedly middle school and above.”
Over at Shelf-Employed there’s a review of a book for fans of baseball: Miracle Mud: Lena Blackburne and the Secret Mud that Changed Baseball by David Kelly, illustrated by Oliver Dominguez. “Oliver Dominguez’ nostalgic, double-spread, painted illustrations are the perfect complement to this short and engaging biography of Lena Blackburne (1886-1968) and his famous mud.“
There’s another book for baseball fans at The Fourth Musketeer: Becoming Babe Ruth by Matt Tavares. “Tavares’ oversized illustrations capture the jumbo personality of Babe Ruth, who became the biggest celebrity in America.“
Boys Rule Boys Read! has a round up of basketball books, including The Basket Counts by Matt Christopher and Basketball Step-by-Step by Brian Burns and Mark Dunning.
Super Pop!: Pop Culture Top Ten Lists to Help You Win at Trivia, Survive in the Wild, and Make It Through the Holidays by Daniel Harmon is reviewed over at Biblio File. “SuperPop is a super-fun book full of top ten lists on all sorts of topics.“
At Wrapped in Foil there’s a review of a book of interest to any library lover: Miss Moore Thought Otherwise: How Anne Carroll Moore Created Libraries for Children by Jan Pinborough and illustrated by Debby Atwell. “Although the main theme of the book is a celebration of children’s libraries, there are underlying messages about the roles of women and children during at the turn of the last century, how free public libraries are important resources, and that one person can make a difference.“
Orange by Rebecca Rissman is the focus of Non Fiction Monday over at NC Teacher Stuff. “Orange would be a vibrant nonfiction addition to a preschool or kindergarten library.“
Demi has created some very beautiful picture books, so I can heartily recommend checking out The Great Voyages of Zheng He, written and illustrated by Demi as reviewed by Barbara Ann Mojica. “Adults and children eight and over will appreciate the adventure story and learning about a part of Chinese history and culture that is not widely known.“
Cowboy Up! Ride the Navajo Rodeo by Nancy Bo Flood; photos by Jan Sonnenmair features on Sally’s Bookshelf. “If you’re looking for a book about athletes, about culture, about traditions and history – or if you just can’t get to the Calgary Stampede – then get your hands on a copy of Cowboy Up!“
At the Jean Little Library blog there’s a review of Down to earth: How kids help feed the world by Nikki Tate. “The book is really an introduction to food production on small, organic farms and in rural, undeveloped countries.“
Over at Perogies and Gyoza there’s a review of an easy reader, On the Scale, a Weighty Tale by Brian P Cleary, illustrated by Brian Gable. “This would be a great book for US residents or expats- but I wish they had a metric version too!“
Louisa May’s Battle: How the Civil War Led to Little Women is reviewed at True Tales & A Cherry On Top.
Monet Paints a Day by Julie Danneberg, illustrated by Caitlin Heimer is highlighted at Booktalking.
Tales of a Bookworm reviews The Toothbrush Millionaire by Jean Merrill. “Not only is this book fun to read, it is highly recommended for readers in the classroom.“