Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - new biographies featuring men 2.27.19

Wednesdays I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
#kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

Oh my, my nonfiction stacks have gotten OUT OF CONTROL!  I really need to read and post.  I'm hoping to have a month worth of new(er) nonfiction to share with you in the upcoming weeks.  Be sure to check back on Wednesdays, here's what's coming:
1.  books for little foodies

2.  picture book biographies featuring men
3.  picture book biographies featuring women, part 1
4.  picture book biographies featuring women, part 2
5.  celebrating baseball - Yogi Berra blog tour
6.  animal nonfiction books, part 1
7.  animal nonfiction books, part 2
8.  the world around us, part 1
9.  the world around us, part 2

I love that so many picture book biographies feature people I may not have known without these books.  Here are some fantastic new picture book biographies featuring some very instrumental men.

Carter Reads the Newspaper by Deborah Hopkinson
Carter Reads the Newspaper
written by Deborah Hopkinson
illustrated by Don Tate
This was a fascinating look at Carter G. Woodson, who is the father of Black History.  Carter grew up poor, yet his parents both instilled within him determination and the importance of hard work.  Then through some unforeseen circumstances and chance meetings, Carter met two men that made a real difference in his life.  One, taught him the importance of his knowledge of how to read and how that ability can help him find answers to questions.  The other, a college professor, told him that Black people did not have a history.  Carter used his knowledge to read and research and tell the stories of African Americans.  Because of Carter's work, Black History Month is now celebrated every February.

Let 'er Buck! by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
Let 'Er Buck: George Fletcher, the People's Champion
written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
illustrated by Gordon C. James
A biography about George Fletcher, an African American rodeo rider in the early 1900s.  As an African American, George faced discrimination everywhere he went, and it even caught up with him on the rodeo circuit.  
We get some early background of George, including his friendship with the Native Americans that lived on the Umatilla Indian Reservation.  The main part of the book concentrates on the 1911 Pendleton Round-Up.  George was one of three finalists in the Saddle Bronc Championship.  Along with George was Jackson Sundown, a Nez Perce Indian and John Spain, a white rancher.  Despite putting in the best ride, George placed second.  What was surprising, was the amount of white supporters he had in the audience.
I really enjoyed the voice of the story.  One that begs to be read with some twang in your voice, this definitely put me into the spirit of being at a rodeo!
The oil illustrations by Gordon James seemed timeless and perfect for the time period!
Don't miss the backmatter - I think it's a great model in that Ms. Nelson fully admits what part of her research was hard to find information on - an important part of the research process, knowing what is accurate and what information you can't find.

Thirty Minutes Over Oregon by Marc Tyler Nobleman
Thirty Minutes Over Oregon: A Japanese Pilot's World War II Story
written by Marc Tyler Nobleman
illustrated by Melissa Iwai
One thing I have learned, if you're going to read a Nobleman story, you're going t oread about something you may have never heard about before, but it's going to make you stop and really think!
A completely unknown story to me, this is about a Japanese pilot, Nobuo Fujita, who in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, was ordered to drop bombs in the forests of Oregon to hopefully create mass fires and destroy land and then eventually villages and towns.  However, both trips he made ended with bombs that did not detonate, therefore avoiding damage and sparing all lives.  
The surprising part is that decades later, Fujita was invited back to Oregon as a guest.  They were hoping it would be a symbol of reconciliation between the two nations.  It was the gesture of goodwill that continued to go back and forth and grow between the two countries that is the amazing story.

Elvis Is King! by Jonah Winter
Elvis is King!
written by Jonah Winter
illustrated by Red Nose Studio
This book was such a fresh approach to a biography about Elvis - it captures the Southern voice and conveyed information in such a succinct and quick way on each page.  Detailing Elvis' childhood and early rise to fame, it brings the good part of the Elvis story to life for young readers, who may or may not know much about The King!  I liked the quick information that told me a lot without it being overwhelming.  Lots of facts that will be new to readers are shared.
And the illustrations by Red Nose Studio are unique, as always!  If you are unfamiliar with the intricate sets the illustrator uses, you're in for a real treat!

Hope you found some new books to add to your collection!  Happy nonfiction reading!


  1. I loved the book about Carter Woodson, and just as you have shared, a new person I'd never heard about. Will look for the others, Michele. Thanks!

  2. Thirty Minutes Over Oregon was a fascinating book to me--a story I'm so glad was told.

  3. All books I haven't read. I can't wait to read Carter Reads the Newspaper.