Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - biographies in my stack - 6.26.19

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.

Some nonfiction picture books that jumped out of the pile recently:

Unstoppable by Art Coulson
Unstoppable: How Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team Defeated Army
written by Art Coulson
illustrated by Nick Hardcastle
I have seen Steve Sheinkin's book Undefeated about the same topic but as a longer nonfiction work, I had not read it yet.  This book is on the same topic but cut down to a picture book.  I've heard of the name Jim Thorpe, but did not necessarily know anything about his athletic prowess!  
Jim Thorpe was an American Indian from the Sauk tribe.  In and out of schools, he was sent to the Carlisle Industrial School when he was 16.  Over the next decade, Jim grew and showed his athletic talents in track and field games, baseball, lacrosse, hockey, and football.  But it was football that had captured his heart.  The book goes on to detail some of his amazing feats, but really concentrates on the football game that was a pivotal game in history - when his Carlisle team beat the Army team. 
Backmatter includes more about Jim Thorpe as well as a list and short bio of each man on that particular Carlisle team, as well as sources and additional information.

The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown
The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown
written by Mac Barnett
illustrated by Sarah Jacoby
Mac Barnett is a unique author.  He doesn't conform to writing norms and I think that is something to celebrate about his books, but sometimes it makes the book so unusual it doesn't always sit right.  This is one of those books.  
Barnett takes on telling the picture book biography about famed children's author, Margaret Wise Brown, in a unique way.  Ambling on as if in conversation with the reader, Barnett ponders about what is really important and shares truths about Brown's life that you might not always find in a picture book biography.  The way this conversation takes place, you're either going to enjoy it or not care for it.  
The illustrations, done in watercolor, nupastel and Photoshop, are superb.  Jacoby is able to capture the whimsy and wonder of Brown and her artwork.
Interestingly, the sources used are included at the beginning of the book, instead of the end.  I am curious as to how that decision was made by the publisher!  No other additional information is included in any backmatter.

Doctor Esperanto and the Language of Hope by Mara Rockliff
Doctor Esperanto and the Language of Hope
written by Mara Rockliff
illustrated by Zosia Dzierżawska
There are so many languages in the world.  What if there was just one, that was created with simplicity in mind and used familiar word parts?  That was the hope of Dr. Esperanto (real name Leyzer Zamenhof).  He heard so many words, so many ways of saying negative words, that he wanted to create a language of hope and niceties.  What came of it was a new language called Esperanto, which means to hope.  Created over many years, with many changes and beginnings to the language, but finally it was shared with the world.  
Today, although not a universal language, it still exists and people do use it worldwide.  It has even popped up on some current sitcoms and movies!  Maybe you'll be the person to start using it at your school!

Definitely some picture book biographies to add to your collections!  Happy reading!

I'll be taking a mini blogging break next week to celebrate the 4th of July with family!  See you in 2 weeks!

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