Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - working towards a dream 10.28.2020


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.

Picture book biographies always share people who have worked hard, have amazing dedication, and don't give up to reach a dream.  Such an important lesson for young readers to understand.  Go after your dream, but be ready to work for it!  Here are some picture book biographies that share the hard work and imaginative thinking people used to achieve their dream.

Box by Carole Boston Weatherford
Box:  Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom
written by Carole Boston Weatherford
illustrated by Michele Wood
The ultimate dream may be freedom, something that many white people have not had to worry about.  But, Henry Brown and many other African Americans had this dream as enslaved men in America.  You may have heard the name Henry Box Brown before, but this self-narrated story goes into so much more detail.  Told in verse, each page has 3 poems that tell more about the life of Henry Brown, as a slave, as a happily married family man, and then as someone who dreamed of freedom because his family had been taken from him.  The tenacity of this man to chase his dream and go about it in such a unique way is mind-boggling, but also tells the desperation of his situation.  Stories like this will help young readers understand the severity of situation that white men and women put African Americans in during this time.
While the story itself is amazing, the writing is outstanding.  The number six (the number of sides of a box) is woven throughout the story.  Each of the poems are sixtains which means they have six lines.  I find it fascinating how writers can frame their stories!

The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity by Amy Alznauer
The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity
written by Amy Alznauer
illustrated by Daniel Miyares
Alznauer introduces us to Srinivasa Ramanujan, a brilliant mathematician.  Ramanujan, born in South India, was always thinking of numbers and the possibilities numbers can have in this world.  So much so he was always in trouble for not concentrating enough at school and for some of his big and wandering questions.  As he grew, Ramanujan was never without his notebook, where he could experiment an wonder about the many possibilities of numbers.  While his work eventually contributed to big ideas in the science world, all of this happened after his death, at the very young age of 32.
While this book certainly got the point across that Ramanujan was infatuated with math, I wish there had been more information about other aspects of his life.  I learned more in the author's note than in the actual text.

Fauja Singh Keeps Going by Simrat Jeet Singh
Fauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run a Marathon
written by Simran Jeet Singh
illustrated by Baljinder Kaur
In the words of Fauja Singh, "No matter what people said, I always believed in myself."  And with those words of confidence, Fauja continues to live his life, running and not stopping.  It's hard to believe that Fauja didn't walk until he was five, and it took many years after that before he could even walk a mile.  There is no known reason why he had this difficulty, but we can certainly tell it was his determination and desire to do things others said were impossible.  A National (United Kingdom) and World Record holder, he is most recently known as the only 100 year old person to have completed a marathon.  Impressive!

Determination, passion, and drive kept these people searching for their dream.  What dreams do you and your readers have?

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