Oct 14, 2013

Nonfiction Monday Roundup for October 14, 2013

Welcome to the Nonfiction Monday Roundup!

Nonfiction Monday is the brainchild of Anastasia Suen. Bloggers across the kidlitosphere celebrate Nonfiction Monday by writing about nonfiction books for kids on Monday.

Join Nonfiction Monday!
We invite you to join us!
o Write about a nonfiction book for kids on a Monday on your blog.
o Copy the Nonfiction Monday button to use in your blog post.
o Link your post to the weekly Nonfiction Monday Round-up! (Please use the permalink to your post, not the address of your blog. Thanks!)

If you are unable to add a comment, please feel free to email me and I will add your post asap.

On another note- Happy Thanksgiving! This has been a really rough year for our family, so it is even sweeter to make a list of things for which I am grateful and realize things aren't as bad as they seem. One of the things I am thankful for is my readers and fellow kidlit bloggers, who indulge me in my hobby and let me talk about complete nerdery without judgment. I wish you all love and happiness this Thanksgiving.

At NC Teacher Stuff, Jeff Barger has a book about a young child who immigrates from Asia to the US, Here I Am.

The story of a very pioneering young 19th century woman is the focus of The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever, featured at Shelf-Employed.

Jennifer is doing something fishy at the Jean Little Library; her book is Trout, Trout, Trout.

Resh introduces a wonderful story about animal migration, Is This Panama?

The beautifully illustrated Frog Song is Sondra's pick over at Sonder Books.

For Columbus Day, Anastasia Suen has 1492, New World Tales.

Budding artists will appreciate Janet Squires' pick, So You Want to Be a Comic Artist?


Cindy and Lynn at Bookends chose Digger Dozer Dumper, which is a poetry book that packs a lot of power.

Abby the Librarian has a riveting story called The President Has Been Shot: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy.

I have the newest book in the Great Idea Series from Canadian Monica Kulling, Making Contact! Marconi Goes Wireless.

Making Contact

Making Contact (CAN, JP, US, INT)

Written by: Monica Kulling

Illustrated by: Richard Rudnicki

Published by: Tundra Books

Published on: October 1, 2013

Ages: 5+

Provided by the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

The newest book in Monica Kulling's Great Idea Series is just as much of a winner as the others we love, like Going Up! Elisha Otis's Trip to the Top.

This time we are introduced to Italian inventor Giglielmo Marconi. When Marconi was young, like Einstein, he didn't do well at school. But he was a prolific reader and learner, even going so far as to find a telegraph operator to teach him Morse code.

He worked for many years on his idea to send wireless messages on radio waves- leading to the invention of what we know as radio. Just sending it across the room wasn't enough, he journeyed across the world to St. John's Newfoundland to make sure radio waves could make it around the world. He battled fierce winds but never gave up no matter what Mother Nature had in store for him.

Without Marconi's invention we wouldn't have radio, tv, or even cell phones. We owe him a debt of gratitude. I got to hear my mother's voice from across the world this Thanksgiving weekend, thanks in part to Marconi not giving up on his idea.

This post is for Nonfiction Monday, hosted this week by me (see post above).

Oct 13, 2013

Cybils : Only 2 days left for nominations!

There are only two days left for the general public to nominate children's books for the 2013 Cybils. But some great books haven't shown up on the lists yet! If you are looking for some great books to nominate this year, please check check out my recommendations.

Fiction Picture Books
Dream Boats
Once Upon a Northern Night
Man with the Violin
This is Our House
Mr. Flux
The Girl of the Wish Garden

Nonfiction Elementary and Middle Grade
When I Was Eight
A History of Just About Everything

Any others missing from the Cybils nomination lists?

Dream Boats

Dream Boats (CAN, JP, US, INT)

Written by: Dan Bar-El

Illustrated by:  Kirsti Anne Wakelin

Published by:  Simply Read Books

Published on: September 1, 2013

Ages: 4+

I prefer the look and feel of paper picture books. But when there is a book you are looking forward to so much, waiting for it to be shipped from overseas really ramps up the anticipation. I've been waiting for this book for months. It finally shipped in September and just arrived here in Japan this week.

It was well worth the wait. This is an absolutely amazing picture book.

The book takes us through a the dreams of children in a number of different places around the world. From India and Ganesh to the animal spirits of the Haida Gwai in Canada, children float through the dream world.

The fluidity of the artwork is a definite highlight. Every single illustration is deep and beautiful, and the transitions between the cultures are all really well done. Wakelin imbues each piece of art with the essence of the culture featured while never dropping out of the dreamscape.

This started out as one of my most anticipated books of 2013 and now it is definitely one of my favourites.

Oct 12, 2013

The Camel in the Sun

The Camel in the Sun  (CAN, JP, US, INT)

Written by: Griffin Ondaatje

Illustrated by: Linda Wolfsgruber 

Published by: Groundwood Books

Published on: October 1, 2013

Ages: 5+

Provided by the publisher for review. All opinions are my own.

This moving story about compassion is adapted by Ondaatje from a hadith, a traditional Muslim tale about the Prophet. We feel for the hardworking camel who keeps his sadness inside as his companion ignores his needs.

The oblivious owner of the camel is enlightened to the camel's plight by the magic of the Prophet, and steps into the camel's hooves for just a moment, but that is all it takes to engender compassion.

Wolfgruber's illustrations bring us to another place and time, and plop the reader right into the desert. I would love to visit the beautiful Medina she has brought to life.

This is a great choice of book for this Thanksgiving weekend. Is there someone whose work you underappreciate? Is there someone who needs a hand or a shoulder to cry on near you? Give them the words they need to hear - that's what Thanksgiving is all about.

This is the fifteenth book I have reviewed for the Seventh Canadian Book Challenge.

Oct 11, 2013

The Man With the Violin

The Man With the Violin (CAN, JP, US, INT)

Written by: Kathy Stinson

Illustrated by: Dušan Petričić

Published by: Annick Press

Published on: August 2013

Ages: 4+

Provided by the publisher for review through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

 Kathy Stinson is very popular in our house. When my daughter was 2, she dragged Stinson's Red is Best around until it was so ragged it had tape on almost every page. I was thrilled to find out she wrote a book about violin virtuoso Joshua Bell and his 2007 subway station experiment.

On a cold day that January, one of the most talented musicians of our time sat in a busy Washington, DC station and played for harried commuters during the morning rush hour. These people, intent on getting to their destinations, hardly seemed to notice the great gift they were being given.

Except for the children. The children listened.

Stinson takes Bell's experience and weaves a story of what a little boy could have felt that day. Little Dylan is someone who notices things when those around him simply do not. Smells wafting and music drifting are enough to get his attention. He is lucky enough to realize the gift Joshua Bell was giving them. His mother learns that sometimes it's important to stop and smell the roses or at least listen to them!

Dušan Petričić (Mattland) is what takes this from a simply moving story to a really classic picture book. This book is only 2D and there is no music pumped from it, but you can see the music in
Petriči's artwork. It looks like a magic spell wafting through the air and only affecting certain people with an open heart.  His use of contrast between colour and black and white to indicate who is paying attention, and it is extremely effective.

The beautiful message in this book about enjoying every moment is delivered with an amazing story and affecting illustrations.

This is the fourteenth book I have reviewed for the Seventh Canadian Book Challenge.

Oct 7, 2013

Nonfiction Monday: Eggs 1, 2, 3: Who Will the Babies Be?

Eggs 1, 2, 3: Who Will the Babies Be?

Written by: Janet Halfmann

Illustrated by: Betsy Thompson

Published by: Blue Apple Books

Published on: April 10, 2012

Ages: 2+

It's that wonderful time of the year: Cybils nomination period! The Cybils are the only kidlit book awards given by book bloggers. Until October 15 (just a week left!) you can nominate your favourite kidlit books from the past year. This year I am a Round 2 panelist for the Nonfiction books for Elementary and Middle Grade Readers category. I had the pleasure of serving on the Nonfiction Picture Book committee last year and this was one of the finalists.

It's easy to see what sets this simple book apart from the other great nominees for 2012's nonfiction picture book award.

Eggs 1, 2, 3 combines the numbers 1 through 10 and oviparous animals, and presents them with adorable paper collage to make a high quality and high interest book for preschoolers.

My kids really enjoyed this book, and especially liked that frog eggs and fish eggs look like eyeballs. I enjoyed the glowworm eggs and their transformation to gorgeous fireflies.

 This post is for Nonfiction Monday, hosted this week by Shelf-Employed.


Oct 6, 2013

Just So Stories

Just So Stories (CAN, JP, US)

Written by: Rudyard Kipling

Illustrated by: Ian Wallace

Published by: Groundwood Books

Published on: October 1, 2013

Ages: 8+

Provided by the publisher for review. All opinions are my own.

Just So Stories are some of Rudyard Kipling's most famous works. This group of six stories of myths about large animals have been retold many times since they were first published together over 110 years ago.

The reason Kipling's stories are so beloved is because of their respect for the animals and his amazing storytelling. His poems and prose alike are filled with delightful turns of phrase. Such as this Sloka in "How the Whale got its Throat":

 By means of a grating/I have stopped your ating.

The words are old-fashioned but so easy to read aloud! Kipling brings the rhythm of poetry to the rest of his stories.

Ian Wallace is know as a very successful illustrator, and one of the reasons why is that he has such a diverse style. This diversity plays out in this group of short stories as Wallace uses different colour themes to differentiate the illustrations for each story. The other reason Wallace is so beloved is his cultural sensitivity, whether to aboriginal peoples or to people of the Far East, Wallace brings in his abundant knowledge to his artwork and portrays all types of people with respect. This especially works for How the Leopard Got His Spots, which could be considered controversial.

These stories will broaden your vocabulary and entertain, and animal lovers of all ages will enjoy Kipling's animal myths paired with Wallace's beautiful illustrations.