These are the "true" books. They are found in the numbered section of the library. Check through each of these suggestions to find just the right book for you.
Brooks, Philip. Invaders From Outer Space: Real-Life Stories of UFO’s. London. DK Publishing, Inc. 1999.
Young readers are introduced to one aspect of the world of the paranormal – aliens from outer space. Brooks recounts cases of alien abductions and encounters (Betty and Barney Hill, Roswell), ‘Men in Black’, and scientific explanations of what some sights might be (lenticular clouds, spy planes).
Puff…Flash…Bang. New York.
Morrow Junior Books. 1993.
Every day we encounter many signals. All signals tell us something. There are signals for danger (beacon lights, railroad crossings). There are signals for communicating (sign language). There are visual signals (smoke signals) and auditory signals (police sirens). Signals have a long history from the hillside signal fires of ancient Rome to the guiding lights on an airport tower of today.
100 Psychology and Parapsychology
Ghostly Warnings. Illustrated by David Linn. New York. Cobblehill Books.
Daniel Cohen, one of the premier writers for young people on ghostly happenings, takes us into the world of ghostly harbingers of doom. The some of the short stories contained involve people seeing their doppelganger, which foretells their death. There is the story of the minister who sees a ghostly rider who is believed to only show up before someone drowns. Within a month the minister was dead. The message from all these tales seems to be that if a ghost warns you of death, fate cannot be denied.
Wilson, Colin. Psychic Powers. New York. DK Publishing, Inc. 1998.
Explore the world of the powers of the mind, an unseen universe of possibilities. Can people predict the future, either with Tarot cards or precognition? Can people really communicate with the dead, converse with those who are beyond the veil? Are psychic powers of just mind over matter or are they more other-worldly than that?
200 Religion and Mythology
Ingri and Edgar. D’Aulaire’s
Book of Greek Myths. New York. Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1962
The Greek gods and goddesses are rendered in pastels and black and white drawings in this interesting book. The text of the original stories is interesting and very understandable. In addition to the major gods - Zeus, Artemis, Hera, Apollo – many of the minor gods are also covered. Astute readers may note the similarity of the story of Deucalion and the Bible story of Noah and the flood. Finally, the authors make the connection between Greek and Roman mythology listing the Greek gods by their Greek and Roman names.
300 Social Sciences
Barth, Edna. Shamrocks
Harps, and Shillelaghs. Illustrated by Ursula Arndt. New York. The Seabury
St. Patrick’s Day is a big holiday not just in Ireland, but also across the United States. This book explains some of the symbols associated with Ireland (leprechauns and potatoes), legends (the shamrock), and a short biography of Ireland’s most beloved saint. The history of Ireland – potato famines and occupation by foreigners – is also covered.
The First Strawberries: A Cheroke Story. Illustrated by Anna Vojtech.
New York. Dial Books for Young Readers. 1993.
This pourquoi tale explains how strawberries came to be. When the first man and the first woman have a fight, she stalks off so quickly he cannot catch up with her. The sun takes pity on the man, who is truly sorry, and tries to help. Each fruit the sun causes to grow fails to pique the woman’s interest and make her stop. It is not until a strawberry field grows does she stop. The man catches up with her and they share the sweetness of the first strawberries.
The Great Ball Game: A Muskogee Story. Illustrated by Susan L. Roth. New
York. Dial Books for Young Readers. 1994.
Back in the long ago, the animals and the birds were fighting about who was better. To finally decide the question, they agreed to play lacrosse. The winning team would then choose the punishment for the losers. This pourquoi tale explains migration and which group bats belong to and why.
Christmas in Ireland. Chicago. World Book, Inc. 1985.
Christmas in Ireland is similar to Christmas in America, but there are many differences. The Irish celebrate Christmas from Christmas Eve until the Epiphany, 14 days later. Christmas is more of a religious and family holiday than it is in America. Many people in the smaller villages and towns hold to centuries old traditions of “bringing home the Christmas”. To do this they shop for the food and decorations they will use for the holidays. The book also contains Irish Christmas crafts and recipes.
and Rhodes, Timothy. The Singing Snake. Illustrated by Stefan Czernecki.
New York. Hyperion Books for Children. 1993.
To decide which animal has the most beautiful singing voice, Old Man held a contest. All the animals practice singing, determined to be judged the best. Snake tries and tries, but he can’t sing. So, he hatches a plan to ensure he will be judged the best. When his deception is discovered, all the other animals shun him and promise to never trust him again. A pourquoi tale of why snakes hiss.
Diane Goode’s Book of Scary Stories & Songs.
New York. Dutton Children’s Books. 1994.
Perfect for October, or any time you want a little scare. Familiar ghost stories, poems, and songs are collected in this book. Each ghastly tale told has a label listing its country of origin. The songs included are familiar to most people; who hasn’t sung about the “worms go in, the worms go out”? Maybe slightly scary for very young children, but most older children will truly enjoy this book.
Coretta Scott King Award & Laura
Ingalls Wilder Medal
Hamilton, Virginia. Her Stories. Illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon. New York. The Blue Sky Press. 1995.
This book is a collection of African-American short stories, fairy tales, legends, and tales of the supernatural. There is a Cinderella-type tale, Catskinella, a tale also done by the Pinkneys, Good Blanche, Bad Rose, and the Talking Eggs, and the familiar legend of Annie Christmas. Each entry comes with a comment about the story. The comments range from the story’s place in African-American culture to the story’s connection to the author.
Kimmel, Eric A. Anansi and the Talking Melon. Illustrated by Janet Stevens. New York. Holiday House. 1994.
Anansi, the trickster spider, plays a trick on the other inhabitants of the jungle. He crawls inside a melon to have a bite to eat. When he has had his fill, Anansi discovers he can’t get back out. When Elephant comes along looking for a ripe melon to eat, Anansi decides to play a trick. Safe in his hiding place, Anansi starts talking to Elephant, pretending to be the melon. Elephant gathers his friends to take the talking melon to the king. Anansi thoroughly enjoys himself, tricking everyone with the “talking” melon.
Kimmel, Eric Q.
Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock. Illustrated by Janet Stevens. New York.
Holiday House. 1988.
One day, while walking through the jungle, Anansi the trickster spider comes upon a moss-covered rock. After several mishaps, Anansi discovers the secret, magical powers of the rock. He decides to use the rock to his advantage. He takes several jungle residents to see the strange rock. While they are under the spell of the rock, Anansi takes the opportunity to steal something from each one’s house. He keeps this up until someone catches sight of Anansi playing his trick and turns the tables on him.
Kimmel, Eric A.
Anansi Goes Fishing. Illustrated by Janet Stevens. New York. Holiday
Anansi, the trickster spider, loves fish but is too lazy to catch them. One day he sees Turtle and tries to trick Turtle into giving him fish to eat. Turtle has other plans though. Turtle becomes the trickster, conning Anansi into making a net, catching a fish, and cooking it. This story also falls under the category of pourquoi tale, explaining how spiders learned to spin webs.
Kimmel, Eric A.
The Three Princes. Illustrated by Leonard Everett Fisher. New York. Holiday
The handsome princes - Prince Fahad, Prince Muhammed, and Prince Mohsen – all wish to marry the beautiful princess. She sets them to the task of finding what they think is the rarest thing and bring it back to her in one year’s time. Each prince finds something truly rare, a crystal ball, a flying carpet, and a healing orange. When the Princess falls ill, each prince uses his find to help save her life. Eventually, the Princess is cured and marries the prince who gave up the most to save her life.
Kimmel, Eric A.
Three Sacks of Truth. Illustrated by Robert Rayevsky. New York. Holiday
The king hatches a scheme to get all the delicious peaches he wants. He offers his daughter in marriage to the man who brings him a perfect peach. When his two brothers fail to take the king a perfect peach, it is up to Jean to take a peach to the king and win the princess’s hand. The king, rather than honoring his promise, sets before Jean three tasks he must complete before he may marry the princess. Jean faces the challenges and succeeds through his cunning and kind heart.
Witch Hunt: It Happened in Salem Village. Illustrated by James Watling.
New York. Random House. 1989.
This is an easy-to-read version of the complex story of the panic that overtook Salem Village in the winter of 1692. Ten girls began exhibiting signs of being bewitched. They fell to the floor, screamed and shrieked, and claimed unseen hands were pinching them and pulling on their hair. Eventually, over two hundred people were arrested under suspicion of practicing witchcraft. Of those arrested, nineteen were hung for being witches and many others died in prison. Finally, in the middle of October, the witchcraft trials came to an end. The simply told story tries to explain events that experts are still debating.
Shelia.The Children of Lir. Illustrated by Gennady Spirin. New York.
Dial Books. 1993.
An Irish fairy tale. King Lir has a beautiful wife and four children. When Lir’s wife dies he takes another bride, a selfish, conniving woman. The new queen plots to get rid of Lir’s children, thus having him all to himself. The queen possessed dark powers and turned the children into swans. When Lir learns his children have vanished, he loses his mind and wanders the countryside, looking for his beloved children. Through the intercession of kind-hearted land, air, and sea creatures, Lir’s children are restored whole to him and the evil queen is vanquished.
(Also listed in Award Winning Books)
and Crummel, Susan Stevens. And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon. Illustrated
by Janet Stevens. New York. Harcourt, Inc. 2001.
The Cow, the Cat, and the Dog are left in the lurch when the Dish and the Spoon leave the nursery rhyme. The three friends go off in search of their missing mates and encounter other nursery rhyme characters, puns, and a repair man who puts the quintet back together just in time for their nightly reading.
The Three Billy Goats Gruff. New York. Harcourt Brace Javonovich. 1987.
The Billy goats are hungry. They have eaten all the grass on their side of the bridge. They can see all the sweet, green grass growing on the other side of the bridge. The only thing keeping them from crossing to the grass is the troll who lives under the bridge. The Billy goats come up with a plan and defeat the troll, finally being able to cross over to eat the sweet, green grass.
Caldecott Silver Medal
Stevens, Janet. Tops & Bottoms. New York. Harcourt Brace & Company. 1995.
Bear is too lazy to farm his wonderful land. The rabbits are starving, so Father Rabbit devises a plan to feed his family by using Bear’s land. Father Rabbit makes a deal with Bear to give Bear all of what grows above the ground and the Rabbits will take what grows below the ground. The Rabbits plant root crops, keeping the vegetables and giving Bear only the leafy tops. The Rabbits trick Bear twice more until the Rabbits have enough to eat and Bear decides to farm his land himself.
Stevens, Janet. The Tortoise and the Hare. New York. Holiday House. 1984.
Stevens retells this Aesop fable. Braggart Hare is always teasing Tortoise about being slow. One day Hare challenges Tortoise to a race to see who is the fastest. Hare, being over confident of his abilities, ends up losing to the slower Tortoise.
The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse. New York. Holiday House. 1987.
Stevens retells this Aesop fable of cousins, one a city dweller, one a country dweller. Mishaps occur when they visit each other’s residence. The City Mouse is out of place in the country and vice versa. Each learns the lesson of living where one is most comfortable.
French For Beginners. Illustrated by John Shackell. Chicago. Passport
French For Beginners is an easy way for interested readers to learn a new language. The book is set up so that the left and right pages form one lesson. Readers learn to say many phrases and sentences in French through cute cartoons and explanatory captions. While this book will never replace French class, it is a good way to introduce young readers to another language.
500 Pure Science
Shape Up! Fun With Triangles and Other Polygons. Illustrated by Nancy
Tobin. New York. Holiday House. 1998.
Most people think geometry is boring. Who can remember the difference between a scalene triangle and an equilateral one? With edible tools (cheese, pretzels, and bread), easy to understand explanations, and humorous illustrations, David Adler makes the study of polygons fun and memorable.
Penguin. Photographs by Richard Hewett. New York. Morrow Junior Books.
Caroline Arnold profiles the penguin exhibit at the San Francisco zoo. Her book follows two penguins, Humberto and Domino. Explanations of habitat, diet, and the care of baby penguins are covered in this book. The photographs help readers see exactly how the penguins live and what the different species look like.
Carson, Mary Kay.
The Creepiest, Scariest, Weirdest Creatures Ever! New York. Kidsbooks,
Children are introduced to creatures that are unfamiliar to most people. Each photograph is accompanied with a few short facts relating to the individual animals. The Whitemargin Stargazer is difficult to see among the bits of sand and shell, but its sharp, pointed teeth give it away. The frogfish, looking like bits of seaweed, is one of the more unusual fish among all the unusual animals depicted here.
and Henbest, Nigel. Black Holes. Illustrated by Luciano Corbella. 1996.
This books explains the mystery and physics of black holes in easy to understand terms. Couper and Henbest begin with an explanation of Newton’s Law of Gravity and how Einstein built upon it with his Theory of Relativity. Naked singularities, white holes, and wormholes are explained. Finally, the paradox of time travel is simply explained, along with why you can’t go back in time to kill your grandmother so that you are never born.
Gibbons, Gail. Spiders. New York. Holiday House. 1993.
Gail Gibbons introduces young readers to the study of spiders. She explains, through illustrations, how a spider is different from an insect, where the term arachnid came from, and the different types of webs spiders weave. A good beginner book on the study of spiders.
Gibbons, Gail. Stargazers. New York. Holiday House. 1992.
Told through easy text and illustrations, Gail Gibbons introduces children to the study of the night sky, astronomy. This book contains easy to remember facts about the night sky, tools of the trade, and a brief history of stargazing.
Guiberson, Brenda Z. The Emperor Lays an Egg. Illustrated by Joan Paley. New York. Henry Holt and Company. 2001.
Joan Paley watercolors illustrates this description of what the Emperor Penguin parents go through during the first year of their chick’s life. After laying a single egg, the female Emperor Penguin goes off to feed during the long Antarctic winter. The father cares for the egg for the first four months of its life. The mother takes over for the next three weeks. Then, both parents take over the care of the chick. They teach the chick to toboggan and hunt for food. By the end of the year, the parents are ready to raise another chick in the harsh Antarctic.
Rabe, Tish. There’s
No Place Like Space. Illustrated by Aristides Ruiz. New York. Random
Told in the rhyming style and artwork of Dr. Seuss, this book teaches young children the names of the nine planets, one interesting fact about the planet, and the names of some of the most familiar constellations. This book also includes a short space glossary.
Our Solar System. New York. Morrow Junior Books. 1992.
With beautiful pictures, detailed illustrations, and easy to read test, Seymour Simon teaches children about the planet they live on and the other nearby celestial bodies that make up our solar system.
and Fauteux, Nicole. Let’s Try
It Out in the Water. Illustrated by Doug Cushman. New York. Simon & Schuster
Books for Young Readers. 2001.
This book presents to the reader easy experiments to conduct to explain buoyancy and volume. The reader can easily try to discover how the shape of an object affects its volume, why perception of an object’s volume is not always correct, and why objects float or sink. This book helps children experiment and explain things they notice in their world.
Mammals. New York. Children’s
Mammals is an introductory book for children. Large type, simple text, and colorful pictures help the reader develop a basic understanding the warm-blooded creatures we share this planet with. Stewart begins with an overview of what a mammal is and explains that we, along with lions, tigers, and bears, are all part of the same group. The final chapter of the book is an appeal to the reader to be more responsible to and for the other creatures on this planet because we all share a commonality.
Nibbling on Einstein’s Brain.
Illustrated by Warren Clark. New York. Annick Press. 2001.
There’s good science, there’s bad science, and then there is just plain phony science. How can you tell which is which? This book may help. The author shows how to tell if an scientific experiment has been well done (did the scientist follow the rules for conducting a fair test, has the experiment been replicated). Often, we are presented with bad science. You can decide if a particular experiment is an example of bad science (did the scientist base his/her theory on fact, or just a hunch, can s/he test the theory) or if the science is totally fake (astrology, phrenology). Not only will being able to tell the good from the bad, the reader may become a more skeptical, and wiser, consumer and citizen.
Elaine. Death Trap: The Story of the La Brea Tar Pits. Minneapolis. Lerner
Publications Company. 1995.
Children are fascinated by anything prehistoric. If you ask child where they would find fossils, most would tell that they are dug up from the dirt or found in rock. Few know that fossils can be found elsewhere. This book introduces children to a great bone yard in the middle of a bustling metropolis, Los Angeles. Readers discover how the asphalt was formed, how it trapped (and continues to trap) unsuspecting animals, and why there are more bones from predators than plant-eating animals. A glossary helps the reader understand some of the unfamiliar terms used by archaeologists.
600 Applied Science
Hinshaw. Hugger to the Rescue. New York. Cobblehill Books. 1994.
Rescue dogs save people lost in the woods, buried under an avalanche, or buried beneath tons of rubble. Newfoundlands, or Newfies, have an affinity for rescue work. This breed of dog has natural rescuing instincts. But even with those instincts, Newfies need to be trained for this special jobs. The training begins when they are puppies, building on their natural skills and love for humans. After many months and hundreds of hours of hard work, a Newfie is ready to a be partner of and a help to the humans he loves.
If You Were an Astronaut. New York. Benchmark Books. 1998.
Told through photographs, Virginia Schomp describes what it would be like an astronaut on a space shuttle mission and how they prepare for their space flight here on earth.
The Disaster of the Hindenburg. Toronto. Madison Press Books. 1993.
One of the most visually devastating air disasters of all times was the crash of the Hindenburg. On Thursday, May 6, 1937, at Lakehurst, New Jersey, the Hindenburg was almost at its destination. As the mooring lines were lowered the airship burst into flames. This is the image most people carry of this disaster. But this isn’t the whole picture of the Hindenburg. This book recounts the vision of Ferdinand von Zeppelin, the inventor of the zeppelin airship, the plan of the German government to dominate the skies with their flying airships, and the fateful day when the dream of luxury travel air died in a fiery blaze.
700 Fine Arts
Movie Magic: A Star is Born!. Illustrated by Roger Stewart. London. DK
Told through the eyes of a young girl who has a bit part in a sci-fi movie, this book introduces and explains some of the special effects or ‘movie magic’ we all experience when we watch a movie. Caz goes through the whole process from audition to premier. Along the way she learns about make-up, lighting, sound, and some FX. This book helps deconstruct movies and shows that there is much more to movie making than what is seen up on the screen.
Copier Creations. Illustrated by David Cain. New York. HarperCollins
This how-to books shows children and parents how to make puzzles, decals, stamps, flip books, and more using simple materials and techniques and a copier. The step-by-step directions are well-written and easy to understand. Most steps are illustrated to enhance understanding.
Kalman, Bobbie. Sports From A to Z. New York. Crabtree
In this book, the ABC’s are paired with different sports words and pictures. The author has to stretch some to come up with words for Q, X, Y, and Z. What do you think they may be?
From Pictures to Words: A Book About Making a Book. New York. Holiday
Janet Stevens uses characters from her books to help her show the process of writing a book. She takes the reader from prewriting (coming up with an idea, choosing characters, creating the story) to drafting the story to editing to the final printed copy of the book. Ms. Stevens skillfully shows the reader that books are not created out of thin air, but are the result of a great deal of work and time.
Big Talk, Poems for Four Voices. Illustrated by Beppe Giacobbe New York.
Paul Fleischman’s book is not intended to be read silently. Instead, to appreciate the poetry, it must be performed. The three poems in this book are written for four performers or four separate groups of performers. The poems increase in difficulty and complexity of performance as you work your way through the book.
Awful Ogre’s Awful Day. Illustrated
by Paul O. Zelinsky. New York. Greenwillow Books. 2001.
Jack Pretlutsky’s silly rhymes and Paul Zelinsky’s cartoon illustrations make this a most enjoyable poetry book. A day in the life of Awful Ogre is told through humorous quatrains. Awful Ogre has scream of wheat for breakfast, writes a letter to an ogress, watches ogre TV shows, and at the end of his long day, has a horrifying nightmare about kittens, butterflies, and beautiful meadows.
For Laughing Out Loud. Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman. New York. Alfre
This book is collection of humorous poems selected by Jack Pretlusky. Most of the poems are by unfamiliar poets. But there are some familiar names among the pages. Several of Jack Pretlusky’s poems are included ( Jellyfish Stew, Forty Performing Bananas) as well as those by Shel Silverstein, Arnold Lobel, Ogden Nash, Judith Viorst, and Jane Yolen. This book is a great introduction to poetry for those that think all poetry is dull and boring.
Kid’s London. London. Dorling
Even if you can’t travel to London, you can feel as if you have seen the important sights as you page through this travel guide. Adams lists some of the most famous sights, such as the Tower of London, and some of the sights not normally on the tour, such as the Chessington Amusement Park. Interspersed among the details of the sights are little factoids to make the reading even more enjoyable.
Brooklyn Bridge. New York. Atheneum Books For Young Readers.2001.
At one time, the Brooklyn Bridge was the tallest structure in entire United States! John A. Roebling, a German immigrant, designed and began construction of the bridge in 1867. He was the first of many tragedies which occurred during the building of the bridge. His foot was crushed while he was inspecting the construction site; he died several days later. This book details the difficulties Washington Roebling, and his wife Emily, faced as he strived to complete this most impressive structure.
Gibbons, Gail. Pirates. New York. Holiday House. 1993.
Pirates have fascinated people for centuries. Gail Gibbons explains what pirates are (robbers of the high seas), the history of piracy (they have been around for thousands of years), and some of history’s most famous pirates (Blackbeard and Captain Kidd).
Jakobsen, Kathy. My New York. Boston. Little, Brown and Company. 1993.
Becky is writing to her friend Martin, describing all the things they will see when he comes to visit her in New York City. Many famous NYC landmarks are featured in this book. Most readers who only have a limited knowledge will be amazed at some of the places included, like the home of Baby Watson’s Cheesecake. The book was written in 1993, so the World Trade Center Towers figure prominently in many of the illustrations.
Snowbound: The Tragic Story of the Donner Party. New York. Holiday House.
The Donner Party, in May, 1846, began its ill-fated and infamous journey to California. The story of the Donner Party has been told many times. This rendition, written for children, discusses some of the more general events of this tragic trip. Looking for a faster way to reach California by wagon train, the Donner Party chooses to take an unexplored route. Hoping to shave several weeks off their trip results in tragedy when they are stranded in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with no shelter, and worse, almost no food. What these pioneers had to endure has become the basis for many cautionary tales.
How Would You Survive as an Ancient Greek?. Illustrated by Mark Bergon.
New York. Franklin Watts. 1995.
This choose your own adventure type of book guides readers through ancient Greek life. As you begin your new life in ancient Greece, you must choose a starting place. Will you be a peasant, a craftsman, a soldier, or a nobleman? Every choice will give you a peek into the daily life of each of these people.
Macy, Sue. Bull’s-Eye:
A Photobiography of Annie Oakley. Washington, D.C. National Geographic
Sue Macy, working with the grand-niece of this famous performer, has written this biography. Macy provides new insights into this very famous markswoman and hopes to clear many misconceptions about her. Through time, Annie Oakley has been portrayed by a coarse, illiterate from the south. This book works to correct this and other misinformation about Annie Oakley. Many family photographs illustrate this biography.
Today’s Tejano Heroes. Austin.
Eakin Press. 2000.
According to the author, a Tejano is “a Mexican-American with roots in Texas”. This book profiles sixteen Tejano’s of note. The short biographies tell of people in medicine, law, entertainment, education, and art. The common thread running through each biography is the adversity faced and conquered. Dr. Guadeloupe Quintanilla was thought to be retarded as a child. Since she only spoke Spanish and the IQ test she was given was in English, she failed miserably. It was only after she entered school and learned English did her true intellect get recognized. She eventually earned her Ph.D. in education. Dr. Quintanilla is only one of the many Tejano’s who have contributed their vision and talents to the state of Texas and the United States.
Sherrow, Victoria. Titanic.
New York. Scholastic, Inc. 2001.
This book is designed to be an introduction to the sinking of the HMS Titanic. The information contained is readable for students in second and third grade. While the information provided is simple, for students who have never read about the Titanic, this book details the basic facts about the collision, the sinking, and the rescue of the survivors by the Carpathia. Photographs of the ship from 1912 bring the Titanic alive. An interesting note: this book contains a photograph of the ice berg suspected of being the ice berg which hit the Titanic.
You Wouldn’t Want to Sail on
the Titanic!. Illustrated by David Antram. Brighton. Salariya Book Company,
The reader takes the part of J. Bruce Ismay, managing director of the White Star Line, the company that owned the Titanic. Each page deals with a different aspect of the Titanic’s construction and maiden voyage. Small informational boxes are imbedded in each page and provide additional facts. The glossary at the end of the book provides the reader with explanations of many of the terms used in the book.
Everett. Gutenberg. New York. MacMillan Publishing Company. 1993.
We all owe a debt of gratitude to Johann Gutenberg. He is the reason you are able to pick up a book and enjoy the pleasures reading brings. This simple book reveals the hardships Gutenberg went through to perfect the first printing press with movable type. This printing press made it possible for almost everyone to buy books and learn to read.
Kerby, Mona. Frederick Douglass. New York. Franklin Watts. 1994.
Frederick Douglas was born into slavery on a farm in southern Maryland. At the age of six, he was taken to the plantation to work, forced to leave the only family he had ever known. As Frederick grew, he came to despise slavery, knowing in his heart it was morally wrong. Frederick’s life changed for the better when he was sent to live in Baltimore with Hugh and Sophia Auld. Unknowingly going against the law, Sophia treated Frederick like any other child and taught him how to read. Learning to read became the pathway to freedom and lasting fame for Frederick Augustus Bailey Douglas.
Kerby, Mona. Robert
E. Lee. New Jersey. Enslow Publishers, Inc.1997.
Robert E. Lee, losing general of the Civil War, led a long and interesting life before he rose to notoriety. His childhood taught him responsibility. His father, “Lighthorse” Harry Lee was a famous Revolutionary War hero. But, his father abandoned the family when he was young, leaving them at the mercy of relatives. As a result, he was always conscientiously watched his money. Even though he was frequently away he was a loving father. He served the United States Army for twenty-five years before he resigned his commission because he felt he needed to side with his home-state, Virginia, in the Civil War. Lee was a great general, leading the rebel army to many victories. But, the South could not hold out against the Northern strength. At Appomattox, Lee surrendered to Grant, ending the Civil War. After the War, Lee took a position at Washington College as president of the college. There he lived and worked until his death, setting an example for the students of strength, courage and fortitude.
Love to Langston. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. New York. Lee & Low
Books, Inc. 2002.
In his introduction to this book, Tony Medina states his admiration of Langston Hughes and his work. This book is his homage to Hughes, done in the same poetry style used by Hughes. The illustrations are rough and gritty, giving a sense of the world Langston Hughes lived in. The back of the book contains explanations of each of the poems and the actual events in Hughes’ life which were the basis for the poem.
Mary Lincoln’s Dressmaker. New
York. Walker and Company.1995.
Elizabeth Keckley had a way with a needle and thread. Born into slavery, she used her talents to buy her freedom. Once free she moved to Washington, D.C. and opened a dressmaker’s shop. She clothed the wives of senators and congressmen. She hoped to enlist the president’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, as a client. Once she became the dressmaker to the President’s wife, she was privy to some of the most intimate goings on in the White House during the Civil War. Because of her association with Mary Todd Lincoln, Elizabeth Keckley was privileged to know some of the greatest men to ever serve our country.
Stephen King, Master of Horror. Minneapolis. Lerner Publications Company.
Anne Saidman looks at Stephen King’s stories and movies, weaving the big events of his life into the narrative. She shows the movies that had an effect on him when he was a child, and how these same movies influenced his later writing. She also shows a side of him most readers don’t know, that of a man involved in his community. Saidman lists the great things Stephen King and his wife Tabitha have done for their hometown of Bangor, Maine. Saidman shows that Stephen King is more than just an author, but also a humanitarian.
Taylor, David. Adolf Hitler. Chicago. Heinemann Library. 2002.
Adolf Hitler. The name conjures many images: madman, dictator, fiend. It is hard to understand what drove Adolf Hitler to incite WWII and cause the deaths of millions of people. David Taylor gives background information as to the events of Hitler’s childhood and the effect WWI had on the German people. These events formed Hitler’s ideas and opinions, which eventually led him to become supreme dictator, or der Fuhrer, of Germany and all the lands his army conquered. The book is easy to read and the little fact boxes, interspersed through the text, make history more alive and understandable.
Winter, Jonah. Frida. Illustrated by Ana Juan. New York. Scholastic Press. 2002.
The tragic and painful life of artist Frida Kahlo is retold in this lovely children’s book. Frida contracted polio at the age of seven. During her convalescence she discovered the power of art to free her spirit and fill her lonely days. After she recovered she continued to paint and draw. At the age of 18 she was involved in a terrible bus accident. Once again, it was art which helped her give the strength to survive her injuries. Her art sustains her throughout her life. Her paintings are unique and still grace the walls of art museums all over the world.
Wukovits, John F. Stephen King. San Diego. Lucent Press. 1999.
Stephen King is one of the most well-know and prolific writers of our time. His stories have chilled and thrilled his reads for more than a quarter of a century. His life is as interesting as any of his novels. When he was only four years old, his father abandoned his family. Stephen and his brother have never seen him since. The King’s endured hard poverty. When Stephen was little they had no indoor plumbing– only an outhouse and a hand-pump well. With no money for toys, Stephen had to entertain himself with his imagination. This he did, writing down his ideas in stories which he later sold. Many of the events in his stories are taken from actual events in his own life. Stephen King’s life and imagination continue to entertain and scare his many loyal readers.
Last updated 7/9/03