#Nonfiction Monday #Cybils: Chris Barton’s Picture Book Bio of Barbara Jordan

Let’s explore some of the fantastic nonfiction children’s books that have been nominated for 2018 Cybils awards.

Today we have the inspiring new picture book What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan by Chris Barton and illustrated by Ekua Holmes.

Barbara Charline Jordan was born in Houston, Texas in 1936. Before long, she was known for her oratory skills. She recited poetry and gave speeches in school. After she graduated from law school, her speaking skills led her into politics. Eventually, she was elected to the U. S. Congress where she fought against discrimination.

You can hear Barbara Jordan’s voice in the rhythm of Chris Barton’s brilliant text.

That voice
That big, bold, booming, crisp, clear, confident voice.
It caused folks to sit right up, stand up straight, and take notice.

The alliteration of the adjectives adds to the effect.

He also repeats the title throughout for emphasis:

“What do you do with a voice like that?

Ekua Holmes’s mixed media illustrations capture the time, which was the late 1960s and early 1970s. They are as bright and bold as Barton’s text.

The back matter consists of an author’s note and a two-page spread time line. In it readers discover that Barbara Jordan, who retired early from public service because she had multiple sclerosis, died too young at 59.

What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? begs to be read aloud. Pull it out for Black History Month, for Women’s History Month, and for all the months of the year. Barbara Jordan’s voice should be remembered.

Activity Suggestion:

Check YouTube for some of Barbara Jordan’s speeches.

Sidebar:  How long does it take for a book to be published?

In the back matter, Chris Barton says he started writing the book in 2013. On his blog, he announced he had sold the text to Beach Lane Book in September of 2015. The book was published last month on September 25, 2018, the final step in a five year process!

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Beach Lane Books (September 25, 2018)
ISBN-10: 9781481465618
ISBN-13: 978-1481465618

 

Disclosure: The book was provided by my local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

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Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog. (Note:  this is a new URL for October 2018).

Practical #Kidlit: Let’s Hatch Chicks

Just in time for spring, meet Violet the Lavender Orpington hen and learn all about the life cycle of chickens in Let’s Hatch Chicks!: Explore the Wonderful World of Chickens and Eggs by Lisa Steele and illustrated by Perry Taylor.

 

When my son was in fourth grade, his teacher incubated eggs in the classroom. One weekend it was our turn to bring the incubator home and take care of the eggs. My son was thrilled and followed the instructions he had been given closely. He was even more excited when a few days later, the chicks that he had helped take care of began to hatch. Learning how the care for another creature was a valuable experience.

The new picture book, Let’s Hatch Chicks!: Explore the Wonderful World of Chickens, would be a great resource to accompany an egg incubation project. It gives context (that the eggs come from a hen), gives detailed information about what is happening inside the egg as it develops, and discusses how to care for the chicks once they hatch. Important vocabulary words are bold in the text, plus there’s an extensive glossary in the back matter.

Lisa Steele is an expert on keeping chickens and her knowledge shines through (see her website/blog: Fresh Eggs Daily). Even though I grew up on a farm where we had free range chickens, I learned a few things from reading the book. I didn’t know that some breeds of chickens have five toes on each foot, rather than the standard four. I also didn’t know the behavior of clucking to call chicks to food was called “tidbitting.” It is a sound that reminds me of my childhood.

The book has a nice look and feel. Perry Taylor’s illustrations are fabulous.  His chickens are so expressive, and the lavender/gray, and yellow and green color palette set the tone for spring.

Overall, Let’s Hatch Chicks! is exactly what educators look for in quality nonfiction picture books. A perfect choice not only for children who are experiencing chicken raising first hand, but also for those who might be curious about it and have not had the opportunity. Delightful!

See the author talk about the book and meet a chick in this video:

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Young Voyageur; 1 edition (Imprint of Quarto Group)(January 9, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0760357854
ISBN-13: 978-0760357859

Disclosures: This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

#Kidlit Imagine That! Biography of Dr. Seuss by Judy Sierra

Okay, I keep saying I’m going to quit reviewing while I write my own children’s books. Whenever I say it, of course I find something like the terrific new picture book biography Imagine That!: How Dr. Seuss Wrote The Cat in the Hat by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes and I just can’t stop myself from raving about it.

Writing a picture book biography of famous and highly prolific author Dr. Seuss is a hugely daunting task. Author Judy Sierra could have had problems if she had tried to cover his entire life. Instead she wisely narrows her topic to a limited window of time. She gives the essence of his life in a small capsule. It’s brilliant.

To set the stage, the author describes what kids might have been doing in 1954. Then, using just the right rhythmic tone, she reveals how it came about that Dr. Seuss began writing The Cat in the Hat that year. Next comes the central message:  given the struggles Dr. Seuss had writing the book using a limited vocabulary list, he could have easily given up. Instead he persevered, dug deep into his creative toolbox, and ultimately was successful. It is an important message delivered with a light touch.

The text isn’t the whole package, either. Kevin Hawkes’s illustrations are delightful as well, paying playful homage to Dr. Seuss’s style.

The bottom line is Imagine That!: How Dr. Seuss Wrote The Cat in the Hat is simply a picture perfect picture book biography. Check out a copy today.

Related Activity:

Have this book on hand for NEA’s Read Across America Day which is held every year on Theodore Seuss Geisel’s birthday. This year it will be Friday, March 2, 2018.

Of course, the biography should be accompanied by reading The Cat in the Hat.

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (September 12, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0553510975
ISBN-13: 978-0553510973

Disclosure: This book was from our local library. I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

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Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

Reaching New Heights in #Kidlit If You Were the Moon by @LauraPSalas

Laura Purdie Salas has long been one of our favorite authors (see previous reviews for Water Can Be… and A Leaf Can Be…) In her newest, If You Were the Moon* illustrated by Jaime Kim, Salas reaches new heights.

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Combining spare, imaginative text with denser scientific explanations, this book has potential for a multitude of uses. It can be a lovely bedtime book, the basis for a language arts lesson, or a great accompaniment to a lesson on the solar system.

Salas must inspire her illustrators to greatness, because Jaime Kim’s art positively shines.

If You Were the Moon is a must have for budding astronomers and poets everywhere.

See for yourself in this book trailer:

Related Activities:

1. Visit Laurie Purdie Salas’s website for downloadable teaching guides (long and short versions) and other goodies.

2. In the longer teaching guide, the author reveals that If You Were the Moon began as a list poem. Some of the earliest list poems were by Sei Shonogan, a Japanese writer/poet who lived around the year 1000. Here’s an example from The Pillow Book:

Things that Pass by Rapidly

A boat with its sail up.
People’s age.
Spring. Summer. Autumn. Winter.
~ Sei Shonogan

My own example (see more here):

Things my cat George likes:
Rubbing faces when he gets up in the morning
A dropped Cheerio
The top of the cat-scratching post
Chasing ping-pong balls down the stairs
Things I like:
My cat George

Encourage children to try writing a list poem.

3. See our growing list of poetry books about space at Science Books for Kids.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Millbrook Press (March 1, 2017)
ISBN-10: 146778009X
ISBN-13: 978-1467780094