Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas

Black History Month is coming up in February. Celebrate by reading the incredible picture book Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas by Gwendolyn Hooks and illustrated by Colin Bootman, which honors the life of an inspiring man who deserves special recognition.

Vivien Thomas wanted to go to college and study medicine, but the money he had saved to go to school was wiped out when the stock market crashed at the beginning of the Great Depression. Instead, he found a job working for Dr. Alfred Blalock at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Blalock saw Vivien’s potential and taught him how to do medical research. Regardless of the roadblocks thrown at him because of his race and lack of degrees, Vivien Thomas developed medical techniques still saving babies’ lives today.

On her website, Gwendolyn Hooks explains it took her six years to research and write this book. The depth of knowledge and attention to detail shows. She also explains Vivien’s unusual name. She says his parents had picked out the girl’s name Vivian, but when they had a boy, they quickly changed the “a” to an “e.” A unique name for a unique man.

It would be impossible to review this book without mentioning Colin Bootman’s fabulous watercolor illustrations. They set just the right tone to accompany the thoughtful text.

Besides being an obvious choice for Black History month, Tiny Stitches fits in the curriculum a number of ways. For STEM, it could accompany units on the human body (see the discussion of Tetralogy of Fallot and a “Glossary of Medical Terms” in the back matter), and to show how the development of new technology (like tiny needles) is important to medical research. It is an excellent choice to learn about biographies, what they contain and how they are written. Another idea: elementary schools often have wax museums or other events were student dress up and portray famous historical figures. Vivien Thomas would be an ideal subject to inform and inspire future generations.

Tiny Stitches is an outstanding picture book biography. Share a copy with a child soon. Who knows where it might lead.

Related:

Age Range: 7 – 12 years
Grade Level: 2 – 6
Publisher: Lee & Low Books (May 15, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1620141566
ISBN-13: 978-1620141564

 

Disclosure: This book was supplied by the publisher for review purposes. 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.

nonfictionmonday

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

#Cybils: 2016 Children’s Book Finalists Announced Today

New Year’s Day is always exciting for a number of reasons, but the best is the announcement of the 2016 children’s book finalists for all the categories of Cybils Awards.

Let’s take a peek at some of the nonfiction finalists in the elementary/juvenile category. There are an unusually large number of books listed this year:  fourteen! I suspect it is because of the high number of awesome books that were nominated. Here are some of the highlights:

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear* by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

(*Amazon affiliate links)

This one just “bearly” made the nomination period because it was published in October of 2015. In fact, it was the 2016 winner of the Caldecott Medal. It’s a heart-warming story about a real bear named Winnie (after the town of Winnipeg) who eventually found a home at the London Zoo.

Plants Can’t Sit Still by Rebecca E. Hirsch and illustrated by Mia Posada.

Although they can’t run around like some animals can, plants can move quite a bit. Sunflowers follow the sun, tendrils can creep around, and seeds can shoot away. A deeper look into the life of plants.

Isn’t the cover beautiful?

Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White by Melissa Sweet

I’m beginning to see why there are so many finalists this year. Melissa Sweet is such a wonderful illustrator, and what better topic for a children’s book than E. B. White? No wonder this book was a Caldecott Honor book.

The Slowest Book Ever by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Kelly Murphy

As a middle grade title, this book is longer than some of the other finalists. That’s because April Pulley Sayre “takes her time” delving into the topic. Could also be titled The Most Fun Book Ever.

Will’s Words: How William Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk by Jane Sutcliffe and illustrated by John Shelley

Word play is popular around my house, so I can appreciate this choice. It introduces children both to Shakespeare’s plays and to the “household words” that have became part of our everyday vocabulary.

The Inventors of LEGO® Toys (Awesome Minds) by Erin Hagar and illustrated by Paige Garrison

Given the popularity of LEGO® Toys, this book is sure to reel in a bunch of reluctant readers.

If you are looking for great books for kids of all ages, be sure to visit the Cybils Awards website.

@SueFliess Has Two New Little Golden Books Out

I know, I said I was on sabbatical here at Wrapped in Foil, but I just had to quickly mention that Sue Fliess has two new Little Golden Books for the youngest readers (see recent post about two of her other books). If you have or know some young children, you will want to take a look at these.

Puppy Princess by Sue Fliess and illustrated Steven Salerno

Preschoolers are sure to learn some new words while they follow a busy puppy princess through her day.

 

Age Range: 2 – 5 years
Publisher: Golden Books (July 12, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0553512099
ISBN-13: 978-0553512090

Bella’s New Baby by Sue Fliess and illustrated by Violet Lemay

A prefect book to introduce children to the idea a new sibling is on the way.

Age Range: 2 – 5 years
Publisher: Golden Books (January 12, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0553510649
ISBN-13: 978-0553510645

Disclosure: This book was supplied by the publisher for review purposes. 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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Taking a Sabbatical from Reviewing Children’s Books

When I started Wrapped in Foil blog on January 6, 2009 I wrote, “Seems to be a little crazy to be starting another blog right now.” I went ahead and did it anyway. Now seven years later, it’s time to take a break.

The reason I will no longer be posting here isn’t very dramatic. It’s simply because I’m writing a novel (or two or three) and I have too many blogs to keep them all active at the same time. As a very wise woman recently told me, we don’t have forever to complete our projects. It’s time for me to do my own writing, unfortunately at the expense of promoting other people’s books and children’s literacy.

I want to thank my loyal followers and fellow bloggers for being such a wonderful children’s book community. I will miss you.

If you would like to continue following my work, please visit It’s a Mystery Blog or Roberta Gibson Writes where I’ll be sharing information about my writing journey. I will also still review children’s science books at Growing With Science and Science Books for Kids.  Hope to see you there.

poppy II

 

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