Midnight Teacher #kidlit for Women’s History Month

For Women’s History Month, let’s take a look at the fantastic new historical fiction picture book, Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School by Janet Halfmann and illustrated by London Ladd.

What do you do if you find hints that there’s a fascinating person in history, but you can only find a few tantalizing mentions of her existence? What if the person’s name changed in the records, making it nearly impossible to get more information? If you are Janet Halfmann, you don’t give up.

Janet Halfmann followed the thread through history by tracing ancestral records. Once she contacted Lilly Ann Granderson’s descendants, she was able to pull together more of the story. This book is the result of persistent sleuthing and it paid off. Although this had to be a work of historical fiction because of the scarcity of details, Janet Halfmann built it on a solid foundation of historical fact.

Why did Halfmann want to tell this story so much? As an enslaved woman growing up in the 1820s and 1830s, Lilly Ann Granderson wasn’t allowed to learn read. Regardless, when her master’s children played school she joined in and used an old speller to teach herself. Later, she shared her learning with many other slaves. She held school at midnight so the owners wouldn’t find out, at the threat of a painful punishment if she were caught. She knew the ability to read was important enough to risk the consequences and she was dedicated to learning. She stood up and made a difference in the lives of those around her, and those who came after.

Adding tension to the story, London Ladd’s acrylic illustrations give just the right touch of drama. Check out his artistic process, starting from rough sketches. He even acts out the scenes and takes photographs of himself to help capture the mood.

Midnight Teacher would be perfect for Women’s History Month, but it also would be great for reluctant readers who might just be inspired to try harder by Lilly Ann Granderson’s dedication to education. Pick up a copy to share today!

Related:

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Lee & Low Books; Illustrated edition (February 13, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1620141639
ISBN-13: 978-1620141632

Disclosures: This book was provided electronically 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: Observing Nature with Grandma is a Slowpoke

Are you the type to stop and smell the roses?

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I have to admit that when we go for a hike in my family, I’m the one who always gets left behind. Not only do I smell the roses, I check for insects, admire the colors and probably take a photograph or two. That’s why I really enjoyed Janet Halfmann‘s new picture book, Grandma Is a Slowpoke, illustrated by Michele Coxon.

Told in the first person from the point of view of a young girl, this sweet story takes the reader on a walk through the woods. The girl is eager to be off, but Grandma is a slowpoke. She wants to stop and observe the animals around her. They discover much as they watch squirrels, geese and even ants along the way.

Even though the story might seem simple on the surface, it actually runs deep with meaning. It is a commentary on the importance of slowing down in our fast, fast, rush, rush society. It is also a gentle commentary on what time spent with grandmothers might have to offer. With the increasing fragmentation of families, our culture may be forgetting the enormous value of a little quality time with an older relative.

The back matter includes two pages of additional animal facts about the animals encountered in the story.

Grandma is a Slowpoke is perfect for sharing at story time, at bedtime, and any time in between. With so much to discover in these pages, be prepared to read it again and again.

 

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Where is your favorite place to take a nature walk?

Publisher: Star Bright Books (February 15, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1595727108
ISBN-13: 978-1595727107

Disclosure: This book was supplied by the author 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.

Award -Winning New Picture Book: Animal Teachers

Author Janet Halfmann, long a favorite here at Wrapped in Foil,  has a lovely new nonfiction picture book out:  Animal Teachers, illustrated by Katy Hudson.

Have you ever wondered how nonhuman animals learn things like what to eat, how to drink, and how to stay dry? Are they born knowing or does someone teach them?

This fabulous picture book describes several examples of  parents teaching their offspring. Some of the examples in the book will probably surprise you. Did you know that baby elephants need to be taught to drink or that baby otters might need lessons in swimming?

The book is written in what could be described as a “reverse Q & A,” because in each two-page spread Janet tells about what a baby animal learns from its parents and then asks a few questions of the child reader relating to that topic. The conversational tone is a wonderful way to engage the reader and leads to much deeper discussions of the topics.

At the end are two pages of additional bullet point facts about the animals featured in the text. These are just the kind of facts that young readers absorb like sponges and then “teach” to their classmates.

Katy Hudson’s delightful illustrations are filled with color and action. You can feel the cheetah running across the plains and the mother bear getting splashed with cold water as it scoops up a fish. You want to reach out and touch the soft little chicks. Even the end papers are filled with colorful nature scenes.

You will definitely want to share this fascinating and sweet book with the animal lovers in your family. It would also be a fantastic resource for the classroom, allowing students to discover new things about animals and learning. It is likely to generate some lively discussions.

Animal Teachers has been nominated in the 2014 Cybils elementary/middle grade nonfiction category and has already won the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio 2014 Gold Best award.

Cybils-Logo-2014-Round-Sm1See Growing With Science for related information and activity suggestions.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Hardcover: 36 pages
Publisher: Blue Apple Books (September 2, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1609053915
ISBN-13: 978-1609053918

Disclosures: These book were provided by the author 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 not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

 

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

nonfictionmonday

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

 

Home in the Cave by Janet Halfmann

Janet Halfmann has been a popular author here at Wrapped In Foil. She has a new picture book out, Home in the Cave, illustrated by Shennen Bersani, published by Sylvan Dell. It fills the niche for young readers who prefer reading fiction, yet benefit from facts and details of nonfiction. The best part is the book comes with a free teaching activity guide (51 pages!), available for download at Sylvan Dell.

The story follows main character Baby Bat, who isn’t sure he wants to learn how to fly because it will mean leaving the safety of his cave. Through an accident, he meets Pluribus Packrat. Pluribus shows him all the amazing cave creatures that depend on bats for their existence. Will Baby Bat find the courage to fly out to find food outside the cave and keep the food web going?

Included in the back of the book is a section called “For Creative Minds.” It gives a lot more information about caves and the animals that live in them. There are quizzes, such as distinguishing living things from non-living. On the following two-page spread is a hands-on activity about bat echolocation, a compare and contrast activity looking at bats, birds and humans, and an open-ended discussion of whether bats are good or bad.

For staunch fans of fiction, Home in the Cave is a way to stretch their wings into stories with an informational slant. Backed by tons of educational materials, it has benefits for fans of nonfiction as well.

Related posts about Janet Halfmann’s books:

Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing (February 10, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1607185229
ISBN-13: 978-1607185222

Electronic copy of the book was provided for review purposes.