#Nonfiction Monday Dream Big and a Reading Challenge

Tomorrow is a big day.

First, all the shortlists for the 2018 Cybils awards will be announced. We’ll have more about that in our next post.

Plus, tomorrow is the beginning of a brand new year. Let’s celebrate with a picture book that has a great New Year’s message, Dream Big: A True Story of Courage and Determination by Dave McGillivray and Nancy Feehrer, and illustrated by Ron Himler.

When I was little, I was little.
Really little.
But my dreams? They were BIG.

So starts Dave McGillivray’s autobiographical picture book.

Dave really wanted to be an athlete, but his small size kept him out of many sports. But he didn’t let that stop him. On his twelfth birthday he started running. By the time he was 17, he decided to give the nearby Boston Marathon a try. The first year wasn’t the success he had hoped, but he has managed to run every Boston Marathon for the last 45 years. The best part is that not only is he a world-renowned athlete, but also he’s the race director.

Included in the back is a timeline of Dave’s first successful race, plus Dream Big activity suggestions (see more about that below).

Dave’s Dream Big attitude is infectious. Check out a copy and get inspired today!

Activity Suggestion:

To accompany the book, Dave McGillivray suggests running 26 miles, reading 26 books, and performing 26 acts of kindness all over over the span of 26 weeks.  There’s a guide to download at his website.

Reading 26 books in a year is a good challenge, too.

Other Reading Challenges:

Reading challenges are great ways to discover new passions, learn new skills, and try new things. Just make sure the goals are enjoyable and reasonable.

Brightly has monthly reading challenges that are a fun mix of activities and suggested books at the bottom. Check out this one for January. (I’m thinking about doing some of these.)

Feed Your Fiction has a monster list of reading challenges, including some kidlit ones (scroll down).

Please let us know about any others.

Age Range: 7 – 12 years
Publisher: Nomad Press (March 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 9781619306189
ISBN-13: 978-1619306189
ASIN: 1619306182

 

Disclosure: The book was provided 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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#Nonfiction Monday Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover

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

Today we’re featuring the picture book, Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover by Markus Motum.

 

Told in the first person by the rover herself, the text explains the project in detail. Readers discover the initial concept, how the rover was constructed, about the trip to Mars, how the rover was deployed, and the tools she uses on the planet to look for evidence of life.

Markus Motum is an artist by training and his unusual mixed-media illustrations are what capture the reader’s attention about the book, starting with the big red planet Mars set against the blackness of space on the title page. He uses geometric shapes like triangles, rectangles, and pyramids in his landscapes. The shapes create a feeling of other worldliness that carries throughout.

The only negative aspect of the book is that the text is often very small and on some pages the text is blue or another dark color against a black background. The small font allows for a lot of information to be packed into a page, but it will be difficult for struggling readers with eye problems to make out the words, and it will be impossible for teachers or librarians to try to read aloud in front of a group.

Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover will be a good choice for kids fascinated by our solar system and the rovers that help us explore it. It would also be a useful resource for research projects and classroom use because it is packed with information. Check out a copy today.

Suggested Activity

Check NASA’s Mars for Kids website to learn more about Curiosity and for hands on activities.

This video explains Curiosity’s mission.

This one shows Curiosity’s position on Mars in an interactive way. Cool!

If you’d like to read more, try our growing list of children’s books about the planets and solar system at Science Books for Kids.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Candlewick; First Edition edition (March 13, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0763695041
ISBN-13: 978-0763695040

Disclosure: The book was provided by our 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.

#Nonfiction Monday The Girl Who Drew Butterflies

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

I’ve been meaning to review the middle grade biography The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman for a few months now. Why haven’t I? Perhaps I’ve wanted to keep this gorgeous book all to myself.

Maria Sibylla Merian was a woman far ahead of her time. She was an artist, a scientist, and a bold adventurer who traveled to Surinam during the 1600s all wrapped up in one. So right off the bat, this is the biography of an interesting person.

When I say this book is gorgeous, I’m not kidding. Starting with the gold lettering and border on the cover, to the menagerie of Merian’s butterfly and caterpillar illustrations in the endpapers, to Joyce Sidman’s own color photographs of insect life stages, The Girl Who Drew is a visual feast.

Even the chapter titles are creative. Each is a stage during insect metamorphosis that parallels Maria’s own development:  Egg, Hatching, First Instar, etc. It also reflects her intense interest in how animals develop from stage to stage. How clever is that?

Don’t underestimate the historical information, either. Readers learn about what life was like during the 1600s. Throw in old maps and oodles of back matter and you have a book that has lasting power.

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies is a treat for budding artists and scientists alike. Be inspired by a copy today.

Public domain artwork by Maria Sibylla Merian

Age Range: 10 – 12 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (February 20, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0544717139
ISBN-13: 978-0544717138

Disclosure: The book was provided 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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Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

#Nonfiction Monday Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor

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

For Nonfiction Monday we have the picture book biography Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles by Patricia Valdez and illustrated by Felicita Sala.

Fascinated by reptiles from an early age, Joan Procter found a mentor in Dr. George Boulenger who was the curator of reptiles and fish at the Natural History Museum. She became his assistant at a young age and took over his position when he retired. She mixed art and science, doing scientific research and creating exhibits at the Museum at the same time. Later, after designing a reptile house at the London Zoo, she formed a special bond with the most unlikely animal, a huge Komodo dragon.

Joan Procter was a person ahead of her time and she probably don’t get the recognition she deserved because of it. From the catchy title on in, Patricia Valdez has done her part to shine the light on this amazing woman whose passion for reptiles helped her forge new paths for women as scientists. Valdez has chosen anecdotes from Procter’s life, like taking a small crocodile to math class, that are sure to engage and thrill young readers.

Like a chameleon, Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor will fit many lessons. Pull out a copy not only for Women’s History Month, but also for a STEM lesson on reptiles or the lives of scientists. It is perfect for history buffs and budding scientists alike.

Activity Suggestions:

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (March 13, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0399557253
ISBN-13: 978-0399557255

Check out our growing list of biographies of women scientists at Science Books for Kids.

 

Disclosure: The book was provided by the publisher for Cybils 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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Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.