#Nonfiction Monday The Story of Civil War Hero Robert Smalls

 

Great news for older readers:  author Janet Halfmann has developed her acclaimed 2008 picture book Seven Miles to Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story into a new chapter book in Lee & Low’s The Story of… series, The Story of Civil War Hero Robert Smalls, also illustrated by Duane Smith.

Born into slavery in South Carolina, young Robert Smalls worked his way up to the esteemed position as a wheelman on a wooden steamboat named the Planter that carried supplies for the Confederate army. With patience and ingenuity, he developed a plan to take his family on the boat and make a daring run for freedom. Would it work?

To help flesh out the book, Janet Halfmann delved deeply into the history of the Civil War to give background and context to the story. She added sidebars — like the one on slavery in the selection below –to extend the original story. She also  created a timeline, glossary, and recommended reading list.

Boat enthusiasts and budding engineers are going to love the sidebar about the steam-powered boat, the Planter. You can almost hear the hiss of the steam and the slap of the paddles hitting the water.

Janet Halfmann also includes a sidebar with the story of another daring escape to freedom, this time by a young woman who stowed away in wedding chest that was really no more than a large box. Readers will hold their breath waiting to see if she succeeds.

The daring escape in The Story of Civil War Hero Robert Smalls is what will likely initially attract readers, but it is the fascinating history that will keep them reading. This book is perfect for unit on the Civil War or for Black History Month. Delve into a copy today!

Related and Activity Suggestions:

1. Check out the Teacher’s Guide for Seven Miles to Freedom, which has many ideas that can be used with this book as well.

2. Consider a science/engineering project of building a paddle boat. We have some ideas about boat propulsion at Growing with Science to get you started.

3. See Writing and Illustrating blog for an interview with Janet Halfmann about the book.

Age Range: 8 – 11 years
Publisher: Lee & Low Books (February 25, 2020)
ISBN-10: 1643790161
ISBN-13: 978-1643790169

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

#Nonfiction Monday Wood, Wire, Wings by @kirstenwlarson

Just in time for Women’s History Month we have the picture book biography Wood, Wire, Wings: Emma Lilian Todd Invents an Airplane by Kirsten W. Larson and illustrated by Tracy Subisak.

*****

Emma Lilian Todd loved to tinker. As a child she made a weather vane and took apart a clock. As an adult, she made model airplanes and tested their designs until she was ready to build a real one. Could she achieve her dreams and get a flying machine off the ground?

With text that soars, Kirsten W. Larson reveals the compelling story of a woman whose contributions might otherwise be forgotten. She draws young readers in and establishes the setting with a fascinating collection of inventions made around the time Lilian Todd was growing up. She then cements their interest with details of Lilian’s childhood love of tinkering. Finally, she uses Lilian Todd’s own words to describe what she was thinking during the significant events of her young life.

Tracy Subisak’s lovely illustrations lend just the right amount of airiness to match the theme of flight. At times it seems like young Lilian might fly right off the page. Learn more about Tracy Subisak and how she created the illustrations in a recent interview at Writing and Illustrating Blog.

Wood, Wire, Wings: Emma Lilian Todd Invents an Airplane will thrill young inventors as well as budding historians. It is also a perfect example of how picture book biographies should be done. Check out a copy today!

Related activities:

A book about a maker -tinkerer- inventor begs to be extended with activities.

1. Visit a museum that celebrates the early pioneers of flight.

Glenn Curtiss Museum

2. Make a paper airplane.

Encourage youngsters to make their own paper model airplanes and fly them.

Check our How to Make a Paper Airplane Pinterest board for suggestions.

paper-airplane-pinterest-board3. What better month than windy March to make and fly a kite?

 

 

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Calkins Creek (February 25, 2020)
ISBN-10: 1629799386
ISBN-13: 978-1629799384

Disclosure: The book was provided electronically 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.

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

Also read for the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2020

#Nonfiction Monday and #NFFEST: The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon

Today we have a nonfiction picture book biography that is out of this world, The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon: The True Story of Alan Bean by  Dean Robbins and illustrated by Sean Rubin.

Pete Conrad and Alan Bean were the third and fourth people to walk on the moon, but they aren’t the household names their predecessors Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong are. This picture book helps correct that omission and bring Alan Bean’s story to the next generation of readers.

Dean Robbins doesn’t present Alan Bean’s life in strict chronological order. Instead he captures the reader’s imagination with the tension of the spacecraft launching, then interrupts the flight and goes back in time to Alan’s childhood interest in model airplanes, and later in painting as a hobby.  The back story helps readers understand how Bean began painting again after he retired and why he considered himself to be an artist.

As to be expected, the illustrations are amazing. They combine the look of Alan Bean’s art with Sean Rubin’s skillful images. The highlight is a wordless two-page spread of the surface of the moon with the shadows of the two astronauts in the foreground and the blue, spherical Earth in the distance. Wow!

Check out the trailer to see what I mean:


Isn’t it cool that Dean Robbins knew and worked with Alan Bean, who helped to to create the book? That personal knowledge and access adds such depth.

The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon will thrill budding astronauts and artists alike. Be inspired by a copy today!

Related activities:

Check out the activity suggestions on Dean Robbins website (scroll to half way down the page).

 

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Orchard Books (May 28, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1338259539
ISBN-13: 978-1338259537

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.

For an assignment  at NF Fest

Also part of reading for the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2020

As well as Nonfiction Monday

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

#Nonfiction Monday Hello Crochet Friends

At the end of the month on January 31, 2020 we’re participating in Multicultural Children’s Book Day. But  there are way too many wonderful multicultural/diverse books to limit ourselves to just one day.

Let’s get started with the inspiring picture book autobiography, Hello, Crochet Friends!: Making Art, Being Mindful, Giving Back: Do What Makes You Happy by Jonah Larson and Jennifer Larson, with photographs by Erin Harris.

 

Jonah Larson is a phenomenon. Born in Ethiopia, a family from Wisconsin, adopted him when he was an infant. Later he struggled at school until one day — at five years old — he picked up a crochet hook. Soon crocheting became his passion and it has changed his life. Now he says he wants to share the joy of crocheting with everyone.

Although this is an autobiography, Jonah tells one part of his story and his adoptive mother Jennifer Larson tells another part. The duel points of view are poignant.  Jonah also shares one crochet pattern (this is NOT a how-to book).

I was so impressed with the map that shows the location of all his crochet friends from around the world. He really is spreading the joy.

Hello Crochet Friends! is a one-of-a-kind book about a one-of-a-kind boy.  It might just inspire readers to find their own passions.

Related:

Jonah shares his projects on the Jonah’s Hands website. Check out the videos and see his enthusiam for yarn and crocheting for yourself.

Age Range: 5 – 12 years
Publisher: KWiL Publishing (July 23, 2019)
ISBN-10: 0999143700
ISBN-13: 978-0999143704

 

Disclosure:  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.

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