#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.

#Nonfiction Monday #Kidlit Always Looking Up by Laura Gehl

Movies, plays, and books about pioneering women in STEM are now receiving main stream attention. Take, for example, Katherine Goble, Mary Jackson, and Dorthy Vaghan who stole the show in the film,  Hidden Figures. Recently our local theater featured the play Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson based on the life of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt. It is an exciting trend.

In the same vein, today we’re highlighting the new children’s book, Always Looking Up: Nancy Grace Roman, Astronomer  by Laura Gehl and illustrated by Louise Pigott and  Alex Oxton.

 

Known affectionately as the mother of the Hubble Telescope, Nancy Grace Roman was passionate about studying space from an early age. However, she had problems with her vision and and gender stereotypes got in the way of  her goal. She learned how to work hard and be persistent to overcome the obstacles, then used those skills to drive the Hubble telescope project to success.

Author Laura Gehl has the science background — with a PhD in Neuroscience — but she also totally understands young readers. The text is lively and includes the right amount of detail.  For example, when the Hubble Telescope began sending back data from space, expectations were high.

“But the first images were blurry. And hopes plummeted like a falling meteorite.”

She uses a space-related term to playfully invoke the emotions of the scientists during this crisis.

Louise Pigott and Alex Oxton express Nancy Grace’s passion for space with imaginative illustrations, particularly the deep blue and black panoramas of the night skies. The art also evokes the loneliness and isolation she must have felt at times.

The back matter is also well done. It includes an “Author’s Note” and an extensive “Timeline” of Nancy Grace Roman’s life from 1925 to her death in 2018 at 93 years old.

Always Looking Up is sure to inspire budding astronomers and historians alike. Investigate a copy today!

Activity Suggestions:

– Explore Hubble Telescope Images at NASA

This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows IC 4653, a galaxy just above 80 million light-years from Earth.

 

For even more about pioneering women, see our growing lists of children’s book biographies:

  1.  21+ Children’s Books About Women Scientists
  2.  Women Who Count (mathematicians)

at Science Books for Kids.

 

Age Range: 5 – 7 years
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company; None edition (October 1, 2019)
ISBN-10: 0807502960
ISBN-13: 978-0807502969

 

Disclosure: The book was provided by Blue Slip Media 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.

#Nonfiction Monday The Big Book of Birds

Last year as a Cybils judge I reviewed Yuval Zommer’s The Big Book of the Blue.  Frankly, it was one of my favorites of the 140+ nonfiction books I read.  I loved the unique, fun illustrations and the playfulness of it. Plus, the information presented was spot on.

Now Zommer has out a new title the series, The Big Book of Birds.

This book has many of the same features I liked about The Big Book of the Blue.  The big size and the complex, engaging illustrations are the same. There’s also a challenge to search for and find a object, this time an egg, throughout the illustrations.  Those sort of games can bring a young reader back to a book again and again.

The topic overviews, such as a spread about bird migration, mix well with zoomed-in discussions of specific types of birds, such as parrots or owls. Again the text is interesting and informative.

There’s only one thing that puts me off loving this one as wholeheartedly as Blue. Weirdly, I don’t like where he placed the birds’ eyes in some of the illustrations. He gives each bird two eyes in a stylized way that sometimes makes one them appear to be on the bird’s neck. Eyes on necks may not work for me, but it probably won’t be a problem for most readers.

Everything is big about this book. Even the back matter is oversized. It includes the answers to the search-and-find, a fun glossary, and a huge index.

The Big Book of Birds is the type of book that begs to be shared. Grab a copy, find a quiet corner, and spend time with a young reader delving into each and every page.  They will be glad you did.

Related:

Want to read more children’s books about birds? Check our growing list at Science Books for Kids.

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Publisher: Thames & Hudson; 1 edition (June 4, 2019)
ISBN-10: 0500651515
ISBN-13: 978-0500651513

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.

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