The Tree Lady

The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry is a lovely new picture book biography about Kate Sessions, the woman who is considered to be the Mother of Balboa Park in San Diego.

tree-ladySan Diego, California is a favorite vacation destination for Arizonans, not only because it offers beaches, but also because of the lush vegetation. We go there to enjoy the trees and tropical look so lacking in the desert. To find out from the book that San Diego was once dry and barren was astonishing. To find out that most of the transformation was do to the efforts of one woman with a vision was mind-boggling.

H. Joseph Hopkins has chosen his subject well. Kate Sessions was an interesting woman who pushed gender boundaries as well as changed the look of a city. Gentle repetition of the phrase, “Kate did” emphasizes all the many ways she was a groundbreaker.

This video is a simple tribute to some of her accomplishments.

 

Edit: My San Diego friends tell me that next year is the 100th anniversary of Balboa Park, making this book even more appropriate.

The illustrations remind me of the illustrations in Miss Rumphius, which would be a appropriate fiction book to pair with this nonfiction biography.

miss-rumphius

Of course, The Tree Lady is perfect selection for Women’s History Month (see more fine examples at Kidlit Celebrates Women’s History Month). The story of Kate Session’s life will also be appropriate for Arbor Day celebrations. I am going to add it to my list of books set in California, because it covers California history.

To find out more about Kate Sessions, visit the San Diego History Center.

Age Range: 5 – 10 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 5
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Beach Lane Books (September 17, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1442414022
ISBN-13: 978-1442414020

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 not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

 

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. Join us at the new Nonfiction Monday blog.

Mary Walker Wears the Pants

Mary Walker Wears the Pants: The True Story of the Doctor, Reformer, and Civil War Hero by Cheryl Harness and illustrated by Carlo Molinari is an excellent example of a picture book biography that introduces children (and many adults) to figures who haven’t been typically highlighted in history textbooks.

Mary-walker

Some people are simply way ahead of their times, and Mary Walker definitely fits the bill. She was one of the first women to become a doctor in the United States and she wore pants when most women wore corsets and long dresses. If Mary Walker were alive today, being a female doctor and wearing pants would be nothing remarkable. Back in the 1860s, however, Mary was a lightning rod for ridicule and disdain from many people. Regardless of what others thought, that didn’t stop her from serving as a physician during the Civil War and even earning a Medal of Honor.

Reading Mary Walker Wears the Pants made me wonder, who are the Mary Walkers of our times? Perhaps some of the young people who read this book will recognize a little bit of themselves and be inspired to continue on their unique paths. We can only hope!

This book is a perfect selection for Women’s History Month. See more fine examples at Kidlit Celebrates Women’s History Month.

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (March 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0807549908
ISBN-13: 978-0807549902

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 not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

 

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. Join us at the new Nonfiction Monday blog.

Singing Praises for Frog Song

Let’s sing the praises of the nonfiction picture book Frog Song by Brenda Z. Guiberson and illustrated by Gennady Spirin. Frog-song

Each two-page spread in the book presents a different frog from around the world, with a total of 11 different frogs featured. The lush illustrations – a mix of watercolor, tempera and pencil – depict the frog in its native habitat. The text fairly sings with all the sounds the frogs make and you will definitely have fun reading this one aloud. More subtly, the author works in details of each type of frog’s life cycle as well.

If the reader wants more, there’s also two pages in the back matter with “thumbnails” of each type of frog, the range, length and a quick fact not revealed in the main text. There’s also a brief section about “Frogs in Trouble.”

Frog Song will definitely appeal to animal- and nature-loving young readers. It would be great to accompany a trip to a zoo that has frogs in its collection. Hopefully it will inspire children to learn more about frogs and how to make sure there will always be frog songs around to enjoy.

Related activities:

1. This book begs to be accompanied with a map of the world. Find the location of each frog species and attach its name and/or photograph. Older children might even want to color in the ranges of each frog species.

2. You will also want to have some frog song recordings to play along.

The Queensland Museum has put together a video of some common calls of Australian Frogs and Toads (a few of the names are likely to elicit giggles).

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Hardcover: 36 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (February 5, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0805092544
ISBN-13: 978-0805092547

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 not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

 

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. Currently the meme is undergoing a transition, so please leave a comment if you’d like more information.

Today’s round-up is at Jean Little Library.

Best Foot Forward: Exploring Feet, Flippers, and Claws

Best-Foot-Forward-largerWhen I saw Best Foot Forward:¬† Exploring Feet, Flippers, and Claws by Photographer Ingo Arndt at Sally’s Bookshelf a few weeks ago, I knew I just had to get my “hands” on it.

What a cool book! It has close-up photographs of the feet of different animals from around the world, shown from underneath, mostly against contrasting black backgrounds. Children will be drawn in by opportunities to guess who belongs to a certain foot (“Whose foot is this?”) and then will be engrossed by the fantastic details of similar feet that have related functions. Yes, one of the things they will find out is that some feet are for climbing, some for running, some are for jumping, and others for swimming. Feet aren’t just for walking.

jeffrey-foot-again-edit

What kind of animal has this foot? If you see the soft pads and hairs around them, obviously it is an animal that “pussyfoots” around (see answer below).

Pick up a copy of Best Foot Forward and you will never look at feet the same way again!

Related:

Bookends blog has Common Core connections

Wildlife Fun 4 Kids has adorable wildlife “feet” slippers you can make for little ones

Matching feet to hand puppets activity (could be easily done with flannel boards, too):

 

 

Hardcover: 36 pages
Publisher: Holiday House; Reprint edition (July 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0823428575
ISBN-13: 978-0823428571

Answer: This is my cat’s foot on the glass of my scanner. Obviously I couldn’t duplicate the beautiful lighting the photographer used, but using a scanner might be one way to play with this idea.

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 not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

 

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. Currently the meme is undergoing a transition, so please leave a comment if you’d like more information.

Today’s round-up is at NC Teacher Stuff.