Nonfiction Picture Book Round Up!: The Universe in You by Jason Chin; Of Walden Pond by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by Ashley Benham-Yazdani; Polar Bear by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann; We’re Not Weird by Michael Garland; & The Science of Light by Margaret Peot

Share

The Universe in You: A Microscopic Journey
Author & Illustrator: Jason Chin
Published October 18th, 2022

Summary: Caldecott Medalist Jason Chin’s companion book to the award-winning Your Place in the Universe explores the world of the very small, delving deep into the microscopic world just beneath our skin.

From Jason Chin, Caldecott Medalist for Watercress and Cook Prize winning author and illustrator of Your Place in the Universe comes The Universe in You: A Microscopic Journey, a companion book about the very small, from the tiniest mammals to the intricate structures of microscopic organisms and subatomic particles that make up every human body. This deep dive into an unseen world explores the building blocks of all matter and life, demonstrating how much we have in common with everything around us.

Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
Horn Book Fanfare Title
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

Review & Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Jason Chin does it again: combining impeccable illustrations with science to take the reader into the microscopic world within our universe. Chin is such a master at bringing the reader into whatever world he has decided to explore and share with us. His writing is thorough and interesting, his illustrations are detailed and labeled, and the book together is definitely the journey he promises.

Educator Guide Available HERE!

Discussion Questions: 

  • What is so special about the structure of the book? Why do you think the author set the structure up this way?
  • What is the smallest thing in the universe? How do these small particles impact us?
  • How does the author make this nonfiction book like a journey?

Flagged Passages: 

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall  


Of Walden Pond: Henry David Thoreau, Frederic Tudor, and the Pond Between
Author: Lesa Cline-Ransome
Illustrator: Ashley Benham-Yazdani
Published November 15th, 2022 by Holiday House

Summary: From the award-winning author of Before She Was Harriet comes another work of lyrical beauty, the story of Henry David Thoreau and businessman Frederic Tudor–and a changing world.

Thoreau and Tudor could not have been more different from each other. Yet both shared the bounties of Walden Pond and would change the course of history through their writings and innovations.

This study in opposites contrasts the austere philosopher with the consummate capitalist (whose innovations would change commercial ice harvesting and home refrigerators) to show how two seemingly conflicting American legacies could be built side by side.

Oddball/ tax dodger/ nature lover/ dreamer/ That’s what they called/ Thoreau.
Bankrupt/ disgrace/ good for nothing/ dreamer/ That’s what they called/ Tudor.

Celebrated author Lesa Cline-Ransome takes her magnificent talent for research and detail to plumb the depths of these two history-makers. The graceful text is paired with Ashley Benham-Yazdani’s period accurate watercolor and pencil artwork. In winter, readers see Tudor’s men sawing through the ice, the workhorses dragging the ice, and Thoreau observing it all; in spring, summer, and fall, the ice continues its journey across the globe with Thoreau and Tudor writing and reflecting in their respective diaries.

An Author’s Note, which explores how Thoreau’s writings influenced such figures as Martin Luther King Jr., Robert Frost, and Mohandas Gandhi, is included.

Review & Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Lesa Cline-Ransome introduces us to another aspect of Walden Pond that Thoreau fans may not know about: Tudor’s industrial side of the pond. Cline Ransome’s verse shows us the contrast between the two lives that are tied together by the pond that they both loved, for very different reasons. Beautifully written with rhythm that yells for it to be read aloud.

Benham-Yazdani’s “period accurate watercolor” reminds me of Grandma Moses which is perfect for this story!

Educator Guide Available HERE!

Discussion Questions: 

  • What does the different fascinations with the pond show you about the two men?
  • Why do you think the author chose to write the book in verse separated by seasons?
  • What did you learn about the past of ice that surprised you?

Flagged Passages:

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall  


Polar Bear
Author: Candace Fleming
Illustrator: Eric Rohmann
Published November 22nd, 2022 by Holiday House

Summary: This companion book to the authors’ Sibert award-winning Honeybee explores the life and habitat of a majestic endangered species through dramatic text and sumptuous illustration.

April in the Arctic . . .
Cold winds send snow clouds scuttling across the sky.
Temperatures barely nudge above freezing.
But every now and again,
The cloud cover parts,
The sun shines down,
And the frozen world stretches awake.

As spring approaches in the Arctic, a mother polar bear and her two cubs tentatively emerge from hibernation to explore the changing landscape. When it is time, she takes her cubs on a forty-mile journey, back to their home on the ice. Along the way, she fends off wolves, hunts for food, and swims miles and miles.

This companion book to Honeybee and Giant Squid features the unique talents of Fleming and Rohmann on a perennially popular subject. Eric Rohmann’s magnificent oil paintings feature (as in Honeybee) a spectacular gatefold of the polar landscape.

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

Review & Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Candace Fleming’s beautiful verse introduces us to the polar bear and all of the trials and tribulations she faces with her cubs in the Arctic. Within the narrative, we learn so much information about them and their habitat. The verse adds an extra poetic element to the book that just brings it to the next leve.

Add to that Rohmann’s illustrations, and this stunning picture book sucks in the reader through word and pictures. Backmatter adds even more information through shared research and fun facts.

Educator Guide Available HERE!

Discussion Questions: 

  • Why do you think that author chose to write the book in verse?
  • What does the gatefold add to the experience of reading Polar Bear?
  • What are the biggest threats to polar bears?
  • Why does the back matter include the statement “I’s All About the Ice?”

Flagged Passages: 

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall  


We’re Not Weird: Structure and Function in the Animal Kingdom
Author & Illustrator: Michael Garland
Published January 3rd, 2023 by Holiday House

Summary: Meet nature’s most extraordinary looking creatures. But they aren’t weird!

Birds with blue feet, fish that walk, unicorns in the sea, and more! Learn how these animals’ quirks help them survive. Perfect for budding naturalists who are always ready to share a cool (or gross) animal fact.

Very hard scales protect me, and my long tongue is perfect for eating ants. When I feel threatened, I roll myself into a ball. I am a Pangolin.

See these animals’ amazing body parts in vibrant and detailed woodcut illustrations, from the thorny dragon’s spiky skin to the star-nosed mole’s twenty-two feelers. Read how these creatures’ unique traits help them thrive and survive in their environments. Learn where they live, what they eat, how they protect themselves, and more.

With easy-to-read text vetted by an expert, this book aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards on adaptation, structure, and function for kindergarten through 3rd grade. With supplementary information on each animal’s habitat and diet.

Review: This book introduces the reader to so many different unique animals (20 of them!), featuring what makes them different than others. The text in the book is written in 1st person with interesting facts and an introduction to the animal. Additional info on each animal is on in the back matter giving even more information about the animal including their habitat and diet.

Discussion Questions: 

  • Which of the animals would you like to learn more about? Why?
  • Choose your own animal to research and write an introduction, in 1st person, highlighting the animal’s uniqueness and interesting facts.
  • What is similar about all of the animals’ unique features?

Flagged Passages: 

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall  


The Science of Light: Things that Shine, Flash, and Glow
Author & Illustrator: Margaret Peot
Published December 6th, 2022 by Holiday House

Summary: With a striking glow-in-the-dark cover, this intriguing science book invites young readers to find light all around.

Sun shines.
Stars twinkle.
Aurora borealis glimmers.

Dramatic paintings of lightning, fire, fireworks and more introduces the sources of light–both natural and manmade–and encourage children to look around and observe.

Kids will gasp in surprise at the beautiful glow-in-the-dark cover, and the bold spreads within. Margaret Peot’s distinctive art style captures the elusive nature of light. Bioluminescent squid, fireflies and phytoplankton reveal light sources in living things. Fireworks and light bubbles sparkle on the page.

This foundational science book will kindle curiosity in physical science and the natural world. The simple text makes science accessible to all ages.

Toddlers will delight in the colorful art at storytime. As they grow, kids will return to this nonfiction favorite and discover new ideas each time. Science vocabulary and definitions are included in the back of the book.

An Orbis Pictus Honor Book

Review: This beautifully illustrated book with sparse text gives an introduction to light in science including natural sources of light, bioluminescence, and artificial light. All of the animals, nature, and items in the book are tied together by the light that they make.

The author’s backmatter adds even more depth to the text by sharing more information on the different types of light, a bibliography, and websites to learn more.

Discussion Questions: 

  • What are the differences between the three types of light shared in the book?
  • Which of the types fascinates you the most?
  • How does bioluminescence work?

Flagged Passages: 

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall 


Signature

**Thank you to Sara at Holiday House for providing copies for review!**

Atlas Obscura: Explorer’s Guide for The World’s Most Adventurous Kid by Dylan Thuras and Rosemary Mosco; Illustrations by Joy Ang

Share

Atlas Obscura: Explorer’s Guide for The World’s Most Adventurous Kid
Author: Dylan Thuras and Rosemary Mosco
Illustrator: Joy Ang
Published: July 19, 2022 by Workman Publishing Company

Goodreads Summary: Journey to the World’s Most Mysterious Places

Created by the same team behind Atlas Obscura, the #1 New York Times bestseller that has over 600,000 copies in print in its first year, The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid is a thrillingly imaginative expedition to 100 weird-but-true places on earth. And just as compelling is the way the book is structured—hopscotching from country to country not by location but by type of attraction. For example, visit the site of the Tunguska event in Siberia, where a meteor slammed into the earth in 1908—and then skip over to the Yucatan, ground zero for the ancient meteor crash that caused the mass extinction of dinosaurs. Then, while in Mexico, tour the fantastical Naica caves, home to crystals ten times larger than the average person—then, turn the page to Vietnam to a cave so vast you  could fly a 747 through it. Illustrated in gorgeous and appropriately evocative full-color art, this book is a passport to a world of hidden possibilities.

Ricki’s Review: The images in this book are absolutely captivating. My children read a few pages each day (and seem to think their parents have an unlimited wallet for travel). This is the kind of book that really appeals to me as an adult who reads to my kids. I am absolutely fascinated by the places in this book, so it makes for a wonderful shared reading. I highly recommend this one.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers might ask students to create an Atlas Obscura of their community. Each student can take a local place that is “obscura” and write a description. The book can be compiled and bound. Another idea is to have students select one of the places as the setting for a story. This book inspires story!

Discussion Questions: 

  • Which places do you want to visit most?
  • What did each of these places remind you of?
  • How did the illustrations enhance your reading?

Flagged Spread:

 

Recommended For: 

readaloudbuttonsmall classroomlibrarybuttonsmall

RickiSig

**Thank you go Barbara at Blue Slip Media for providing a copy for review!**

Magnolia Flower by Zora Neale Hurston, Adapted by Ibram X. Kendi, Illustrations by Loveis Wise

Share

Magnolia Flower
Written by Zora Neale Hurston and Adapted by Ibram X. Kendi
Illustrator: Loveis Wise
Published: September 6, 2022 by Amistad Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Summary: From beloved African American folklorist Zora Neale Hurston comes a moving adaptation by National Book Award winner and #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist and Antiracist Baby, Ibram X. Kendi. Magnolia Flower follows a young Afro Indigenous girl who longs for freedom and is gorgeously illustrated by Loveis Wise (The People RememberAblaze with Color).

Born to parents who fled slavery and the Trail of Tears, Magnolia Flower is a girl with a vibrant spirit. Not to be deterred by rigid ways of the world, she longs to connect with others, who too long for freedom. She finds this in a young man of letters who her father disapproves of. In her quest to be free, Magnolia must make a choice and set off on a journey that will prove just how brave one can be when leading with one’s heart.

The acclaimed writer of several American classics, Zora Neale Hurston wrote this stirring folktale brimming with poetic prose, culture, and history. It was first published as a short story in The Spokesman in 1925 and later in her collection Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick (2020).

Tenderly retold by #1 New York Times bestselling and National Book Award-winning author Ibram X. Kendi, Magnolia Flower is a story of a transformative and radical devotion between generations of Indigenous and Black people in America. With breathtaking illustrations by Loveis Wise, this picture book reminds us that there is no force strong enough to stop love.

Ricki’s Review: Magnolia Flower is a short story by Zora Neale Hurston, and it has been adapted into this picture book. The illustrations and words will appeal to kids, but as an adult, I felt like this was written for me, too. It has stunning figurative language, and the illustrations are absolutely beautiful. The author’s notes at the end helped me understand more about the book.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers might have students select a longer work (e.g. a short story) and adapt the book into a picture book. 

Discussion Questions: 

  • What does this story tell us about love?
  • What does this story tell you about history?
  • If you haven’t read the longer work, what do you think it might include, beyond this book?

Flagged Spread: 

Recommended For: 

readaloudbuttonsmall classroomlibrarybuttonsmall closereadinganalysisbuttonsmall

RickiSig

**Thank you go Leilani at SparkPoint Studio for providing a copy for review!**

Speak Up, Speak Out! The Extraordinary Life of “Fighting Shirley Chisholm” by Tonya Bolden, Forward by Stacey Abrams

Share

Speak Up, Speak Out! The Extraordinary Life of “Fighting Shirley Chisholm”
Author: Tonya Bolden
Forward by: Stacey Abrams
Published January 4th, 2022 by National Geographic Kids

Summary: From award-winning author Tonya Bolden comes a biography of the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the first Black woman to run for president with a major political party: Shirley Chisholm.

Before there was Barack Obama, before there was Kamala Harris, there was Fighting Shirley Chisholm. A daughter of Barbadian immigrants, Chisholm developed her political chops in Brooklyn in the 1950s and went on to become the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. This “pepper pot,” as she was known, was not afraid to speak up for what she thought was right. While fighting for a better life for her constituents in New York’s 12th Congressional District, Chisholm routinely fought against sexism and racism in her own life and defied the norms of the time. As the first Black woman in the House and the first Black woman to seek the presidential nomination from a major political party, Shirley Chisholm laid the groundwork for those who would come after her.

Extensively researched and reviewed by experts, this inspiring biography traces Chisholm’s journey from her childhood in a small flat in Brooklyn where she read books with her sisters to Brooklyn College where she got her first taste of politics. Readers will cheer Chisholm on to victory from the campaign trail to the hallowed halls of the U.S. Capitol, where she fought for fair wages, equal rights, and an end to the Vietnam War. And while the presidential campaign trail in 1972 did not end in victory, Shirley Chisholm shows us how you can change a country when you speak up and speak out.

Praise: “The strength of Bolden’s skill as a researcher is evident; chapter by chapter, she provides succinct but critical context around the motivations and movements of Chisholm’s political career. A foreword by Stacey Abrams helps establish that Chisholm’s legacy is one of political innovation as someone who forged a path for others to follow. This informative book has an engaging narrative structure. The use of repetition and inclusion of memorable pearls of wisdom attributed to Chisholm add a poetic tone. An insightful and focused profile of a political trailblazer.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This lively, detailed look at Chisholm’s personal and political life shines in its portrayal of a strong woman who never backed down; Bolden’s accessible text is great for report writers covering the groundbreaking Chisholm and the momentous time she lived in.” —Booklist

About the Author: Tonya Bolden has authored, edited and co-authored more than 40 books. Her work has garnered numerous awards, including the Coretta Scott King Honor, the James Madison Book Award, the NCSS Carter G. Woodson Honor, the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, D.C.’s Nonfiction Award, the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, the Virginia Library Association Jefferson Cup Award and the Cleveland Public Library Sugarman Award.  Lauded for her skilled storytelling, impeccable research and lively text, Tonya lives New York City. 

Review: Tonya Bolden’s biography of Shirley Chisholm is a perfect mix of historical remembrance as well as narrative structure to pull the reader in. You follow Shirley’s life as she goes against all odds and fights her way through politics, all while never losing her morals or remembrance of where she came from. As someone who knew of Chisholm but not specifics and boy, is she phenomenal! I highly recommend reading this book to learn more about this pioneer of civil and feminist rights.

Also, I read this book at the right time for me. As a Floridian going through an election, a reminder of hope is always needed. And Shirley Chisholm, her fight and success, and resilience shows that there have always been times to fight and there are always others that need to fight more.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This biography will be perfect for updating nonfiction sections of libraries. Additionally, it would be a wonderful book club choice or lit circle choice when focusing on HERstory or true history.

Extra resources:

School Library Journal, January 25, 2022: Speaking Up and Speaking Out with Tonya Bolden on Shirley Chisholm (Q&A) by Betsy Bird

YA Books Central, February 15, 2022: YABC Interview with Tonya Bolden about Speak Up, Speak Out! (Feb. 2022) (Author Interview) by Beth Edwards

Discussion Questions: 

  • How did Shirley Chisholm deal with the racism and sexism she faced during her career?
  • What does Chisholm’s visit to Wallace tell us about her? Why did it make other Black politicians furious?
  • In what ways did she never let down Bed-Stuy? Why did some people feel she did?
  • How did Chisholm’s bid for the presidential nomination break barriers?
  • Why was Chisholm unhappy by the committee she was put on in Congress?
  • What major causes did Chisholm support? How did she do so throughout her career?
  • Great lesson plan on Shirley Chisholm found:

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Narrative biographies

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall

Signature

**Thank you to Media Masters Publicity for providing a copy for review!**

Unbreakable: The Spies Who Cracked the Nazis’ Secret Code by Rebecca E.F. Barone

Share

Unbreakable: The Spies Who Cracked the Nazis’ Secret Code
Author: Rebecca E.F. Barone
Publishing October 25th, 2022 by Henry Holt and Co.

Summary: Unbreakable is the true story of the codebreakers, spies, and navy men who cracked the Nazis’ infamous Enigma encryption machine and turned the tide of World War II.

As the Germans waged a brutal war across Europe, details of every Nazi plan, every attack, every troop movement were sent over radio. But to the Allied troops listening in—and they were always listening—the crucial messages sounded like gibberish. The communications were encoded with a powerful cipher, making all information utterly inaccessible . . . unless you could unlock the key to the secret code behind the German’s powerful Enigma machine.

Complete with more than sixty historical photos, Unbreakable tells the true story of one of the most dangerous war-time codebreaking efforts ever. While Hitler marched his troops across newly conquered lands and deadly “wolfpacks” of German U-Boats prowled the open seas, a team of codebreakers, spies, and navy men raced against the clock to uncover the secrets that hid German messages in plain sight. Victory—or defeat—in World War II would hinge on their desperate attempts to crack the code.

Praise: 

*”A riveting tribute to epic tests of men against the elements.” —Kirkus, starred review

*”A compelling narrative focused on science and technology, embedded in a cluster of thrilling adventure stories . . . Highly ­recommended.” —School Library Journal, starred review

*”Readers will be caught up in the real-time action sequences.” —Booklist, starred review

*”Exemplary.” —BCCB, starred review

About the Author: Rebecca E. F. Barone holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Bucknell University along with multiple graduate degrees in mechanical engineering. Her technical projects include injury analysis for the National Football League, and her short-form STEM writing has been published in the award-winning Muse magazine. She is passionate about serving and mentoring underrepresented populations in STEM. She is also the author of Race to the Bottom of the Earth: Surviving Antarctica (which received four starred reviews).

Review: This book read like a page-turning, action-packed thriller and adventure story. But it is all real! Which makes it even better because it is truly unbelievable. Barone writes the different scenes, shared in vignette-type short stories that come together to show a whole picture, in a way that just grabs the reader’s attention and keeps you reading to figure out how everyone comes together to crack the secret code.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book will find its most success as an independent reading book and will definitely be a book to share with middle school readers who think they do not like nonfiction.

Also, check out the cover reveal on MGBookVillage for some background information from the author.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How did all of the countries work together (or not work together) to crack the code?
  • Who do you think was the greatest asset in the journey?
  • Why do you think the author chose to write the book in vignette-type short stories?
  • How does the inclusion of photographs add to the book?
  • The author states that the mathematicians were the hero of the story–do you agree? Why or why not?

Flagged Passages: 

ONE: TRAITOR
1929—Warsaw, Poland

THE BOX ARRIVED on the last Saturday in January.

Business in the Polish customs office went on as usual, the rhythm of sorting and inspecting undisturbed by the heavy package with a German postmark. In fact, the officer in charge had nearly finished when the urgent request came in.

Return it immediately, the German embassy demanded. There had been a mistake. It was a German package, intended for a German recipient. It should never have been sent to Poland. Cease operations and give it back.

Now, that made the customs officer pause.

He did not return the box. He opened it.

A polished surface gleamed in the light. Along a hinge in the back, a wood cover opened to reveal something almost like a typewriter. Elevated keys were arranged in three rows along the bottom, each labeled with a letter of the German alphabet.

But that was where the similarity to a typewriter ended.

There was no inked ribbon, no carriage in which to hold paper to type a letter. Instead, the top of the box was filled with small circular windows arranged in three rows identical to the keyboard below; each window contained a single letter printed on translucent material.

If the customs officer pressed a key, instantly, in the top rows, one letter began to glow. As soon as he released the key, the light went out. If he pressed the same letter key again, an entirely different light and letter shone back.

Quickly, the Polish customs officer made a call. Across town, two men secretly working for the Polish cipher agency understood immediately and rushed to the customs office.

Over the next two days and through the next two nights, the men disassembled, examined, and reassembled the machine.

By Monday morning, they had meticulously put every part back into place. They repackaged the machine in the same box and wrapped it in the same brown paper in which it had arrived.

Poland would return German property to Germany, as requested. The delay, inevitable, due simply to the weekend.

No one in Germany suspected a thing.

Enigma in use.

[Bundesarchiv, Bild 183–2007–0705–502 / Walther / CC-BY-SA 3.0]

Two years later, Sunday, November 1, 1931—the German-Belgian border

Hans-Thilo Schmidt rushed through the doors of the Grand Hotel in Verviers, Belgium, two hours late. He never saw the man sitting in the lobby waiting for him.

To this man, Schmidt was an ordinary German of average build, wearing a dark hat and dark coat. Schmidt was red in the face and puffy around the eyes, both traits the man watching him had been expecting. He knew that Schmidt’s train was late, and Schmidt sweated and grew flushed as he hurried to make up lost time. Schmidt’s puffy eyes had been expected as well. The people this man watched often suffered from sleepless nights. Treason was never an easy decision.

Not that Schmidt would have noticed the man even if he’d been relaxed and alert. Hans-Thilo Schmidt was far from experienced in spy craft. Last June, when he had first decided to trade secrets for money, he simply walked into the French embassy in Berlin. Incredibly, he plainly announced his intent to sell information to the French government. Without cover and without any personal security, he asked whom he should contact in Paris to do so. Somehow, he had neither been arrested by the Germans nor ignored by the French.

Now, five months later, the German Schmidt was about to meet face-to-face with a French intelligence officer. Hans-Thilo was nervous, and he was late.

At the front desk, the receptionist checked Schmidt into a room already reserved for him and handed him an envelope along with his key. He entered the elevator, and as the doors closed in front of him, the man watching him from the lobby saw him rip into the letter, which read “You are expected in suite 31, first floor, at 12 noon.”

At precisely noon, as the letter instructed, Schmidt knocked at suite 31.

The door opened into another world where time seemed to slow as an older woman with elegantly styled white hair greeted him and asked him to wait in the comfortable, richly furnished room. Soft music played gently over the radio. An inviting arrangement of liquor and crystal glasses was set out next to a display of fine cigars. Gratefully, Schmidt eased himself into a plush chair.

“Guten Morgen, Herr Schmidt! Hatten sie eine gute Reise?”

Schmidt jumped as an unfamiliar voice boomed at him in German. An immense man with a shaved head came through a doorway, entering the living area through another room in the suite. Round, dark spectacles framed icy blue eyes that pierced Schmidt with an unwavering stare.

“Sit down, please,” the man continued. “How are Madame Schmidt and your two children?”

Schmidt, already on edge, tensed more. He was currently living alone, and his wife, son, and daughter were living with his wife’s parents.

“I know,” the man said, cutting Schmidt off before he had a chance to answer. “You will want to bring your family back together soon and resume a pleasant life. That, of course, depends on you. We will assist you if your cooperation proves fruitful to us.”

Taking an offered glass of whiskey, Schmidt sat back down.

The man confronting him became even more serious. “Your resourcefulness last June in Berlin was quite exceptional and effective, Mr. Schmidt. Quite fortunately you happened upon an official of the French embassy who … was inconspicuous. What would you have done if he had thought you were an agent provocateur and called the police?”

This pushed Hans-Thilo Schmidt to his limit. “I thought you would understand!” he snapped, defiant. “If you feel this way, my only option is to withdraw. Others will know how to interpret my motivations and the rationale of my propositions.”

“Easy now, Mr. Schmidt,” the man responded. “We appreciate your initiative and the benefit we can gain from it.

“Let me be frank,” the man continued, “my name is Lemoine, and I represent the French Intelligence Bureau.”

Read This If You Love: World War II (and other war) nonfiction books

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall 

Signature

**Thank you, Kelsey from Macmillan Publishing, for providing a copy for review!**

Who’s That Dinosaur?: An Animal Guessing Game by Gabrielle Balkan, Illustrated by Sam Brewster

Share

Who’s That Dinosaur?: An Animal Guessing Game
Author: Gabrielle Balkan
Illustrator: Sam Brewster
Published September 21, 2022 by Phaedon

Summary: A playful, informative introduction to dinosaurs for the youngest readers, by the team behind the bestselling Book of Bones

Set up as a guessing game with visual and narrative clues, Who’s That Dinosaur? invites readers to examine seven skeletons and guess to whom they belong. The answer is provided in a vibrant, foldout reveal, accompanied by an explanation as to why each dinosaur’s body was so special.

It’s a humorous, informative introduction to fossils and dinosaur anatomy, where, in a surprise twist, young children learn how birds are modern-day dinosaurs. A fun and informative introduction to the ever-popular topic of dinosaurs.

Review: This book is such good fun! It is an informational fiction text which really engages its readers. Although this is marketed to younger readers (ages 2-4), My almost 6-year-old had a BLAST reading it. He was able to read the words, so it also offered great vocabulary for him. (My 3-year-old, of course, loved it.) This is a book that would be great for preschool or early elementary school classrooms. It is interactive, engaging, and a very fun read—for adults, too!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: It would be neat to have children create their own interactive pages that fold out. They might pick a dinosaur or animal and research to create their own “Who’s that…” page filled with fun facts.

Flagged Spread:

Read This If You Love: Interactive activity books that are fun and educational

Recommended For: 

**Thank you to Phaidon for providing a copy for review!**

A River’s Gifts: The Mighty Elwha River Reborn by Patricia Newman, Illustrated by Natasha Donovan

Share

A River’s Gifts: The Mighty Elwha River Reborn
Author: Patricia Newman
Illustrator: Natasha Donovan
Published September 6th, 2022 by Millbrook Press

Summary: A mighty river. A long history.

For thousands of years, the Elwha river flowed north to the sea. The river churned with salmon, which helped feed bears, otters, and eagles. The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, known as the Strong People located in the Pacific Northwest, were grateful for the river’s abundance. All that changed in the 1790s when strangers came who did not understand the river’s gifts. The strangers built dams, and the environmental consequences were disastrous.

Sibert honoree Patricia Newman and award-winning illustrator Natasha Donovan join forces to tell the story of the Elwha, chronicling how the Strong People successfully fought to restore the river and their way of life.

About the Creators: 

Patricia Newman’s books inspire young readers to seek connections to the real world. Her titles encourage readers to use their imaginations to solve real world problems and act on behalf of their communities. These books include Sibert Honor title Sea Otter Heroes: The Predators That Saved an Ecosystem; Orbis Pictus Recommended Book Planet Ocean: Why We All Need a Healthy Ocean; Bank Street College Best Book Zoo Scientists to the Rescue; Booklist Editor’s Choice Ebola: Fears and Facts; and Green Earth Book Award winner Plastic, Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Patricia frequently speaks at schools and conferences to share how children of any age can affect change. Visit her at www.patriciamnewman.com.

Natasha Donovan is the illustrator of the award-winning Mothers of Xsan series (written by Brett Huson). She illustrated the graphic novel Surviving the City (written by Tasha Spillett), which won a Manitoba Book Award and received an American Indian Youth Literature Award (AIYLA) honor. She also illustrated Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee Aerospace Engineer which won an Orbis Pictus Honor Book and an American Indian Youth Literature Award (AIYLA). Natasha is Métis, and spent her early life in Vancouver, British Columbia. Although she moved to the United States to marry a mathematician, she prefers to keep her own calculations to the world of color and line. She lives in Washington. www.natashadonovan.com

Review: This book is different than Newman’s other books as it is illustrated and more lyrical than her books of the past; however, there is no need to worry — the book is beautiful! Newman does a fantastic job balancing the narrative of the river and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe with informative information about water, salmon, dams, and other wildlife. Newman’s prose also does amazing justice when it comes to the river’s legacy and the indigenous tribes that relied on, and lost, the river.

To add to Newman’s work, Donovan’s illustrations bring everything to life that Newman shares. Her work is filled with color and life and brings the whole book together.

A spectacular nonfiction picture book that takes the reader on a journey of a river’s legacy filled with lyrical prose and important information.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: The publisher has provided a Teaching Guide for The River’s Gifts:

There is also an interview with Patricia Newman that digs deeper into her book:

Flagged Passages: 

Book Trailer: 

Read This If You Love: Environmental nonfiction picture books

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall 

Signature

**Thank you to Patricia Newman and Lerner for providing a copy for review!**