Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Nonfiction Wednesday

I'm excited that Alyson Beecher, at Kid Lit Frenzy, is continuing her Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge for the third year in a row.
Lots of great biography reading this week!
The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus
I don't know why I bothered to get this from the library because, of course, I'm going to buy it! It's another brilliant project created by the amazing duo Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet. I could pour over Sweet's illustrations forever. What an interesting man Roget was! Great timeline and author's/illustrator's notes at the end. Just gorgeous.
With Books and Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built a School
"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed." - Booker T. Washington. Booker T. Washington realized that even though slavery had ended, he could only truly be free with an education. He built a school brick by brick in order to give others a chance, too. Amazing. I enjoyed the watercolor illustrations.
Hello, I'm Johnny Cash
I was so excited to see this biography in the library.  I miss Johnny Cash.  I grew up listening to Cash's music since my dad was a big fan.  I loved the illustrations by A.G. Ford - he captured Cash's presence and stance.  Cash had a complicated life, and his music captured the pain and joy.  I'm glad kids can be introduced to such a gifted musician through this book.  It cleans up his life a bit, but some of his darker times are touched upon in the author's note.
Mr. Ferris and His Wheel
I love George Ferris's story and his determination to build something as far-fetched as his wheel. The illustrations are in purple, pink, and blue hues, capturing the lights and blue skies of Chicago. I can't imagine what it must have been like to be one of the first people up in those cars!
Viva Frida

This is such a unique book. I think it takes several times through to completely appreciate it since there is only spare text (Spanish and English). It is not a biography in the sense that it's main purpose is to teach you all about Frida Kahlo. It seems to me the purpose is to experience her creativity and luminosity through Morales's own art and poetic language. The puppets and settings Morales created for the book are incredible - I'd love to see her studio! If you want more information about Kahlo and how the book shows her work and life, read the author's note at the end first.

Another book by the Slade/Tadgell team! 
My students just finished reading a play adapted from Frederick Douglass's autobiography, so I think they'll enjoy reading this biography about the friendship of he and Susan B. Anthony. I thought it was interesting that the two also battled with each other at times. Their friendship of 45 years lasted until Douglass's death in 1895. Douglass lived long enough to see both the 13th and 15th Amendments pass, but unfortunately, Anthony died 14 years before the 19th Amendment. Both endured hardships trying to fight for the equal rights of African Americans and women - we owe a lot to them.
What nonfiction did YOU read this week?  I really enjoyed reading about these fascinating people!


  1. Wow, so many wonderful books here, Holly. I wrote about The Right Word, too. What a lovely book! I am especially wanting to see the book Mr. Ferris and his Wheel. What a wonderful thing he gave to us! And the others of course look good, too! Thank you!

  2. I want to look for the first two titles you shared. I didn't know about the second one but have been waiting impatiently for The Right Word.

  3. I love your list of books this week Holly. I've blogged about three but would love to see the others.

  4. Those are some great titles! I've read a few of them and even covered the Frida Kahlo book in my post this week. It certainly was an interesting book. I would like to read Mr. Ferris at some point. I've seen a couple of people mention it now!

  5. This is one of the reasons why I couldn't possibly miss visiting Nonfiction Wednesday posts - even if I am weeks or days late. I get so much information that feed into my own research work! I have pinned most of the titles here in my PBB Pinterest Board. Thanks for all this, Holly!