Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Nonfiction Wednesday

I'm excited that Alyson Beecher, at Kid Lit Frenzy, is continuing her Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge for the fourth year in a row.
I chose this week's books in honor of President's Day and Black History Month:
The Founding Fathers!: Those Horse-Ridin', Fiddle-Playin', Book-Readin', Gun-Totin' Gentlemen Who Started America
I never tire of learning about these complicated and fascinating men.  Kids will love the informal, humorous tone in which Jonah Winter writes about the Founding Fathers. They will also love learning about the early leaders of our country because of the entertaining illustrations, facts and figures, quotes, and the good, bad, and ugly character traits of each one. They may also learn about people and things they might not have known before; I know I did!
Abe Lincoln: His Wit and Wisdom from A-Z
Abe Lincoln: His Wit and Wisdom from A-Z by Alan Schroeder, illustrated by John O'Brien
I wish I could meet Abe Lincoln! This alphabet book is full of well and little known facts about the president - several for each letter. I enjoyed the illustrations throughout the book - many of them whimsical and humorous. The book is also packed with Lincoln's wise and wonderful, and sometimes funny, proverbs.
My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth
Sojourner Truth turned her heartbreaking experiences into a life of inspiration and social action. She defied slavery and prejudice against women. More about her life is told in the Author's Note. I enjoyed the colorful, expressive illustrations and the varying text styles and shapes.
Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama
I like how the author juxtaposed the amazing accomplishments and good things that were happening in the early 1960s with the ugliness of prejudice that was going on simultaneously. The 60s were such a time of conflict and change. The metaphor of the seeds of freedom is carried throughout the book - growing, struggling, wilting, recuperating, blooming, and finally producing fruit - as the author explains events such as lunch counter sit-ins, arrests, Blue Jean Sunday, letting go message balloons, integration struggles, defeats, and victories. I recognized the illustrations as the work of the illustrator of Each Kindness and Talkin' About Bessie.  I love E.B. Lewis's watercolors. He expresses the pain and joy of tumultuous, triumphant, and sad times.
Chasing Freedom
This is one of those blurry genre books - it's technically historical fiction, but I included it today because of the nonfiction text features in the back.
This is a wonderful book of an imagined conversation between Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony. There are lots of facts throughout, putting it in a possible literary nonfiction genre instead of historical fiction. Biographies, additional notes on historical events, and a bibliography are in the back. Grimes's Author's Notes explains how she came up with the idea of the story. Michele Wood's illustrations are gorgeous. I love the rich colors, geometric quilt-like shapes and tapestries, expressive portraits, and emotion each one exudes. This would make a great mentor text to explore imaginary conversations between characters or historical figures.
What nonfiction books have you read this week?


  1. Thank you for this post. I am so excited about The Abe Lincoln A to Z book. Can't wait to compare with the Ben Franklin version.
    You have highlighted some gorgeous new NF kid lit too. Thanks, Holly.

  2. Great selection and topc Holly. I have to find the Founding Fathers book fir my Revoution collection.

  3. Great selection of books. I love Seeds of Freedom!

  4. The Founding Fathers really were amazing men, took courageous steps. The book looks like a good intro for younger students. And, many are reviewing Seeds of Freedom lately. I guess I'd better get it! Thanks for all of these, Holly.

  5. There have been so many good 2015 nfpb released already! I need to do some catching up!

  6. These all look fabulous! And I'm already behind on my NFPB 2015 titles! Thank you for sharing these; I'll get on it :)