Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Nonfiction Wednesday

  Join Alyson and others at Kid Lit Frenzy for a nonfiction picture book bonanza each week!

I'm trying to catch up on the titles I've missed in 2015!

Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras

I enjoyed this biography of Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe (Lupe) Posada and how his famous calavera drawings came to be.  I always think it's fascinating how well known pieces of art emerge from creative minds.  It's also interesting that Posada, after learning the art of printing, began drawing political cartoons in a country not known for its freedom of speech.  The possible interpretations of his calavera drawings were thought-provoking.  Kids will enjoy the end two-page spread of modern calaveras!  I could see a few of my students wanting to draw their own.  Great nonfiction text features at the back of the book.  When I read Separate Is Never Equal, my first Tonatiuh book, I wasn't sure I loved his stylized illustrations.  I really liked them in this book, though.  The style is growing on me!

The Fantastic Ferris Wheel: The Story of Inventor George Ferris

I've read other George Ferris books, and each time I learn something new.  I enjoyed this one a lot.  It's fascinating that human ingenuity continues to push the limits on what can be built, enjoyed, and used.  One of the things I loved was that, during the July 9th storm and tornado, George and his wife got in one of the wheel's cars to stay safe.  Now that's confidence in one's own creation!  It's sad that the Ferris wheel was destroyed after the St. Louis World's Fair.  However, it inspired many new ones since!  Great illustrations and a pull-out two-page vertical spread of The London Eye.  "As long as there are dreamers like George Ferris ready to make big plans, the world can look forward to wondrous new inventions like his."

After seeing Chris Barton at NCTE, I decided I needed to read all his nonfiction books!  I didn't know anything about John Roy Lynch, so he was interesting to learn about, but Barton also wants us to know more about the Reconstruction era, the period following the Emancipation Proclamation, a time of great promise and excitement.  Three of the amendments to the Constitution, 13th, 14th, and 15th, all of which gave African Americans rights and full citizenship, were written during that time, and 2,000 African American men served as local, state, or national officials.  One of those officials was John Roy Lynch, once a slave.  Lynch spent his adult years fighting for civil rights.  Unfortunately, Reconstruction was short-lived, lasting approximately a dozen years.   The civil rights African Americans fought for began to get reversed through legislation and violence by many white Southerners.  America would have to fight all over again in the 50s and 60s to right the wrongs that happened at the end of Reconstruction.  Thank you, Chris Barton and Don Tate, for bringing this period of history to our attention.


  1. I have to admit I haven't read any of these titles, I've got so much to catch up on!

  2. I really enjoyed meeting Chris Barton too! My post last week was on all of his books. I've enjoyed all of his books, so far!
    Great books you featured today.

  3. We missed seeing Chris Barton at NCTE - Thank you for telling us about this book

  4. I still would like to "finish" reading Funny Bones. I had it from the library, but had to return it before I could finish. I loved the Ferris book, too, would love to ride the London Eye, wouldn't you? Thanks, Holly.