Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Non-fiction

Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman by Marc Tyler Nobleman

Cover image for Bill the boy wonder : the secret co-creator of BatmanBatman the superhero was a pretty secretive guy. If you’re a Batman fan, you probably already know this. But did you know that Batman’s creators had their own secrets? The story of Bill the Boy Wonder begins in the 1930s with a man named Bill Finger. Even though his parents wanted him to become a doctor, Bill’s true passion was in literature. One night Bill shared his story ideas with a Bob Kane, a cartoonist. Bob sketched the character of Batman and then went to Bill for suggestions. Bob took these new ideas to his boss, who agreed to publish Batman—but no credit was given to Bill, the person who had contributed the most to the story.

Batman grew in popularity, and Bill continued to write Batman stories in secret without being recognized. He worked long hours and earned the respect of his colleagues, but his name still was absent as a Batman writer. Did Bill ever get any credit—or money—for his role in Batman’s creation?

Bill the Boy Wonder is an interesting story even if you’re not a big Batman fan because it presents a viewpoint different from one many people have known. Maybe you can even relate to Bill’s story: Have you had someone take credit for work you’ve done or ideas you’ve shared? Did you stand up for yourself? What would you have done if you were Bill?

 

Dogs on Duty: Soldiers’ Best Friends on the Battlefield and Beyond by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

Cover image for Dogs on duty : soldiers' best friends on the battlefield and beyondThis book is very interesting as it talks about dogs who have been used by different parts of the military to protect soldiers. It gives information on specific dogs as well as in general. The book also talks about how the dogs and handlers are trained. There are lots of pictures! I had no idea how much dogs were used in the military before reading this book.

 

Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard  by Annette LeBlanc Cate

Cover image for Look up! : bird-watching in your own backyardSeveral years ago, the author thought it would be nice to keep a nature sketchbook.  She would sit outside drawing trees, rocks and flowers…and couldn’t help but notice lots of birds…some she knew, and others she did not recognize.  Had they been there all along and she just wasn’t paying attention?  YES!  She couldn’t stop watching and got hooked!

She suggests keeping a sketchbook with you, writing things down and drawing pictures.  And that’s what this book contains…tips to help you head out and start observing these beautiful, amazing creatures.  Colors, shapes, size, sounds, …observe it all!

Great illustrations, facts, cartoons and word bubbles…it’s a lot of fun!

Book reviewed by Carol C.., Elementary School Liaison

The Big Book of Superheroes by Bart King

Cover image for The big book of superheroesThis is not a book about Superman, Spiderman, or the Hulk. This is a book about how YOU can be a superhero. What do superheroes need? Well, there are chapters about choosing a superhero name, discovering your superpower, finding a sidekick, dressing like a superhero, and more. Each section is sprinkled with hilarious comic panels, as well as fun facts and anecdotes about famous superheroes, from Thor to the Incredibles. You may particularly enjoy the “Superpower Activity” sections that instruct how to create costumes and props, hone your super skills, or perform a “Sidekick Test” on your friends. There is even a chart to help you pick your superhero name.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

Vulture Verses: Love Poems for the Unloved by Diane Lang

Cover image for Vulture verses : love poems for the unlovedThis poetry book starts out with a boy deciding to write friendship notes to all his friends, especially those who probably would never get a note like vultures, moles, snakes, etc.  Each page is a note written in poetic form to a forgotten, somewhat disliked, animal or insect.  Underneath each poem is a fact or two about how the animal actually helps us or explains their important role in our lives.  Who knows…you may want to write  a friendship note too!