Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Non-fiction

Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales

Cover image for Viva FridaEver wish you could see inside the mind of an artist? Award winning author and illustrator, Yuyi Morales does just that with her book Viva Frida. Photographs and illustrations rich with texture and details take readers into the imagination of Frida Kahlo. Simple text floats on the pages in English and Spanish giving you a glimpse of her creativity and dreams. This book is a fantastic introduction to the artist and will definitely inspire further investigation into the life and art of Frida Kahlo.

Book reviewed by Youth Services Intern.

Earmuffs for Everyone: How Chester Greenwood Became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs by Megan McCarthy

Cover image for Earmuffs for everyone! : how Chester Greenwood became known as the inventor of earmuffsDo you have creative ideas for a new invention? Maybe you have some thoughts on how to improve an existing invention?  Well that’s exactly what Chester Greenwood did in the book by Meghan McCarthy entitled Earmuffs for Everyone: How Chester Greenwood Became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs.

But the question surrounding this book is, did he really invent earmuffs? After researching the topic, the author learns that sometimes finding the true inventor of something is trickier than it seems.  There were various forms of ear coverings before Chester Greenwood came along, but when Chester was only 19 years old, he improved on other people’s ideas by adding a wire that goes across the top.  He received a patent for that addition and now on December 21st in Maine, they celebrate Chester Greenwood Day…and of course everyone wears earmuffs.

But did he really “invent” them?  Should he be given credit for these fun accessories?  You decide!  This book is told in a humorous yet informative manner with fun illustrations, giving budding inventors some inspiration and insight on patents.

Recommended for K-2nd grade.

Book reviewed by Carol C., Elementary School Liaison

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