Image Courtesy of Blue Sky Press
While fiction books play an important role in a child’s reading mix, so, too, does nonfiction. after all, life itself is not a work of fiction, and children want and need to understand the world around them. such knowledge empowers kids and provides them with information they can continually build upon.
Today’s reviewed books present exactly that. Rather than a textbook approach (and there’s probably been enough of that in the past nine months), each reviewed nonfiction book below approaches a topic and presents it in an absolutely fascinating, engaging way. help kids continue to amass their foundation of knowledge this summer by including awesome nonfiction books. And read them aloud to your kids – you’ll both learn a lot, guaranteed.
Books to borrow
The following book is available at many public libraries.
“Gotta Go! Gotta Go!” by Sam Swope, illustrated by Sue Riddle, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 32 pages. Read aloud: age 3 and older. Read yourself: age 7 – 8 and older. When the little creepy-crawly bug hatches, she is all alone. She knows she doesn’t know much, but there is one thing she knows for sure, and that is, “I gotta go! I gotta go! I gotta go to Mexico!” The problem is, she doesn’t know what Mexico is, where it is, or how she is going to get there. But she travels on, all the same, with her singular mission in mind. Then, one miraculous day, a wonderful change takes place that helps her make that journey – the day she develops into a Monarch butterfly. Rooted in fact but presented in a charming story that young children can understand and are certain to enjoy, this delightful choice will elicit demands for repeated readings.
Library: Bethlehem Area Public Library, 11 W. Church St., Bethlehem Library Director: Janet Fricker Head of Youth Services: Edana Hoy Choices this week: “Elephants Can Paint Too” by Katya Arnold; “Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic” by Robert Burleigh; “Bat Scientists” by Mary Kay Carson
Books to buy
The following books are available at favorite bookstores.
- “Hope and Tears: Ellis Island Voices,” by Gwenyth Swain, photographs various sources, Calkins Creek, 2012, 115 pages, $17.95 hardcover. Read aloud: age 8 – 9 and older. Read yourself: age 11 – 12 and older. what would it have been like to have traveled far from your homeland to Ellis Island in New York, risking everything to try and make a new life in America? would life be as an immigrant had hoped and dreamed, or would things be quite different? what would happen at Ellis Island and beyond? through meticulous research, author Gwenyth Swain has imagined the stories of people who were among the estimated twelve million immigrants who passed through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954, all on their way to becoming American citizens. The author considers Ellis Island “a collection of voices,” and her masterful, fascinating book paints precisely that picture. Brimming with incredible photographs and stories that reflect the drama, joy, heartache and tears that so many experienced, this selection is a valuable contribution to the story of immigration.
- “Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas,” by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm, illustrated by Molly Bang, Blue Sky Press, 44 pages, $18.99 hardcover. Read aloud: age 5 – 6 and older. Read yourself: age 7 – 8. The sun is our “golden star,” and all life on land and in the sea depends on the sunlight-energy that comes from the sun. Food chains are the chains of life, and ocean life is an important part of the food chains. But where are the ocean’s plants, and how does the sun provide life to the ocean, especially the deepest, darkest parts of the sea? Breaking down the complexities of this process has never been more understandable or enjoyable than in this superbly executed book. As fascinating for the old as it is for the young, readers of all ages will never look at food chains quite the same again.
Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children’s literature. She can be reached at her website: greatestbooksforkids.com.