Tag Archives: gene barretta

Review! Muhammad Ali by Gene Barretta #BlackHistoryMonth

15 Feb

aliMuhammad Ali: A Champion is Born
Written by Gene Barretta
Illustrated by Frank Morrison
40 pages – ages 4+
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 3, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- In this picture book biography of Muhammad Ali, author Gene Barretta and illustrator Frank Morrison tell the unforgettable childhood story of this legendary boxing champion and how one pivotal moment set him on his path to become the Greatest of All Time.

The Louisville Lip. The Greatest. The People’s Champion. Muhammad Ali had many nicknames. But before he became one of the most recognizable faces in the world, before the nicknames and the championships, before he converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali, he was twelve-year-old Cassius Clay riding a brand-new red-and-white bicycle through the streets of Louisville, Kentucky. One fateful day, this proud and bold young boy had that bike stolen, his prized possession, and he wouldn’t let it go. Not without a fight.

This would be the day he discovered boxing. And a champion was born.

What I Thought- Gene Barretta really knows how to write a picture book biography. He’s written books about other historical figures, including Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin. He handles this book fabulously, showing how Ali goes from Cassius Clay, a young boy who knows nothing about boxing, into Muhammad Ali, world champion. It was also nice that Barretta didn’t just focus on Ali’s path to boxing – he also showcased Ali’s civil work against segregation. This is a good book that shows someone working hard to achieve a goal, accomplishing that goal, and then helping others – kids will learn a lot from the book. There is a spread in the back talking about the life of Ali in more detail, including why he changed his name, and more about his civil work. The book is illustrated by Frank Morrison, who does a really good job at portraying the time period and capturing the essence of the people in the book. This is a great reading choice for Black History Month, seeing as Ali is a good role model all around and today’s kids should know about this great man. I really enjoy these picture book biographies by Barretta, and can’t wait to see more!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Timeless Thomas by Gene Barretta

16 Jan

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a nice biography-type nonfiction book about one of my favorite historical inventors.

timelessthomasTimeless Thomas: How Thomas Edison Changed Our Lives
Written and illustrated by Gene Barretta
36 pages – ages 5+
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on July 17, 2012

Theme- Not giving up/Biography

Genre- Nonfiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening Lines: “Have you ever thought about inventing something of your own? You’re never too young to try.

Thomas Alva Edison began experimenting when he was just a boy. That’s right. It was the beginning of a life dedicated to improving the world with his brilliant ideas and inventions.

Synopsis from GoodReads: “ 

timelessthomas1

What I Thought- I really liked how Mr. Barretta set this book up. Mr. Barretta focuses on things we have in the present day, and how they were inspired by Edison’s inventions. He explains how Edison worked, and how he failed several times. The book shows how through failure, reworking, and ingenuity, Edison succeeded. The message of failure is something I hear a lot about and I think it’s good for kids to hear how many times someone fails before they succeed. The illustrations share information and inject a bit of humor throughout the book. Mr. Barretta has created a nice biography picture book that is instructional, entertaining and inspiring.

Activities and Resources- Talk with your kids/students about how failure can create success. Did you know James Dyson failed over 5000 times before inventing his current version of his vacuum cleaner?!? Here is a cool video from him about failure.

You can virtually visit Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home in Charlottesville, Virginia. Click HERE to learn more about Jefferson and Monticello.

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

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