Tag Archives: nonfiction

Review! Motor Girls by Sue Macy

30 May

Motor Girls: How Women Took the Wheel and Drove Boldly Into the Twentieth Century
Written by Sue Macy, Foreword by Danica Patrick
96 pages – ages 9+
Published by National Geographic Children’s Books on February 7, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- Come along for a joy ride in this enthralling tribute to the daring women – Motor Girls, as they were called at the turn of the century – who got behind the wheel of the first cars and paved the way for change. The automobile has always symbolized freedom, and in this book we meet the first generation of female motorists who drove cars for fun, profit, and to make a statement about the evolving role of women. From the advent of the auto in the 1890s to the 1920s when the breaking down of barriers for women was in full swing, readers will be delighted to see historical photos, art, and artifacts and to discover the many ways these progressive females influenced fashion, the economy, politics, and the world around them.

What I Thought- This was a fun nonfiction story about how the motor car evolved, and how women have played a part in its history. It was neat to see how women got involved, and how the industry reacted to that. There are plenty of real images from the time periods represented, and little news clippings from the time. It features girls and women who improved or changed the view on motor cars and women in general. The information in the book is given in an entertaining way that keeps the reader engaged.  The book gives the reader a great perspective that shows many of the things history books leave out. The book is well-organized, and takes you through the years of automobiles. The foreword by Danica Patrick is a great touch of a modern “Motor Girl.” I really enjoyed reading this nonfiction piece from National Geographic.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

 

I especially appreciated this book because my little sister is a Motor Girl 😉 She races go karts and is very impressive at it! I gave the book to her after I read it. She enjoyed it also.

Josie out in front

Review! Double Cross: Deception Techniques in War by Paul B. Janeczko

26 Apr

Double Cross: Deception Techniques in War
by Paul B. Janeczko
256 pages – ages 9+
Published by Candlewick Press on April 25th, 2017 (TODAY!)

Synopsis From Publisher- “The biblical account of Gideon. The ancient story of the Trojan horse. Deceptive techniques have been used in war through the ages. But while the principles have changed very little, the technology behind fooling the enemy has evolved dramatically. Paul B. Janeczko’s fascinating chronology focuses on the American Civil War, World Wars I and II, and the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf Wars to reveal evolving attitudes toward the use and effectiveness of deceptive operations. Find out the secret plan behind the invasion of Normandy and the details of General Schwarzkopf’s “Hail Mary play” during the Gulf War, among many other strategies and maneuvers designed to pull the wool over enemies’ eyes. Back matter includes source notes, a bibliography, and an index.”

What I Thought- This is a fabulous nonfiction book. Janeczko analyzes major techniques of deception throughout history, featuring medieval strategies and deceptions all the way up to the Gulf War. I learned a lot about military strategy, and the different types of deception. It was fascinating to learn about the deceptions pulled off during WWII, because those were some grand-scale deceptions! This was a very informative nonfiction novel, with real pictures and maps, and more information in the back as well. It is neat how the book takes in depth looks at major strategies, but still keeps the reading level and content for younger kids. He will spend a chapter or two on a war and major deceptions within them, making sure to explain the topics well. There are also pages of extra information scattered throughout the book that explains miscellaneous ideas about deception. Janeczko really knows how to make nonfiction intriguing, and I cannot wait to read more of his work!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! Isaac The Alchemist By Mary Losure

28 Feb

isaacIsaac The Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal’d
By Mary Losure
176 pages – ages 9+
Published by Candlewick on February 1, 2017

Synopsis From the Publisher- A surprising true story of Isaac Newton’s boyhood suggests an intellectual development owing as much to magic as science.

Before Isaac Newton became the father of physics, an accomplished mathematician, or a leader of the scientific revolution, he was a boy living in an apothecary’s house, observing and experimenting, recording his observations of the world in a tiny notebook. As a young genius living in a time before science as we know it existed, Isaac studied the few books he could get his hands on, built handmade machines, and experimented with alchemy—a process of chemical reactions that seemed, at the time, to be magical. Mary Losure’s riveting narrative nonfiction account of Isaac’s early life traces his development as a thinker from his childhood, in friendly prose that will capture the attention of today’s budding scientists—as if by magic. Back matter includes an afterword, an author’s note, source notes, a bibliography, and an index.

What I Thought- This was a neat nonfiction book. It is an in-depth look at Sir Isaac Newton’s youth and beginnings as his famous physicist/mathematician. Some of the text is challenging to read, usually being copied directly from Newton’s notebook or a book that he learned from. It makes it a great choice for young advanced readers. Losure does a good job of explaining what the text means. There are illustrations and pictures of real paintings, books, and journal entries – adding to the text. I especially enjoyed these additions. Losure has written a fascinating nonfiction novel. I like how it says that in the time “magic” was considered science, because they knew so little of the world, so Newton did magical experiments. That added a bit of flavor to the story. This is a neat biography of a time in Newton’s life that we don’t know a lot about. I really liked this book, and would recommend it to history buffs and science lovers.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Our Country’s Presidents by Ann Bausam

28 Feb

presidentOur Country’s Presidents: A Complete Encyclopedia of the U.S. Presidency
By Ann Bausam
224 pages – ages 9+
Published by National Geographic Children’s Books on January 10, 2017

Synopsis From the Publisher- National Geographic presents the 43 individuals who have led the U.S., plus America’s newest commander-in-chief, in this up-to-date, authoritative, and lavishly illustrated family, school, and library reference. It features comprehensive profiles of the 43 former presidents along with timelines and descriptions of crucial events during their terms. Information about the 2016 president-elect is also included.

Thematic spreads cover a variety of topics from the history of voting rights to writing a presidential letter. Full-page portraits, famous quotes, and fascinating facts help kids get to know each leader. This new volume is a fascinating read and excellent reference for students and kids of all ages.

What I Thought- This is a fabulous resource of most of what we know about the presidents of the United States. Granted, the book is not a full analysis, but a general outline of their highs, lows and accomplishments as president. Kids will be introduced to the presidents, along with information involved with the presidency; polling, the electoral college, and what first ladies do, among those mentioned. The information is presented in a clear, easy-to-understand and relatively unbiased way for the young readers. I really enjoy the layout of nonfiction books from National Geographic, with bold spreads, vivid pictures text as well as fact boxes. This book follows that format.

pres2

The publisher lists it as a middle grade book, but it could be read by a younger reader, or a teacher could read to a class/parent to a younger child as well. An up-to-date read -Bausam included some information on the background of President Trump, but seeing as the book was published when he was still President-Elect, it couldn’t have included information on what he has done as president. All in all, this book is a great resource to start kids on learning about the presidents.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Super Gear by Jennifer Swanson

16 Jan

supergearSuper Gear: Nanotechnology and Sports Team Up
By Jennifer Swanson
80 pages – ages 8+
Published by Charlesbridge on June 7, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- How are the sports played by Michael Phelps, Serena Williams, Michelle Wie, and Usain Bolt related? Nanotechnology!

Take a close-up look at sports and nanotechnology, the cutting-edge science that manipulates objects at the atomic level. Nanotechnology is used to create high-tech swimsuits, tennis rackets, golf clubs, running shoes, and more. It is changing the face of sports as we know it.

What I Thought- You don’t have to be a sprots fan to enjoy this cool book. It is neat how  Swanson combines a topic most kids like (sports) with a topic most know little about (nanotechnology). Swanson explains the details about what makes nanotechnology work in an easy-to-understand way. She also includes science principles explained, such as drag and turbulence, as well as things such as graphene and carbon nanotubes. There is a great index and resource list at the end of the book as well. There are good illustrations throughout the book – they include real pictures of sports and athletes, and also artists’ interpretations of the theoretical molecular structures. All of this is easy to understand. Kids will also like doing the experiments in the book that help explain concepts. The book is organized into easy grouping with the chapters. Ms. Swanson does a good job of relating the two subjects. I recommend this book to science buffs and sports buffs and everyone in between!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Fannie Never Flinched by Mary Cronk Farrell

9 Dec

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 neat tale of a lady most people don’t know about, but should.

fannieFannie Never Flinched: One Woman’s Courage in the Struggle for American Labor Union Rights
By Mary Cronk Farrell
56 pages – ages 8+

Published by Harry N. Abrams on November 1, 2016

Theme/Topic- Social Work/Justice

Genre- Noniction/Biography

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Near suppertime, gunshots echoed among the small frame houses of Natrona, Pennsylvania. People ran out to see what was happening.

Synopsis from Publisher: “Fannie Sellins (1872–1919) lived during the Gilded Age of American Industrialization, when the Carnegies and Morgans wore jewels while their laborers wore rags. Fannie dreamed that America could achieve its ideals of equality and justice for all, and she sacrificed her life to help that dream come true. Fannie became a union activist, helping to create St. Louis, Missouri, Local 67 of the United Garment Workers of America. She traveled the nation and eventually gave her life, calling for fair wages and decent working and living conditions for workers in both the garment and mining industries. Her accomplishments live on today. This book includes an index, glossary, a timeline of unions in the United States, and end notes.

What I Thought- This is a really neat nonfiction biography of a lady who fought for equality for all. It is a great resource for children and teachers looking for an introduction on working for social justice. The book is written in a kid-friendly way that explains the horrible conditions the workers faced during this period in history. It is such an excellent read – making it easy to digest and understand. The story is set up in the sections of Ms. Sellins’ life, and has real pictures/posters from the era the book is about. This is a well-organized biography that kids will enjoy reading.

Activities and Resources- The book is a resource itself, with end notes and other information included.

Explorepahistory.com has a nice biography of Ms. Sellins HERE if you want more information.

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

Review! Bioengineering by Christine Burillo-Kirch

5 Oct

bioengineerBioengineering: Discover How Nature Inspires Human Designs

Series: Build It Yourself

Written by Christine Burillo-Kirch

Illustrated by Alexis Cornell

128 pages – ages 7+

Published by Nomad Press on August 9, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- “In Bioengineering: Discover How Nature Inspires Human Designs, young readers explore designs and innovations that come from nature. Leonardo da Vinci studied birds’ wings to draw his design of a man-made flying machine and engineers still look to birds when attempting to make planes more aerodynamic. And a burr on your shirt from walking through a field sticks like Velcro, doesn’t it? The plant and animal world provides engineers and scientists with a host of ideas to apply to the human world to make it a better place to live.

Bioengineering explores different fields, including communication, transportation, and construction, and follows the process of engineering from the raw material of the natural world to the products we use in the human world every day. Activities such as building cantilevers and inventing a new fabric that mimics pinecone behavior require kids to think critically about their own needs and find creative ideas to fulfill those needs using designs from nature. Essential questions and links to digital and primary resources make this book an engaging and illuminating experience.”

What I Thought- This is a really neat nonfiction book. It explains the core concepts of bioengineering in terms that kids can understand. I really enjoyed how it simplified the theories, which I’m sure are actually quite complex, and also included projects to help the reader understand the topics even more. The projects are simple, and use everyday objects that would cost little to nothing to make. There are neat illustrations that help teach the topics and break up the text in an enjoyable way. This is a really nice introduction to bioengineering and its major ideas. The text is not overly complicated which is amazing because of the complex topics it is covering. This is a very well thought out and written book! The binding of the book reminds me of a school workbook, but the colorful illustrations, projects and engaging text makes it so much better than a textbook! Kids and teachers will like reading this book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Reviews! Mystery & Mayhem books by Tom McCarthy

3 Oct

survivalSurvival: True Stories

By Tom McCarthy

128 pages – ages 10+

Will be published by Nomad Press on October 24, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- “Tales of survival are as old as humanity! In Survival: True Stories, readers discover accounts of survival that required innovation, a thirst for adventure, and even a bit of brutality. Whether it’s Shackleton on the frozen landscape of Antarctica or William Bligh and his loyal followers adrift in the Pacific after mutiny on the Bounty, survival is a fascinating topic for readers ages 9 to 12!

Survival is the second book in the Murder & Mayhem series, which features true tales that whet kids’ appetites for history by engaging them in genres with proven track records—mystery and adventure. History is made of near misses, unexplained disappearances, unsolved mysteries, and bizarre events that are almost too weird to be true—almost! The Mystery & Mayhem series delves into the past to provide kids with a jumping-off point into a lifelong habit of appreciating history.”

What I Thought- This was a good book. I like that in the introduction Mr. McCarthy points out that he chose true stories that make you wonder whether you would actually survive, and not think that anybody could just do that. The stories are all true, and kids will enjoy reading about them. They learn a little bit of history, and they may not even realize it. There should be a little bit of reader discretion, as there are parts where it is pointed out that there may have been cannibalism, or just mentioning the death of explorers. The book doesn’t go into detail, but it does mention those parts. A neat part of the book is that there are fact boxes at the end of each chapter that tell of other important events going on at the time. Altogether a really neat book.

I give the book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

shipwreckPirates and Shipwrecks: True Stories

By Tom McCarthy

128 pages – ages 10+

Will be published by Nomad Press on October 11, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- “When Daniel Collins and the crew of the Betsey set sail for Cuba in 1824, they have no idea of the horrors that lie ahead. This is just one of the stories in a collection of five true tales about pirates and shipwrecks that introduces readers to the perils of the high seas.

Pirates and Shipwrecks: True Stories is the first book in the Mystery & Mayhem series for 9–12 year olds, which features true tales that whet kids’ appetites for history by engaging them in genres with proven track records—mystery and adventure. History is made of near misses, unexplained disappearances, unsolved mysteries, and bizarre events that are almost too weird to be true—almost! The Mystery & Mayhem series delves into the past to provide kids with a jumping-off point into a lifelong habit of appreciating history.”

What I Thought- Mr. McCarthy has written another book that is just as good as the Survival book. Also nonfiction, these true stories tell of real-life pirates, and also real-life shipwrecks that almost (or even did!) turned into disasters. It was an interesting look into a different time. The one thing I like about both books is that they include maps of where the events take place. Mr. McCarthy’s writing style is well organized and well written, with a lot of information for the readers. The book does mention cannibalism, and some of the people were beheaded by pirates, but the book doesn’t go into detail, and only writes what had to have been written to write an accurate novel. The books are shorter, and good for a quick read, especially chapter by chapter. A really nice nonfiction series!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Reviews – Non-fiction Monday!

19 Sep

I’ve been trying to find and read a larger variety of children’s non-fiction books. I was sent some non-fiction books from Rourke Educational Media (visit the publisher’s website HERE) and I really like the variety of subjects the publisher carries. I also like how the topics are broken down into bite-sized chunks making complex topics easy for kids to digest. Below are some of the books that really caught my eye.

tesla

Vroom! Hot Cars: Tesla Model S
By Julio Diaz
32 pages – ages 5+
Published by Rourke Educational Media

Synopsis from Publisher- “The ground-breaking Tesla is featured in this title with information on how it is changing the automobile world.”

What I Thought- In a world of limited fuel, it is important for kids to know that they do not need to buy a gas-powered car. It not only explains that there is a 100% electric car, but it also explains how it works. It includes diagrams, photos, and clear descriptions on how the car works, is made, and the good it does for the environment. The book is very informative.

hotelYIKES! It’s Haunted: Haunted Hotels
By Grace Ramsey
32 pages – ages 5+
Published by Rourke Educational Media

Synopsis from Publisher- “This title looks at haunted hotels around the world with paranormal activity that has happened there.”

What I Thought- This was an interesting book. It talks of the ghosts, without making it too scary. It is nice that it mentions haunted places all over the world, so kids get a bit of a geography lesson too. This is a great read, with Halloween coming up, and there will be a lot of interest in the subject. Kids will love learning about these spooky attractions.

phtogSTEAM Jobs In: Photography (Steam Jobs You’ll Love)

By Ray Reyes
48 pages – ages 5+
Published by Rourke Educational Media

Synopsis from Publisher- “Photography is the focus of this STEAM driven title in the world of photography. Focusing on the improvements of equipment.”

What I Thought- This was a great introduction to jobs involving photography and STEAM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). It discusses how photographers need to know angles and lighting and other things, such as how they use technology to edit the photos, engineering to design/innovate cameras, scientists using cameras to photograph space, and other such things. It is a neat book, and kids interested in cameras would like to learn how they can make a living with one.

Review! 101 Things to Do Outside

17 Aug

101outside101 Things to Do Outside

by Susan Hayes

Illustrated by  Shahid Mahmood

Editors Fay Evans, Lydia Halliday

144 pages – ages 8-12

Published by  Walter Foster Jr, (Division of Quatro) on March 1, 2016 (Published by Weldon Owen in  Great Britain 2015)

Synopsis from Publisher- “From animal tracking and survival skills to using a compass and growing vegetables, 101 Things to Do Outside is the perfect guide for young explorers and aspiring adventurers longing for a taste of the great outdoors. Right outside your front door, there’s a world bursting with adventures just waiting to be explored. This pocket-sized book is overflowing with things to try, do, learn, and remember (plus it has a handy checklist!). Includes helpful step-by-step illustrations and plenty of activities and lessons. Actvities include: Outdoor games such as beach basketball and giant chess; Outdoor art projects such as build a hammock and making bark rubbings; Outdoor nature activities such as bug hunting and fossil hunting; Outdoor gardening activities such as planting a boot garden and creating an herb window box; Outdoor exploring activities such as cooking on a campfire and sending message with a flashlight. The fourth installment of the 101 Things series encourages children to step away from the computer screen and experience nature firsthand from their very own backyards.”

What I Thought- This is a decent guide to doing things outside. The instructions are thorough and easy to understand. I really liked the format of the book – it’s spiral bound like a notebook. Each page has a description of an activity along with illustrations to help and a list of materials.  There is also a little check box at the bottom of each activity so you can mark that you’ve done it – nice feature.

101outside1

The pages are colored and have an “outdoorsy” feel about them.  The instructions also point out good times to ask an adult for help. There are games, crafts and some science based activities. Most of the activities are probably good for third graders and younger, with a few things for older kids. I took the book camping with us last week and read it. It gave us some ideas of things to do! I can see parents handing the book to kids who say “I’m bored” or using it as a way to get their kids outside more.  Overall a fun book that is a great boredom buster!

For a full preview of the book, visit the publisher’s website by clicking HERE.

I give this book four out of five bookworms!fourbooks

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