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Grades 5 & Up Nonfiction | September 2013

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redstarFREEDMAN, Russell. Angel Island: Gateway to Gold Mountain. 96p. bibliog. index. notes. photos. reprods. Clarion. Oct. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-547-90378-1.

Gr 5-8–For the 30 years it was in operation, from 1910-1940, Angel Island Immigration Station served as the first step for hundreds of thousands of people seeking a new home and a new life in the United States. It was a bleak, unwelcoming introduction to the new land, and for many immigrants, primarily those from China, it was also a detention center. Many Chinese were held there for weeks or months at a time while they endured lengthy interviews and invasive medical exams in order to prove that they could enter the U.S. Freedman’s inimitable style and approach to nonfiction writing shines in this accessible, thoughtful history of Angel Island and its legacy in the American immigration narrative. Detailed descriptions of the island, the actual building, the events that took place there, and the people who passed through its doors are sprinkled with the emotional poems, quotes, and other writings that were discovered covering the walls of the areas where the detainees were housed. These words provide not only a unique perspective of the immigrants, but also a context for what was happening in the broader world, specifically the racist, xenophobic attitudes encountered by many new arrivals. Complemented by photographs, artwork, and primary sources, Freedman’s writing offers up a strong, engaging introduction to the subject of a more diverse immigrant population and the obstacles that were put in its way. Equally evocative and informative, this is an excellent choice for middle school libraries.–Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA

redstarGREENBERG, Jan & Sandra Jordan. The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius. 56p. bibliog. notes. photos. reprods. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter. Oct. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-1-59643-810-1. LC 2012047601.

Gr 5-8–Ohr was a homegrown genius and the greatest artist potter on Earth, or so he claimed, and while dismissed by many as a self-promoting eccentric (he was that), much of what he declared about himself is recognized as true today. His pottery, notably inventive in its shapes, textures, and glazes, became more experimental and free-flowing in form after 1894, when fire destroyed his kiln. While clearly distinct, Ohr’s art was not outsider; he subscribed to the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement, and for a short time worked with Joseph Meyer furnishing pottery for the women of The Ladies’ Decorative Arts League in New Orleans. But Ohr was quirky, flamboyant, and a Biloxi, Mississippi, tourist attraction; he had a bushy handlebar mustache that he could wrap around his ears, and he was often difficult. The authors do an excellent job describing this larger-than-life character through quotes and plentiful color photos of his pottery, or “mud babies” as he referred to his creations. Of particular interest are the archival sepia photos, including the two large, double-page images depicting the artist in his barnlike studio with piles and piles of his work–and several children–about, that open and close the book. A one-page guide on “How to Look at a Pot” examines a decorative piece with reference to texture, color, form, line, and expression. Extensive source notes round out this nicely designed, fascinating introduction to the master craftsman and art pottery.–Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal

redstarLEWIS, Catherine. Thrice Told Tales: Three Mice Full of Writing Advice. illus. by Joost Swarte. 144p. appendix. diag. glossary. index. S & S/Atheneum. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5784-3. ebook available. LC 2012010644.

Gr 8 Up–Lewis offers a witty and whimsical guide for burgeoning scribes that includes definitions of common literary terms as well as writing advice. With a page or two devoted to each, elements such as intertextuality, farce, foreshadowing, and leitmotif are explained using the nursery rhyme about three blind mice. The author has created a background story for the mice and developed distinct personalities for each one as she uses their tale to define the selected literary elements. Concepts are succinctly summarized at the end of each page. Playful black-and-white illustrations of the mice in action add visual interest. Other writing advice includes topics such as how to build suspense, how and when to incorporate sentimentality, and how to effectively include potentially distracting content such as sex or expletives. Explanations are interesting and clever, turning formerly lackluster definitions of literary terms into entertainment. Useful for readers who want to hone their writing skills as well as creative-writing classes.–Ragan O’Malley, Saint Ann’s School, Brooklyn, NY

redstarMARKLE, Sandra. The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees: A Scientific Mystery. 48p. diag. further reading. glossary. index. map. photos. websites. Millbrook. Oct. 2013. RTE $29.27. ISBN 978-1-4677-0592-9; ebook $21.95. ISBN 978-1-4677-1700-7. LC 2012046913.

Gr 4-8–The worker bee and its vital role in the life cycle of the honeybee are interwoven with the threat that Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) poses to bees, plants, and humans in straightforward language on honey-colored paper, illustrated with full-color photographs on every page. Commercial colonies of bees are trucked around the country to pollinate almonds, blueberries, apples, citrus fruit, and pumpkins in a yearly cycle that does not include the winter rest that wild bees take. But because these honeybees can mix with wild populations, the threat of CCD is not confined to commercial bee colonies. The work of scientists examining such possible causes as virus, fungus, mites, and pesticides and possible remedies is described. The glossary and index provide good definitions of terms relating to both honeybees and CCD. The author has included a half page of interesting factoids about honeybees as well as suggestions for how to help them locally and organizations involved in “Global Rescue Efforts.An excellent first purchase for reports as well as for general interest.–Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Fairfax County Public Library, VA

redstarMONTGOMERY, Sy. The Tapir Scientist. photos by Nic Bishop. 80p. (Scientists in the Field Series). bibliog. chart. index. map. websites. Houghton Harcourt. 2013. Tr $18.99. ISBN 978-0-547-81548-0. LC 2012018678.

Gr 5-10–In this addition to the series, readers join Pati Medici and her team in their quest to study tapirs in the world’s largest wetland, the Pantanal Wetlands of Brazil. Although its appearance may lead some to suppose that the tapir falls somewhere near elephants or hippopotami in the family tree, this flexible-snouted, hoof-toed tropical creature is most closely related to rhinoceroses and horses. Medici has dubbed the tapir “the gardener of the forest” for its critical role in maintaining foliage by ingesting fruits and excreting the seeds elsewhere, but little else is known about this vanishing species. By observing and trapping the animals to outfit them with radio collars or microchips and collect samples including blood and ticks from infestations, Medici’s team hopes to better understand their lifestyles to enhance conservation efforts. Although in-text pronunciation guides are included for some Portuguese names and select scientific terminology is explained, no glossary is provided, and many of the exotic birds discussed are not shown. Following each chapter are several pages of related information with text and photographs placed on top of a marbled background with shadows that can make the text difficult to read in some places. A list of several websites and YouTube videos is included, and the index differentiates between text and photographic references. Bishop’s captivating photographs, paired with Montgomery’s narrative, not only call attention to a lesser-known endangered species, but also expose readers to the working conditions, obstacles, and emotions experienced by passionate scientists in the field.–Meaghan Darling, Plainsboro Public Library, NJ

The following titles are reviewed in the September 2013 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.

Grade 5 & Up

BEDELL, J. M. So, You Want to Be a Chef?: How to Get Started in the World of Culinary Arts. 224p. (Be What You Want Series). bibliog. chron. glossary. illus. websites. S & S/Aladdin/Beyond Words. Oct. 2013. Tr $18.99. ISBN 978-1-58270-437-1; pap. $9.99. ISBN 978-1-58270-436-4.

CAWTHORNE, Nigel. Notorious Tyrants. 128p. (Great People in History Series). chron. further reading. glossary. index. photos. reprods. websites. Rosen. 2013. lib. ed. $34.60. ISBN 978-1-4777-0406-6. ebook available. LC 2012032497.

CLIFFORD, Mary Louise. Drummer Boy of Company C: Coming of Age in the Civil War. 158p. bibliog. chron. index. map. notes. photos. reprods. Cypress Communications. Sept. 2013. pap. $19.95. ISBN 978-0-9636412-8-1. LC 2013938235.

DINGLE, Adrian. How to Make a Universe with 92 Ingredients: An Electrifying Guide to the Elements. 96p. chart. further reading. glossary. illus. index. photos. websites. Owlkids. Oct. 2013. Tr $18.95. ISBN 978-1-77147-008-7. LC 2013930988.

FRENZ, Florida. How to Be Human: Diary of an Autistic Girl. illus. by author. 40p. Creston Books. Sept. 2013. Tr $12.99. ISBN 978-1-939547-01-9.

GLASSBOURG, Michael. Learn to Speak Film: A Guide to Creating, Promoting & Screening Your Movies. illus. by Jeff Kulak. 96p. index. Owlkids. 2013. Tr $22.95. ISBN 978-1-926973-84-5; pap. $14.95. ISBN 978-1-926973-85-2. LC 2012954724.

GOLDMAN, Judy. Whiskers, Tails & Wings: Animal Folktales from Mexico. illus. by Fabricio VandenBroeck. 64p. bibliog. glossary. index. map. notes. websites. Charlesbridge. 2013. RTE $16.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-372-5; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-1-60734-617-3. LC 2012024636.

GUTMAN, Dan. My Weird Writing Tips. illus. by Jim Paillot. 160p. HarperCollins/Harper. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-209107-9; pap. $5.99. ISBN 978-0-06-209106-2. LC 2012029985.

HUEY, Lois Miner. Ick! Yuck! Eew!: Our Gross American History. 48p. bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Millbrook. Oct. 2013. lib. ed. $29.27. ISBN 978-0-7613-9091-6; ebook $21.95. ISBN 978-1-4677-1710-6. LC 2013004386.

KUIPER,Kathleen, ed. The Life and Times of William Shakespeare. 108p. ISBN 978-1-61530-926-9. LC 2012019293.

––––.The Tragedies of William Shakespeare. 88p. ISBN 978-1-61530-927-6. LC 2012021217.

ea vol: (Shakespeare: His Work and World Series). bibliog. chron. glossary. index. map. photos. reprods. Britannica. 2013. lib. ed. $32.90.

MCCLAFFERTY, Carla Killough. Fourth Down and Inches: Concussions and Football’s Make-or-Break Moment. 96p. bibliog. diag. further reading. index. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Carolrhoda. Sept. 2013. lib. ed. $20.95. ISBN 978-1-4677-1067-1; ebook $15.95. ISBN 978-1-4677-1665-9. LC 2013004192.

MACLEOD, Elizabeth & Frieda Wishinsky. A History of Just About Everything: 180 Events, People and Inventions That Changed the World. illus. by Qin Leng. 124p. chron. index. map. Kids Can. 2013. Tr $21.95. ISBN 978-1-55453-775-4.

MARTIN, Lesley Schwartz. Make the Grade: Everything You Need to Study Better, Stress Less, and Succeed in School. 144p. chart. diag. index. Zest. 2013. pap. $14.99. ISBN 978-1-936976-38-6. LC 2012943317.

MEYER, Terry Teague. How Inflation Affects You. ISBN 978-1-4488-8341-7. LC 2012018537.

PORTERFIELD, Jason. How a Recession Affects You. ISBN 978-1-4488-8345-5. LC 2012018784.

STRAZZABOSCO, John. How Spending and Saving Affect You. ISBN 978-1-4488-8344-8. LC 2012017552.

ea vol: 80p. (Your Economic Future Series). bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Rosen. 2013. lib. ed. $33.25. ebook available.

MILLER, Ron. Recentering the Universe: The Radical Theories of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton. 88p. bibliog. diag. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Twenty-First Century. Oct. 2013. lib. ed. $31.93. ISBN 978-0-7613-5885-5; ebook $23.95. ISBN 978-1-4677-1662-8. LC 2012047665.

MORPURGO, Michael & Clare Morpurgo. Where My Wellies Take Me…: A Childhood Scrapbook with Poems and Pictures. illus. by Olivia Lomenech Gill. 97p. index. Candlewick/Templar. 2013. RTE $29.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-6629-3. LC 2012954328.

NAZARIO, Sonia. Enrique’s Journey: The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite with His Mother. 288p. map. Delacorte. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-385-74327-3; lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-375-99104-2; ebook $10.99. ISBN 978-0-307-98315-2. LC 2012038328.

O’KANE, Bernard. The Civilization of the Islamic World. 232p. (The Illustrated History of the Ancient World Series). bibliog. diag. further reading. glossary. index. map. photos. reprods. websites. Rosen. 2013. lib. ed. $53.25. ISBN 978-1-4488-8503-9. LC 2012032340.

PERKINS, Mitali, ed. Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices. 144p. Candlewick. Sept. 2013. Tr $15.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-5866-3. ebook available. LC 2012955218.

PRINGLE, Laurence. Scorpions! illus. by Meryl Henderson. 32p. (Strange and Wonderful Series). diag. further reading. map. websites. Boyds Mills. Oct. 2013. RTE $16.95. ISBN 978-1-59078-473-0. LC 2013931088.

REYNOLDS, Luke, ed. Break These Rules: 35 YA Authors On Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself. 212p. Chicago Review Press. Sept. 2013. pap. $12.95. ISBN 978-1-61374-784-1.

RHATIGAN, Joe. Ouch!: The Weird & Wild Ways Your Body Deals with Agonizing Aches, Ferocious Fevers, Lousy Lumps, Crummy Colds, Bothersome Bites, Breaks, Bruises & Burns & Makes Them Feel Better! illus. by Anthony Owsley. 80p. chart. diag. glossary. index. photos. reprods. Charlesbridge/Imagine! 2013. Tr $14.95. ISBN 978-1-62354-005-0. LC 2012048462.

SHECTER, Vicky Alvear. Anubis Speaks! illus. by Antoine Revoy. 128p. (Secrets of the Ancient Gods Series). bibliog. glossary. index. Boyds Mills. Oct. 2013. Tr $16.95. ISBN 978-1-59078-995-7.

STEWART, Melissa & Allen Young. No Monkeys, No Chocolate. illus. by Nicole Wong. 32p. Charlesbridge. 2013. RTE $16.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-287-2. LC 2012000789.

SWANSON, James L. “The President Has Been Shot!”: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy. 288p. bibliog. diag. further reading. index. map. notes. photos. reprods. Scholastic. Oct. 2013. Tr $18.99. ISBN 978-0-545-49007-8; ebook $18.99. ISBN 978-0-545-49654-4. LC 2012041167.

WALKER, Niki. Why Do We Fight?: Conflict, War, and Peace. 80p. chron. index. map. notes. Owlkids. Sept. 2013. Tr $16.95. ISBN 978-1-926973-86-9. LC 2013930981.

WITTENSTEIN, Vicki Oransky. For the Good of Mankind?: The Shameful History of Human Medical Experimentation. 96p. bibliog. further reading. index. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Twenty-First Century. Oct. 2013. lib. ed. $35.93. ISBN 978-1-4677-0659-9; ebook $26.95. ISBN 978-1-4677-1661-1. LC 2012043413.

This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2013 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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