November 22, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Book Review: Grades 5 & Up Nonfiction

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redstarAthans, Sandra K. Secrets of the Sky Caves: Danger and Discovery on Nepal’s Mustang Cliff. 64p. bibliog. chron. further reading. glossary. index. maps. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Millbrook. Apr. 2014. RTE $33.27. ISBN 9781467700160; ebk. $24.95. ISBN 9781467725408. LC 2013017736.

Gr 4-6 –For thousands of years, secret caves have been tucked away in steep cliffs in Nepal, and mountain climbers and scientists have begun to explore them. Through their discoveries, they are able to learn about this remote area, its history, and the people who once lived in these caves. The author (a sister of one of the mountaineers) takes readers on a fascinating journey, blending adventure, science, and history. Sidebars of information add a depth of information from topics as varied as what gear a Mustang rope rigger needs to an explanation of a Bon manuscript dating back to the mid-1300s. The book design is attractive and accessible and includes quality photographs and clearly labeled maps. The book will enlighten young readers to one of the most fascinating explorations and discoveries happening today. Seven pages of back matter provide a plethora of additional information. This well-executed narrative envelopes readers in a captivating tale of true mystery and adventure.–Helen Foster James, University of California at San Diego

redstarKanefield, Teri. The Girl from the Tar Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the Advent of the Civil Rights Movement. 56p. chron. index. notes. photos. reprods. Abrams. 2014. RTE $19.95. ISBN 9781419707964. LC 2012040990.

Gr 6 Up –This is the story of a Farmville, Virginia high schooler, who, in 1953, led a student strike for a better-built school on par with the building for white students. Although she was known as a quiet, reserved student, Johns was so incensed about the terrible conditions in which she and her classmates were required to learn that she engineered the exit of the principal from her school, mocked up a call to assembly, and then led students out on strike. She contacted the NAACP, which counseled that students return to class. When they refused, the organization told Johns that it would support only movements for integration. Students then worked to get an agreement to request integration from their parents and the broader black community. Once the community aligned behind integration as the eventual goal and a lawsuit was filed, students returned to class. The suit filed on behalf of the Farmville students ended up in the Supreme Court, one of the four cases that comprised the historic Brown v. Board of Education ruling. Beautifully and clearly written, this story of a teen who refused to be deterred in her pursuit of educational equality is matched by period photos–many of them located only after significant effort, as the Johns’s home was burned–and primary source quotations. A “Civil Rights Timeline,” solid end notes and source notes, and a sound index round out this excellent look at the roots and the breadth of the Civil Rights Movement.–Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA

redstarMarrin, Albert. A Volcano Beneath the Snow: John Brown’s War Against Slavery. 256p. further reading. index. maps. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Knopf. Apr. 2014. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780307981523; lib. ed. $22.99. ISBN 9780307981530; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780385753401. LC 2012043231.

Gr 7 Up –Marrin offers a multisided look at the events and controversy surrounding John Brown’s role in the banishment of slavery and his ongoing inspiration for current events. Chapters present the history of the “peculiar institution” (slavery) both here and abroad, details of Brown’s life and family, his relationship with the abolitionists, his radicalization leading to the killings at Pottawatomie, Kansas, and, eventually, the uprising at Harper’s Ferry and his trial and hanging. Brown’s motivations, his religious fervor, charisma, and leadership skills are all examined. The politics of the time and key players both for and against slavery, secession and disunion are introduced. Brown’s role in the beginning of the Civil War and the introduction of the Emancipation Proclamation are explained. The role of slaves and free blacks before, during and after the war is also included. The Civil Rights Movement and more recent radical events, including the attack on the World Trade Center, are looked at through the lens of John Brown’s actions. From beginning to end, readers are asked to consider the philosophical questions Brown raised regarding “breaking a ‘bad’ law in democracy.” The double-column text is rich with relevant excerpts from writings, speeches, songs, and poetry of the era. Well-chosen captioned and dated black-and-white illustrations include period photos, portraits, artwork, maps, fliers, and posters. Extensive notes and further-reading suggestions are included. This will be an excellent resource for U.S. history collections.–Carol S. Surges, formerly at Longfellow Middle School, Wauwatosa, WI

The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue:

Grades 5 & Up

Aronson, Marc with Adrienne Mayor. The Griffin and the Dinosaur: How Adrienne Mayor Discovered a Fascinating Link Between Myth and Science. illus. by Chris Muller. 48p. further reading. glossary. index. maps. photos. reprods. websites. National Geographic. Apr. 2014. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781426311086.

Austic, Greg. Game Design. ISBN 9781624311420; ISBN 9781624312748. LC 2013004924.

Masura, Shauna. Digital Badges. ISBN 9781624311437; ISBN 9781624312755. LC 2013004806.

Toth-Chernin, Jan. E-Textiles. ISBN 978 1624311406; ISBN 9781624312724. LC 2013006656.

ea vol: 32p. (Makers as Innovators Series). ebook available. further reading. glossary. index. photos. reprods. websites. Cherry Lake. 2013. lib. ed. $28.50. pap. $14.21.

Bolte, Mari. Fashion Drawing Studio: A Guide to Sketching Stylish Fashions. 144p. (Drawing Fun Fashions Series). illus. Capstone. 2013. pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781623700058. LC 2012028361.

Cooper, Ilene. A Woman in the House (and Senate): How Women Came to the United States Congress, Broke Down Barriers, and Changed the Country. illus. by Elizabeth Baddeley. 144p. appendix. bibliog. index. notes. photos. Abrams. Mar. 2014. RTE $24.95. ISBN 9781419710360. LC 2013022201.

Finkelstein, Norman H. Schools of Hope: How Julius Rosenwald Helped Change African American Education. 80p. bibliog. index. maps. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Calkins Creek. Apr. 2014. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781590788417. LC 2013951346.

Gibson, Karen Bush. Women in Space: 23 Stories of First Flights, Scientific Missions, and Gravity-Breaking Adventures. 234p. (Women of Action Series). bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. Chicago Review. 2014. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781613748442. LC 2013024950.

Green, Gail D. & others. Paper Artist: Creations Kids Can Fold, Tear, Wear, or Share. 112p. photos. Capstone. 2013. pap. $12.95. ISBN 9781623700041. LC 2012032454.

Jackson, Donna M. with Carol Kinsey Goman. Every Body’s Talking: What We Say Without Words. 64p. bibliog. diag. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. Twenty-First Century. Apr. 2014. lib. ed. $30.60. ISBN 9781467708586; ebk. $22.95. ISBN 9781467711203. LC 2013019674.

Jennings, Ken. Maps and Geography. illus. by Mike Lowery. 160p. (Ken Jennings’ Junior Genius Guides). chart. maps. Little Simon. 2014. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781442498488; pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781442473287; ebk. $7.99. ISBN 9781442473294. LC 2012050862.

Laidlaw, Rob. Cat Champions: Caring for Our Feline Friends. 64p. glossary. index. photos. websites. Pajama. Mar. 2014. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781927485316.

Liu-Perkins, Christine. At Home in Her Tomb: Lady Dai and the Ancient Chinese Treasures of Mawangdui. illus. by Sarah S. Brannen. 80p. bibliog. chron. diag. glossary. index. maps. notes. photos. reprods. Charlesbridge. Apr. 2014. RTE $19.95. ISBN 9781580893701; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9781607346159. LC 2012024630.

Miller, Ron. Chasing the Storm: Tornadoes, Meteorology, and Weather Watching. 64p. bibliog. chart. diag. further reading. glossary. index. maps. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Twenty-First Century. Mar. 2014. lib. ed. $33.26. ISBN 9781467712842; ebk. $24.95. ISBN 9781467725460. LC 2013009291.

Miller, Ron. Curiosity’s Mission on Mars: Exploring the Red Planet. 64p. bibliog. diag. further reading. glossary. index. maps. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Twenty-First Century. May 2014. RTE $33.26. ISBN 9781467710879; ebk. $24.95. ISBN 9781467725477. LC 2013009290.

O’Neill, Terence & Josh Williams. 3D Printing. ISBN 9781624311383; ISBN 9781624312700. LC 2013004468.

Roslund, Samantha & Kristin Fontichiaro. Maker Faire. ISBN 9781624311369; ISBN 9781624312687. LC 2013004921.

Roslund, Samantha & Emily Puckett Rodgers. Makerspaces. ISBN 9781624311413; ISBN 9781624312731. LC 2013007053.

ea vol: 32p. (Makers as Innovators Series). ebook available. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Cherry Lake. 2013. lib. ed. $28.50. pap. $14.21.

Parker, Maceo. 98% Funky Stuff: My Life in Music. 208p. Chicago Review. 2013. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781613743461. LC 2012037923.

Price, Jane. Underworld: Exploring the Secret World Beneath Your Feet. illus. by James Gulliver Hancock. 96p. diag. index. photos. reprods. Kids Can. Apr. 2014. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781894786898.

Tougias, Michael J. & Casey Sherman. The Finest Hours: The True Story of a Heroic Sea Rescue. 176p. bibliog. photos. Holt/Christy Ottaviano. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780805097641.

Walker, Sally M. Boundaries: How the Mason-Dixon Line Settled a Family Feud and Divided a Nation. 208p. bibliog. diag. index. maps. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Candlewick. Mar. 2014. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780763656126. LC 2013946612.

Werle, Simone. 13 Fashion Styles Children Should Know. tr. from German by Cynthia Hall. 48p. chron. glossary. photos. reprods. Prestel. 2013. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9783791371344.

This article was published in School Library Journal's March 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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