February 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Book Review: Grades 5 & Up Nonfiction

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redstarBolden, Tonya . Searching for Sarah Rector: The Richest Black Girl in America. 80p. glossary. index. maps. notes. photos. reprods. Abrams. Jan. 2014. Tr $21.95. ISBN 9781419708466. LC 2012039254.

Gr 6-8 –When Sarah Rector turned 18 in 1920, the young black woman had amassed a fortune estimated at $1 million. In telling her story, Bolden makes a largely unknown portion of American history accessible to young readers. Rector and her family were “Creek freedmen,” black citizens of the Creek Indian nation. When the Creeks were forced to resettle west of the Mississippi in the 1800s, each one received a land allotment. Sarah’s contained rich oil deposits, making her enormously wealthy. As a result, there was great media interest in her whereabouts and lifestyle, though much of the reporting was highly inaccurate and speculative. When she disappeared, the black-owned newspaper the Chicago Defender and the NAACP even suggested that Sarah had been kidnapped and that her legal guardians were profiting at her expense. All of this was untrue. In telling Rector’s story, Bolden admittedly had to deal with gaps in information. Yet, piecing together the facts clearly reflects Bolden’s skill as a history writer–her rigorous questioning of documents; her own clearly stated position on what the “facts” mean; and her extensive use of visual material, such as newspaper articles, maps, paintings, and photographs. In an author’s note, Bolden tells how she first learned about Sarah, how she researched her life, and how–in the process–she found evidence that was contrary to what she expected. This book will be extremely useful to teachers and librarians seeking material to align with Common Core State Standards dealing with the craft of writing of informational text. Pair it with Bolden’s Maritcha (Abrams, 2005), another book that deals with the challenges of writing history when there are gaps in available historical evidence.–Myra Zarnowski, City University of New York

redstarSinger, Marilyn . Rutherford B., Who Was He?: Poems About Our Presidents. illus. by John Hendrix. 56p. notes. websites. Hyperion/Disney. 2013. RTE $17.99. ISBN 9781423171003. LC 201310690.

Gr 4 Up –In this impressive collection of poems and matching illustrations, Singer and Hendrix introduce readers to the chronological roster of U.S. presidents, from Washington through Obama. With just a few well-chosen lines, Singer limns the character and/or significance of each man, highlighting Washington’s honesty; peace-loving Woodrow Wilson, and feisty Truman: “No one was brasher/than that former haberdasher.” In her inimitable verse, she brilliantly captures Nixon’s flawed legacy: “Would people remember Watergate, nothing but Watergate?” Some presidents are treated singly; others are grouped together, such as former friends and political adversaries John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Hendrix’s pen-and-ink illustrations match Singer’s nuanced text: undersized James Madison faces down British ships standing on a soapbox, and an oversize William Howard Taft holds a rubber ducky in his custom-made bathtub. In the exaggerated style of political cartoons, they add wit and insightful detail. End materials offer more factual information including a paragraph on each president. There are many great books about U.S. presidents, and this one follows in the footsteps of Alice Provensen’s classic The Buck Stops Here (HarperCollins, 1992) and Judith St. George’s So You Want to Be President (Philomel, 2000). Most libraries will want to make room for this one; it’s a wonderful teaching tool for U.S. history and a delightful, readable book for a wide audience of browsers.–Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

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

Grades 5 & Up

Anderson, Jennifer Joline . Women’s Rights Movement. lib. ed. ISBN 9781617838897; ebk. ISBN 9781624011597. LC 2013932970.

Watson, Stephanie . Gay Rights Movement. lib. ed. ISBN 9781617838873; ebk. ISBN 9781624011573. LC 2013932971.

ea vol: 112p. (Essential Library of Social Change). bibliog. chart. chron. further reading. glossary. index. maps. notes. photos. reprods. websites. ABDO. 2013. lib. ed. $23.95; ebk. $23.95.

Bjorklund, Ruth & Ellen H. Todras . Montana. ISBN 9780761479994. LC 2012026679.

Sanders, Doug & Jacqueline Laks Gorman . Idaho. ISBN 9780761479987. LC 2012024134.

ea vol: 2nd ed. 80p. (It’s My State!). chart. chron. diag. further reading. index. maps. photos. reprods. score. websites. Cavendish Square. 2013. lib. ed. $31.36. ebook available.

Bolte, Mari . Paint It: The Art of Acrylics, Oils, Pastels, and Watercolors. illus. by D.C. Ice & Pamela Becker. 144p. photos. reprods. Capstone. 2013. pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781623700096. LC 2013005397.

Burningham, Sarah O’Leary . Girl to Girl: Honest Talk About Growing Up and Your Changing Body. illus. by Alli Arnold. 136p. chart. diag. index. Chronicle. Jan. 2014. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781452102429. LC 2013008427.

Carwardine, Mark . Natural History Museum Book of Animal Records. 320p. index. photos. Firefly. 2013. pap. $19.95. ISBN 9781770852693.

Colson, Rob . Bone Collection: Animals. illus. by Sandra Doyle, Elizabeth Gray, et. al. 96p. diag. glossary. index. photos. reprods. Scholastic. 2013. pap. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-545-57628-4.

CUNNINGHAM, Kevin. Pi. ISBN 9781599353944. LC 2013011595.

––––. Zero. ISBN 9781599353920. LC 2013005809.

ea vol: 64p. (The Biography of Numbers Series). bibliog. chron. ebook available. glossary. index. photos. reprods. websites. Morgan Reynolds. 2013. lib. ed $27.45.

Currie, Stephen . The Medieval Castle. ISBN 9781601525369. LC 2013009271.

Nardo, Don . The Parthenon of Ancient Greece. ISBN 9781601525383. LC 2012051717.

Woog, Adam . The Roman Colosseum. ISBN 9781601525406. LC 2013001182.

ea vol: 96p. (History’s Great Structures). chron. diag. further reading. illus. index. maps. notes. photos. reprods. websites. ReferencePoint. 2013. lib. ed. $28.95.

Dixon, Norma . In Deep with the Octopus. 40p. bibliog. diag. further reading. glossary. illus. index. maps. photos. Fitzhenry & Whiteside. 2013. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781554552702.

Hicks, Terry Allan & Amanda Hudson . Maine. ISBN 9781608708819. LC 2012005174.

Petreycik, Rick & Lisa M. Herrington . Rhode Island. ISBN 9780761480020. LC 2012024116.

ea vol: 2nd ed. 80p. (It’s My State!). chart. chron. further reading. illus. index. maps. photos. reprods. score. websites. Cavendish Square. 2013. lib. ed. $31.36. ebook available.

Holcombe, Whitney . 1 Year, 100 Pounds: My Journey to a Better, Happier Life. 208p. chart. diag. websites. S & S/Beyond Words/Simon Pulse. Jan. 2014. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781582704098; pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781582704081; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9781442476622.

Hopkins, Lee Bennett , ed. All the World’s a Stage. illus. by Guy Billout. 40p. index. Creative Editions. 2013. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781568462189. LC 2012046263.

Jenson-Elliot, Cindy . The Great Wall of China. ISBN 9781601525345. LC 2013010772.

Robson, David . Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. ISBN 9781601525420. LC 2012046061.

Woog, Adam . The Eiffel Tower. ISBN 9781601525321. LC 2012042907.

––––. The World Trade Center. ISBN 9781601525444. LC 2013011852.

ea vol: 96p. (History’s Great Structures). chron. diag. further reading. illus. index. maps. notes. photos. reprods. websites. ReferencePoint. 2013. lib. ed. $28.95.

La Bella, Laura . Building Apps. ISBN 9781448895151.

Meyer , Susan . Understanding Digital Piracy . ISBN 9781448895144.

Shea, Therese . Gamification: Using Gaming Technology for Achieving Goals. ISBN 9781448895120. LC 2012036231.

ea vol: 48p. (Digital and Information Literacy). bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. photos. reprods. websites. Rosen Central. 2013. lib. ed. $29.25.

Latham, Donna . Music: Investigate the Evolution of American Sound. illus. by Bryan Stone. 128p. (Inquire and Investigate). chart. chron. further reading. glossary. index. websites. Nomad. 2013. Tr $21.95. ISBN 9781619301993; pap. $16.95. ISBN 9781619302037; ebk. $11.59. ISBN 9781619302006.

Lewis, Anna M. Women of Steel and Stone: 22 Inspirational Architects, Engineers, and Landscape Designers. 272p. (Women of Action). bibliog. further reading. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Chicago Review Press. Jan. 2014. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781613745083.

Macaulay, David . Castle. ISBN 9780544102262.

––––. Cathedral. ISBN 9780544100008.

ea vol: illus. by author. 80p. diag. glossary. Houghton Mifflin. 2013. Tr. $19.99.

McHugh, Maura . Twisted Myths: 20 Classic Stories with a Dark and Dangerous Heart. illus. by Jane Laurie. 144p. Barron’s. 2013. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780764166204. LC 2013939131.

McMurchy-Barber, Gina . When Children Play: The Story of Right to Play. 56p. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. Fitzhenry & Whiteside. 2013. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781554551545.

Quinlan, Don . Rick Hansen: A Life in Motion. 72p. bibliog. chron. diag. index. notes. photos. reprods. Fitzhenry & Whiteside. 2013. Tr $22.95. ISBN 9781554551958; pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781554551965.

Shabazz, Ilyasah . Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X. illus. by AG Ford. 48p. S & S/Atheneum. Jan. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442412163; ebk. $12.99. ISBN 9781442433045. LC 2011041514.

Spilsbury, Richard . Geronimo. illus. by Florence Faure. ISBN 9781410953605; ISBN 9781410953674. LC 2012043525.

––––. Ramesses II. illus. by Stathis Petropoulos. ISBN 9781410953582; ISBN 9781410953650. LC 2012043764.

––––. Shaka Zulu. illus. by Stathis Petropoulos. ISBN 9781410953612; ISBN 9781410953681. LC 2012043532.

ea vol: 48p. (Hero Journals). chron. further reading. glossary. index. maps. photos. reprods. websites. Raintree. 2013. lib. ed. $32.65; pap. $8.99.

Tailfeather, Speck Lee . Architecture According to Pigeons. illus. by Natsko Seki. 64p. maps. Phaidon. 2013. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9780714863894.

Terry, Paul . Top 10 for Boys. 320p. chart. index. photos. reprods. Firefly. 2013. RTE $24.95. ISBN 9781770852235.

Wood, Alix . Body Snatching. lib. ed. ISBN 9781433995729; ebk. ISBN 9781433995750.

––––. Dueling. lib. ed. ISBN 9781433995767; ebk. ISBN 9781433995798.

––––. Human Sacrifice. lib. ed. ISBN 9781 433995842; ebk. ISBN 9781433995873.

––––. Mummification. lib. ed. ISBN 9781 433995880; ebk. ISBN 9781433995910.

ea vol: 32p. (Why’d They Do That? Strange Customs of the Past). chart. diag. further reading. glossary. illus. index. maps. photos. reprods. websites. Gareth Stevens. 2013.lib. ed. $26.60; ebk. $26.60.

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

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