February 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Math Made Fun and Easy, the Poetry of Food Trucks, and the Fight for Civil Rights | Preschool to Grade 4 Nonfiction Reviews

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Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation (Tonatiuh) ©2014 by Duncan Tonatiuh

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation (Tonatiuh)
©2014 by Duncan Tonatiuh

redstarAdler, David A. Triangles. illus. by Edward Miller. 32p. diag. ebook available. Holiday House. 2014. RTE $17.95. ISBN 9780823423781. LC 2012037371.

Gr 2-4 –A straightforward and easy introduction to triangles and angles. There is a lot of repeated information, which will work well with students with different learning styles, and the bold, exciting illustrations will hold kids’ attention. Adler relies on the tried-and-true example of a clock in order to explain angles, and most students will easily understand—as long as they are still exposed to analog clocks. The search-and-find illustrations throughout are an added kid-friendly bonus. While important words are printed in boldface and defined throughout the book (e.g., acute angle, isosceles triangle, reflex angle), the book’s one drawback is the lack of a glossary; students will have to look back through the text to redefine words. A recommended purchase for any math collection, this title serves as a great update on the subject.–Jasmine L. Precopio, Fox Chapel Area School District, Pittsburgh, PA

redstarKrull, Kathleen. What’s New? The Zoo!: A Zippy History of Zoos. illus. by Marcellus Hall. 40p. notes. Scholastic. Jun. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545135719. LC 2013021189.

Gr 2-5 –A whirlwind, episodic tour of zoos around the world through the ages. Krull takes readers back 4000 years to zoos in Sumeria and ancient China, India, Greece, and Ethiopia, as well as to the menageries of Kublai Khan, Charlemagne, Pope Leo, and Aztec emperor Moctezuma II straight through to modern times. She briefly describes each zoo or collection in a brief paragraph stuffed with fascinating facts that intrigue while they inform. The book ends with modern-day zoos and efforts to save species and reintroduce some of them back into their natural habitats. The author describes the many reasons for building zoos—to study and classify the animal kingdom, connect humans with nature, and awe visitors—in a lighthearted way. The full-color ink and watercolor illustrations are rendered in a sketchy, elastic, cartoon style and feature a wonderful multicultural cast and playful moments for sharp-eyed readers to spot. This thoroughly researched title cites sources that include books and websites, making it ideal for browsing purposes or for school reports.–Marge Loch-Wouters, La Crosse Public Library, WI

redstarTonatiuh, Duncan. Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation. illus. by Duncan Tonatiuh. 40p. bibliog. glossary. index. photos. Abrams. May 2014. RTE $18.95. ISBN 9781419710544. LC 2013032089.

Gr 2-5 –When the Mendezes moved to Westminster, CA, in 1944, third-grader Sylvia tried to enter Westminster School. However, the family was repeatedly told, “‘Your children have to go to the Mexican school.’ ‘But why?’ asked Mr. Mendez…‘That is how it is done.’” In response, they formed the Parents’ Association of Mexican-American Children, distributed petitions, and eventually filed a successful lawsuit that was supported by organizations ranging from the Japanese American Citizens League to the American Jewish Congress. Younger children will be outraged by the injustice of the Mendez family story but pleased by its successful resolution. Older children will understand the importance of the 1947 ruling that desegregated California schools, paving the way for Brown v. Board of Education seven years later. Back matter includes a detailed author’s note and photographs. The excellent bibliography cites primary sources, including court transcripts and the author’s interview with Sylvia Mendez, who did attend Westminster School and grew up to earn the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Tonatiuh’s illustrations tell a modern story with figures reminiscent of the pictorial writing of the Mixtec, an indigenous people from Mexico. Here, the author deliberately connects his heritage with the prejudices of mid-20th century America. One jarring illustration of three brown children barred from a pool filled with lighter-skinned children behind a sign that reads, “No Dogs or Mexicans Allowed,” will remind readers of photographs from the Jim Crow South. Compare and contrast young Sylvia Mendez’s experience with Robert Coles’s The Story of Ruby Bridges (Scholastic, 1995) to broaden a discussion of school desegregation.–Toby Rajput, National Louis University, Skokie, IL

Graphic novels are now reviewed in every issue.
Where applicable, they appear at the bottom of the grade level section.

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

Agnone, Julie Vosburgh. What in the World?: Fun-tastic Photo Puzzles for Curious Minds. 48p. further reading. photos. websites. National Geographic Kids. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781426315176; lib. ed. $25.90. ISBN 9781426316081.

Alborozo, Gabriel. Let’s Paint! illus. by Gabriel Alborozo. 32p. Allen & Unwin. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781743313695.

Arlon, Penelope & Tory Gordon-Harris. Dolphins. 32p. (Scholastic Discover More). glossary. index. photos. Scholastic. 2014. Tr $7.99. ISBN 9780545627382.

Blewett, Ashlee Brown with Daniel Raven-Ellison. Mission: Lion Rescue: All About Lions and How to Save Them. 128p. chart. further reading. illus. index. maps. photos. websites. National Geographic for Kids. 2014. lib. ed. $21.90. ISBN 9781426314933; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781426314926.

Chatelain, Jeremy. May the Stars Drip Down. illus. by Nikki McClure. 40p. Abrams. 2014. RTE $17.95. ISBN 9781419710247. LC 2013008241.

Curtis, Jennifer Keats. Animal Helpers: Aquariums. photos. ISBN 9781628552034; ISBN 9781628552126; ISBN 9781628552300. LC 2013044815.

Holland, Mary. The Beavers’ Busy Year. photos. ISBN 9781628552041; ISBN 9781628552133; ISBN 9781628552317. LC 2013036382.

Pearson, Carrie A. A Cool Summer Tail. illus. by Christina Wald. ISBN 9781628552058; ISBN 9781628552140; ISBN 9781628552324. LC 2013036387.

ea vol: 32p. Arbordale. 2014. Tr. $17.95. pap. $9.95. ebk. $9.95.

DiSiena, Laura Lyn & Hannah Eliot. Chickens Don’t Fly: and Other Fun Facts. ISBN 9781442493537; ISBN 9781442493261; ISBN 9781442493278. LC 2013009392.

––––. Hippos Can’t Swim: and Other Fun Facts. ISBN 9781442493520; ISBN 9781442493247; ISBN 9781442493254. LC 2013009391.

ea vol: illus. by Pete Oswald. 32p. (Did You Know?). S. & S./Little Simon. 2014. Tr. $17.99. pap. $5.99. ebk. $5.99.

Endangered Animals: A 3-D Pocket Guide. ISBN 9780763669850. LC 2013943086.

Ocean Creatures: A 3-D Pocket Guide. ISBN 9780763668020. LC 2013948091.

ea vol: illus. by Sarah Young. paper engineering by Gus Clarke. 30p. chart. glossary. illus. maps. Candlewick. 2014. Tr. $8.99.

Fisher, Valorie. I Can Do It Myself. illus. by Valorie Fisher. 40p. photos. Random/Schwartz & Wade Bks. May 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780449815939.

Gilpin, Caroline Crosson. George Washington. chron. ISBN 9781426314698; ISBN 9781426314681.

Marsh, Laura. Koalas. ISBN 9781 426314674; ISBN 9781426314667.

Rattini, Kristin Baird. Seed to Plant. ISBN 9781426314711; ISBN 9781426314704.

ea vol: 32p. diag. maps. photos. reprods. (National Geographic Readers). National Geographic for Kids. 2014. lib. ed. $13.90. pap. $3.99.

Jiang, Emily. Summoning the Phoenix: Poems and Prose About Chinese Musical Instruments. illus. by April Chu. 32p. further reading. notes. Lee & Low/Shen’s Bks. 2014. RTE $18.95. ISBN 9781885008503. LC 2013009328.

Jules, Jacqueline. Never Say a Mean Word Again: A Tale from Medieval Spain. illus. by Durga Yael Bernhard. 32p. Wisdom. May 2014. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781937786205.

Long, Ethan. The Wing Wing Brothers Geometry Palooza! 32p. ebook available. Holiday House. 2014. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9780823429516. LC 2013016435.

McCarney, Rosemary. Every Day Is Malala Day. 32p. photos. Second Story. 2014. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781927583319.

McGowan-Lowe, Jake. Jake’s Bones. 64p. glossary. illus. index. maps. photos. TickTock. 2014. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781848988521.

Miller, Debbie S. Grizzly Bears of Alaska: Explore the Wild World of Bears. photos by Patrick J. Endres. 32p. maps. photos. Sasquatch. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781570619489; pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781570619328.

Montalván, Luis Carlos with Bret Witter. Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond between a Soldier and His Service Dog. photos by Dan Dion. 40p. Roaring Brook. May 2014. RTE $16.99. ISBN 9781596438910.

Oxlade, Chris. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. illus. by Mike Lemanski. 16p. (Design Line). chron. Candlewick/Big Picture. 2014. pap. $17.99. ISBN 9780763671211. LC 2013943107.

Perepeczko, Jenny. Moses: The True Story of an Elephant Baby. 48p. maps. photos. S. & S./Atheneum. Aug. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442496033; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781442496040. LC 2013025985.

Potter, Alicia. Jubilee!: One Man’s Big, Bold, and Very, Very Loud Celebration of Peace. illus. by Matt Tavares. 40p. bibliog. Candlewick. 2014. RTE $16.99. ISBN 9780763658564. LC 2013943992.

Prager, Ellen. Sea Slime: It’s Eeuwy, Gooey, and Under the Sea. illus. by Shennen Bersani. 32p. photos. Arbordale. 2014. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781628552102; pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781628552195; ebk. $9.95. ISBN 9781628552379. LC 2013036391.

Roop, Connie & Peter Roop. Extreme Survivors. 32p. (American Museum of Natural History Easy Readers). further reading. notes. photos. websites. Sterling. 2014. Tr $9.95. ISBN 9781454906315; pap. $3.95. ISBN 9781402777912.

Schreiber, Anne & others. Cutest Animals Collection. 128p. (National Geographic Readers). glossary. maps. photos. National Geographic for Kids. 2014. Tr $7.99. ISBN 9781426315220; lib. ed. $16.90. ISBN 9781426316128.

Stewart, Melissa. World’s Fastest Animals. 32p. (American Museum of Natural History Easy Readers). further reading. photos. Sterling. 2014. Tr $9.95. ISBN 9781454906339; pap. $3.95. 9781402777936

Todd, Mark. Food Trucks! illus. by Mark Todd. 32p. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Jun. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544157842. LC 2013018437.

Ziefert, Harriet. You Can’t Ride a Bicycle to the Moon! illus. by Amanda Haley. 40p. diag. Blue Apple. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781609054199.

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

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  1. “Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation (Tonatiuh) ©2014 by Duncan Tonatiuh. ”
    I do not agree that: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/07/a-school-built-entirely-around-the-love-of-math/

    – Jude