March 18, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Sign Language Primers, Graphic Guide to Science, and Selections on the Civil Rights Movement | Nonfiction Series Update

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Preschool to Grade 4

Blake, Kevin. Balto’s Story. ISBN 9781627242868. LC 2014011635.

––––. Comfort Dogs. ISBN 9781627242875. LC 2014011635.

Goldish, Meish. R.E.A.D. Dogs. ISBN 9781627245173. LC 2014034556.

––––. Skydiving Dogs. ISBN 9781627240871. LC 2013037776.

Lunis, Natalie. Lifeguard Dogs. ISBN 9781627240888. LC 2013037773.

ea vol: 32p. (Dog Heroes). bibliog. ebook available. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Bearport. 2015. lib. ed. $26.60.

Gr 2-5 –Dog books are winners in any library. Though these new additions tread familiar ground—the unusual and helpful contributions that man’s best friend makes—animal lovers will “ooh” and “ahh” over these tales. R.E.A.D. Dogs (about canines who bolster struggling readers’ confidence by sitting with them) will be a particularly sure bet in most libraries. Serviceable options for pet and animal collections.

Braun, Eric. Super Baseball Infographics. illus. by Laura Westlund. ISBN 9781467752329. LC 2014009409.

––––. Super Football Infographics. illus. by Laura Westlund. ISBN 9781467752312. LC 2014010986.

Savage, Jeff. Super Basketball Infographics. illus. by Rob Schuster. ISBN 9781467752336. LC 2014011000.

––––. Super Hockey Infographics. illus. by Vic Kulihin. ISBN 9781467752343. LC 2014012457.

ea vol: 32p. (Super Sports Infographics). chart. chron. ebook available. further reading. glossary. illus. index. maps. notes. websites. Lerner. Apr. 2015. lib. ed. $26.65.

Gr 3-5– Lerner keeps the ball rolling with these books (previous series include “Super Science Infographics” and “Super Social Studies Infographics”). As with previous titles, these are closer to attractively presented factoids than true infographics. However, there is plenty of fun material for sports fans (diagram of a baseball, player sizes over the years), and these bright, well-designed offerings are a cut above most athletic-oriented titles.

Kelley, K.C. April. ISBN 9781626873629. LC 2014930701.

––––. August. ISBN 9781626873636. LC 2014930702.

––––. December. ISBN 9781626873643. LC 2014930703.

––––. February. ISBN 9781626873650. LC 2014930704.

––––. January. ISBN 9781626873667. LC 201493073667.

––––. July. ISBN 9781626873674. LC 2014930706.

––––. June. ISBN 9781626873681. LC 2014930707.

––––. March. ISBN 9781626873698. LC 2014930708.

––––. May. ISBN 9781626873704. LC 2014930709.

––––. November. ISBN 9781626873711. LC 2014930710.

––––. October. ISBN 9781626873728. LC 2014930711.

––––. September. ISBN 9781626873735. LC 2014930712.

ea vol: illus. by Bob Ostram. 24p. (Twelve Magic Months). glossary. illus. index. maps. photos. The Child’s World. 2014. lib. ed. $25.64.

K-Gr 2 –Thirty days hath September…including Make-a-Hat Day, International Rabbit Day, and Video Game Day. Kids curious about our calendar will get a grounding in holidays both unusual and familiar, historical dates, and more in these brief looks at the 12 months of the year. The design is simple and clean, featuring attractive photographs and cheery cartoons. Librarians and teachers looking for quick additions to units on months or seasons will find these charming titles useful additions, and young browsers are in for a treat.

Micklos, Jr., John. The 1918 Flu Pandemic: Core Events of a Worldwide Outbreak. ISBN 9781491420454.

––––. The Challenger Explosion: Core Events of a Space Tragedy. ISBN 9781491420461.

ea vol: 32p. (What Went Wrong?). chron. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Capstone. Feb. 2015. Tr. $26.65.

Gr 3-5 –Those who enjoyed the initial releases in this series (which SLJ lauded as “perfect”) will want to check out these new additions. As with the previous titles, these books lay out with precision and clarity the essentials of these crises, as well as their greater significance. The 1918 Flu Pandemic is a particularly strong selection, enlightening readers about the historical and scientific context of the outbreak and its lasting consequences. Brimming with photos and captions, these books are as eye-catching as they are informative.

Owings, Lisa. From Bulb to Tulip. ISBN 9781467760218. LC 2014018980.

––––. From Goat to Cheese. ISBN 9781467760232. LC 2014020913.

––––. From Pumpkin to Pie. ISBN 9781467760188. LC 2014023480.

––––. From Sea to Salt. ISBN 9781467760195. LC 2014015101.

––––. From Strawberry to Jam. ISBN 9781467760225. LC 2014025229.

––––. From Sugar Beet to Sugar. ISBN 9781467760201. LC 2014016953.

ea vol: 24p. (Start to Finish: Nature’s Treasures). ebook available. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Lerner. Feb. 2015. Tr. $23.95.

K-Gr 2 –Lerner adds to this long-running, well-received series about transformation (previous titles have tackled animal and plant life cycles, food, and science). Though concise and comprehensible, the books still convey the essence of how these things come to be. Each spread features only a few sentences and serviceable photos. The small trim size, vocabulary words in bold, colorful and clean design, and spare but well-presented index and table of contents make this an ideal first step for nonfiction newbies. In choice of subject matter, too, this one sets itself apart from the usual fare for this audience. Strong offerings.

Phillips, Dee. Desert Tortoise’s Burrow. ISBN 9781627243087. LC 2014017379.

––––. Gila Monster’s Burrow. ISBN 9781627243094. LC 2014017380.

––––. Kangaroo Rat’s Burrow. ISBN 9781627243100. LC 2014019268.

ea vol: 24p. (The Hole Truth! Underground Animal Life). ebook available. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Bearport. 2015. lib. ed. $23.93.

K-Gr 2 –Featuring large, close-up photographs and sparse text, these titles on animal homes are useful choices for young readers new to nonfiction. Labels, captions, and questions addressing the readers add to the interactive element, enhancing the appeal. Kangaroo Rat’s, in particular, is heavy on the cute factor, and kids will pore over it.

Riggs, Kate. Beavers. ISBN 9781608184866. LC 2013051246.

––––. Brown Bears. ISBN 9781608184873. LC 2013051247.

––––. Flamingos. ISBN 9781608184880. LC 2013051248.

––––. Geckos. ISBN 9781608184897. LC 2013051249.

––––. Hawks. ISBN 9781608184903. LC 2013051254.

––––. Sea Turtles. ISBN 9781608184910. LC 2013051252.

––––. Wild Horses. ISBN 9781608184934. LC 2013051255.

ea vol: 24p. (Amazing Animals). further reading. index. photos. websites. Creative Education/Creative Company. 2015. lib. ed. $18.95.

PreS-Gr 1 –These new titles in this well-established series provide basic information on various animals: feeding habits, reproduction, habits, and more. The large font size, simple sentences, clean layout, and pared down back matter make these selections ideal for readers making their first forays into nonfiction. The information presented is to be expected. However, what sets these offerings apart are the sumptuous, full-page photographs, featuring these breathtaking beasts in their natural habitats. A quick and effective way to beef up any 590 section.

Riggs, Kate. Bullet Trains. ISBN 9781 608185191. LC 2014000180.

––––. Camels. ISBN 9781608185139. LC 2013051256.

––––. Jets. ISBN 9781608185214. LC 2014000182.

––––. Motorcycles. ISBN 9781608185221. LC 2014000183.

––––. Pandas. ISBN 9781608185146. LC 2013051257.

ea vol: 24p. (Seedlings). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Creative Education/Creative Company. 2015. lib. ed. $18.95.

PreS-Gr 1 –More standout nonfiction in this charming series. Animals and vehicles are always winners in terms of kid appeal, but the clear, attractive photographs set these apart from the herd. Simple sentence structure and a clear layout add to the overall package; ideal nonfiction for the very young.

Thornborough, Kathy. Animals. ISBN 9781626873148. LC 2014934484.

––––. Colors and Shapes. ISBN 9781 626873155. LC 2014934485.

––––. Days and Times. ISBN 9781626873162. LC 2014934491.

––––. Family and Friends. ISBN 978162 6873179. LC 2014934490.

––––. Feelings and Emotions. ISBN 9781 626873186. LC 2014934486.

––––. Food. ISBN 9781626873193. LC 2014934499.

––––. Greetings and Phrases. ISBN 9781 626873209. LC 2014934487.

––––. Questions and Answers. ISBN 9781 626873216. LC 2014934492.

––––. School. ISBN 9781626873223. LC 2014934500.

––––. Seasons. ISBN 9781626873230. LC 2014934488.

––––. Weather. ISBN 9781626873247. LC 2014934489.

––––. Work. ISBN 9781626873254. LC 2014934479.

ea vol: illus. by Kathleen Petelinski. 24p. (Talking Hands). diag. illus. photos. The Child’s World. 2014. lib. ed. $25.64.

K-Gr 2 –Attractively designed, brief introductions to sign language. Each title lists a different sign, related to the topic at hand (Work covers “Cook,” “Cashier,” and “Pilot,” for instance), and includes a large, clear photograph and quick description of the job, and an illustration and textual description of how to perform the sign. Though clearly aimed at young children, these titles could also be used with slightly older kids interested in the very basics of signing.

Grades 5 & Up

Abramovitz, Melissa. How Are Digital Devices Impacting Society? ISBN 9781601527721.

Netzley, Patricia D. Is Legalized Marijuana Good for Society? ISBN 9781601527745.

Wilcox, Christine. Is Enough Being Done to Protect Athletes from Concussions? ISBN 9781601527547.

ea vol: 96p. (In Controversy). further reading. notes. photos. index. ReferencePoint. Mar. 2015. lib. ed. $28.95.

Gr 7 Up– More thought-provoking additions to this long-running, well-received series. As with previous books, the authors are careful not to sway readers in either direction, instead offering a well-balanced treatment and citing sources for statements. Chapter headings take the form of questions, and each chapter concludes with a list of facts, encouraging students to form their own opinions. Strong options for research purposes.

Allen, John. Anime and Manga. ISBN 9781601526960; ISBN 9781601526977.

Herschmann, Kris. Impressionism. ISBN 9781601527004; ISBN 9781601527011.

Kallen, Stuart A. Animation. ISBN 9781601526649; ISBN 9781601526656.

––––. Sculpture. ISBN 9781601526786; ISBN 9781601526793.

Stewart, Gail B. Graphic Art. ISBN 9781601526984; ISBN 9781601526991.

ea vol: 80p. (Discovering Art). ebook available. further reading. index. photos. websites. ReferencePoint. 2014. lib. ed. $28.95.

Gr 6 Up– Each of these slender volumes provides a brief definition, information on technique, and a history of the art form in question. Some—Sculpture, for instance—necessarily provide a somewhat superficial perspective, distilling a complex topic to a mere 80 pages. However, the writing is simple and readable, and though educators may wish to supplement with more comprehensive sources, these are solid offerings for laying out the basics.

Allen, John. Thinking Critically: Legalizing Marijuana. ISBN 9781601527820.

Mooney, Carla. Thinking Critically: Distracted Driving. ISBN 9781601527806.

ea vol: 80p. (Thinking Critically). ebook available. further reading. notes. photos. index. ReferencePoint. Mar. 2015. lib. ed. $28.95.

Gr 7 Up– More high-quality fare in this series on current events, which SLJ previously called “exceptional in both writing and design.” Well researched and presented, these titles offer questions for readers to ponder and offer main points for each side of the debate. Each chapter contains information for both sides of the issue, and there are plenty of quotes from experts included and relevant research cited. Wonderful sources for essay writers or budding debaters.

Kimmel, Allison Crotzer. The Montgomery Bus Boycott: A Primary Source Exploration of the Protest for Equal Treatment. ISBN 9781491422182.

Mortensen, Lori. Voices of the Civil Rights Movement: A Primary Source Exploration of the Struggle for Racial Equality. ISBN 9781491420447.

ea vol: 32p. (We Shall Overcome). bibliog. glossary. index. photos. websites. Capstone. Feb. 2015. Tr. $26.65.

Gr 6 Up –These additions to this civil rights series (previous titles tackled the Little Rock Nine, the March on Washington, the Freedom Riders, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964) are ideal for those looking to bulk up their coverage of these topics. Heavy with quotes from those directly involved, the books balance both sides (activist Rosa Parks presented along with bus driver James Blake). Tons of relevant photos—some of which may be difficult viewing for sensitive readers (burning crosses, for instance)—break up the text and immerse readers in the period. Solid purchases.

Midthun, Joseph. Animal Behavior. ISBN 9780716628217. LC 2013004645.

––––. Animal Life Cycles. ISBN 9780716628248. LC 2013004654.

––––. Animal Structure and Classification. ISBN 9780716628224. LC 2013004702.

––––. The Cell Cycle. ISBN 9780716628286. LC 2013004710.

––––. Plant and Animal Adaptations. ISBN 9780716628262. LC 2013004706.

––––. Plant and Life Cycles. ISBN 9780716628255. LC 2013004708.

––––. Plant Structure and Classification. ISBN 9780716628231. LC 2013004709.

––––. Traits and Heredity. ISBN 9780716628279. LC 2013004711.

ea vol: illus. by Samuel Hiti. Life Science Set 2 ed. 32p. (Building Blocks of Science). diag. further reading. glossary. illus. index. websites. World Book. 2014. lib. ed. $249 (set).

Gr 4-8 –World Book follows up its effective, science-related graphic novel series with some new offerings (SLJ dubbed the original books “welcome additions to most collections”). Various narrators (a sperm cell, a flower, a pine cone) address readers directly, condensing fairly complex subjects, such as cell structure and genetic traits, into readable, bite-size dollops of material. The average quality but colorful illustrations are a nice alternative to drier, more text-heavy tomes. Great introductions to biology, and useful for older students struggling to master the basics.

This article was published in School Library Journal's February 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.