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Our Country’s Presidents

Our Country’s Presidents
written by Ann Bausum
2017 (National Geographic)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Readers are curious about how Presidents coped with the challenges of their eras and how they lived their personal lives.

It’s so nice when you can go to one place for the information that you need. As a person who has trouble finding his car keys or reading glasses, this is very comforting. Our Country’s Presidents is your one stop shop for commander-in-chief research. It’s organized chronologically in six historical periods. These are like the aisle signs in the grocery store. They guide you to what you need so you don’t walk around the store endlessly looking. Not that I’ve ever done that. Each period is accompanied by a timeline to give context to the era. The staple items in this store of knowledge are the presidential profiles. A full page official portrait introduces each profile. Need to know the ingredients of this leader of the free world knowledge stew? There is a text box that lists several pieces of information (family, number of terms, party, etc.) about the featured president. The bulk of the profile is a several paragraph narrative highlighting the president’s accomplishments. I appreciate that Ann Bausum doesn’t pull punches in these narratives. She tells you the good, the bad, and the ugly in language conducive to young readers. Sprinkled in between the presidential profiles are twenty topical essays that help give this book an even heartier flavor. Topics like the president’s role in the branches of government, the first ladies, and kids in the White House, are included in the essays. This is a National Geographic book, so you are going to get the creme de la creme of nonfiction illustrations and photographs. Like a five star restaurant, they don’t make an unattractive product. In the back matter of the book, there is a chart of each election result and a page of books, videos, and websites that will prompt further research.

I am the patriarch of a family of history nerds. This is the kind of book that we can get cozy in a comfortable chair and be lost in American history for hours. The profiles will be great for biography presentations such as wax museums. Our Country’s Presidents is also full of terrific fun facts. Chester A. Arthur was nicknamed “Elegant Arthur” for his penchant to change clothes to match each occasion of the day. Not a “khaki pants everyday wearer” like this blogger.

This book is an excellent resource for information about the history of our nation’s highest executive office.

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Martin’s Dream Day


Martin’s Dream Day
by Kitty Kelley (Author) and Stanley Tretick (Photographer)

Booktalk: This day–August 28, 1963–was a momentous day in the Civil Rights Movement. It was the culmination of years spent leading marches, sit-ins, and boycotts across the South to bring attention to the plight of African Americans. Years spent demanding equality for all. Years spent dreaming of the day that black people would have the same rights as white people, and would be treated with the same dignity and respect. It was time for Martin to share his dream.

Snippet:

Nonfiction Monday

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Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Shining a Spotlight on Lee & Low’s Tiny Stitches, Biography of Vivien Thomas

Although I’ve been on a sabbatical of sorts at Wrapped In Foil, I wanted stop by to call attention to the awesome picture book biography Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas by Gwendolyn Hooks and illustrated by Colin Bootman. It’s an incredible story about an inspiring man.

tinystitches

Vivien Thomas wanted to go to college and study medicine, but the money he had saved to go to school was wiped out when the stock market crashed at the beginning of the Great Depression. Instead, he found a job working for Dr. Alfred Blalock at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Blalock saw Vivien’s potential and taught him how to do medical research. Regardless of the roadblocks thrown at him because of his race and lack of degrees, Vivien Thomas developed medical techniques still saving babies’ lives today.

On her website, Gwendolyn Hooks explains it took her six years to research and write this book. The depth of knowledge and attention to detail shows. She also explains Vivien’s unusual name. She says his parents had picked out the girl’s name Vivian, but when they had a boy, they quickly changed the “a” to an “e.” A unique name for a unique man.

Tiny Stitches is an outstanding picture book biography. Share a copy with a child soon. Who knows where it might lead?

For the rest of the review, visit Wrapped In Foil blog.

See the previous Nonfiction Monday review by proseandkahn, as well.

Esquivel! Space-age Sound Artist by Susan Wood

esquival.jpg

Esquivel! Space-age Sound Artist by Susan Wood. Illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh. unpgd. Charlesbridge, September, 2016. 9781580896733. (Review from finished copy courtesy of publisher.)

I just adore picture book biographies! What  fabulous way to learn about new and interesting people at any age. #nevertoooldforpicturebooks

Pop over to proseandkahn for a review of this spectacular biography of an influential musicians your students will find fascinating.

Dining With Dinosaurs


Dining With Dinosaurs: A Tasty Guide to Mesozoic Munching
by Hannah Bonner (Author / Illustrator)

Booktalk: Sure you know T-Rex was the meat-eating king and brontosaurus munched on leaves, but what else was on the dino dining menu during the Mesozoic era?

Meet the ‘vores: carnivores, piscivores, herbivores, insectivores, “trashivores,” “sunivores,” and omnivores like us.

Readers will be surprised and inspired to learn about dino diets and they’ll get to explore how scientists can tell which dinosaurs ate what just from looking at fossils!

Snippet: I’m a mini carnivore, and I’m not picky: I munch on birds, fish, lizards, small mammals, and even the occasional bug. I like to call myself a “whatever-I-can-catchivore.”

Nonfiction Monday

It’s Nonfiction Monday!

Copyright © 2016 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.