Trombone Shorty

a trombone jpeg
Abrams Books for Young Readers
4.14.2015 * 40 pages
A True Tale with A Cherry On Top
Author: Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews
Illustrator: Bryan Collier
Character: Trombone Shorty

Overview from the jacket flap:

“‘Who’s that playing out there?,’ Bo Diddley asked the New Orleans crowd. It was a small child who’d been nicknamed ‘Trombone Shorty’ because his trombone was twice as large as he was. Trombone Shorty was lifted in the air and carried through the audience until he reached the stage with Bo Diddley. He has been on stage ever since.
Hailing from the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans, where music always floated in the air. Troy ‘Tromboe Shorty’ Andrews didn’t always have the money to buy an instrument, but he did have the dream to play music. This is the story of how he made his dream take flight.”

For a Tantalizing Taste and Something More, visit the blog of kidlit author, Jeanne Walker Harvey *** True Tales & A Cherry On Top  ***  to learn more about this book.

Copyright © 2015 Jeanne Walker Harvey All Rights Reserved.

The Nutcracker Comes to America


The Nutcracker Comes to America:
How Three Ballet-loving Brothers Created a Holiday Tradition
by Chris Barton (Author) and Cathy Gendron (Illustrator)

Reading & Writing #kidlit #Review Haiku:
The story behind
The Nutcracker ballet, a
Christmas tradition.

Nonfiction Monday

It’s Nonfiction Monday!

Copyright © 2015 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.Site Meter

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans

 The National Council of Teachers of English recently named Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans by Don Brown (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015) the winner of its prestigious Orbis Pictus Award.

The NCTE Orbis Pictus Award  was established in 1989 for promoting and recognizing excellence in the writing of nonfiction for children. The name Orbis Pictus, commemorates the work of Johannes Amos Comenius, Orbis Pictus—The World in Pictures (1657), considered to be the first book actually planned for children. (from the NCTE website)

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans is a spare, but powerful graphic novel account of the tragedy that befell the City of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.  Don Brown researches and illustrates Drowned City in his usual fashion.  It has extensive Source Notes and a corresponding Bibliography.  Every direct quote is sourced.  The illustrations are serious and in muted colors to accurately convey the gravity of the events; but they are sufficiently vague to spare the individual horrors experienced by victims, survivors, and rescuers.  As he has done with other topics, Don Brown creates a focused, accurate, and powerful story – suitable for visual learners and for readers in a wide age range.

To see other reviews of Hurricane Katrina books and Don Brown books, hop over to today’s post on Shelf-employed.

See all of my posts at Shelf-employed
Facebook: Shelf-employed
Copyright © 2015 L Taylor All Rights Reserved.


Gordon Parks

How the Photographer Captured Black and White Americagordon copy
Albert Whitman & Company
2.1.2015 * 32 pages
A True Tale with A Cherry On Top
Author: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrator: Jamey Christoph
Character: Gordon Parks

Overview from the jacket flap:

“His white teacher tells her all-black class, You’ll all wind up porters and waiters. What did she know?

Gordon Parks is most famous for being the first black director in Hollywood. But before he made movies and wrote books, he was a poor African American looking for work. When he bought a camera, his life changed forever.

He taught himself how to take pictures and before long, people noticed. His success as a fashion photographer landed him a job working for the government. In Washington DC, Gordon went looking for a subject. But what he found was segregation…

With lyrical verse and atmospheric art, Gordon Parks tells the story of how, with a single photograph, a self-taught artist got America to take notice.”

For a Tantalizing Taste and Something More, visit the blog of kidlit author, Jeanne Walker Harvey *** True Tales & A Cherry On Top  ***  to learn more about this book.

Copyright © 2015 Jeanne Walker Harvey All Rights Reserved.

New Sonia Sotomayor Biography by Kathleen Krull Rocks!

It’s a first person review today at Wrapped in Foil.


I’ll confess that I am a big fan of Kathleen Krull since I met her and her husband at a book fair in Tucson last year. She is the master of biography, both because she knows how to find interesting people to write about, particularly women, and because she encapsulates their lives perfectly. That’s why I was looking forward to reading her newest, Sonia Sotomayor:  I’ll Be the Judge of That!, illustrated by Angela Dominguez.



Boy, Krull did not disappoint. I admit being a bit put off by the cartoon illustrations when I first paged through it because I felt they were perhaps a bit disrespectful of such a prominent person. Once I started reading, however, I completely forgot about my initial reaction. Krull’s narrative pulled me in and I couldn’t put the book down until I finished the last sentence.

Sonia Sotomayor’s story is a compelling one. She overcame a childhood of poverty and illness to attend an Ivy League university. Working both hard and smart, she rose through the legal system to becomes the first Latina to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Not finding role models in her neighborhood, Sotomayor admits that she wanted to be like Perry Mason on TV something children will probably be able to relate to.

Note:  As for the illustrations, I realized they fit in with the other books in the Women Who Broke the Rules series. They are likely to pull in reluctant readers who might find more scholarly illustrations intimidating.

Sonia Sotomayor:  I’ll Be the Judge of That! is an inspiring story that is told well, one that every child deserves to know. Share it today!


Picture Book Biography: Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine Stands Out

We are featuring picture book biographies nominated for Cybils in the Early Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction category this week at Wrapped in Foil blog.  Our first title is Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark and illustrated by April Chu, which is the story of a unique and fascinating woman who was years ahead of her time.


Adults may have heard of the British poet Lord Byron, but likely they have missed the story of his inventive math whiz of a daughter, Ada Byron Lovelace. Lovelace overcame a severe childhood illness to write the first computer program. Who knows what she might have achieved if she hadn’t died at a relatively young age and if her collaborator, Charles Babbage, had actually built the analytical machine he had planned.

The combination of Wallmark’s passionate text and April Chu’s superb bold illustrations make this book stand out from the pack. Children will appreciate the fact Chu included a playful cat in the illustrations, adding interest and continuity from page to page.

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine is likely to resonate with kids interested in computers, math, and engineering and inspire some who haven’t yet found their passions. History buffs, particularly those interested in women’s history, will also want to check it out.

Have you seen this book yet? What did you think?


Luna & Me

The True Story of a Girl Who Lived in a Tree to Save a Forest luna copy

Christy Ottaviano Books
(Henry Holt and Co.)

Published 5.12.2015 * 40 pages

A True Tale with A Cherry On Top

Author and Illustrator: Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

Character: Julia Butterfly Hill

Overview from the jacket flap:

“Once there was a redwood tree – one of the world’s largest and tallest trees, and one of the oldest. And once, born nearly a thousand years after the tree first took root, there was a girl named Julia, who was called Butterfly.

One day, exploring her beloved forest, Butterfly wandered into a grove of ancient trees. One tree had broken branches and a big blue X on the side. It was going to be cut down. Butterfly climbed up into the tree. Don’t trees have a right to just be? she thought. And, she also thought, a tree wouldn’t be cut down if it had a person living in it. A person who would go on to live in that tree for two years.

Inspired by Julia Butterfly Hill’s courageous fight to save an ancient redwood…”

For a Tantalizing Taste and Something More, visit the blog of kidlit author, Jeanne Walker Harvey *** True Tales & A Cherry On Top  ***  to learn more about this book.

Copyright © 2015 Jeanne Walker Harvey All Rights Reserved.Site Meter

Storytelling at Its Best: This Side of Wild

Gary Paulsen is a fabulous storyteller. Many of his books, including the Newbery Winner Hatchet, are on almost every school reading list. Now Paulsen’s latest work, This Side of Wild: Mutts, Mares, and Laughing Dinosaurs (illustrated by Tim Jessell), has already quietly made the longlist in Young People’s Literature for the 2015 National Book Awards, as well as is a nominee for a 2015 Cybils award in the Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction category.


In a series of essays, Paulsen reveals some unusual encounters he has had with animals, particularly dogs, but birds, horses, and honey bees as well. His thesis is that animals may have more going for them in the way of intelligence, and even compassion for other animals, than we may have previously thought. Some of the essays contain material more appropriate for mature readers.

This Side of Wild is chock full of compelling and powerful stories that are sure to stay with the reader long after the book is finished. It would make an excellent gift for anyone interested in nature, animals, and adventure, plus those who are already fans of Gary Paulsen. Be sure to pick up a copy for yourself as well!

See the full review at Wrapped in Foil blog.