Lift Your Light a Little Higher


Lift Your Light a Little Higher: The Story of Stephen Bishop: Slave-Explorer
by Heather Henson (Author) and Bryan Collier (Illustrator)

Booktalk: Grab your lantern and follow the remarkable and world-famous Mammoth Cave explorer–and slave–Stephen Bishop as he guides you through the world’s largest cave system in this remarkable homage to the resilience of human nature.

Welcome to Mammoth Cave. It’s 1840 and my name’s Stephen Bishop. I’ll be your guide, so come with me, by the light of my lantern, into the deepest biggest cave in all of the United States. Down here, beneath the earth, I’m not just a slave. I’m a pioneer. I know the cave’s twists and turns. It taught me to not be afraid of the dark. And watching all these people write their names on the ceiling? Well, it taught me how to read too. Imagine that. A slave, reading. But like I said, down here I’m not just a slave. I’m a guide. I’m a man. And this is my story.

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Nonfiction Monday

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Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Strange Fruit

Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song
by Gary Golio (Author) and Charlotte Riley-Webb (Illustrator)

Booktalk: The audience was completely silent the first time Billie Holiday performed a song called “Strange Fruit.” In the 1930s, Billie was known as a performer of jazz and blues music, but this song wasn’t either of those things. It was a song about injustice, and it would change her life forever.

Discover how two outsiders–Billie Holiday, a young black woman raised in poverty, and Abel Meeropol, the son of Jewish immigrants–combined their talents to create a song that challenged racism and paved the way for the Civil Rights movement.

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Nonfiction Monday

It’s Nonfiction Monday!

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

A Spy Called James


A Spy Called James: The True Story of James Lafayette, Revolutionary War Double Agent
by Anne Rockwell (Author) and Floyd Cooper (Illustrator)

Booktalk: Told for the first time in picture book form is the true story of James Lafayette, a slave who spied for George Washington’s army during the American Revolution. But while America celebrated its newfound freedom, James returned to slavery. His service hadn’t qualified him for the release he’d been hoping for. For James the fight wasn’t over; he’d already helped his country gain its freedom, now it was time to win his own.

Snippet: The war officially ended in 1783 with American victory, but there was no victory for James. While he received credit for his spying during the war, these activities didn’t earn James the freedom he expected. Such freedom was reserved for black soldiers in the American army, not spies.

Nonfiction Monday

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Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Seeing Through Walls

Seeing Through Walls: Superman and the Science of Sight
by Agnieszka Biskup (Author)

Booktalk: Super-sight allows the Man of Steel to see through walls and melt metal with his baby blue eyes. But what makes sight possible? And can anyone or anything in our world do what Superman does with his eyes? Get ready to find out with the help of the Worlds Greatest Hero.

Snippet: Superman’s eyes can see through walls and shoot beams to cut through steel. Although we can only wish for these powers, our eyes do have the amazing ability to see a remarkable range of colors. In fact, most people can see about one million colors. How? It’s a tag-team combo of reflected light and the cones in our eyes.

Nonfiction Monday

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Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Radiant Child


Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat
by Javaka Steptoe (Author / Illustrator)

Booktalk: A picture book biography won the Caldecott Award!

Jean-Michael Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocketed to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art world had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City.

Snippet: Somewhere in Brooklyn, between hearts
that thump, double dutch, and hopscotch
In his house, you can tell that a serious ARTIST dwells
As he sits at a table with pencils scattered everywhere.

Nonfiction Monday

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Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

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.

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Nonfiction Monday

It’s Nonfiction Monday!

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.