Trombone Shorty

9781419714658 (1)

TROMBONE SHORTY by Troy Andrews is a picture book biography of his growing up in New Orleans and the importance of music in his life. One day he found a broken trombone.
Sample: “The next time the parade went by my house, I grabbed that trombone and headed out into the street. My brother James noticed me playing along and smiled proudly. ’Trombone Shorty!’ he called out, because the instrument was twice my size.”
Make your own musical instrument like Trombone Shorty did.
He made a drum from a 12 pack soda box and used pencils for drumsticks. He used empty soda bottles as wind instruments.


Nonfiction Monday

< p style=”text-align:center;”>It’s Nonfiction Monday!

< p style=”text-align: center;”>Copyright © 2014 Deborah Amadei/a> All Rights Reserved. Site Meter

When a statue has a biography


STONE GIANT by Jane Sutcliffe is a picture book biography of a statue: David by Michelangelo. The city of Florence had a huge block of marble everyone hoped a sculpture could make into a statue of David but no sculptor would take on the challenge, until Michelangelo. And it was a challenge.

Sample: “Every night he went home floured with the dust of not-David. He combed bits of not-David from his beard.”

Jane has thoughtfully provided a teacher resource for this book http://www.janesutcliffe.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/teachers-guide_stone-giant.pdf

Nonfiction Monday

It’s Nonfiction Monday!

Copyright © 2014 Deborah Amadei All Rights Reserved. Site Meter



By Jan Pinborough

Anne Carroll Moore ran the Central Children’s Room at the New York Public Library and was responsible for making the children’s room inviting for the child patron. This picture book biography will introduce the reader to the important contributions she made.

Sample: “She gathered collections of shells and butterflies to display. Then she filled the shelves with the very best children’s books she could find.”


  1. Miss Moore had a wooden doll named Nicholas Knickerbocker she used during story hours.

Pretend that Nicholas could talk and was interviewing a child who had just immigrated to the U.S. and was at his or her first story hour.

What questions would Nicholas ask the child about his or her life?

What country the child came from? What customs from that  country did the child  especially like?

  1. These are Nicholas’s treasures. http://www.missmoorethoughtotherwise.com/#!nicholass_treasures/cwvn.

Pick one and write a paragraph about one of them using the Who, What, Where, When of journalism.

Nonfiction Monday

It’s Nonfiction Monday!

Copyright © 2015 Deborah Amadei All Rights Reserved.
Site Meter

Clara and Roget, who left a mark on the world


From bestselling author Patricia Polacco’s family tree — the true story of young Clara Barton.

Animals and flowers were Clara’s best friends. She had a special way with critters and found joy in the beauty that sprang from the soil. But whenever Clara talked, her words didn’t come out right. As hard as she tried, she could not get over her lisp.

Clara’s older brother Davie understood that his sister was gifted. When folks made fun of Clara’s stilted words, Davie was always at her side reminding her that she had a talent for healing creatures. 

Davie told his sister, “Some day you are going to be a very great lady.” And that’s exactly what happened. Clara Barton became one of the most famous medical practitioners of all time, and founded the American Red Cross. 


Another winner from a prolific and talented author/illustrator, Clara and Davie introduces the reader to Clara Barton as a young girl.  I especially enjoyed reading about her relationship with her brother, Davie.  Not many brothers ten years older would take the time to help and befriend his younger sister the way Davie does.  It’s clear that Clara had a gift for healing from the time she was very young.  But like everyone else she faced her own challenges including a prominent lisp.  This lisp led many of those around her to make fun of her causing her to withdraw, but thanks to the efforts of her brother and other family members she was educated at home.  When Davie suffers a devastating injury, Clara is just the one to help him face his own heart-wrenching challenges.  Like all her other family stories, Polacco shares the experiences that helped people grow and become the people they were.  Keep in mind that biographical picture books like this one often have made up dialogue in them, after all nobody was around to record everything that someone may have said at some point in his/her life.  


For shy young Peter Mark Roget, books were the best companions — and it wasn’t long before Peter began writing his own book. But he didn’t write stories; he wrote lists. Peter took his love for words and turned it to organizing ideas and finding exactly the right word to express just what he thought. His lists grew and grew, eventually turning into one of the most important reference books of all time.

Readers of all ages will marvel at Roget’s life, depicted through lyrical text and brilliantly detailed illustrations. This elegant book celebrates the joy of learning and the power of words.


One of my favorite books of 2014, The Right Word, takes a look at the creation of Roget’s Thesaurus and the man who created it.  Not only are the illustrations remarkable (which I would expect from Melissa Sweet), the text is beautifully integrated with them to present a striking book that is both informative and appealing.  This book would be a great tool for helping children learn how to use a thesaurus and to develop an understanding of the power of having just the right word to use.  Roget strikes me as a rather interesting man to study with his word fascination as well as interest in many aspects of science so I found the author’s and illustrator’s notes at the end thoroughly intriguing.  The list of references and resources is also helpful and indicates the large amount of work that went into making this book.  It was also really interesting to see a copy of one of the pages from Roget’s notebook.  A great book and a great resource and very possibly a soon to be award winner.