Search Results for -
Product Type: Books
Age: Late Elementary School Years
Categories: History

 


2011 Award
Big Wig: A Little History of Hair
(by Kathleen Krull/ illus. Peter Malone , Scholastic $18.99 Score:)

Did you know cavewomen dyed their hair blonde to attract a caveman? It seems there was a lot of competition for a caveman, since so many perished while hunting. But that is just one of dozens of entries with amusing illustrations that comb through the ages and the strange ways and reasons people did what they did to their hair. That blonde looks strangely like Marilyn Monroe. But that is just one of the odd ways that hair styles tell about the times. It's not just about women and their hair styles. There are all kinds of oh-so-strange remedies such as goat pee and pigeon poop that men chose to cure baldness. As non-fiction books go, this one tries hard to be "hip" and informative with large dollops of humor added, like styling mousse or glittery highlights for a bit of sparkle. 

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Ancient Egypt, Tales of Gods and Pharaohs
(retold and illus. Marcia Williams, Candlewick $16.99 Score:)

Using her comic strip style, Marcia Williams make these ancient tales of Egypt totally accessible to young Egyptologists. She retells nine tales that introduce readers to Ra rising from the waters of the Nile, the curse of Tut's tomb, and Cleopatra's story along with many others. Like her collection of Greek Myths for Children, this is a good starting place before a visit to one of the many great museum collections or a traveling Tut show. Putting some of the stories in place gives the art and history a fuller dimension. They say 6 & up--we'd say more like 8 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Built to Last
(by David Macaulay, Houghton Mifflin $24.99 Score:)

Fans of the award winning creator of Castle, Cathedral and Mosque, among others, will be thrilled to revisit those sites with David Macaulay in his newest work. Originally planned as a simple "colorized" version of his earlier triumphs, Macaulay found it was not so easy to just color in the pages. He was a different writer and artist now than he was decades ago when his line drawings and history writing were so new and fresh. This hefty new volume will be interesting to dip into. It will not gather dust on any coffee table. Kids may enjoy having some portions read aloud to help them into those historic sites. Yet, once inside, they will likely enjoy reading on or at least exploring the drawings. Macaulay revisits the building of a castle, cathedral, and mosque, adding much to the telling plus amazing art that gives you close ups as well as aerial views that are sure to excite a new generation of readers interested in history and architecture. 10 & up.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Jack's Path of Courage
(by Doreen Rappaport/illus. by Matt Travares, Hyperion $16.99 Score:)

A picture book biography that gives young readers the story of John F. Kennedy far too brief life. It follows his days from boyhood to the White House. As she has done with her young people's biographies of Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, and Eleanor Roosevelt, Doreen Rappaport combines quotes from her subject with a narrative that binds the story together. She does not overlook some of the unpopular choices made by JFK, but tells of his successes, as well. Matt Travares's paintings of the president are based on familiar photos.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy)
(by Barbara Kerkey/ illus. by Edwin Fotheringham, Scholastic $17.99 Score:)

Although the audience for this sparkling book will not really know Mark Twain, parents and teachers might introduce his Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County story before or after sharing this picture book biography. It is in fact told largely in the voice of his daughter, Susy, who began writing a biography of her famous father when she was just 13 years old. The bold big pages of the picture book narrative are stitched together with slender and often amusing pages of Susy’s writing. Her cursive penmanship is laced with misspelled words and amusing anecdotes that are direct quotes from her original diary.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride
(by Andrea Davis Pinkney/ illus. Brian Pinkney, Disney Jump At the Sun $16.99 Score:)

The story of Sojourner Truth is told here in a lively storyteller voice that addresses young listeners with warmth and illustrations that match the spirited text. With her "hands like hams" and size 12 shoes that could stomp on beetles...this Sojourner Truth comes across as larger than life!  She is like a folktale hero--but one who was no work of fiction. The Pinkneys have captured the story of this giant of a woman in words and images that bring her to life for a new generation of children who will come to know more about this legend who fought the chains of slavery and the rights of women.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood
(by Tony Lee, Sam Hart & Arthur Fujita, Candlewick $21.99 Score:)

Remember your old Classic Comics? This graphic novel is a lot heftier and is likely to make a hit with the same audience that found their way into old classics frame by frame. This 21st Century version is darker and far more elaborate than the newsprint comics, which were considered a cut above the regular super-hero comics.  Still, even in the olden days, when your parents were reading comics there was concern that kid would never really read if they became accustomed to the graphic form. That simply was not true. In fact, the comics were one path into the ‘great’ books.  Besides, the graphic novel has become something of an art form unto itself and although we have reviewed few of them, this just might grab the interest of some otherwise reluctant readers. It is full of action, suspense and adventure. Not a bad combination for kids who need to be enticed with visual treats.  

 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
John Brown, His Fight for Freedom
(by John Hendrix, Abrams Books $18.95 Score:)

Although the mournful folk song of John Brown’s Body is familiar to many, the story of his fight to free the slaves is often over simplified to the events at Harper’s Ferry. This account, illustrated with larger than life folk legend style paintings, tells his story with greater clarity than most. His struggle to convince others to give up slavery turned violent and John Brown became a violent rebel with a cause that others could not support. Hendrix chose not to skip over the many layers of this story and as a result his narrative might have fit a small chapter book better. The content is heavy for a picture book, but well worth sharing with youngsters who are about to study the Civil War. The problem is that many older students who are ready for this story often resist reading or listening to picture books.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2009.

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2009 Award
Louisa, The Life of Louisa May Alcott
(by Yena Z. McDonough/ illus. by Bethanne Andersen, Henry Holt $17.99 Score:)

Older readers who know Little Women may enjoy reading this biography of the author. While most think of the Little Women as her family’s story, there are many parts of her life that are in this biography that L.M. Alcott did not include in her classic novel. This is not light reading but the lovely illustrations go a long way to brighten an otherwise rather sad story. This is for serious readers who love LMA. 

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2009.

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2009 Award
Testing the Ice, A True Story About Jackie Robinson
(By Sharon Robinson/ illus. by Kadir Nelson, Scholastic $16.99 Score:)

Written by Jackie Robinson's daughter, this is a true story of the famous baseball player, who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball and won almost every award known, but despite his athletic prowess, surprisingly, he did not know how to swim. When his kids wanted to go skating on the lake behind their house, he had the courage to be the one to test the ice. Glorious illustrations add much to this lovely metaphor for the courage the beloved Jackie Robinson showed in his early years as the first African American to play in the Major League.  

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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