If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams

If Sharks Disappeared

If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams; illustrated by Lily Williams. 2017. Published by Roaring Book Press.

Brief summary: This book explains how if the sharks, apex predators, were eliminated, the ocean would become unbalanced. Sharks typically eat the weak. This allows the healthier animals to reproduce. But if sharks become extinct, then many other marine life will have higher populations, causing them to eat all the fish. Those fish eat plankton, but if  there is too much plankton, the water would be a thick sludge. Many land animals rely on the ocean for food, and they would start to starve and die too. This cause and effect pattern could continue spreading across the globe.

Comments: This narrative nonfiction book did a great job of explaining trophic cascade with simple terms and illustrations. I recommend this book for science units as well as teaching the importance we, as humans,  have to  keep the earth balanced. There is a glossary, Sharks Are In Trouble, How You Can Help Save Sharks, and Author’s Note. The end pages have drawings of various sharks. There is one fold out.

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(I may receive a small commission for purchases made with links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books in this picture book blog are not sent to me in exchange for a review, but instead, are checked out from a public library).

Take a Picture of Me, James Vanderzee! by Andrea J. Loney

Take a Picture of Me, James Vanderzee!

Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee! by Andrea J. Loney; illustrated by Keith Mallett. 2017. Acrylic on canvas. Published by Lee & Low Books Inc.

Brief summary: James VanDerZee lived in Lenox, Massachusetts with four brothers and sisters and near his aunts’ home and grandparents’ home.  A photographer visits and takes the family’s picture. James knew then that he wanted to have a camera also and take photos. Cameras were not popular yet and very expensive. He worked and was able to save enough to buy one and took many pictures of his family and classmates developing them in his closet. As he grew older, he went to Harlem and became an assistant to a photographer in New Jersey. His own way of taking photos caused many people coming in to the studio requesting him. He decided to  open his own studio in Harlem, New York. James had the knack of having people looking their best in his photographs. Over time, the camera evolved and became easy enough for people to take their own photos.  He changed from taking photos to preserving and fixing old photos.  He had a successful exhibit called “Harlem on My Mind” of his collection of forty years  of people in Harlem including several famous people.

Comments: This narrative biography also has an afterword with more details of James VanDerZee’s life, some of his photos, and explanations of some of the techniques.  He took over 75,000 photographs and was able to capture the energy of Harlem. I think it would have been beneficial to have a camera timeline in the back, so that young readers could understand how the camera changed over time. They may not realize how expensive it was to have a photo taken and that there may have only been one or two photos taken in a person’s whole life unlike now where there are photos taken constantly of a person throughout his/her lifetime.

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(I may receive a small commission for purchases made with links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books in this picture book blog are not sent to me in exchange for a review, but instead, are checked out from a public library)

A TIme to Act: John F. Kennedy’s Big Speech by Shana Corey

A Time to Act

A Time to Act: John F. Kennedy’s Big Speech  by Shana Corey. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. 2017. Published by NorthSouth Books.

Brief summary: This narrative nonfiction book briefly tells about JFK’s personal life and has more emphasis with his political life of being the President of the USA during a time that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was being created. The two speeches he made that reached the hearts of the people in the early 1960s are not listed in full but with just the main ideas featured.

Comments: I would recommend this book to be used for middle school or high school when addressing and teaching about the civil right demonstrations and the prehistory that led to the Civil Rights Act. Several leaders in this book were cited during that important time in America. This book shows how it all came together. Brief biographical sketches, selected bibliography, and quotes are in the back pages.

Cataloged under 973.922 which is the admin of Kennedy. Note: If you use this as a read aloud or with an Elmo, there are some pages where a white font  against the dark illustrations would have made it easier to read.

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(I may receive a small commission for purchases made with links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books in this picture book blog are not sent to me in exchange for a review, but instead, are checked out from a public library).

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy

I Dissent

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy; illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley. 2017. Traditional and digital media. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Brief summary: Ruth Bader, daughter of a Russian Jewish immigrant, grew up in New York in the 1940s when men usually went to universities and got jobs while women married and were housewives. Her mother, Celia Amster Bader, wanted more for her daughter. She took her to the library to read all about successful females which helped her daughter soon realize that girls could have careers as well. As Ruth went through high school, she learned she was good at some subjects and not so good at others. She continued to high school becoming an outstanding student and had extra talents like being a baton twirler and cello player. The day before her graduation, her mother died. She decided to honor her mother’s wish and attend college in the 1950s which at that time was not a popular thing for girls to do. She met her husband, Marty Ginsburg, in college. They both went to law school, got married, and had a baby girl called Jane. Ruth experienced being in a field where there were few women and prejudices against Jewish people.  She had another child named James while she worked as a law professor.  She still managed to work and have two children which was not a very common thing women did at that time. In the 1970s,  she fought cases for women to be in the workplace but also that men had a right to stay home and take care of  children. She did such a good job as a lawyer that she was asked by President Bill Clinton to be a justice on the Supreme Court. When Judge Ginsburg votes  with the winning side, she wears a special lace collar over her robe and another one when she dissents. At age 84, Judge Ginsburg still is one of the justices of the Supreme Court.

Comments: The narrative nonfiction book outlines the highlights of Judge Ruth Ginsburg’s life including a “More About Ruth Bader Ginsburg”, “Notes on Supreme Court Cases”, and “Selected Bibliography” sections in the back. This book could be used in elementary school as well as middle.

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(I may receive a small commission for purchases made with links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books in this picture book blog are not sent to me in exchange for a review, but instead, are checked out from a public library).

Go, Green Gecko! by Gay Hay

Go, Green Gecko!

Go, Green Gecko! by Gay Hay; illustrated by Margaret Tolland. 2017. Published by  Starfish Bay Publishing.

Brief summary: Told in lyrical verse, a green gecko goes through its day from sitting in the rata trees eating flies and drinking nectar to falling down to ferns  on the ground and eating butterflies and drinking the morning dew. It watches for dangers as it continues running on boulders eating a beetle and over old rotten logs finding a spider. The reader will continue learning about the gecko’s habitat along with its food sources and enemies.

Comments: The paintings are vibrant and full with a fold out revealing the gecko’s enemy. There is a “take a closer look” section in the back with interesting green gecko facts. This is a narrative nonfiction book but could also be placed in the easy section of the library.

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(I may receive a small commission for purchases made with links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books in this picture book blog are not sent to me in exchange for a review, but instead, are checked out from a public library).

 

Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe by Deborah Blumenthal

Fancy Party Gowns

Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe by Deborah Blumenthal; illustrated by Laura Freeman. 2017. Published by littlebeebooks.

Brief summary: Ann Cole Lowe was taught how to sew by her mother and grandmother. Her mother died when she was only sixteen, so Ann took over her mother’s business. In 1916, she was employed by a  kind woman who sent Ann to design school in New York. Ms. Lowe opened a salon in Manhattan where she received a big order for Jacqueline Bouvier’s wedding which was almost destroyed by a broken water pipe disaster. She, with the help of some sewers, were able to get the wedding dresses and bridesmaid’s dresses finished on time. Her one-of-a-kind designs for prominent women made her sought after for couture clothing. In 1961, she received the title “Official Couturier”.

Comments: Girls are always asking me for fashion-related books. This would be a great addition for the fashion  or biography sections. I would like to have seen photographs of Ann Cole Lowe and some of her beautiful gowns.

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(I may get a commission for purchases made through links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books reviewed were checked out of the public library and not sent to me free for review).

Doing Her Bit: A Story About the Woman’s Land Army of America by Erin Hagar

Doing Her Bit: A Story About the Woman's Land Army of America by Erin Hagar

Doing Her Bit: A Story About the Woman’s Land Army by Erin Hagar; illustrated by Jen Hill. 2016. Painted in gouache and Adobe Photoshop.

Brief summary: This story is based on Helen Stevens’s life of becoming a 1917 Woman’s Land Army of America member and becoming a a farmerette. With many men away to fight in WWI, there was a shortage of farmers. There was a lot of doubt that women could do the hard farm work.  Women would go to camps to be trained and then to local farms to work thus feeding the country and allies.

Comments: This is another grit story about not giving up and getting the job done no matter how hard it became. There are photos on the front and back pages reminding us just how farming was in the early twentieth century unlike the agricultural technology we have now.

(I may get a commission for purchases made through links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books reviewed were checked out of the public library and not sent to me free for review).

Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer by Diane Stanley

Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer by Diane Stanley

Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer by Diane Stanley; illustrated by Jessie Hartland. 2016. Gouache.

Brief summary: Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron and math whiz Annabella, did not like the things and interests of other young women of her time. She co-worked with Charles Babbage to invent the Analytical Engine which could run any mathematical calculation by using punched cards and considered the first programmable all-purpose digital computer. Ada wrote the mathematical code. Ada wrote a scientific paper about the invention giving it scientific and mathematical attention. She translated the work from French to English.

Comments: Back pages explain  how  both scientists worked on the engine, but there was some concern of what each contributed.  Good addition for a coding study.

(I may get a commission for purchases made through links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books reviewed were checked out of the public library and not sent to me free for review).