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Archive for the ‘Non-fiction/Biography/Poetry’ Category

Barakat, I. (2007). Tasting the sky: A Palestinian childhood. New York, NY: Melanie Kroupa Books.
This memoir follows the author from young childhood during the Six-Day War and onward.  Not only does she discuss the difficulties, she also shows that there were good things to remember, as well.

My grade: A
The writing in this book is beautifully expressive.  The author also includes a list of resources at the back for anyone wanting to learn more.

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Demi. (2003). Muhammad. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
Demi’s beautifully illustrated book gives the life history of Muhammad from his birth through death, including the writing of the Koran.

My grade: A+
Amazingly, I was not familiar with all the details of Muhammad’s life.  I found this book to be educational and also extremely pretty to look at.  It would be a great introduction to Islam for children.

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Meltzer, M. (2008). Albert Einstein: A biography. New York, NY: Holiday House.
Meltzer traces Albert Einstein’s life from a young boy in Germany through his death in the United States.  Attention is given to both his scientific achievements and his anti-war, humanitarian sentiments.  Pictures of Einstein and items related to him are also included.

My grade: B+
This book is intended for children, so it had to present a simplified biography.  The inclusion of a time line at the end does present more facts for the reader.  My complaint (and it has less to do with the text written by the author) is that the pictures are undated.  I am curious to know when some of them were taken.

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McMillan, B. (1998). Salmon summer. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Salmon Summer follows nine-year-old Alex as he spends his summer at an Alaskan fish camp with his family. A section at the end of the book explains Alex’s heritage, native Alaskan, and defines many of the terms found in the book.

My grade: A
This book probably is not for squeamish children because many of the pictures are graphic (birds grabbing fish, cleaning of the fish, etc.).  However, it ties in nicely with today’s trends of understanding the origins of the foods we eat.

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Hughes. L. (2006). Poetry for young people: Langston Hughes A. Rampersad & D. Roessel (Eds.). New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
This collection includes 26 of Langston Hughes’ poems.  The collection is illustrated by Benny Andrews.  The shorter length of the poems make them approachable for younger readers.

My grade: A+
Editors Arnold Rampersad and David Roessel have put together a really nice edition of Langston Hughes poetry.  They have also included a thorough introduction, which gives biographical details about Hughes.  The inclusion of footnotes explaining various aspects of each poem are also a great touch.  The illustrations fit well with the poems and are beautifully rendered.

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Mochizuki, K. (1997). Passage to freedom: The sugihara story. New York, NY: Lee & Low Books, Inc.
Mochizuki tells this incredibly moving story in a simple style which enhances its impact.  Mr. Sugihara endangered himself and his family to ensure the safety of thousands of Jewish refugees during WWII.  The Afterword by Mr. Sugihara’s son, Hiroki, will bring tears to your eyes.

My grade:  A+

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Garza, C. L. (1990). Family pictures. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press.
With a simple, straight-forward style Garza narrates this story.  She explains her paintings in the book, which are from her own experience.  Her narration is just enough to give you an idea of what is happening in the picture, but she leaves plenty of room for imagination.  The pictures are detailed and include plenty of action to enjoy.

My grade: A+

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