In Childrens' Books
Well, no doubt you’ve wondered where this blog has been. I have many good excuses, but I won’t take up space here sharing them with you.
Last year, when my travel-agent-niece Beth, mentioned she was planning a trip to Peru to climb Machu Picchu, I grabbed a book about this amazing place from our shelves at school, and informed myself with the great photos and in-depth historical and current information it provided.
A couple of weeks ago, I borrowed “Blogging For Dummies” from our county library in an effort to understand blog “gadgets” and how to use them.  Suffice it to say, it’s not as easy as reading about Machu Picchu, but I’m learning new and useful information with simple instructions for applying it to my blog. (this effort is one of my excuses for the delay in posting my blog!)
Childrens’ books and magazines that give us “the facts” about people, places and things enrich our understanding of the world around us. They get right to the point with text and photos, and they might also pique our curiosity to find out more about people, places and things which, of course, make up our whole planet.
Below, you’ll find a variety of nonfiction titles that will surely interest you and the readers/listeners in your house. The best thing is: they’ll provide the opportunity for you to read – and learn – together.
Of course, you’ll find some fun picture books, too!

Twenty-One Elephants and Still Standing by April Jones Prince

After fourteen years of construction, the Brooklyn Bridge was completed, much to the delight of the sister cities it connected: Brooklyn and New York City. Fireworks and top hats filled the air in celebration when the magnificent bridge opened in 1883. But some wondered just how much weight the new bridge could hold. Was it truly safe? One man seized the opportunity to show people in Brooklyn, New York and the world that the Brooklyn Bridge was in fact strong enough to hold even the heaviest of passengers. P. T. Barnum, creator of “The Greatest Show on Earth,” would present a show too big for the Big Top and too wondrous to forget.

Hippos Can’t Swim: and Other Fun Facts by Laura Lyn DiSiena

Did you know that a zebra’s stripes are as unique as a human’s fingerprints?
How about that ants take about 250 naps per day?
Or that some jellyfish can glow—and that’s called bioluminescence?
Colorful, humorous illustrations accompany tons of cool facts about animals of all shapes, sizes, speeds, and species in this lively book that makes nonfiction fun!

Librarian on the Roof: A True Story by M. G. King

When RoseAleta Laurell begins her new job at the Dr. Eugene Clark Library in Lockhart, Texas, she is surprised that the children of the town think the library is for adults. She vows to raise the money for a children’s section and spends a week living and working on the library roof, even surviving a dangerous storm. With the help of the entire town, RoseAleta raises over $39,000 from within the community and across the country. Today if you look through the front window of the Eugene Clark Library, you will see shelves stacked full with children’s books and tables and chairs just the right size. You will see artwork on the walls, and a row of busy computers. Best of all, you will always find crowds of children who love to read and learn inside the walls of the oldest library in Texas.

How Big Is It? A Big Book All About Bigness by Ben Hillman

Kids hungry for amazing facts will reach for this oversize volume that describes 22 immense items-everything from the longest snake to the biggest diving machine to the highest number. A sharp photo nearly fills each spread, helping to put the size of the objects discussed into perspective. For example, the world’s largest single-dish telescope is depicted with the Eiffel Tower lying across it, showing that the height of the tower is about the same as the width of the dish. The biggest spider on Earth is pictured stretching to the outer rim of a dinner plate. Historical and natural facts allow readers to become acquainted with each item. The tone is fun and exaggerative, emphasizing the remarkable nature of the measurements while conveying true facts.

Brothers At Bat by Audrey Vernick

“It sounds like a fairy tale: twelve baseball-playing brothers,” but it’s true. The 12 Acerra brothers from New Jersey played together on a semipro team formed in 1938, each brother with his own talents and style: “Charlie…. was a good player, but a terrible runner.” Vernick, who interviewed two of the brothers as part of her research, describes how one brother lost an eye when he was struck by a baseball and how six of the brothers served in WWII. This is a lively story about family loyalty and love of the game, pulled from the sidelines of baseball history.

If You Give An Author A Pencil by Laura Numeroff

Give an Author is Laura Numeroff’s open letter to all her fans. With biographical photos, this book tells her life story and opens up a conversation about her life work. An hour with this book is like an hour with the author herself. Included are family photos, childhood photos, and photos from her daily life as a writer. The text is brief and direct yet entirely personal. Numeroff gives a straightforward account of how her most famous work, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, came to be. She also includes for aspiring young writers a look at the rejection process! Numeroff makes herself so accessible to young fans that she includes a visit to her home where she can be found reading, working, drinking tea and floating in the pool. This sincere, heartfelt connection with readers ends with “It makes me feel so good to know that I’m inspiring children to write and draw.”

So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George

Curious tidbits of personal information and national history combine with humorously drawn caricatures to give this tongue-in-cheek picture book a quirky appeal. “There are good things about being President and there are bad things about being President.” So begins a walk through a brief history of facts, successes, oddities, and mishaps. For example, most readers won’t know that William Howard Taft weighed over 300 pounds and ordered a specially made bathtub. Small’s drawing of a naked Taft being lowered into a water-filled tub by means of a crane should help them remember. Another spread depicts a men’s shop where Andrew Johnson a tailor fits Ronald Reagan an actor for a suit while Harry Truman a haberdasher stands behind the counter. While the text exposes the human side of the individuals, the office of the presidency is ultimately treated with respect and dignity. A list of presidents with terms of office, birthplace, date of birth and death, and a one-sentence summary of their accomplishments is provided.

Chickens Don’t Swim by Laura Lyn DiSiena

Did you know that a dwarf lanternshark is only 8 inches long?
How about that some salamanders breathe through their skin?
Or that elephants have a great sense of smell—and can detect water that’s twelve miles away?
 
Enjoy tons of cool facts about animals of all shapes, sizes, speeds, and species in this lively book that makes nonfiction fun.

Amazing Gorillas! by Sarah L. Thomson

This book describes how gorillas live within families or groups and relates them to people as “animals called primates.” Paying particular attention to the needs of the young gorillas, she discusses the animals’ physical characteristics, their eating and sleeping habits, and the factors that make them an endangered species in their African habitats.
The color photographs offer terrific close-up shots of gorillas.

How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

This husband-and-wife team presents a creative picture book that explores unexpected animal partnerships. Many of the spotlighted relationships illustrate mutualism, a type of symbiosis that benefits all the animals involved: African helmeted turtles, for example, nibble away unwanted algae from hippos, whose backs, in turn, provide sunny basking spots for their cold-blooded cleaners. The spreads have an exciting, comics-inspired feel. As always, the authors’ attention to scientific facts is serious, and their lucid explanations avoid any suggestion that these arrangements are cozy pairings between interspecies BFFs. These fascinating stories from the natural world will easily interest young people, many of whom will want to move on from the appended notes about each featured critter to more in-depth titles that further explain the mysteries of animal symbiosis.

Big Babies, Little Babies by Lorrie Mack and Penny Smith

See a baby beaver help build a dam, watch baby chicks learn how to scratch for food, and catch baby walruses basking on an iceberg in the sun. Including every kind of animal, from birds and insects to mammals and reptiles, Big Babies, Little Babies delivers a huge amount of information in a storybook style.

Now for some favorite picture books:

Bridget’s Beret by Tom Lichtenheld

Bridget loves to draw, and she likes to wear a beret for inspiration. So when her beloved hat blows away, Bridget searches for it high and low. She files a Missing Beret Report. She even considers other hats, but none of them feel quite right. It’s no use; without her beret, Bridget can’t seem to draw. How will she overcome her artist’s block?

My Snake Blake by Randy Siegel

What’s green, and slithery, and smooth, and …smart? My snake Blake, that’s who! When my dad brought him home, he curved and twisted his body and spelled out “hello.” And when my mom was worried he might bite, his response was “relax.” This is a delightful story about the friendship between a boy and his rather exceptional pet.

Neville by Norton Juster

This Amazon Best Picture Book of the Year is a simply told story about a boy who moves to a new neighborhood and finds a unique way to make friends. With whimsical illustrations by award-winning illustrator G. Brian Karas, here is a read-aloud that’s great for storytime, and is sure to be a hit for anyone who is “the new kid on the block.”

A Library Book for Bear by Bonny Becker

Bear does not want to go to the library. He is quite sure he already has all the books he will ever need. Yet the relentlessly cheery Mouse, small and gray and bright-eyed, thinks different. When Bear reluctantly agrees to go with his friend to the big library, neither rocket ships nor wooden canoes are enough for Bear’s picky tastes. How will Mouse ever find the perfect book for Bear?

Secret Pizza Party by Adam Rubin

How does Racoon love pizza? Oh, let him count the ways. He loves the gooey cheesy-ness, salty pepperoni-ness, sweet sweet tomato-ness, and of course the crispity crunchity crust. But someone is always chasing poor Raccoon away from his favorite food with a broom! What’s a hungry raccoon to do? Plan an elaborate secret pizza party, of course!
But shhh! It’s a secret! In fact, you should probably just forget I told you. Nope, no secret pizza party happening here.You didn’t already tell all your friends, did you? Uh oh . . .
You can find all of these titles at the library. Enjoy!
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