Building Beauty…

Harshman, Marc and Anna Egan Smucker. Fallingwater: The Building of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Masterpiece. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2017.
I like picture book biographies. They expand my general knowledge of history in little snippets that stay in my memory, unlike longer books that give me far more details than I will ever remember. And picture books are generally beautifully written with illustrations that bring history to life.
Fallingwater is no exception. It is written – using present tense – in an elegantly simple style and enhanced by LeUyn Pham’s sophisticated illustrations. The author’s and artist’s notes at the end of the story will be of interest to readers who want to learn more about the famous house designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. 

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“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” Frank Lloyd Wright

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World Rivers Day

“My favourite places on earth are the wild waterways where the forest opens its arms and a silver curve of river folds the traveller into its embrace.” – Rory MacLean, historian & writer

“I think the kind of landscape that you grew up in, it lives with you. I don’t think it’s true of people who’ve grown up in cities so much; you may love a building, but I don’t think that you can love it in the way that you love a tree or a river or the colour of the earth; it’s a different kind of love.” – Arundhati Roy, writer

Books about Rivers

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A true story of courage…

Why do Sikhs remember 1897? Because of the extraordinary courage of some brave men. The Battle of Saragarhi, a graphic novel by Daljeet Singh Sidhu and Amarjit Virdi (Gyan Khand Media, 2012), tells the thrilling true tale of twenty-one riflemen who were stationed at a signalling post in northern India. They were attacked by Afghans and Pathans who greatly outnumbered them. On September 12th of that year, they boldly fought to the death to protect their post. Read this suspenseful story recommended for readers 11 years old and up. (Ramneek in grade 6)

More stories set in India and Pakistan

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How to write about nonfiction books

 

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A story of friendship

McCully, Emily Arnold. Clara: The (Mostly) True Story of the Rhinoceros Who Dazzled Kings, Inspired Artists, and Won the Hearts of Everyone…While She Ate Her Way Up and Down a Continent. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2016.
If Emily McCully writes and illustrates a book, pick it up. Everything she creates is good. And this almost-true biography is no exception. Clara – an orphaned rhinoceros – was adopted by a sea captain in 1741. The two of them travelled throughout Europe for 17 years, amazing audiences and becoming fast friends. While now we would never dream of exhibiting an animal in such a manner, this story of affectionate friendship between a person and an animal is nonetheless intriguingly heart-warming. Included is a map of Clara’s journeys and an author’s note with further information. Highly recommended for curious readers of all ages. 

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True stories of animal intelligence

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Picture books of courage in the face of injustice…

Malala Yousafzai, an inspiring activist, is the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize. 

Maslo, Lina. Free as a Bird: The Story of Malala. New York: Balzer & Bray an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2018.

McCarney, Rosemary. Every Day is Malala Day. Toronto: Second Story Press, 2014.

Winter, Jeanette. Malala, A Brave Girl from Pakistan; Iqbal, A Brave boy from Pakistan. New York: Beach Lane Books, 2014.

More stories of courage

More stories set in Pakistan

More biographies

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Looking closely…

Davies, Nicola. Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2014.
There are creatures so small that a billion of them can live in one teaspoon of soil. There are life forms so tiny that over 7 billion live on the skin of one person. Fortunately, most of them don’t harm us. Illustrated by Emily Sutton, this well-designed picture book will appeal to children 5 years old and up.

More books to expand your general knowledge

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Full of life…

Davies, Nicola. Many: the Diversity of Life on Earth. Somerville, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 2017.

Another wonderful picture book from Candlewick Press. The author, a zoologist, explains the complexity of life in simple sentences that even the youngest of readers will understand. The illustrator elaborates with detailed and labelled drawings that will interest even the oldest of readers. Highly recommended for everyone.

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