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Childrens Book Reviews

This Week’s Column

Books to Inspire the Graduate

Graduation time, which can apply to the youngest leaving kindergarten all the way to graduate school in college, is now upon us. The following books are a celebration of courage, knowledge and inventiveness. They are best for ages nine through adult, unless otherwise indicated.

 

She Dared: Malala Yousafzai, by Jenni L. Walsh, is a paperback that tells the true and triumphant story of Malala and of her life in Pakistan and how she barely escaped the Taliban.  She knew she wanted to become a doctor, but the Taliban had prevented girls from attending school.  Knowing this policy was wrong and that the Taliban was preventing girls from becoming educated, she spoke out against this evil regime.  She understood that there could be repercussions, but she also knew she must speak out.  It took great courage, but Malala felt she needed to let this evil group know how wrong they were.  But by speaking out, she was attacked.  Malala survived and has gone on to become a spokeswoman for women’s education.  There are outstanding photos found in the middle of this paperback.  Furthermore, Scholastic has other outstanding non-fiction books in this “She Dared” series.

 

Sisters: Venus and Serena Williams, by Jeanette Winter, is a quick-read picture book about how hard work, continual practice and family love and support made tennis stars out of these two sisters.  It begins by showing them cleaning a tennis club and using old balls and rackets to learn to play tennis.  Their father worked with them every day after all three completed their work.  As the girls grew, from persistence and consistent practice, they continued to get better and better.  The illustrations perfectly demonstrate the diligence needed to develop these sister’s outstanding talents.  It also shows the love of family and of each other.

 

She’s Got This, by Laurie Hernandez, and nicely illustrated by Nina Mata, has a terrific life lesson: don’t give up!  Laurie, who won an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics, showcases how she wanted to become a gymnast.  But after experiencing her first traumatic fall, she thinks she wants to quit.  How she keeps going, and not letting missteps stop her, is found in this expressive picture book.  This inspiring book is good for ages four through eight.

 

Flights of Fancy: Creative Inspiration from Ten Award-Winning Authors and Illustrators, published by Walker, is a compilation of some of the best in the business.  This amazing book showcases some of the following outstanding literary geniuses in children’s literature: Quentin Blake, Michael Rosen, Anthony Browne and Lauren Child.  Each author demonstrates what inspired them as well as showing some of their writings.  Each illustrator displays some of their beautiful drawings.  In each case, if you, or your child, are inclined to one or both of these fields, your imagination will soar.   All have been chosen as British Laureates.

 

Helen Oxenbury: A Life in Illustration, by Leonard S. Marcus, is an oversized book packed with information about this brilliant artist.  Her gorgeous and expressive illustrations are found throughout this beautiful book.  This biography includes several of her famous and beloved works.  This elegant work will surely inspire those who love this type of work. Included are many tributes from well-known collaborators as well as her own work. These include colorful full-page drawings from: ABC of Things, Nursery Treasury, The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig and When Charlie Met Grandpa.

 

From an Idea to Nike: How Marketing Made Nike’s Global Success, by Lowry Bunny Sichol, and illustrated by C. S. Jennings, is a smartly written book geared for ages ten and beyond.  There is so much information and inspiration packed in this smallish-sized book.  From the marketing aspect you learn where the name Nike came from, along with the swoosh.  You’ll read how the company initially signed their star athletes.  And you’ll learn how it expanded from its roots in running into other sports.  But this book is so much more.  This will undoubtedly inspire youth to create their own ideas and begin their own marketing strategies. The black and white illustrations sprinkled throughout add humor and entertainment.

 

Share Your Smile: Raina’s Guide to Telling Your Own Story, by Raina Telgemeier, is part book and part journal.  This popular graphic book creator has come up with a book to enhance or encourage all artists who like to draw in the comic realm.  There are also pages set aside just for your own drawings.  This compassionate guide is filled with wit, humor and, of course, encouragement to get started.  So – what are you waiting for?

 

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, by Brian Flora, has been expanded to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the first moon landing.  This oversized book was first published in 2009 celebrating the 40th anniversary. However, this edition is more informative and is perfect for kids (and adults) of any age.  The wonderful watercolor illustrations fill the pages and capture the courage and anticipation of the three astronauts as they reached the moon.  The text is minimal, yet beautifully describes, this exciting event!  Be sure to take note of the front end-pages which perfectly describe the components of the Apollo Spacecraft.  And the back end-pages includes a summary of the entire Apollo project.  This might just be the book to motivate a future space engineer!

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