Newtons Book News

Childrens Book Reviews

Enriched Books for the Graduate

Are you looking for some great books to inspire and enrich your graduate? I’ve assembled some outstanding books for the next two weeks that will motivate and enliven graduates of all levels to become better and one who will make an impact on others. This week there will be biographical books of famous people and tactical tools that made them great.

Annie and Helen, by Deborah Hopkinson, and beautifully painted with watercolor by Raul Colon, is a fresh and insightful look into the relationship of Helen Keller and her amazingly patient and determined teacher, Annie Sullivan.  Annie, who eventually lost her sight due to a disease, came to teach Helen who was both deaf and blind. This picture book beautifully demonstrates Annie’s strong perseverance and belief that there was intelligence deep within young Helen. “Helen was like a small, wild bird, throwing herself against the bars of a dark and silent cage.” Annie realized what Helen needed was consistent discipline and to not give in to her tantrums. When Helen finally understood words, the incident of splashing water from the outside water-pump and writing the word “water” on Helen’s hand, finally brought a connection to Helen’s mind. It’s moments like this that makes this book an inspiration. There are amazing photos on the end pages of both women as well as an actual raised braille alphabet found on the back. “I Am Helen Keller” by Grace Norwich, is a chapter book that goes into more detail about the amazing accomplishments of Ms. Keller.

Gandhi: A March to the Sea, by Alice B. McGinty, and painted with gorgeous hues of watercolor, pastels, color pencils and ink by Thomas Gonzalez, is a book demonstrating through full-page color, and powerful words, that Mohanda Gandhi could lead his people through the vast countryside and all the way to the sea.  He made this march, picking up people of all faiths, to show his country and the British rulers that India could be unified without violence. This powerful picture book teaches a lesson that countries at war could learn.

21 Principles: Divine Truths to Help You Live by the Spirit, by Richard G. Scott, is a wonderful guide to help you discern heavenly messages as you navigate through life. “Principles are concentrated truth, packaged for application to a wide variety of circumstances” advises Elder Scott. One of these principals instructs how to communicate with our Heavenly Father. Another principal showcases the importance of being aware of others who are set in our path to help us and guide us. Elder Scott takes you through each of these principals one chapter at a time so that by the book’s end, you will become edified and understand the divine truths so needed to live by the Spirit!

The Mark of a Giant: 7 People Who Changed the World, by Ted Stewart, follows the concept that these 7 amazing people featured in this inspiring book will motivate the reader to make their own mark on the world in a positive and influential way.  The traits that flow from one great person to the next seem motivated to improve conditions of life at the time. There’s Pericles who wanted to give the Athenians fairness and democracy. Madame Marie Curie wanted to discover ways to help the human body become less sickly and not spread disease. The last chapter leaves the reader questioning if they might be a giant waiting to become aware of their own capabilities. I love that the book ends with each of us pondering what unique qualities and talents we have waiting to be discovered!

Girls Who Rocked the World: Heroines From Joan of Arc to Mother Teresa, by Michelle Roehm McCann and Amelie Welden and Boys Who Rocked the World: Heroes From King Tut to Bruce Lee, by Michelle Roehm McCann, are both chapter books that feature young women and men that made an impact on the world before they turned twenty. The chapters are short, kid-friendly, interesting, and have highlights featuring devises and activities that helped each reach their goals at their young ages. The outstanding young women include the ballerina Anna Pavlova, Mary Anning who was a famous fossil hunter and Laura Bassi, the physicist. The amazing young men featured include Jesse Owens – a Native American Olympian, President, politician and abolitionist John Quincy Adams and Thomas Alva Edison – inventor.

Desmond and the Very Mean Word, by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams, and illustrated with vibrant oil by A. G. Ford, is based on an experience when Archbishop Tutu was young.  He was the only one with a bicycle in the entire township. But when he rides it through town with much pride, he hears boys yelling a very unkind word. He raced away but could not get that awful word out of his head. It hurt his soul but it also made him mad. He learns a very important lesson in life: to forgive is more important than to get even! This lesson is well exhibited in this beautiful picture book.

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