Posted tagged ‘Biographies’

What Is Your Burning Question?

March 30, 2017

I know exactly what your burning question is:  Why is today special?

Today we celebrate Robert Wilhelm Eberhard Bunsen’s birthday. He was a chemist and the creator of the Bunsen Burner. You probably remember the Bunsen Burner from high school chemistry. It’s a gas burner used in labs, and it has a metal tube and with an adjustable air valve at the bottom. You might also remember singeing your eyebrows or hair if you got too close to the flame. Ouch!

Since this is also the end of Women’s History Month, I have the burning desire to celebrate Bunsen Burner Day and share a few more biographies of women who set the world on fire and made a difference in the field of science.

women in science

Women in Science:  50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World written by Rachel Ignotofsky, Ten Speed Press

Magnificent minds

Magnificent Minds:  16 Pioneering Women in Science and Medicine written by Pendred E. Noyce, Tumblehome Learning, Inc.

hidden

Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition written by Margot Lee Shetterly, HarperCollins

Marie

Who Was Marie Curie? written by Megan Stine and illustrated by Nancy Harrison and Ted Hammond, Grosset & Dunlap

ideas

Ada’s Ideas:  The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World’s First Computer Programmer written and illustrated by Fiona Robinson, Abrams Books for Young Readers

Picture books worth reading:

ada

Ada Twist, Scientist written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts, Abrams Books for Young Readers

rosie

Rosie Revere, Engineer written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts, Abrams Books for Young Readers

Hot stuff here!

 

 

 

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The Tree Lady

June 5, 2014

The warm weather is finally here. It’s enjoyable to feel the warmth of the sun, but sometimes the shade of a tree is as equally enjoyable. Trees are important to our environment for many reasons. One woman was well-aware of this. The Tree Lady written by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry tells the story of Kate Sessions, a tree-loving woman who changed the landscape of San Diego.

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The story begins in the 1860s – a time when girls were supposed to be learning how to run a household. Kate was different. She loved the outdoors. In school, Kate was interested in anything to do with science. In particular, Kate loved trees. She was fascinated by how tall they grew, how their branches stretched outward, and how they provided homes for animals. Kate graduated from college with a degree in science and accepted a teaching job in San Diego – a dry, desert town. The first thing Kate noticed was the lack of trees. After two years of teaching, Kate decided to become a gardener. Her mission was to find a variety of trees that would withstand the sunshine and dry soil of San Diego. Soon trees from Kate’s nursery were planted along streets, around schools, in parks, and in people’s yards. When it was announced the Panama-California Exposition was going to be held in City Park in San Diego, Kate felt the park needed more trees – thousands more! With the help of friends and volunteers, there were tree-planting parties. By the time the exposition opened, there were millions of trees and plants growing in what is now called Balboa Park. Thanks to Kate Sessions and her passion for trees and plants, San Diego is the beautiful city it is today.

Hopkins pays a lovely tribute to Kate Sessions, and the charming illustrations by Jill McElmurry add to the allure of the book. This non-fiction picture book is a wonderful treat to share with children. It shows what can be accomplished when you believe in yourself and have a passion for something.

Picture Book Month!

November 7, 2013

As soon as my daughter was old enough to hold a book and turn the pages, I took her to the library. It was love at first sight. She surrounded herself with picture books and was in book heaven. If it hadn’t been for all those wonderful books made available to us in the library, I don’t think my daughter would be the avid reader she is today.

Revisiting Special Places

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Children’s Room-Boston Public Library

There’s nothing like a good picture book to keep children entertained, and there’s nothing like the Children’s Room in the library to offer up books, cozy reading places, story hours, and activities.

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The picture book biography, Miss Moore Thought Otherwise, written by Jan Pinborough and illustrated by Debby Atwell, is a perfect way to honor a woman who was instrumental in organizing one of the first Children’s Rooms in a library and fill it with exciting books for youngsters to read.

Annie, as she was known when she was young, was not your typical girl living in the 1870s. She loved the outdoors and listening to poems and stories her father read. She wanted to be a lawyer like her father, but his death changed things. Annie ended up going the library school at Pratt Institute in New York. After she graduated, she got a job at the Pratt Free Library where she set up a Children’s Room, but her pièce de résistance was the Children’s Room she designed for the newly built New York Public Library. It became a model for libraries, nationally and internationally, all because Miss Moore Thought Otherwise.

Give a shout out to Anne Carroll Moore and all the others who played a role in creating a special space in libraries for our children to learn to love books and reading!

Happy Birthday, Helen Keller!

June 27, 2013

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart.” ─ Helen Keller

Today is Helen Keller’s birthday. Her life’s achievements continue to be an inspiration. She lived during a time in history when women had to fight for their rights and negative attitudes persisted about those with disabilities. She overcame tremendous obstacles with the help and support of her family and life-long companion, Annie Sullivan, and became a world-renowned personality.

“The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse.”─ Helen Keller

This remarkable woman didn’t let her disabilities stop her. Instead, she was on the cutting edge of her time. She was politically active and became a world-famous lecturer and author. Among the many causes she supported were a woman’s right to vote, birth control, and she was a champion for those with disabilities. Courage, determination, and drive are characteristics demonstrated by Helen Keller. Embrace these qualities and celebrate the life of an extraordinary woman.

Many books have been written by and about Helen Keller, but these three are worth a good look.

FC9780786808908[1]Helen’s Big World The Life of Helen Keller written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Matt Tavares (Disney-Hyperion, 2012)

9780375857065[1]Annie and Helen written by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Raul Colon (Schwartz & Wade, 2012)

9780393057447[1]The Story of My Life written by Helen Keller (W.W. Norton & Company, 2003)

Women’s History Month

March 14, 2013

No dream is unattainable if you believe in yourself.

March is Women’s  History Month. This year’s theme is Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Throughout history there have been women who have accomplished amazing things that have often gone unnoticed in a world dominated by men. Women’s History Month calls attention to these achievements and it strives to make women, young and old, realize possibilities.

There are many books that pay homage to those spirited women who have helped shape our history. Below I have included some I’ve used in our school library, and I’ve also listed past and current posts and links that provide a myriad of books and information on famous women in history.

I encourage you to pick and choose from these books that will inspire young women and men to dream impossible dreams and make every effort to realize those dreams.

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Marian Anderson A Great Singer written by Patricia C. McKissack and Fredrick McKissack, Jr.

Phillis Wheatley Colonial American Poet  written by Laura Purdie Salas

Mary McLeod Bethune A Great Teacher written by Patricia C. McKissack and Fredrick McKissack, Jr.

Elizabeth Blackwell written by Jan Mader

Jane Addams A Life of Cooperation  written by Ann-Marie Kishel

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Helen’s Big World The Life of Helen Keller written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Matt Tarvares

Minty A Story of Young Harriet Tubman written by Alan Schroeder and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

She Sang Promise The Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader written by J.G. Annino and illustrated by Lisa Desimini

Wilma Unlimited written by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by David Diaz

Me …Jane written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell

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Different Like Coco written and illustrated by Elizabeth Matthews

Irena Sendler and the Children of the Warsaw Ghetto written Susan Goldman Rubin and illustrated by Bill Farnsworth

Vinnie and Abraham written by Dawn Fitzgerald and illustrated by Catherine Stock

More:

Recommended Books for Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month: Outstanding Picture Books for Children on Women’s
Suffrage (Part 1)

Women’s History Month: Outstanding Picture Books for Children on Women’s
Suffrage (Part 2)

Women’s History Month: Outstanding Picture Books for Children on Women’s
Suffrage (Part 3)

Women’s History Month: Outstanding Picture Books for Children on Women’s
Suffrage (Part 4)

Non-Fiction Monday/Women’s History Month: Outstanding Picture Books for Children
on Women’s Suffrage (Part 5)

5 Great Children’s Books for Women’s History Month

Beautiful Minds: Teaching about Women in the Sciences through Picture Books

Aviator, Nurse, Soldier, Spy–Reflections on Women’s History Month

Toddler in Peril Becomes a Leader of Her Tribe

Picture Books About Women’s History

Books About Women: Women’s History for Kids

Celebrating Women in Picture Books

Black History Month Authors and Illustrators

February 17, 2012

Black History Month is ticking away, and my library students are busy celebrating the African American experience with books. They have discovered a wide variety of genres written and illustrated by some awesome African American writers and artists.

Picture books, poetry, folktales, historical fiction, biographies, and nonfiction have been discussed, passed around, checked out, and enjoyed. It’s heartwarming to see students get excited about books they wouldn’t ordinarily choose. They’re learning to step outside of the box for a new literary experience.

What we’ve come to know during our author/illustrator study is that being exposed to different cultures and ethnic backgrounds enhances our knowledge of the world around us.

We grooved to the rhythmic words in Jazz written by Walter Dean Myers and illustrated by Christopher Myers. We tapped our toes to Leo & Diane Dillon’s Rap A Tap Tap Here’s Bojangles – Think Of That! We learned what it’s like if you have a passion to succeed in For the Love of the Game written by Eloise Greenfield and illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. Lessons of love and acceptance came our way in The Other Side written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis and Show Way also by Woodson and illustrated by Hudson Talbott. Richard Wright and the Library Card written by William Miller and illustrated by Gregory Christie and SitIn How Four Friend Stood Up by Sitting Down written by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney demonstrated the hardships black Americans were up against in their struggle for equal rights.

We’ve looked at works by Jerry Pinkney, Virginia Hamilton, Nikki Giovanni, Bryan Collier, Patricia and Fredrick McKissack, Floyd Cooper, and Rita Williams-Garcia. We’ve been wowed by their talent and impressed by their numerous literary awards.

Celebrate Black History Month. Read. Learn. Enjoy.

“We should emphasize not Negro History, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice.” ~Carter Woodson, 1926

The Woman Behind the Book

November 8, 2011

When I was nine, my mother handed me a book and said, “This was mine when I was young. I think you’ll like it.” The book was old and tattered. I looked at the title – Little Women. The book had 630 pages and the print was tiny. I knew it would take me forever to read.  

I had seen the movie on TV. I longed to be Jo March. She was adventuresome and a writer. I felt as if we were kindred spirits! I opened the book my mother had handed to me and began to read. It did take me a long time to finish because I savored the words Louisa May Alcott used to describe the March family’s adventures. I laughed and I cried throughout the book. By the end, I desperately wanted to be a member of the March family. I was ecstatic to learn Louisa May Alcott had written other books. As an author, she knew how to touch the hearts of her readers. Instead of being Jo March, I wanted to be Louisa May Alcott.

I’ve seen all of the movie versions of Little Women, but Louisa’s written words are by far the best. While living in Massachusetts, I took my mother to see Orchard House, home of the Alcott family. As soon as we entered the house, we stepped back in time. Little Women came alive for both of us. I longed to touch Louisa’s desk, hoping that magical spark she had for writing would somehow transfer into my writing.

Everyone should read Little Women or have it read to them. It’s a classic story with themes of family, friendship, humor, heartaches, and love. To get to know the woman behind Little Women, here are two biographies I’d like to recommend. One is for younger readers. The other is for older readers.

Louisa: The Life of Louisa May Alcott written by Yona Zeldis McDonough and illustrated by Bethanne Andersen is a wonderful picture book biography for younger readers. It tells of Louisa’s life in a simple, straightforward manner with colorful illustrations. The end of the book includes personal quotes, poems, thoughts, a favorite recipe, and a timeline of important dates in Louisa’s life.

Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs is a Newbery Medal winner. It provides a detailed version of Louisa’s life with photographs and a history of the times. This book was first published in 1933. For some readers the pace of this book may be rather slow, but if you are interested in knowing all about Louisa, this is the book for you.

“Hearts don’t grow old.” — Louisa May Alcott


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