Books

9 Books Celebrating Comic Creators for #NationalComicBookDay

It’s National Comic Book Day! Today we celebrate comic books and all the writers and artists, who create them.

According to the National Day Calendar, the first hardcover comic book was The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck, which was published in 1842. The first modern-day comic book didn’t appear until 1933, Famous Funnies, a reprint of several comic strips. Of course, comic books really came into their own during World War II, with superheroes like Superman, Batman, and my favorite, Wonder Woman. To learn more about the history of comic books, check out this post from Book Riot.

Today, I’m celebrating National Comic Book Day with a nine books highlighting the accomplishments of comic book creators.

Picture Books

A True Wonder Book Cover

A TRUE WONDER: The Comic Book Hero Who Changed Everything by Kirsten W. Larson, illustrated by Katy Wu

With Great Power Book

WITH GREAT POWER: The Marvelous Stan Lee by Annie Hunter Eriksen, illustrated by Lee Gatlin

Boys of Steel Book Cover

BOYS OF STEEL: The Creators of Superman by Marc Tyler Nobleman, illustrated by Ross Macdonald

Bill: The Boy Wonder cover

BILL: The Boy Wonder by Marc Tyler Nobleman, illustrated by Ty Templeton

Jack Kirby book cover

JACK KIRBY: Creator & Artist by Sue Hamilton

Independent Readers

The Story of Stan Lee cover

THE STORY OF STAN LEE: A Biography for New Readers by Frank J. Berrios

Who Was Stan Lee? cover

WHO WAS STAN LEE? by Geoff Edgers

What Is the Story of Batman? cover

WHAT IS THE STORY OF BATMAN? by Michael Burgan

What is the Story of Wonder Woman? cover

WHAT IS THE STORY OF WONDER WOMAN? by Steve Korte

Books

12 Books to Celebrate #NationalAviationDay

Happy #NationalAviationDay. In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt turned the anniversary of Orville Wright’s birthday into this U.S. National Holiday.

This year, I’m celebrating this annual event with a book list for young readers.

Inspiring True Stories in Aeronautics

Aviation Pioneer book covers

Airplane Books

Airplane book covers

Books, Science/Math

PPBF: Blue On Blue

blueonbluecover1

TITLE: BLUE ON BLUE

AUTHOR: Dianne White

ILLUSTRATOR: Beth Krommes

PUBLICATION INFO: Beach Lane Books (2014)

ISBN:9781442412675

SOURCE: library

INTENDED AUDIENCE: grades K-3

GENRE: picture book

OPENING and SYNOPSIS:

“Cotton clouds.

Morning light.

Blue on blue.

White on white.”

From the publisher: “Discover the joys of a wild rainstorm in this poetic picture book, illustrated by a Caldecott Medalist.

Join a farming family as they experience the full range of a thrilling seaside thunderstorm—from the wild wind and the very first drops; to the pouring, pouring rain; to the wonderful messy mud after the sun returns!

With gentle, rhyming text and vivid artwork from a Caldecott Medal–winning illustrator, this sublime depiction of nature’s patterns turns a storm into a celebration.”

THEMES/TOPICS: weather

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: Dianne White’s rhythmic text builds and bursts just like the thunderstorm it depicts. Beth Krommes’s illustrations add an additional layer to the story, showing the reaction of a girl and farm animals to the storm. Young children will love the rhythm and rhyme. In the classroom, teachers can use the book to discuss weather patterns.

RESOURCES/ACTIVITIES:

You’ll find way more cool books at Susanna Leonard Hill’s “Perfect Picture Books.” Every Friday folks review a host of new books. Join us!

Books

PPBF: PRESIDENT TAFT IS STUCK IN THE BATH

I’m back…..

Ok, maybe you haven’t wondered where I’ve been, but I will tell you anyway. September through November is always my insane time of year between coaching LEGO League, organizing the school Barnes and Noble Bookfair, planning two birthday parties (Minecraft! Cut the Rope!), and making Halloween costumes (ok, just the Minecraft Steve mask). Now I’m planning a Little Golden Books baby shower for my sister-in-law. And those are just all the extracurriculars. Honestly, by the time I get to Thanksgiving, I will feel like I’m on vacation.

So, enough about me. Without further ado, I present my PPBF pick, which has been sitting in my office for over a month.

TITLE:  President Taft is Stuck in the Bath

AUTHOR: Mac Barnett

ILLUSTRATOR: Chris Van Dusen

PUBLICATION INFO: Candlewick 2014

ISBN: 978-0763663179

SOURCE: library

INTENDED AUDIENCE: preschool to grade 3

GENRE: historical fiction picture book

OPENING and SYNOPSIS:

“William Howard Taft was the twenty-seventh president of the United States. He busted monopolies, instituted the federal income tax, and became the only president to also serve as chief justice of the Supreme Court.”

From the publisher:

“‘Blast!’ said Taft. ‘This could be bad.’

George Washington crossed the Delaware in the dead of night. Abraham Lincoln saved the Union. And President William Howard Taft, a man of great stature — well, he got stuck in a bathtub. Now how did he get unstuck? Author Mac Barnett and illustrator Chris Van Dusen bring their full comedic weight to this legendary story, imagining a parade of clueless cabinet members advising the exasperated president, leading up to a hugely satisfying, hilarious finale.”

THEMES/TOPICS: history

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: One word: hilarious. Who cares if the story is true? Van Dusen’s images of Taft spilling out over the tub crack me up every time. Don’t believe me?

RESOURCES/ACTIVITIES:

  • Visit the William H. Taft Historic Site in Cincinnati to learn about Taft’s real accomplishments (besides getting unstuck).
  • I feel like this book is begging for a simple machines activity. Can YOU figure out a way to get Taft unstuck? A pulley? A lever?
  • Take a bath. Hopefully you won’t get stuck. Use some bathtub crayons for some real fun.

You’ll find way more cool books at Susanna Leonard Hill’s “Perfect Picture Books.” Every Friday folks review a host of new books. Join us!

Books, Education, Homeschool, Nature, Science/Math

Perfect Picture Book Friday: FROM SEED TO PLANT

Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Fridays are back. I missed the boat last week, but I wrote my post early this week so I wouldn’t forget.

TITLE: From Seed to Plant

AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Gail Gibbons

PUBLICATION INFO: Holiday House, 1991

ISBN: 978-0823410255

SOURCE:  library

INTENDED AUDIENCE: ages 5 and up

GENRE: nonfiction

OPENING and SYNOPSIS:

“Most plants make seeds. A seed contains the beginning of a new plant.”

Gibbons moves through a plant’s life cycle, showing children how seeds are formed through pollination, how they are dispersed, and how they grow into new plants.

THEMES/TOPICS: nonfiction, educational, nature, science

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: Cooper was working on a plant life cycle project for school this week, and we checked this book out from the library. Gail Gibbons is a nonfiction favorite in our house. She uses beautiful drawings and simple writing to explain science concepts in a way young children can understand.

RESOURCES/ACTIVITIES:

  • The book has a “Seed to Plant” activity in the back using bean seeds. It’s a different take on the classic bean sprout in a baggie activity used in many preschool classrooms.
  • We’ve also done seed collections before to spark discussion about the different types of seeds and how they are scattered. You’ll find that activity…here.
  • Finally, for older students, you can try the plant life cycle project that Cooper’s class did. Students had to collect five different types of seeds and draw or collect pictures that showed the seedling, mature plant, flower and fruit. They had to label each stage, and I had Cooper draw arrows so he could see that the whole cycle is a circle. I’ll blog about our project next week.

Every Friday bloggers review “Perfect Picture Books.” Find a complete list of book reviews organized by topic, genre and blogger at author Susanna Leonard Hill’s site.

Books, Food, History

Review: THERE’S A RAT IN MY SOUP

TITLE: THERE’S A RAT IN MY SOUP: COULD YOU SURVIVE MEDIEVAL FOOD? (Ye Yucky Middle Ages series)

AUTHOR: Chana Stiefel

ILLUSTRATOR: Gerald Kelly

PUBLICATION INFO: Enslow, 2012 (Paperback)

ISBN: 978-0-7660-3785-4

SOURCE: Publisher-provided copy

INTENDED AUDIENCE: Grades 3-5 (Amazon), Grades 5 – 9 (publisher); I think Amazon’s grade-level designation is more appropriate.

GENRE: nonfiction

OPENING and SYNOPSIS:

“Turning a long metal skewer, the cook roasts a whole swan over a blazing fire. For gravy, he mixes the bird’s blood with its heart, liver, and guts. He stirs in pieces of bread and adds some broth. The swan’s skin and feathers are then stuck back onto its body to make it look alive. Dinner is served!”

Enjoy reading about mouth-watering “delicacies” like this roast swan, pottage (think gruel), blackbird-filled pies and more in this delightful romp through medieval cooking. In 48 pages, Stiefel covers royal food and feasts, as well as the peasants’ plight. She also looks at the constant threat of starvation that plagued the people of the Middle Ages.

THEMES/TOPICS: history (European), cookery

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: This gross-out books is gobs of fun. Stiefel’s prose is delightfully descriptive. Her conversational and humorous voice truly put the “story” in this history. Yet, at the same time, it’s clear this is a well-researched text. Stiefel includes quotes from people who lived in the Middle Ages, as well as other tidbits, like the shopping list for a 6,000-person feast. Gerald Kelley’s lively illustrations are a perfect match for the text, keeping the book fun and engaging for young readers. You’ll find it hard to put down.

RESOURCES/ACTIVITIES:

Nature

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Swirl by Swirl

Author: Joyce Sidman
Illustrator: Beth Krommes
Publication Info: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Children, 2011
Intended audience: Ages 4 and 8
Genre: nonfiction, picture book
Themes/topics: science, nature
Opening and synopsis: “A spiral is a snuggling shape. It fits neatly in small places. Coiled tight, warm and safe, it waits…”
Spirals snuggle, grow, protect, grasp, move, stretch and reach out to explore the world. In her lyrical book, Sidman shows how this shape appears repeatedly in nature, from calla lilies to shells and galaxies. Her notes in the back explain the strengths of the shapely spiral. Krommes’s bright wood engravings are a perfect complement to the text.
Why I like this book: Melissa Stewart recommended this book on her blog as an example of creative nonfiction that doesn’t necessarily have a narrative. This much-lauded book is a must-read for anyone aspiring to write children’s nonfiction. Sidman is a master of free verse, which makes this book appealing for young readers. And there’s much to learn about this mysterious and fascinating shape. Older readers will enjoy learning about Fibonacci spirals, DNA helix and spiderwebs in the back matter.
Resources: The fantastic blog, The Classroom Bookshelf, has a comprehensive list of activities and further resources for Swirl by Swirl. One of my favorite suggestions is to arm your child with a digital camera and seek out spirals in nature. Sidman’s Teachers page includes a Teacher’s Guide for the book, as well as a poetry kit for use in the classroom.
Every Friday bloggers review “Perfect Picture Books.” Find a complete list of book reviews organized by topic, genre and blogger at author Susanna Leonard Hill’s site.
Books, Geography, Science/Math

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Me on the Map

Author: Joan Sweeney
Illustrator: Annette Cable
Publication Info: Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1996
Intended audience: 3 and up
Genre: nonfiction, picture book (32 pages)
Themes/topics: cartography, maps, geography, nonfiction
Opening and synopsis: “This is me. This is me in my room. This is a map of my room. This is me on the map of my room.” Step-by-step, this young girl shows the reader her room, her home, her street, her city, her state, her country and her planet and how each would appear on a map. This book is a wonderful way for children to learn about their place in the world and how it’s represented in two dimension.
Resources/activities: Taking a cue from the book, children can learn about scale and dimensions by drawing a map of their bedroom or home. For older children, you could use graph paper to teach scale, allowing the child to measure his or her room and pieces of furniture and plotting them on graph paper. You could also challenge a child to draw a map of a location from a favorite book using clues found in the text.
Why I like this book: This book is immensely popular. I had it on hold at the library forever. My five-year-old wanted to renew it as the due date approached, but someone else had already placed a hold on it. Simple language and strong visuals make this an excellent introduction to cartography.
Every Friday bloggers review “Perfect Picture Books.” Find a complete list of book reviews organized by topic, genre and blogger at author Susanna Leonard Hill’s site.
Books, Nature, Science/Math

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Vulture View

Author: April Pulley Sayre
Illustrator: Steve Jenkins
Publication Info: Henry Holt and Company, 2007
Intended audience: Preschool and up
Genre: nonfiction, picture book (32 pages)
Themes/topics: nature, animals, science, natural history
Opening and synopsis:
“The sun is rising.
Up, up.
It heats the air.
Up, up.
Wings stretch wide
to catch a ride
on warming air.
Going where?
Up, up!”
With her signature lyrical style, April Pulley Sayre tackles the seemingly ungraceful topic of turkey vultures. These animals eat what we wouldn’t dare — stinky, rotting meat. In “Get to Know Vultures” Sayre explains the turkey vulture’s important role in breaking down large, dead animals so mice, beetles, maggots and worms can do their jobs and return nutrients to the soil. She also notes areas that budding scientists might want to study when they grow up. For example, scientists know little about how the vultures communicate and what they do in the winter.
Resources/activities: Sayre includes many resources in “Get to Know Vultures,” however her rich Web site provides even more resources. For teachers, she provides appropriate curriculum standards….here. She also recommends the Turkey Vulture Society. You’ll find a turkey vulture dot-to-dot and crossword puzzle on the State of Ohio’s parks page….here.
Why I like this book: One of my favorite nonfiction PB authors, Melissa Stewart, originally recommended this book as an outstanding example of picture book nonfiction. Sayre’s strength is her lyricism, which makes turkey vultures interesting and attractive. And, of course, Sayre’s stellar writing is paired with illustrations by the legendary Steve Jenkins. The duo have created a not-to-be-missed reading experience.
Every Friday bloggers review “Perfect Picture Books.” Find a complete list of book reviews organized by topic, genre and blogger at author Susanna Leonard Hill’s site.
Books, Nature, Science/Math

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Just One Bite

Author: Lola Schaefer
Illustrator: Geoff Waring
Publication Info: Chronicle Books, 2010
Intended audience: Preschool and up
Genre: nonfiction, picture book (32 pages)
Themes/topics: nature, animals, science
Opening and synopsis: ”With just one scoop, a worm can eat… –> . this much dirt (and everything in it)!”
Schaefer and Warning reveal how much nectar a butterfly sips and how much bamboo an elephant bites. They rely upon simple sentences and vivid visuals to show how much 11 animals consume in only one bite. Backmatter includes more detailed discussions of 12 creatures and their eating habits. For example, reticulated giraffes use their sticky saliva to coat thorns making them easier to chew. Komodo dragons can eat up to five pounds of food every minute. That’s a lot of meat!
Resources/activities: This book is a great excuse for a trip to the zoo. Our zoo features komodo dragons; after reading about their insatiable appetites, I was ready to take a peek at them again. If you can’t make it to the zoo, check out National Geographic’s Kids site for more information about animals and their appetites. Finally, the National Science Teachers Association, which selected the book as an Outstanding Science Trade Book, recommends a scaling activity found….here.
Why I like this book: This book is a cross between two of my favorite Steve Jenkins books, Actual Size and Time to Eat. Children find animals fascinating, and this book spurs discussion about animals and their environments.
Every Friday bloggers review “Perfect Picture Books.” Find a complete list of book reviews organized by topic, genre and blogger at author Susanna Leonard Hill’s site.