Polar Bear Puzzle is part of the Adventures of Riley series by Amanda Lumry and Laura Hurwitz, endorsed by the Smithsonian Institute and the World Wildlife Fund. This series is really creative in that it mixes photographs with drawn illustrations, and stories with non fiction facts. For instance in Polar Bear Puzzle Riley goes to visit his biologist uncle Max in Churchill Canada, Polar Bear Capital of the world. Due to climate change, Uncle Max must tag and transfer bears to colder parts of the country, and Riley gets to help! On the way they meet several other arctic animals, and even see the northern lights. This is a very cool book with tons of timely information.
You may have already heard about And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. It was the most challenged book of 2008. If you’re at all curious to see what the fuss was about, I highly recommend you check it out, because beneath all the controversy this is a story for children about an unconventional family of penguins. Roy and Silo were two real male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who played surrogate fathers to an egg, helping to bring little Tango into the world, and you can still visit them all today in New York City! Heartwarming illustrations provided by Henry Cole.
There’s probably no historical figure I find more admirable than Abraham Lincoln. That explains why I love Abe’s Honest Words by Doreen Rappaport, featuring illustrations by the fabulous Kadir Nelson. This is a lovely juvenile biography of our sixteenth president, who had the unenviable job of leading our country through, and out, of the Civil War. Rappaport treats us to Lincoln’s life story–his upbringing after the death of his mother, his love for reading and writing, his election and presidency, to his tragic assasination–insterspliced with his own words. The book is a touching tribute to the man who wrote “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I cannot remember when I did not so think, and feel.”
Fartiste by wife and husband authors Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer, and illustrator Boris Kulikov, relates the true and intriguing tale of French artist, Joseph Pujol, who, at the height of his popularity, performed at the Moulin Rouge, to audiences of royal stature, pulling in tens of thousands of francs a night. And what was his talent, you might ask? Well, at age eight Joe discovered he had the ability to pass gas on command with no smell! He grew up to be a baker, but to help support his wife and ten children he began farting on street corners, then filling concert halls, eventually becoming the toast of gay Paris, and the rest is history!
This book brings tears to my eyes every time I read it (I’m a very emotional librarian). Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope is an inspiring biography of our country’s 44th president by Coretta Scott King Award winning author Nikki Grimes and illustrator Bryan Collier. A young boy named David asks his mother who that man on TV is andwhy people are shouting his name. She tells him the story of a boy with inter-racial parents who grew up in Hawaii. He pursued higher education, and longed to change the world. That boy was Barack Obama and he grew up to be our president asking, “Can we make America better? Can we work together, as one?” Yes. We can.
Noted by The New York Times to be one of the best illustrated children’s books of 2008, A River of Words by Jen Bryant, is a wonderful juvenile biography of William Carlos Williams, American poet, 1883-1963, best known for works like “The Red Wheelbarrow” and “This is Just to Say.” Willie Williams grew up in Rutherford, NJ. In school, English was his favorite subject. He loved to read and write poetry, and was inspired by simple things found in everyday life. But Willie knew that poets did not earn much money, and he needed to support his family, so he went to medical school and became a doctor. Although he spent his days healing the sick, he always found time for poetry. An inspiring story, with touching collage illustrations by Melissa Sweet.