This meme was started by Rae Longest at Powerful Women Readers. As I am a grandmother, who loves to read to her grandchildren, a mother who loved to read to and with her children, and a retired teacher librarian, this meme really attracted me. If you love children’s books, or have a favourite from your childhood, join us in introducing them to a new generation of readers.
Today, I am reviewing three non-fiction books for children. I read two of them with one or all of my grandchildren, but one I read myself. At one time all were made available to me through Netgalley. The rating and opinions are mine and where appropriate, the reactions of my grandchildren.
The Eyeball Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta
Published May 11th 2021 by Charlesbridge Publishing
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Jerry Pallotta is the author of several Alphabet books. I never would have thought a book about eyeballs would be as interesting as this one was. There is a lot to like about this book. First thing I noticed were the amazing images. Many of them are just close ups of the eyes of the various animals, some are just the head and others are the whole animal. They were quite interesting to look at, especially after reading the text and then examining the eyes. I liked that the animals were both those we recognized, but also some that were new to us. One thing I thought was fun, is that each page had an idiom about eyes and what it actually means (ie A sight for sore eyes means someone or something you are happy to see or To turn a blind eye means to not care about something). In fact, we reread the book just looking and talking about them. Snuck in the book was a page with a simple explanation of how eyes work. The fact on each page gave a tidbit about the animal, usually about its eyes, but also other information. It might also include general facts about eyes or sight in humans. Depending on who you read this book to, you can choose to read all or just some of the information. When I read it with my youngest grandchild, we just read the A is for line and maybe the one fact. With my older two grandchildren, we read the whole thing, but the older one really enjoyed the idioms. I even learned a few things reading this one. I can see this book being used in schools when learning about the senses, animals, idioms, and more. I definitely recommend this one. I want to add that we read this book using the online Hoopla website, which gave us a magnifying glass. The kids loved moving it over the illustrations to see the animals and their eyeballs up close.
Beavers: Radical Rodents and Ecosystem Engineers by Frances Backhouse
Published May 11th 2021 by Orca Book Publishers
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Beavers: Radical Rodents and Ecosystem Engineers by Frances Backhouse is not a book for young readers. This book is chock full of facts, information and wonderful images. If you want to learn about beavers, their habitats, habits, family life, dangers, and conservation, then pick this book up. For my granddaughter, we looked at the images and read the captions. For a five year old, that was plenty. The eight year old wanted more, so we read some of the sections titled Beaver Backers that shared about how to help the beaver and its conservation. As an adult, I read the whole book and learned a lot about beavers, especially their comeback. This is an educational book that would be a great addition to public, school and classroom libraries. It is geared to older students (ten and up) but could be used with younger students sharing some of the information available.
The International Day of the Girl: Celebrating Girls Around the World by Jessica Dee Humphreys, Rona Ambrose, Simone Shin (Illustrations)
Published September 1st 2020 by Kids Can Press
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The International Year of the Girl consists of nine stories celebrating the International Day of the Girls. Each story highlights a girl who demonstrates strength, determination, intelligence, and love for self, family and others. We learn about gender equality, female rights (especially education) and supporting other females. Fiona from Brazil, Hana from Afghanistan, Abuya from Kenya, Liliya from Russia, Sokanon from Canada, Malika from Indai, Keeya from Nigeria, Zarah from Syria and Aster from the US all stand up for females. Starting from denying to be born to being treated as housemaids to flesh trade to denying basic human rights, or forces marriages, girls everywhere are facing discrimination and harsh treatment. Being Canadian, I was particularly interested in Sokanon from Attawapiscat First Nation community in Canada who bravely exposed the educational issues in her community. Along with the story about what each of these girls has done, we learn about their communities and the situations they are hoping to change. The illustrations also help to draw attention to the problems and the young person themselves.
This is a book that should be in every public and school library. It helps to empower young people to take that step to help themselves and others. There is far too much repression and exploitation of girls in this, the 21st century, and if the adults aren’t going to do anything, then it is time for those caught in these situations to stand up and fight for themselves. This book shows our young people that it can be done. This is a book that is geared to older children (ten and up) but can be read and educate people of all ages.