Category Archives: History

True stories or stories set in history.

She Persisted, 13 American Women Who Changed the World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She Persisted, 13 American Women Who Changed the World
by Chelsea Clinton, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
Philomel Books, 2017

This is a wonderful collection of American female heroes, written with the theme that each ‘persisted’ to reach their dreams. The collection includes women from several races, a woman with disabilities, an anesthesiologist, as well as well-known and little-known women from the past and present.  It’s easy, delightful, and inspiring to read.  Geared for young readers it’s a perfect way to help girls launch their dreams.

Read more reviews and purchase on Amazon.

Six Dots, A Story of Young Louis Braille

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Six Dots, A Story of Young Louis Braille
by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Boris Kulikov
Alfred A. Knopf, 2017
Winner of a Schneider Family Book Award!

Children will love young Louis who is bright and eager for life.  But then Louis’ world turns dark when he becomes blind.  Still eager for life, he learns to walk with a cane, whistle to hear if something is in his path and read letters made of leather, nails or straw.  Dominoes, with dots he can feel, becomes a favorite game.  Louis wants to learn and is frustrated when he cannot learn to read like everyone else.  He finds a way to attend the Royal School for the Blind in Paris.  When he finally gets to read, the books are large, clunky and few, for all the letters are raised on the page.  About that time a French army captain invented a code that can be read by touch, not by sight. Using a pattern of dots for sounds, Louis learns to read through this method.  When Louis was about 12 he decided he could make his own reading system and worked for 3 years, primarily by himself, to create what is now the Braille system.  He changed the world, for the blind.

The story is fascinating, the illustrations beautifully show Louis’ excitement, eagerness, and earnestness for learning. An inspiring story with more history about Louis and his Braille system included in the back matter.

Read more reviews and purchase on Amazon.

The Hawk of the Castle, a Story of Medieval Falconry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hawk of the Castle, a Story of Medieval Falconry
by Danna Smith, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
Candlewick Press, 2017

This exquisitely illustrated book shares a tale of falconry set in the medieval days. Author Danna Smith was trained on falconry as a child, and provides an exciting, insightful experience of hunting with falcons.

With easy to understand rhyme, repetition and illustrations, the youngest readers can follow the basic story.  Readers learn how falcons are trained, how the birds are lifted into flight, how they soar above the castle, and how they capture their prey.  As young readers are ready to know more, each page provides explanations of terms, equipment and insights about falcons.  A generous afterward includes many more historical and current details about the sport.

Read more reviews and purchase on Amazon.

The Book of Chocolate, The Amazing Story of the World’s Favorite Candy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Book of Chocolate, The Amazing Story of the World’s Favorite Candy
by HP Newquist
Viking, 2017

This book is a chocolate lover’s delight for both adults and children!

The history of chocolate begins in ancient times with the cocoa bean and goes up until 2015’s top selling chocolates.  Everything about chocolate you ever wondered is in this book.  I completed it’s 147 pages in a weekend.  As a history buff, I loved the stories of how chocolate started as, basically, cottage industries in the United States.  How the families battled to make their own unique chocolates successful, how the second world war influenced the industry and helped bring peace to the world.

The book contains fun factoids, like, “Research has found that countries where people eat a lot of chocolate also produce a lot of Nobel Prize winners”, with Switzerland at the top with 26 pounds of chocolate per person and 32 Nobel Prize winners per 10 million people.  The book includes old advertisements, old photos, and geography lessons, too.  Maps show that 71.2% of cocoa beans grow in Africa.  Wonderfully written, easy to read and you better have a box of chocolates on hand!

Read more reviews and purchase on Amazon.  Great gift book!

A Voyage in the Clouds, The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Voyage in the Clouds, The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785
By Matthew Olshan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Margaret Ferguson Books, 2016

Mix in a small bit of history from 1785, two partners trying to best one another, grown men in underwear, and two men literally ‘peeing’ from a hot air balloon ride to save their lives, and readers will have a fun read on the First International Flight by Balloon. In this ‘mostly’ true story, Englishman Dr Jeffries and Monsieur Blanchard, the pilot, join together to make the first hot air balloon flight between countries.  They start in England and cross the English Channel/La Manche, to land in France.

The story opens when both men claim they will be the first to step off the aerial car in France, and it ends with both men insisting the other goes first.  Find out how they both try to best each other, and how and why they join together in the end.

Read more reviews on Amazon.

Melvin the Mouth, Young Mel Blanc…before he was the Man of 1,000 Voices

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melvin the Mouth, Young Mel Blanc…before he was the Man of 1,000 Voices
by Katherine Blanc, illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
Charlesbridge, 2017

The words and illustrations take readers into the heart of a ‘sound’ genius, Mel Blanc, who, as an adult, created voices/sounds for 1500 movie/television characters.

Young Mel loves to create sounds to go along with the vivid characters he imagines.  Everything is BIG for Mel.  He Whooooooosh’s down the hall.  He captures kids with his Rrow! RROW!  Even, ‘garbage duty’ turns into a Zrroom-Zroom race car screeching around corners.  Readers will love all the trouble Mel gets into just being himself.  And they will love that the parents accept that someday Mel will use his ‘talent’ in some useful way when he grows up.  A supportive story for a child’s ‘gifts’.  Back matter includes background on Mel’s work as an adult. (Think Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Barney Rubble and 1,497 more!)

Read more reviews and purchase on Amazon.

I am Gandhi

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am Gandhi
By Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2017

Brad Meltzer knows how to write biographies that bring young readers right into the heart of the person featured.

In I am Gandhi, we learn Gandhi was afraid of snakes, not good at sports and ran home so people wouldn’t make fun of him.  Even though he read lots of books, he wasn’t good at school.  The book goes on to tell about all the social injustices he experienced as an Indian in South Africa.  One day he decided to do something about it.  He made his first speech and formed the Natal Indian Congress.  Most importantly, he came up with Satyagraha, outlining peaceful methods to changing the social injustices.  Written so young minds can understand how and why his simple methods resulted in change, this is an inspiring story about how an ordinary person made a change in the world.

Meltzer has sold more than a million non-fiction books for young readers. Look for his other inspiring, ‘hero’ stories.

Read more reviews and discover more Brad Meltzer books on Amazon.

Rolling Thunder (A Memorial Day story)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Rolling Thunder

by Kate Messner, illustrated by Greg Ruth
Scholastic Press, 2017

The story is of a boy who rides with his Vietnam vet grandfather on the 30th Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom, done on Memorial Day each year.  The story captures the importance the ride is for the grandfather who rides to honor friends lost.  Riding in on a motorcycle, they arrive at a campground and meet up with others.  In the morning, a long motorcycle convoy arrives at The Wall, where names are touched and prayers are said. The story is written in perfect rhyme and emphasizes the importance of Memorial Day and honoring those who fought for our freedom.  The illustrations tell many other stories, featuring other soldiers, family members at the wall as well as a star-lit sky signifying the vastness of the lives lost and honor earned.  A fresh story about the importance of the holiday.

Read more reviews on Amazon.

The Skydiving Beavers, A True Tale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Skydiving Beavers, A True Tale
by Susan Wood, illustrated by Gysbert van Frankenhuysen
Sleeping Bear Press, 2017

A recounting of a true story that happened in 1948 in McCall, Idaho, when, after the war, people and houses were taking over the beaver’s territory.  It soon became apparent that beavers and people don’t mix well when dammed water flooded roads and land for food became land for houses.  Elmo Heter, a staff person for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, decided they needed to move the beavers to some open land, many miles away.  But how? After many ideas and several practice parachute jumps with Geronimo, a senior beaver, Elmo had a plan.  That fall they successfully moved a beaver colony to an open area.

Well-written, well-paced out, and written in a friendly voice, this is a delight to read.

Read more reviews and purchase on Amazon.

Out of School and Into Nature, The Anna Comstock Story

Out of School and Into Nature, The Anna Comstock Story
by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Jessica Lanan
Sleeping Bear Press, 2017

A delightful introduction to Anna Comstock, a naturalist and artist, who became a scientist in the 1800’s, well before women were allowed to do so.  From a very young girl, she loved being in nature and learned many things through observation.  At college, she learned more about insects and was inspired to draw them.  Which led to her carving lines into a woodblock and printing them.  Her fine art were used in colleges and to help teach farmers about insects.  Author Suzanne Slade sprinkles delightful phrases throughout the story, such as “nutty as an oak tree” and “spread faster than dandelion seeds on a windy day.”  When Anna discovered nature was not taught in the schools, she created curriculums and taught teachers about nature.  In this way, she helped inspire future naturalists, today’s environmentalists.

An inspiring nature book for young children.

Read more reviews on Amazon.