The Nonfiction Monday Roundup

Hello and welcome to Nonfiction Monday at books together!  My contribution this week is Gifts from the Gods by Lise Lunge-Larsen [review coming later this morning]. Please comment with a link to your Nonfiction Monday post (and a brief description if you'd like), and I'll round them up here throughout the day.  Thanks for participating in this edition of Nonfiction Monday!

The night before (good morning, UK!)

Zoe at Playing by the Book reviews What Mr Darwin Saw by Mick Manning and Brita Granström in association with London's Natural History Museum.

Morning edition

Medea of Perogies and Gyoza reviews Japanese Celebrations for her first Nonfiction Monday post.  Welcome, Medea!

Also contributing for the first time, Tara of A Teaching Life reviews The Harlem Hellfighters, an account of the brave regiment who fought in World War I.  Welcome, Tara!

Jone of Check It Out reviews Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom by Shane Evans.

Gathering Books reviews The Boy on Fairfield Street: How Ted Geisel Grew Up to Become Dr. Seuss.

Jeff of NC Teacher Stuff reviews The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont.

Two reviews at Ms. Yingling Reads: a book about lost cities (Pompeii) and a book about vampires in Transylvania.

Shelf-employed is featuring some light reading today with 1st and Ten : Top Ten Lists of Everything in Football.

At Ana's NonFiction Blog, three articles from kids' science magazines featuring confused spiders, revealing bandages, and scuba spiders.  Congratulations, Ana Maria!

Roberta of Wrapped in Foil took a look at Cybils nominee Digging for Troy: From Homer to Hisarlik.

Anatomy of Nonfiction features Marc Tyler Nobleman on Heroes--Super and Otherwise with a review of Boys of Steel and interview with the author.

Wild About Nature reviews Sea Stars: Saltwater Poems by Avis Harley.

At Bookends, Cindy and Lynn review Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein.

And Shirley at SimplyScience introduces Enterprise STEM, a new Rourke book by...Shirley Duke!  Congratulations, Shirley!

Afternoon update

Learn about animals through their ears, noses and tails in What Do I Do with a Tail Like This?, reviewed by Camille at A Curious Thing.

Kids' travel guides from Arcadia reviewed by Jennifer at Jean Little Library.

At The Fourth Musketeer, a review of Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War by Tony Horwitz, a new nonfiction title for adults that's also suitable for high schoolers.

A picture book biography of an artist, just for books together's focus on art and artists: Jeanne at True Tales & A Cherry On Top features Diego Rivera: His World and Ours.  Thanks, Jeanne!

Jennie at Biblio File reviews Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and its Legacy.

Wendy at Blog from the Windowsill reviews Celebrate Hannukah. Welcome back, Wendy!

Good evening

Heidi highlights a series called Fall's Here at Geo Librarian.

The Nonfiction Detectives have a review of Balloons Over Broadway on the blog today.

Janet at All About the Books reviews A Wizard from the Start: The Incredible Boyhood & Amazing Inventions of Thomas Edison written by Don Brown, .

That's all for now!

National Hispanic Heritage Month Roundup

Let's celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month! From September 15 to October 15, the Library of Congress officially recognizes the "histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America." Here's a roundup of children's and YA book reviews, author interviews, and more to help get the fiesta started at your house.

Picture books

Jeff reviews The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred by Samantha Vamos (illustrated by Rafael Lopez; Charlesbridge, 2011) at NC Teacher Stuff (thanks, Jeff!).  Note: The Books Together Test Kitchen is making arroz con leche using the farm maiden's recipe. Review coming soon!

Author Monica Brown shares "the story behind the story" of Waiting for the Biblioburro (illustrated by John Parra; Tricycle Press, 2011) at Paper Tigers.

Tasha reviews Tia Isa Wants a Car by Meg Medina (illustrated by Claudio Munoz; Candlewick, 2011) at Waking Brain Cells.

Roberta reviews Ellen Ochoa: The First Hispanic Woman Astronaut (PowerKids Press, 2001) at Wrapped in Foil.  In honor of World Space Week and National Hispanic Heritage Month!

Chapter books and middle grade novels

Alma Flor Ada and her son and co-author Gabriel Zubizarreta (Dancing Home; Atheneum, 2011) talk about immigration and collaboration in an interview at Kirkus Reviews. See Alma's website for more reviews of Dancing Home, which is also available in a Spanish edition (Nacer bailando). The gorgeous cover art is by Edel Rodriguez.

Charlotte reviews The Cheshire Cheese Cat by Cuban-American author Carmen Agra Deedy (and Randall Wright; illustrated by Barry Moser; Peachtree, 2011) at Charlotte's Library.

And her favorite Hispanic-themed children's book of the year, Tortilla Sun by Jennifer Cervantes (Chronicle, 2010).

Young Adult

Charlotte also reviewed The Queen of Water by Laura Resau and Maria Virginia Farinango (Delacorte, 2011) at Charlotte's Library. See Laura's website for the story behind this important book, and her blog for the inside scoop on its gorgeous cover. [Extra thanks to Charlotte for helping me to populate this list!]

Deviant (Adrian McKinty, Abrams, 2011), a YA novel with a Latino main character, reviewed at Finding Wonderland (thanks, Sarah and Tanita!).


For your consideration

The Heartland Chapter of REFORMA has posted a list of titles under consideration for their 2011 Mock Pura Belpre Award Session. This list is a great place to look for children's books by Latin American authors and illustrators, very much in the spirit of National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Please leave a comment if you would like to contribute a post to the National Hispanic Heritage Month roundup, and I'll add it to the list. ¡Muchísimas gracias a todos!

Before They Were Famous for Nonfiction Monday

The latest entry in Bob Raczka's series of Art Adventures, Before They Were Famous: How Seven Artists Got Their Start (Millbrook, 2011), takes a look at the earliest known work of artists ranging from Albrecht Durer to Salvador Dali. Thank goodness for Paul Klee, whose drawing of a carousel (made at age ten; you can see it on the front cover next to a photo of a young Klee) looks like it might actually have been drawn by a child; because the early work of some of the other artists is already incredibly accomplished. Michelangelo, I'm looking at you.

Before They Were Famous gives kids a natural entry point into the lives and work of the seven artists featured. Each gets two double-page spreads, including one page of text about his or her childhood and apprenticeship or training in art, one example of his or her mature work, and at least one portrait, self-portrait, or photograph of the artist (another of Raczka's Art Adventures books, Here's Looking at Me: How Artists See Themselves, focuses on artists' self-portraits). Even the author photo is of Bob at age 11, although we don't get to see any of his early work.

Raczka shares the story behind the book in a guest post on the Lerner blog, in which he discusses the Picasso painting (made at age eight) that inspired him to look for the childhood artwork of other artists. Here is Picasso's Little Picador in the context of the book:

Raczka also talks about how hard it was to find at least one female artist to include (he ended up with Renaissance painter Artemisia Gentileschi, whose earliest known work was painted when she was between the ages of seventeen and nineteen).  He says in the interview that would have loved to include this 20th century female artist, but didn't locate her early work in time.  Can you guess her identity?

[It's Georgia O'Keeffe, who made this drawing of an animal head when she was about fourteen.]

A Walk in London for Nonfiction Monday

A mother and daughter take A Walk in London in this lively, lovely picture book guide to the city by Salvatore Rubbino (Candlewick, 2011). Their day begins at 11am in Westminster and includes Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guard, the lions in Trafalgar Square, lunch at Covent Garden, a climb up to the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral, the Bank of England, the Tower of London, and a boatride on the Thames. For the record, it took my daughter and I ten days to do all of that! (But we went to the British Museum, too.)

While the main text recounts the day's events in the daughter's voice ("Hello! There's me, and that's my mom!"), spot text in a smaller font highlights related trivia (during a sudden shower, "London is Europe's third rainiest city. About twenth-three inches of rain falls here every year"). Rubbino's mixed media illustrations, often double-page spreads of city scenes, are carefully laid out and layered with just the right amount of detail. They also have lots of retro appeal. Here's an example from his first picture book, A Walk in New York (Candlewick, 2009; I couldn't find any interior images of London online):

London features a foldout Thames Panorama that would have come in handy on the London Eye, while the endpapers trace the mother and daughter's route on a map of the city. Don't forget to look for the royal family's car along the way!

Reminiscent of but more child-friendly than M. Sasek's classic This is London (1959; reissued by Universe, 2004), the picture book we referred to most prior to our trip, A Walk in London is the one we read to remember it. Mr. Rubbino, if you're reading this, please take us on a walk in Rome next!