Review of Washed Ashore, by Kelly Crull

Washed Ashore

Making Art from Ocean Plastic

by Kelly Crull

Millbrook Press, 2022. 40 pages.
Review written October 8, 2022, from a library book
Starred Review

This book is the kind I can’t resist showing to my coworkers on the spot. The art is stunning. The subject is convicting. And the overall presentation is mind-blowing.

Yes, I knew that there’s lots of plastic trash in the ocean. But this book makes you feel the magnitude.

This book documents the work of Angela Haseltine Pozzi and her organization called Washed Ashore. They make animal sculptures out of trash found in the ocean.

Washed Ashore shows large photographs of fourteen of these sculptures. They give facts about the ocean animals portrayed and how they’re affected by plastic trash. They also list tips for reducing plastic trash in the ocean. And across the bottom of each spread, there are objects for you to find in the sculptures.

It’s finding those objects that makes you look closely and get your mind blown with all the junk. It also helps you realize just how big these sculptures are. Some of the objects to look for include a cigarette lighter, sunglasses, an inhaler, a steering wheel, toothbrushes, multiple toys, shoe parts, and even the front of a stereo.

And the art itself is stunning. Looking closely and realizing what it’s made of makes the achievement all the more remarkable.

Take a look at this book. I don’t believe that you can fail to be moved.

kellycrull.com
washedashore.org
lernerbooks.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Nonfiction/washed_ashore.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of If You’re a Kid Like Gavin, by Gavin Grimm and Kyle Lukoff, illustrations by J Yang

If You’re a Kid Like Gavin

The True Story of a Young Trans Activist

by Gavin Grimm and Kyle Lukoff
illustrations by J Yang

Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins), 2022. 36 pages.
Review written October 25, 2022, from a library book.
Starred Review

This colorful and informative picture book tells the story of Gavin Grimm, a transgender boy who went to court to be able to use the boys’ restroom at his high school.

The book is framed in a way kids can understand, talking about choices you can make and choices you can’t make.

Here’s how they explain that Gavin is transgender:

And if you’re a kid like Gavin Grimm,
you don’t choose if you’re a boy or a girl.

But if you’re transgender like Gavin Grimm,
you might choose to talk about it.

To tell your family, “I know you thought I was a girl,
but I’m really a boy on the inside.”

To say, “I can’t keep the name you gave me. We have to pick a new one.”

To be honest about who you are.

But then Gavin faced another choice: What to do about the bathrooms at school. He went to school as a boy, and no one bothered him. But they had him use a restroom in the nurse’s office. After a while, he started using the boys’ bathroom.

The principal said it was okay, and that should have been the end.

But the book portrays that there were some who didn’t like it, starting with a teacher, who told people that he was really a girl. That started everyone talking about him. Other kids bullied and laughed at him. And they made him a topic of a school board meeting. Gavin then had another choice.

Gavin chose to speak up for himself. He went to the meeting at his school and told them where he belonged. He tried to make them see that he was just a kid, not a problem to be solved.

It didn’t work.

But he still had a choice. He could have used the girls’ bathroom, which didn’t feel right. Or he could have used the bathroom his school put into a closet, one that no other kid was forced to use.

And he could have chosen to stay quiet.

The spread with his choice has a wonderful sky at sunset behind Gavin — with the colors of the transgender flag.

But when you’re a kid like Gavin Grimm, you know the only choice you have is to fight back.

To stand up for yourself.
And your right to use the bathroom as yourself.
And your right to be in school as yourself.

Then it talks about how Gavin worked with the ACLU to continue to fight his own case and to try to help other transgender kids, too.

I wish that this book were only of historical interest! It helps kids understand why transgender kids want to be who they know themselves to be. And it encourages kids to make the choice to stand for what’s right. Even while acknowledging they shouldn’t have to.

harpercollinschildrens.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Nonfiction/if_youre_a_kid_like_gavin.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of Choosing Brave, by Angela Joy, illustrated by Janelle Washington

Choosing Brave

How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement

by Angela Joy
illustrated by Janelle Washington

Roaring Brook Press, 2022. 64 pages.
Review written October 24, 2022, from a library book.
Starred Review

This powerful picture book biography tells the story of Mamie Till-Mobley, Emmett Till’s mother, and how she made hard choices so that the world would know about the terrible injustice that happened when her son was killed.

But that wasn’t the first hard choice she made. She faced bullying at school, though she graduated at the top of her class. Emmett’s father left her when Emmett was a baby, so she was a single mother. Polio left Emmett with a stutter, but she helped him and taught him to whistle to get through the stutter. That may have been why he ended up being accused of wolf whistling at a white woman. And murdered for it.

After Emmett’s death, Mamie paid a year’s wages to bring him north and used a glass-topped coffin to show the world what had been done to him.

Her brave choices helped start the Civil Rights movement, and even after Emmett’s murderers went free, she kept going to rallies, calling for justice.

Here’s how the book ends (before eight pages of notes at the back):

Yet still today, we whisper her name.

For lessons unlearned and hatred still living,
we whisper her name.
For strength to sow love in spite of our pain,
we utter her name.
For every son and every daughter who suffers still,
we cry her name.
For justice. For peace.
We shout her name.

A powerful and moving story, told in simple language and striking images.

AngelaJoyBooks.com
WashingtonCuts.com
mackids.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Nonfiction/choosing_brave.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of A Seed Grows, by Antoinette Portis

A Seed Grows

by Antoinette Portis

Neal Porter Books (Holiday House), 2022. 36 pages.
Review written August 30, 2022, from a library book
Starred Review

As I write this review, I’m still deciding whether to put it on my Picture Books page or my Children’s Nonfiction page as an example of beginning nonfiction for the very very youngest listeners. I think I will put it on the Picture Books page, because this is the kind of book I’d love to use in a story time or to read to a small child on my lap, and I don’t usually look on the Nonfiction page for such books.

In fact, for years, I’ve kept my eyes open for picture books with very few words on a page to use for Toddler story times and their shorter attention spans. Even though I’m not doing story times any more (with my new awesome job as Youth Materials Selector), I have to point out that this book would be perfect for that — and it teaches little ones about the life cycle of plants in a way they can understand, so it would also work for a STEM story time.

There are few words on a page and they’re short and sweet, and the bright, colorful illustrations use simple shapes. Here’s how the book starts out:

A seed falls

[That’s on a white background. The facing page shows one striped sunflower seed falling against a blue background.]

and settles into the soil

[Now we see the same blue background with a stripe of brown at the bottom and the seed sitting on top of that.]

and the sun shines

[Now the facing picture is a big round sun.]

and the rain comes down

[Now the picture side has raindrops filling the page.]

and the seed sprouts

I think by now you get the idea. Very simple language and simple, colorful pictures show the entire process of a sunflower growing. When it grows to its full height, the page folds upward to show how tall it gets.

After the sunflower blooms, it makes seeds which birds take to their nests. Eventually, to end the book, a seed falls. And we’re back to where we started.

Three pages at the back give more information for readers a little bit older, including a diagram of the life cycle of a sunflower plant.

This book is simple, but the bright blue and yellow colors leave me smiling.

antoinetteportis.com
HolidayHouse.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/seed_grows.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of Sanctuary, by Christine McDonnell, illustrated by Victoria Tentler-Krylov

Sanctuary

Kip Tiernan and Rosie’s Place, the Nation’s First Shelter for Women

by Christine McDonnell
illustrated by Victoria Tentler-Krylov

Candlewick Press, 2022. 36 pages.
Review written August 5, 2022, from a library book
Starred Review

Here’s a picture book biography of a woman I’d never heard of before — who truly deserves to be celebrated.

Kip Tiernan grew up during the Great Depression and watched her grandmother serve soup to the line of men who came to their door. Later, as an adult in 1968, she sold her business and gave the rest of her life to serving the poor.

First, she worked in shelters. Kip noticed that women would disguise themselves as men to get help in the shelter.

She later opened the nation’s first women’s shelter. Her work was beautiful because she respected people’s dignity.

She wanted to open a sanctuary with flowers and music where women wouldn’t be reminded they were poor, a shelter with no chores, no questions asked, just good meals and warm beds. She hoped the volunteers at her shelter would listen to the guests. When you listen to others, you show respect; you learn who they are and what they need.

This beautiful picture book celebrates a woman who gave her life to helping others.

The author teaches English to immigrant women today at the shelter that Kip Tiernan founded.

wanderwomenproject.com/places/kip-tiernan-memorial
candlewick.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Nonfiction/sanctuary.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of Before Music, by Annette Bay Pimentel, illustrated by Madison Safer

Before Music

Where Instruments Come From

by Annette Bay Pimentel
illustrated by Madison Safer

Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2022. 88 pages.
Review written September 7, 2022, from a library book
Starred Review

I was not at all prepared for how charmed I would be by this book. Before the title page, pictures filling up oversize pages show you a boy with a drum and a woman with a stringed instrument making music. There’s a bit of text:

Music doesn’t come out of nothing.
It always starts somewhere. . .
with something. . .
with someone.

I expected to learn about the instruments of the western orchestra. But instead, the first instrument presented is a rock gong, and the next one a pututu, made from a seashell. Yes, instruments from western orchestras are included, but they’re a relatively small part of the many, many ways that humans make music.

At the back of the book, the author explains that different cultures classify musical instruments in different ways. “In writing this book, I was inspired by the ancient Chinese system, which focused on the materials instruments are made of.” Each group of instruments is presented first with a large painting and pictures of someone making an instrument of that type. Next, the book explains how that material makes music, then we see many more instruments made with that material, subdivided using the Indian and Javanese focus on how they are played.

And there are so many kinds of instruments! Leafing through the 88 pages, I see instruments made from rock, found objects, clay, gourds, strings, metal, wood, reeds, flexible sheets, and human voices. Mixed between the descriptions of instruments and how they are made are features of musical innovators, people who figured out how to make new sounds from materials already used for instruments or how to improve what was being used.

As an example of the amazing variety found here, on the gourd instruments page, I see thirteen instruments from countries all over the world, only two of which I’d ever heard of before.

This book is fascinating and beautiful. There are suggestions at the back for kids to make their own musical instruments.

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Nonfiction/before_music.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of Marie’s Ocean, by Josie James

Marie’s Ocean

Marie Tharp Maps the Mountains Under the Sea

by Josie James

Christy Ottaviano Books (Henry Holt). 48 pages.
Review written April 19, 2021, from a library book
Starred Review

Dramatized in graphic novel format with speech bubbles, this book tells of the life of Marie Tharp and how she overcame prejudice against women and became the first person to map the ocean floor.

First it shows her childhood interest in science and beginning jobs, which were never as challenging as she could handle. But then everything came together when Bruce Hazeen, a graduate student at Columbia asked her to plot sounding data of the ocean floor from many ships going across the Atlantic Ocean, using sonar.

It goes on to show how Marie discovered something in common in the plots from the ships’ data.

And then I noticed something curious. A V shaped cleft ran through each of the profiles I had drawn.

Could there be a crack in the center of the mountains of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge as deep and wide as the Grand Canyon?

It shows how this discovery supported the continental drift theory, which was considered scientific heresy at the time.

Then Bruce was asked to map the locations where transatlantic phone cables had broken due to earthquakes. When Marie plotted the earthquakes – they were all happening along the rift valley she had discovered in the middle of the ocean.

The scientific community was still skeptical of her work. Then Jacques Cousteau towed an underwater camera across the Mid-Atlantic Ocean floor and showed the world that Marie’s rift valley indeed existed.

Thereafter, scientists’ and the public’s opinion of the rift valley and Wegener’s theory of continental drift slowly began to shift. Opinion also began to change regarding women at sea. In 1965, after fifteen years working at my desk, Bruce offered me my first spot as a woman aboard a research vessel.

Marie Tharp continued working, mapping all the world’s oceans.

Heinrich, Bruce, and I continued to collaborate and produced an elaborate painting called the World Ocean Floor panorama in 1977. This glorious map depicts a one-world ocean whose hidden mountains and valleys, created by the immense forces of Earth, erupted off the canvas and dispersed the idea of a flat and featureless seafloor.

By dramatizing her story, this book brings you into the challenges Marie faced as a scientist and how completely she triumphed over them.

mackids.com

Buy from Amazon.com

This review is only on the blog.

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of Make Way for Animals! by Meeg Pincus, illustrated by Bao Luu

Make Way for Animals!

A World of Wildlife Crossings

by Meeg Pincus
illustrated by Bao Luu

Millbrook Press, 2022. 32 pages.
Review written July 4, 2022, from a library book.
Starred Review

This is a simple nonfiction picture book about many different things people have constructed to help animals get across busy roadways that cut across their habitats.

I have been fascinated by animal crossings ever since seeing wooded bridges above the highways in Europe.

This book shows bridges like that in the Netherlands, but also a pipeline for penguins in New Zealand, a crossing for crabs on Christmas Island, an underpass for elephants in Kenya, a rope bridge for ringtail possums in Australia, and much more.

The book also gives details about the specific animals helped by the crossings. Notes at the back give details about specific places.

The main text is simple but fascinating. I like the variety in the different kinds of crossings featured. All of them save animals lives and help them have a wider habitat.

MeegPincus.com
lernerbooks.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Nonfiction/make_way_for_animals.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of Escape at 10,000 Feet, by Tom Sullivan

Unsolved Case Files

Escape at 10,000 Feet

D. B. Cooper and the Missing Money

by Tom Sullivan

Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins), 2021. 98 pages.
Review written April 19, 2021, from a library book
Starred Review

This book clearly lays out for kids all the facts about the only unsolved airplane hijacking case in the United States.

It happened in 1971. A man who called himself Dan Cooper hijacked an airplane and asked for $200,000 in cash and two front and two back parachutes. He later jumped off the plane and was never heard from again – but neither was his body found.

The money he was given was marked – and it was never used. But in 1980, a child found three bundles of twenty dollar bills from the hijacking – buried in a riverbank in the general area where the man had jumped off the plane.

It’s all presented in a matter-of-fact, precise way, with eye-catching pictures on every page. Some theories are presented at the end, along with why they are probably wrong.

Metal detector screenings at airports began shortly after this episode. Kids will be amazed at how lax security was back in 1971, though still amazed at what D. B. Cooper was able to do – though they might argue whether or not he lived through it.

I don’t think of myself as interested in true crime, but I couldn’t stop reading this one. It’s especially intriguing to realize it really happened.

thomasgsullivan.com
harperalley.com

Buy from Amazon.com

This review is only on the blog.

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of Nicky and Vera, by Peter Sis

Nicky & Vera

A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued

by Peter Sis

Norton Young Readers, 2021. 64 pages.
Review written March 1, 2021, from a library book
Starred Review

Nicky & Vera tells about Nicky, a young Englishman who cancelled a ski vacation and followed his friend to Prague in 1938, and ended up working to get Jewish children out of Prague while there was still time. It also tells about Vera, who was one of those children.

The story is a little sad, because although Vera survived the war, no one else in her family did.

But it does tell about the six hundred sixty-nine children that Nicky was able to save.

Nicky was a quiet hero. He didn’t tell anyone about his heroic work after the war until his wife found his records in their attic about fifty years later. Then a television show arranged for many of those children to get to thank Nicky in person.

The stories are told with illustrations in Peter Sis’s distinctive almost surreal style, full of symbolism, which adds emotional impact to the words.

After Nicky was thanked by the grown children he saved, the book ends (except the extended Author’s Note) with these words:

669 children would not have survived
if not for Nicky, who went to Prague and saved their lives.

I was not a hero, Nicky said.
I did not face any danger, as real heroes do.
I only saw what needed to be done.

A lovely and inspirational story.

nortonyoungreaders.com

Buy from Amazon.com

This review is only on the blog.

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?