Books mentioned in the November 2013 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book

World religions Ali-Karamali, Sumbul Growing Up Muslim: Understanding the Beliefs and Practices of Islam High school     214 pp.     Delacorte     2012 Trade ISBN 978-0-385-74095-1 Library binding ISBN 978-0-375-98977-3 Baggini, Julian Really, Really Big Questions About God, Faith, and Religion Illustrated by Nishant Choksi Gr. 4–6     64 pp.     Kingfisher/Macmillan (Macmillan)     2011 Trade ISBN 978-0-7534-6678-0 Our World of […]

Sports season

miracle mud

Kelly, David A. Miracle Mud: Lena Blackburne and the Secret Mud That Changed Baseball Gr. K–3  32 pp.  Millbrook Illustrated by Oliver Dominguez. Every baseball used in a Major League game is broken in by being rubbed with special mud harvested from a secret location — who knew? This fascinating account relates how former player […]

Visual arts

picasso i the king

Bernier-Grand, Carmen T. Picasso: I the King, Yo el rey High school  64 pp  Amazon Illustrated by David Diaz. Free verse poems chronicle the dramatic life of modern art’s pinnacle figure. Rather than glossing over Picasso’s flaws — his womanizing, his self-absorption, etc. — they are Bernier-Grand’s intriguing focus. The poetry is powerful but challenging, […]

Technology innovations, past and present

hybrid and electric vehicles

Carmichael, L. E. Hybrid and Electric Vehicles High schoo  112 pp.  ABDO Farrell, Courtney Methane Energy High school  112 pp.  ABDO Hand, Carol Biomass Energy High school  112 pp.  ABDO Hirsch, Rebecca Hydrogen and Fuel Cells High school  112 pp.  ABDO Innovative Technologies series. These dense books describe energy sources and technologies that can serve […]

Literary biographies

pablo neruda

Brown, Monica Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People Gr. K–3  32 pp.  Holt Illustrated by Julie Paschkis. Brown opens with Neftali’s boyhood love of reading, writing, and nature, celebrating the subjects that informed his poetry and his “dreams of peace.” Paschkis’s signature effusions of color and stylized forms are embellished with words — in English, […]

Colonial America

story voyages through history

Arato, Rona Story Voyages Through History 1750–1899 Gr. 4–6  96 pp.  Owlkids Illustrated by Ben Shannon. On an American Day series. Nine chronological sections provide snapshots of life in early America. Short fictional narratives are followed by historical information illuminating the issues raised in the tales, from religious freedom to slavery to children’s rights. The […]

NF Notes: The 2013 Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Award Winners

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Every fall, we give out the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards for excellence in children’s literature. To honor the tradition, this issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book includes reviews of all three 2013 nonfiction award recipients — winner Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by Robert Byrd and honor books […]

Math is elementary

how many jelly beans

Long, Ethan The Wing Wing Brothers Math Spectacular! Gr. K–3    32 pp.  Holiday In three acts, five performing duck brothers compete with one another and introduce basic math concepts by spinning plates, juggling pies, and disappearing in a box. The simple cartoony panels give the book a comic-book appearance, and humor abounds via sibling rivalry, slapstick […]

Folklore

goldilocks variations

Ahlberg, Allan The Goldilocks Variations Gr. K–3    32 pp.  Candlewick Illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg. With six tongue-in-cheek variants, the Ahlbergs (father and daughter) progress from simple changes in the canonical tale’s details and repartee to a version with thirty-three bears. The verbal wit, the delicately limned pen and watercolor art with its plenitude of intriguing detail, and clever […]

Scientist biographies

berne_on a beam of light

Berne, Jennifer  On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein Gr. K–3    48 pp.  Chronicle Illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky. Berne and Radunsky — in a gorgeous piece of bookmaking — use the “biggest, most exciting thought Albert had ever had” as the focal point for their homage to the great physicist. Berne’s simple […]