So imagine my immense joy this morning to look in Netgalley and find something completely different from what I've been reading, NON FICTION. So I dove in and what a reward! Here's some of what I found.
The first one is called "Spy on History: Victor Dowd and the World War II Ghost Army" by Enigma Alberti. It's the story of a group of soldiers during World War II that were artists, weathermen, sound engineers and writers that helped to mislead the Germans into thinking that there were a lot more American soldiers in different places than there actually were. The story is written in a very easy to read conversational prose that moves the story along quickly. It recounts several different times during the war when the Ghost Army was able to successfully trick the Germans and the local townspeople. It also has graphic novel type illustrations that are clues to different things in the story. It tells you how to interpret them in the back (in case, like me, you weren't paying close enough attention to the pictures), which I think kids will find very amusing. I know I enjoyed going back to see what the pictures really meant. I think a book like this will engage a lot of kids who like puzzles as well as kids who like history. The only reason I might not put it in my library is that in the front of the book it says that there will be a physical envelope that will contain tools that help you solve the mystery of the book. In my library, it would take perhaps two checkouts before all the tools would disappear, so this might not be the right fit for my library, but I could highly recommend it for a home read.
The second one is a picture book about sustainability and problem solving. It's called "Iqbal and his Ingenious Idea" by Elizabeth Suneby. It's about a boy named Iqbal who lives in a small village in India or possibly Pakistan. His teacher is organizing a science fair with cash prizes. The project must showcase sustainability. Iqbal is inspired by his mother, who is coughing from the smoke of their cooking fire, to create a new cleaner way to cook. The story is simply written so it will go quickly but with enough details that you can really understand Iqbal's motivation. It's a nice lesson on how people's lives are different around the globe as well as creative problem solving and inventing. This would be a really great one paired with "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" by William Kamkwaba. I think this will be an excellent addition to our library.
This last one came the day before winter break and I was able to sneak it home before any of my students checked it out! It's a picture book biography called "The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a young civil rights activist" by Cynthia Levinson. The story starts with Audrey and her mother making a delicious dinner for their friend Mike who is coming from out of town. It turns out Mike is Martin Luther King Jr. and he's in town with some other ministers to help to organize protests in Birmingham, Alabama. Audrey really wants to participate too and so she does. The pictures in this one are lovely and highly animated-you almost feel like you're right there with Audrey every step of the way. This is a lovely story that kids will enjoy and hopefully it will help them understand that it's never too late to stand up for what is right.
Here's a book trailer about the book.
Happy New Year everyone! May the new year be full of wonderful surprises and terrific new books!