It’s time to get those special presents for loved ones and what better type of present than BOOKS! For the next several weeks leading up to Christmas I will have some of the best gift-giving books that have been recently published. This week’s review centers on non-fiction books which can apply perfectly to families of all ages.

N impossibleThe Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure, by Martin W. Sandler, tells of the heroic events that led three amazing men to the upper regions of Alaska to rescue 6 whaling ships and 300 sailors that were locked in ice. This account, with additions of journal entries from one of the rescuers and actual photographs, takes place in the early winter of 1897. It tells about the remoteness of 1,500 miles of distance from civilization whereby the rescuers had to also secure two reindeer herds along the way to feed the starving and dying men. This is one history book that brings this event to life on every page!

The Book of Blood (From Legends and Leeches to Vampires and Veins), by H. P. Newquist, is a highly interesting book about this necessary component of life. The book is formatted and geared for kids ages nine and above and they will likely find it very interesting. The chapters begin with the components of blood, how the body makes it, the organs blood enters into and what blood does for the body. It also discusses ancient civilizations and how they perceived blood. There’s also a chapter dealing with animals that drink blood (mosquitos, leaches etc.). The final chapter explains blood transfusions. This is a fascinating book filled with interesting photos that help support and explain the subject.

N ocean sunlightOcean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas, by Molly Bang & Penny Chishom, showcases how important all living elements are on this earth. Bang uses her trademark vibrant color contrasts to demonstrate deep sea life, from swirls of tiny plankton to giant whales. How life cycles are affected by the food chain deep in the ocean, as well as on land, is demonstrated in this picture book with the simplicity that even a child of four will grasp. Ms. Chisholm, a leading ocean scientist, helped create a book to enlighten and inform while also reading for enjoyment.

Disney Press has a series of new books the are part of the “Wonderful World” series. Sharks, Animals, Nature, Earth, Space and Dinosaurs are all separate books on these subjects. These books are filled with breath-taking photos that capture the subject with intensity. There is limited text, which makes each book kid-friendly. But there is still plenty of information to glean from each of these outstanding books! 

N animalsTales of Famous Animals, by Peter and Connie Roop, and wonderfully illustrated by Zachary Pullen, introduces 17 amazing animals that have lived through the ages beginning with a beautiful black horse that Alexander would ride as he conquered the world. There are stories about President Adams’ pet alligator, Balto the sled dog and Koko the gorilla. The full-page illustrations bring these animals to life! 

N zippersThe I Wonder Why” series invites readers to explore interesting topics that produce answers and perhaps even more questions to further investigate more subjects. Zippers have Teeth and Other Questions About Inventions, Countries Fly Flags and other Questions About People and Places, Pirates Wore Earrings and Other Questions About Piracy, Romans Wore Togas and Other Questions About Rome, and The Sahara Is Cold At Night and Other Questions about Deserts are all filled with colorful illustrations and limited text that answers questions posed on every page. 

N giant1The Giant and How He Humbugged America is written by one of my favorite award winning non-fiction authors: Jim Murphy. This book is a true account of how the 10 foot high “Cardiff Giant” was unearthed in a farmyard in upstate New York back in 1869 and how it caused a national uproar. People came from far and near to see this amazing spectacle for several months until the hoax was discovered. Murphy fills the pages with highly interesting information, photos and images that will captivate all that pick up this book!

The Fairy Ring or Else and Francis Fools the World, by Mary Losure, is another hoax perpetrated by two young British girls back in the 1920’s when one of the girls claimed she saw fairies. Their story begins innocently enough when nine-year-old Frances told her family that she saw fairies. The grown-ups didn’t believe her so cousin Elsie painted paper fairies and took pictures of them dancing around Francis. Now they did look real. Their images suddenly sky-rocketed off to national attention when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wanted to see one of these fairies. Pictures of the original photos of the drawn fairies are included in this book.