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Books that inform also need to be interesting. The following books are rich with information and are written so that kids ages eight and above (unless otherwise indicated) will enjoy.
Mary Blair’s Unique Flair: The Girl Who Became One of the Disney Legends, by Amy Novesky, and illustrated with vibrant colors covering the entire pages by Brittney Lee, is an inspirational story about how a young girl grew up loving color. Even when there wasn’t much money, her parents went with less in order to provide paper and paints for Mary. Ms. Blair created monumental color in three beautifully vivacious Disney movies and also created Disneyland’s Small World. Ms. Lee demonstrated Mary’s artwork perfectly.
Your Amazing Digestion from Mouth through Intestine, by Joanne Settel, PhD, and illustrated with much humor along with pen, ink and watercolor by Steve Bjorkman, answers many questions, pondered by youngsters, that have to do with our digestive systems. Dr. Settel did this is a very inventive and entertaining way – with poetry! Some of the catch phrases to learn includes: “why your stomach growls” and “why saliva never goes away”. There are facts to back up each poetic question along with an enriched glossary found at the back of the book.
Pencils, Pens & Brushes: A Great Girls’ Guide to Disney Animation, by Mindy Johnson, and brightly illustrated by Lorelay Bove, is a brief look at many of the women who have worked at Disney Animation throughout the years. There are Story Artists, Inkers, Animators and more to learn from and inspire us. For instance, Mildred Rossi became the first woman animator hired at Walt Disney’s studio. She loved to paint and draw and studied art at her local college before receiving a scholarship to attend the legendary Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles.
Titanosaur: Discovering the World’s Largest Dinosaur, by Dr. Jose Louis Carballido and Dr. Diego Pol, and wonderfully painted by Florencia Gigena, is an oversized picture book that tells about the recently discovered biggest and heaviest creature that has ever lived on earth. Upon opening the book, you immediately find where this discovery took place. You see South America and a large star in the lower region of Argentina. The paleontologists who wrote the book also made this great discovery and their enthusiasm is easily conveyed. Chances are, this book may inspire new paleontologists!
Before They Were Authors: Famous Writers as Kids, by Elizabeth Haidle, tells the inspiring stories of ten amazing authors when they were children. These authors include Mark Twain, J. K. Rowling and Beatrix Potter. This picture book is done in a graphic format of paints with bright watercolor by the author while capturing the essence of each author’s inspiration to become a writer. The humanizing element of each of these extraordinary authors will likely help youngsters be able to visualize themselves in this worthwhile occupation.
Can You Crack the Code?: A Fascinating History of Cipher and Cryptography, by Ella Schwartz, and nicely illustrated with blacks and grays by Lily Williams, begins with the history and purpose of codes and the usefulness of being able to decipher them. As you read about the sophisticated progress of these codes throughout the ages there is a great chance of becoming fascinated with this entire profession. There is much involvement with math connections as well as computer technology that truly makes this entire book, and the mysteries that surround Cryptology, fascinating!
The Tornado Scientist: Seeing Inside Severe Storms, by Mary Kay Carson, and with captivating photographs by Tom Uhlman, takes you through the day and life of research meteorologist, Robin Tanamachi. She grew up in the Midwest where there were many tornadoes. Her father, an engineer, had many Geiger counters and other scientific instruments in the house which was very enticing to her inquisitive personality. But when she saw a tornado live on TV, she knew this was her livelihood. The richly photographed book takes you through her many tornado experiences as well as understanding future forecasts and weather terms.
Migration: Incredible Animal Journeys, by Mike Unwin, and gorgeously painted filling open-page scenes with watercolor, acrylic, ink, pencil and pencil crayon by Jenni Desmond, reads like a picture book but with much information about twenty different animals. Each open-page headlines a different animal which includes: the humpback whale, caribou, the African elephant and great white sharks. Each migration of these animals is quite amazing and, in some cases, quite miraculous! There is just enough information and facts to whet your appetite to find out more about each animal. For instance, the great white shark will swim over 6,000 miles in search of seals for food. This book is simply stunning and is good for all ages.
Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist, by Julie Leung, and wonderfully illustrated digitally by Chris Sasaki, tells of a poor young Chinese boy coming to America in the early 20th century. He came with his father who worked hard and long hours to provide for his son. Tyrus loved to paint but since they couldn’t afford paper, he would paint with water as he mopped floors. Eventually, he was able to become an illustrator for Disney and became the main background painter for the film Bambi. He painted his entire life because it was his passion. There are more interesting facts about his life found at the back of the book.
Snackable Science Experiments: 60 Edible Tests to Try and Taste, by Emma Vanstone, is full of experiments from your kitchen. These great food experiments are fun, edible and rich with teachable facts to learn. The sections inside include Investigate which demonstrates how using colorful vegetables can put color on paper and Create tells how to make flavored butter. There are problem-solving concepts kids will learn with each of the experiments.