Posts tagged ‘children and adult nonfiction’

PANDAMONIUM

Pandas – Fun Facts and Cool Pictures of These Adorable Creatures

Written by Laura Han

Pandas,pic

Who doesn’t love to look at these furry, cute creatures? The author has created an early chapter book with beautiful photographs that will appeal to children in kindergarten and the early elementary grades. Han gives a bit of the history and geography of the species, its current habitat, how it is raised, what it eats, describes its habits, and writes about what we can do to save this endangered animal.

There are only about 1600 of these animals surviving in the Sichaun province of southwestern China. Though the black and white patches on their eyes resemble those of a raccoon, they bear no genetic relationship to that species. Did you know that pandas used to be kept in cages as pets for the ancient Chinese emperors? Pandas can eat as much as forty pounds of bamboo in one day, and they spend more than half the day, up to fourteen hours, eating bamboo plants. An adult panda might weigh as much as three hundred pounds, but a newborn weighs only five ounces. Pandas generally keep to themselves, but they do like play by rolling around on the ground and tumbling.

Recently, their natural habitat has been racked by earthquakes, large-scale construction projects, and deforestation. Conservationists are trying to save them by finding them homes in zoos and protecting their native habitat. The author urges her readers to join support groups.

The photographs and maps in this book are beautiful and the text is clear, concise and simple. It is a nice addition to the nonfiction and science shelves of classrooms and libraries. That is not to imply that parents and children who enjoy looking at these beautiful animals will not want to add it to their personal library.

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JOURNEYING THROUGH ALASKA’S HISTORY

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Aunt Phil’s Trunk: Volume One

Written by Laurel Downing Bill

Vol 1 Cover Aunt Phil

This first book in this series like all the others are based on the writings and research of the author’s aunt, Phyllis Downing Carlson. In the first volume, the reader is treated to thousands of years of Alaska’s history from the time the first humans crossed the Bering Sea land bridge to the Klondike Gold Rush in the nineteenth century. The photograph of a mastodon graveyard is most impressive. Readers learn how the native Eskimos coped with the unknown with the magic of their shamans and the legends of the gods. An influx of Russian fur traders changed Native life forever. They brought illness and destruction to their hunting grounds and forests. Eventually Natives adapted by becoming guides for the newcomers exploration of the seas and the mining operations that later followed.

One of the short stories relates how the last gun shot of the American Civil War was fired from the Confederate ship Shenandoah off the coast of Alaska in June, 1865, two months after the war actually ended. These ships fired on whalers near St. Lawrence Island. The Shenandoah had previously captured thirty-eight Yankee warships. Not willing to surrender to Union authorities in the States, the Shenandoah sailed to England to surrender that November.

Bill traces the history of opposition to William Seward’s purchase of Alaska for the United States and the change of opinion once gold was discovered. Several stories detail singular individuals in Alaska’ s history. Readers learn about Captain James Cook, the explorer, Bishop William Carpenter Bompas, the missionary, Ivan Petroff, the census taker, and Old John Bonner’s murder mystery. One of Alaska’s most educated early citizens was George Washington Carmack who wrote beautiful poetry. Not only do the short stories cover all these areas, but the photographs, maps and drawings provide a feast for the eyes!

Aunt Phil’s Trunk: Volume Two

Written by Laurel Downing Bill

Vol 2 Cover Aunt Phil

Volume Two portrays the history of Alaska for a much shorter period, the end of the nineteenth century through the year 1912. Nevertheless, it packs quite a punch with more than 350 photographs and a saga of interesting characters and developments.

The Klondike Gold Rush brought the ongoing boundary dispute with Canada to a head. Stampeders from Canada walked freely across the border in an attempt to make their fortunes. Crime and robberies became rampart. Miners sometimes took justice into their own hands. One criminal was named “The Blue Parker Bandit.” A small group sailed from Seattle to steal one of the native totem poles for its city. Reportedly, Wyatt Earp and John Clum fled from Arizona to Alaska after the demise of Tombstone.

But as more settlers flooded the area and stayed, order needed to be restored. Leroy Napoleon McQuesten set up supply stations in the wilderness. Clum often traveled by mule and set up Post Offices. Frank Canton set up a court and became the first law officer. As towns sprung up and the area became more stable, the people demanded entertainment and culture. The Black Prince Boxer was listed as a popular attraction. The Monte Carlo Theater came to the town of Dawson. Poet Robert Service wrote his poem “The Call of the Wild.” Estace Ziegler painted scenes of Alaska’s rugged landscapes. The Iditarod trail was blazed;soon railroads and schools followed. Prosperity reigned until suddenly the Katmai Crater Volcano eruption created such a wasteland in 1912 that President Woodrow Wilson called it the largest national monument in the United States. As with volume one, these people and events are richly documented with photographs and drawings. Lots of changes were on the horizon which will be explored in volume three.

These books are highly recommended for anyone with an interest in Alaskan history, geography, and culture. Children age nine and above should be able to handle reading the text independently. All the volumes are a wonderful addition to the bookshelves of teachers, librarians, historians and the the general reader. Well-written comprehensive portrait of America’s forty-ninth state,

Laurel Bill headshot

Contact: Laurel Downing Bill

Email: auntphilstrunk@gmail.com

Website: http://www.AuntPhilsTrunk.com

Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/LaurelBillAuthor

Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/LaurelBill

Google +: http://www.plus.Google.com/LaurelBill

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmh0wCifvbXYsVg5IkawkyQ

 

Aunt Phil’s Trunk volumes 1 through 4 are available through http://www.AuntPhilsTrunk.com and Amazon.com.

Volume 1: http://j.mp/SSiIKX

Volume 2: http://j.mp/SSiOT1

WORLD-WIDE TOUR

50 Places To See Before You Die:A List of the Earth’s Most Beautiful, Captivating, & Eye-Capturing Wonders of the World

Written by Matt Morris

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This book is by no means a tour guide, but rather a compilation of the author’s suggestions as to some of the most interesting places the Earth has to offer. Children and adults who are interested in geography, culture, history, archeology or nature will all find something of interest in this book. Morris organizes the book by continents. He then chooses some very well known sites as well as some that are obscure. Unfortunately, there are no pictures, but the author offers a link to investigate pictures of those sites that most interest the reader. This work is a great reference book and a good place to look for interesting ideas and places to explore.

I will give a few examples to whet your appetite. On the continent of Asia, one of the largest wonders is The Great Wall of China. The two thousand year old wall served as military protection as well as a means of transportation of trade known as the Silk Wall. I had never heard of Panjin Red Beach which is covered with thousands of red sea weeds and is a home to hundreds of species of animals and birds. In Europe, you can visit the popular tourist sites like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the ruins in Athens. Then there is the little known Sedlec Ossuary or Bone Chapel in the Czech Republic which is made of forty to seventy thousand sets of human bones or the Ice Hotel in Sweden which is built from ice harvested from the Torne River and reconstructed every year between December and April. In North America millions of tourists have visited the Grand Canyon and Disney World, but fewer have traveled to Antelope Canyon opened in 1997. South America s noted for the ruins of Machu Picchu and Angel Falls, but not many have visited the Enchanted Well or The Swing at the End of the World. In Oceania tourists visit the Sydney Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef, but fewer numbers venture to the Glow Worm Beach. The continent of Africa offers the Pyramids of Giza, Victoria Falls and Table Mountain.

For those not satisfied with keeping their feet firmly planted on the ground, The Virgin Galactic is a space craft offering suborbital travel for the price of $250,000. Whatever your time or budget, this guide will allow you to be an armchair traveler to some of the most interesting sites on the planet!

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COLLATERIAL DAMAGE

The Day Before 911

Written by Tucker Elliot

Day before 911,pic

Powerful, poignant and not soon forgotten! Elliot has done a masterful job of relating a true story of his sojourn as a sixth grade teacher in Department of Defense overseas military schools. At the beginning of the story, Elliot has just begun his position as teacher and head coach in a military school near Seoul, Korea. He is full of hope for his students, yet he is also strangely dour. The reader learns that his father fought in Viet Nam and his uncle died there. His teaching job is Elliot’s way of serving the military in his own way. Like every good teacher, Elliot is deeply concerned with his students; the story revolves around two students named Sami and Angel, and the families they share.

Tucker paints a picture of how the world changes as the terrorist attacks unfold, the school security becomes paramount, and the students whose parents serve live in constant terror of deployment and possible death. The author befriends a nine year old girl named Sami, who loves soccer and becomes the team “stud.” He suffers with her every time her father is called away. After Elliot leaves Korea and moves to teach in Germany, he meets Sami’s best friend from the states. Her name is Angel; she seeks the support of her new teacher and brings with her a multitude of new crises as her family becomes embroiled in emotional and physical terror.

The author attempts to exert the full force of his will to sincerely help these two families, but always seems to fall short when he is needed most. Circumstances seem to conspire to prevent him from fulfilling what he believes to be his obligations. This book is a must read for teens and adults who want to experience how the world indeed changed after 911. As one who lived a few miles from the World Trade Center, I can never adequately relay the feelings of helplessness and loss while waiting to hear the news of survivors. I watched the faces of children who waited to hear if their parents made it home from Manhattan that day; and myself grieved with others who lost friends and family. I would recommend this book to all military families, teachers, and parents who are looking for a way to understand in some small part the sacrifices of all those who serve our country and protect our communities.

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