Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Black History: Scientists and Inventors

Black History: Scientists and Inventors

The Frog ScientistFeatured Scientist: Dr. Tyrone Hayes I wish all science books were written like this one! This is the story of Dr. Tyrone Hayes who started out as a boy collecting frogs, turtles and snakes in the swamp near his home in Columbia, South Carolina. Fast forward 20 years and Tyrone is a Harvard graduate studying frogs. He’s a frog scientist, just like he always wanted to be.

As you read the book you learn about how Tyrone became a scientist, but you also learn about how he does his research. You see pictures of Tyrone out in the wild collecting samples and inside his lab studying frogs under a microscope. Tyrone’s research is about the affects of pesticides on frogs. Pesticides are chemicals that farmers spray on crops to kill pests like insects or weeds. In particular, he studies atrazine, a chemical used to kill weeds. Atrazine is used in Indiana on corn crops. Reading this book just might make you want to follow the debate about whether or not atrazine should be used. According to Tyrone’s research, the chemical causes all kinds of problems in frogs…they can grow extra legs… and the chemical can even make a boy frog turn into a girl frog.

This book has fabulous pictures of frogs, frog parts & frog insides. There are also great pictures of Tyrone and his students in his lab or out in the wild collecting specimens. The pictures are all crisp and clear and full of color. I really liked the pictures inside the lab. I also liked hearing about being a scientist right from Tyrone. The author used Tyrone’s real words throughout the book. It was cool to read about a little boy who grew up to do exactly what he dreamed of doing. It’s also cool to read about someone that is really passionate about what they do. Watch the video below – Tyrone raps about what atrazine does to frogs. Author: Pamela Turner


Websites:


Books:

Black Stars Color BlackInventors Brilliant
Inventors Inspiring Carver Latimer
Walker Williams Morgan CharlesDrew

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Black History: Painters & Artists

Black History: Painters & Artists

Heart and Soul

Featured Artist: Ashley Bryan: Ashley Bryan grew up in the Bronx in New York City. When he was a little boy his parents noticed right away that he loved to draw and paint and make things. They did everything they could to make sure he had art supplies to create things with. After he graduated from high school he wanted to go to college and study art. He interviewed for a spot at an art institute.

The interviewer stated that mine was the best portfolio that he had seen. However, he also informed me that it would be a waste to give a scholarship to a colored person.

The best artist…but no scholarship because of the color of his skin. Fortunately for all of us, Ashley listened to good advice from his parents. They told him to not let anyone or anything ever stop him from doing what he loves. Ashley persevered. He attended the Cooper Union School of Art and Engineering and Columbia University. He studied art in France and Germany too.

Ashley has taught art, written and illustrated books and created countless beautiful things that you can see in this book: stained glass windows, paintings, sculptures, puppets and more. There is one picture in this book that shows Ashley at home in a room full of his creations. It’s like looking at an I Spy picture of wonderful things. I would love to wonder through his studio, pull up a stool and begin creating something. When you read this book written in his own words, you’ll realize that if you did walk into his studio, that is exactly what he would want you to do. Author: Ashley Bryan

 

Websites:

Books by Ashley Bryan:

LetShinePoetryThunder>AshleyStableScare

Books about African American Art & Artists:

ArtHeartBlack StarsOne Last WordWakeRenaissanceWomenWingsPippinBeardenSewing StoriesTannerHappenedStoryPainterDave

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U.S. Presidents

U.S. Presidents

Websites:

President’s Day:

President's Day President's Day President's Day Paper Crafts for President's Day

Fun Poems & Stories about the Presidents:

Presidential misadventures : poems that poke fun at the man in charge Presidential Misadventures: Poems that Poke Fun at the Man in Charge – A rollicking collection of presidential poems shares lively facts about the misbehaviors of America’s commanders-in-chief.
Kid presidents: true tales of childhood from America's presidents : stories  Kid Presidents: True Tales of Childhood from America’s Presidents – Presents twenty stories featuring the United States presidents when they were children, including William Taft’s dance lessons, Lyndon Johnson’s classroom pranks, and Gerald Ford’s struggles with dyslexia.
First Mothers First Mothers – Profiles of the American presidents’ mothers reveal their achievements while sharing anecdotes and childhood stories, from Thomas Jefferson’s mother’s solo management of a plantation to Abraham Lincoln’s mother’s stint as a wrestler.
Did President Grant really get a ticket for speeding in a horse-drawn carriage? Did President Grant Really Get a Ticket for Speeding in a Horse-drawn Carriage? – Discusses facts and myths about American presidents, including if Washington cut down a cherry tree, if Lincoln walked twenty miles to school, and if Taft weighed more than an elephant.
The president's stuck in the bathtub : poems about the presidents The President’s Stuck in the Bathtub : Poems about the Presidents – A playful, poetic celebration of lesser-known presidential events and eccentricities reveals such examples as John Quincy Adams’ skinny-dipping forays in the Potomac and Herbert Hoover’s Chinese-language conversations with his wife, in a volume complemented by footnotes and an additional “Presidential Notes and Quotes” section. 10,000 first printing. Jr Lib Guild Premier.
Rutherford B., who was he? : poems about our presidents Rutherford B., Who Was He?: Poems about Our Presidents – Innovative rhymes about America’s 19th president while placing his achievements within the context of his time, incorporating short biographical details and presidential quotes.
The camping trip that changed America : Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and our national parks The Camping Trip that Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and Our National Parks – Offers insight into the camping trip that President Theodore Roosevelt and naturalist John Muir took to the redwoods of Yosemite in 1903, during which the two men had experiences and conversations that eventually contributed to the establishment of national parks in the United States.
Hanging off Jefferson's Nose: Growing up on Mount Rushmore Hanging off Jefferson’s Nose: Growing up on Mount Rushmore – Lincoln Borglum was a young boy when his father, the great sculptor Gutzon Borglum, suggested to a group of South Dakota businessmen that he should carve the faces of four presidents into a side of a mountain as an attraction for tourists. But Mount Rushmore would never be finished by Gutzon. It would be his son who would complete the fourteen-year task and present America with one of its most iconic symbols.

Learn about the Presidents:

The big book of presidents : from George Washington to Barack Obama Abraham Lincoln His Wit and Wisdom from A to Z Scholastic encyclopedia of the presidents and their times The Buck Stops Here: the Presidents of the United States
A Kid’s Guide to the Voting Process Election Day Electing Our Leaders American Presidents
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 A History of Voting Rights A History of the Republican Party A History of the Democratic Party
Voting The Election Book U.S. Government Through Infographics Presidents
U.S. Presidency Show Me the U.S. Presidency Our Presidents Rock!

Presidential Families & Pets:

Presidential pets White House kids Hot Dog! Eleanor Roosevelt Throws a Picnic Eyewitness First Ladies
What to do About Alice Miss Lady Bird's wildflowers First Kids The first pup

Stories About Voting/Elections:

Libby and the Class Election Lillian’s Right to Vote Don’t Vote for Me President of the Whole Sixth Grade
Smek for President Marvin Redpost: Class President Class Captain Vote

FocusOnIndianaSmall

Benjamin Harrison – the President from Indiana

Benjamin Harrison Presidential SiteBenjamin Harrison Photo 250
1230 North Delaware Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202

List of Presidents

Click on a name to get a list of library books about each president.

1. George Washington
2. John Adams
3. Thomas Jefferson
4. James Madison
5. James Monroe
6. John Quincy Adams
7. Andrew Jackson
8. Martin Van Buren
9. William Henry Harrison
10. John Tyler
11. James K. Polk
12. Zachary Taylor
13. Millard Fillmore
14. Franklin Pierce
15. James Buchanan
16. Abraham Lincoln
17. Andrew Johnson
18. Ulysses S. Grant
19. Rutherford B. Hayes
20. James Garfield
21. Chester A. Arthur
22. Grover Cleveland
23. Benjamin Harrison
24. Grover Cleveland
25. William McKinley
26. Theodore Roosevelt
27. William Howard Taft
28. Woodrow Wilson
29. Warren G. Harding
30. Calvin Coolidge
31. Herbert Hoover
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt
33. Harry S. Truman
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower
35. John F. Kennedy
36. Lyndon B. Johnson
37. Richard M. Nixon
38. Gerald R. Ford
39. James “Jimmy” Carter
40. Ronald Reagan
41. George H. W. Bush
42. William J. Clinton
43. George W. Bush
44. Barack Obama
45. Donald Trump

Books Recommended by: Janet Spaulding, Selection Services

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Black History: Musicians & Singers

Black History: Musicians & Singers

Sweethearts of Rhythm

Featured Musicians: The Sweethearts of Rhythm The Sweethearts of Rhythm were a real all girl band that traveled around the country in the 1930s and 1940s. The band was unusual because it was all girls and because it was integrated.

One reason the girls got this chance is World War II. A lot of men were fighting in the war so it was easier for a girl band to get gigs. Once they did, they became popular because they were so good.

Sometimes the band had trouble because it was integrated. When the band played in the South they had to sleep on their tour bus because it was illegal there for black and white people to be in the same restaurant or hotel. Sometimes the girls had to wear disguises to hide the fact that their skin color was not all the same.

The author tells the story of the Sweethearts in poems and she uses the rhythms of jazz music in her poetry. It’s not like reading a book of facts. Read the poems, look at the great pictures and then don’t forget to read the author’s note in the back.


Websites:


Books:

Here are some more books that highlight African American music, composers, singers & musicians from slave work songs to spirituals to songs of the civil rights movement::
ABZ JazzMusicians Rock Band
Nothing Last Sweet Hollow
Voice Nobody Saturday Flo
Blackbird Josephine Dream Billie
Marion Louis Duke Bessie
like-a-bird jazz-day-the-making-of-a-famous-photograph

 

African American Music in Indiana

From the 1870s to the 1950s, Indiana Avenue in Indianapolis served as the focal point of Indianapolis’s black community. Originally called Indiana Street, the Avenue begins at the intersection of Illinois and Ohio Streets and extends northwest. While the Avenue was originally settled by German and Irish immigrants, by 1870 one-third of Indianapolis’s black population lived near Indiana Avenue. The black population in Indianapolis surged in the early 1900s as blacks migrated to the city from the South.

FocusOnIndianaSmallThe Indiana Avenue businesses included restaurants, saloons, grocery stores, clothing stores, hair stylists, barber shops, a hotel, and more. Some of the most famous businesses on the Avenue were the Indianapolis Recorder (a black newspaper) and the Walker Building (which housed a casino and theatre, offices, a beauty college, drugstore, and restaurant.) In the 1930s, the Avenue’s businesses were focused on food and entertainment. By 1940 there were more than twenty-five jazz clubs on the Avenue where both national talent and local legends played. I wonder if the Sweethearts of Rhythm ever played there?

(from The Indiana Historical Society 2011 Indiana Black History Challenge)


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Black History: Cowboys, Pioneers & the West

Black History: Cowboys, Pioneers & the West

Bad News for Outlaws

Bass Reeves grew up as a slave in Texas. Even as a young boy he was good with a gun. His master used to take him to shooting contests to show him off. One night though, when Bass was a young man, he and his master got in a fight and Bass punched his owner. Hitting a white man was punishable by death – so Bass ran, and he ran as a fast and as far as he could – all the way to Indian Territory in the West.

The frontier wasn’t called the Wild West for nothing. It was rough country with outlaws roaming around. The West was a great place for bad guys to hide. In 1875 the government hired 200 deputy marshals to help bring order to the frontier and Bass Reeves was one of them. He was also the best one. He could fight and he could shoot when he had too, but mostly, he was smart. He was also known for his honesty and integrity. One time, he had to arrest his own son! Author: Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

The Legend of Bass Reeves

Another great book about Bass is The Legend of Bass Reeves. Gary Paulsen, the author of this book, calls it “the true and fictional account of the most valiant marshal in the West.” Mr. Paulsen adds a little here and there to fill in the places where history left gaps…but for the most part, this is the story of Bass the real guy – the first African-American U.S. Deputy Marshal west of the Mississippi – and this was in the 1870s! Bass became a legend, even in his own time. Some outlaws turned themselves in once they heard it was Bass that would be looking for them! Bass Reeves – an American original! Look at the websites and books below to learn more about other African-Americans and the roles they played settling the American West.

Websites:

Pinterest Logo 25 IndyPL Kids Pinterest Board: Black History – Cowboys & Pioneers

Books:

Nat Love BlackIndians BestShot Pickett
Nothing Thunder Buffalo Hurry
OldWest Nicodemus Frontiers

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