Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Drawing from Memory

Drawing from Memory

Drawing From Memory

Allen Say is the author/illustrator of many books that are often based on things that happened in his life. In this story, Mr. Say tells the story of how he became a maker of books. He tells it in very few words and with lots of photographs and drawings.

Believe it or not, Mr. Say moved out of his family’s house and into an apartment when he was 12 years old! Mr. Say became an apprentice to a master Japanese cartoonist and the two remained dedicated friends until Sensei Shinpei died at the age 87. Sensei Shinpei lived to see Mr. Say become a Caldecott Medal . Say, “the treasure of my life.” Author: Allen Say

More books from Allen Say:
Grandfather's Journey The Bicycle Man Tree of Cranes The Innkeeper's Apprentice
If you liked reading about Mr. Say and how he became an illustrator and a writer here are some books by authors who tell their own life story:
Bill Peet an Autobiography World of William Joyce Scrapbook 26 Fairmount Avenue Words to My Life's Song
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Science of Scary Stuff – Screaming Cup; Screaming Balloon

Science of Scary Stuff – Screaming Cup; Screaming Balloon

Are You Afraid Yet?

This book is laid out like a comic book – it’s full of drawings, pictures and all kinds of freaky facts about the things that usually scare us: monsters, UFOs, vampires, mummies, ghosts, haunted houses, and lots more scary stuff. For each freaky thing you get an explanation of the science behind it – either why the thing appears the way it does or why the thing is impossible. There’s nothing like a little bit of hard science to take the chill out of scary stuff. Of course some of the stuff remains gross…even if it isn’t scary anymore. So beware! Author: Steven O’Meara

The Stunning Science of Everything Gross Me Out
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Bat Spit, Maggots and Other Amazing Medical Miracles

Bat Spit, Maggots and Other Amazing Medical Miracles

Bat Spit

It turns out a lot of useful stuff is made from unusual, even gross, stuff from animals. Bat spit, snake venom, rooster combs and even…poop…can be used to make medicine. Really. Some of the things in this book make you say, “oooh gross!” but mostly you just feel like, “wow, some people must be really smart to figure all of this out!” While I don’t really want to experiment with bat spit, I’m glad someone does!

If you are interested in the extreme gross side of natural science and biology, then you’ll also like some of these!
Gross Body Invaders Clot and Scab Itch and Ooze Rumble and Spew
Hawk and Drool Crust and Spray Gut Bugs and Dust Mites Farts, Vomits and Other Functions That Help Your Body
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Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart

Amelia Lost

I have always been fascinated by the mystery surrounding Amelia Earhart, the thrill seeking, adventure loving pilot who disappeared over the Pacific trying to fly around the world in 1937.

This book is full of pictures and stories that reveal a lot more about Amelia than just her disappearance. In this book, you get a look at why Amelia was so compelled to adventure and do things no one else had ever tried before. You also get a first hand account of the hours and days following the moment her plane seemed to disappear into thin air. There are actually many many clues…the trick is figuring out which ones have anything at all to do with what really happened.

I think the reason people, including myself, are so interested in Amelia can be best understood by reading the note Amelia wrote before she left on her trip:

Please know I am quite aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.” (page 110)

She was an adventurer and took on the risks willingly. I think we are all interested in people that are unafraid of challenges, whatever the challenges are. Next summer you can follow another attempt to find out what happened to Amelia Earhart. There is going to be an underwater search take place in July, 2012. Maybe this time someone will find something and solve this 75 year-old mystery.

Some more about Amelia as well as other daredevils and adventurers in the sky:
Amelia Lost Sky High Women Daredevils Daring American Heroes of Flight
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Mirror, Mirror A Book of Reversible Verse

Mirror, Mirror A Book of Reversible Verse

Mirror, Mirror

Mirror Mirror is a book of poems. You read each poem, then you read each poem again backwards. You read each line but in reverse order. It’s amazing and  hard to believe, but both poems work.  This seems unbelievably difficult to me. To make it even more complicated, each poem tells the story of a classic fairy tale…when you read the poem in one direction, it is from one character’s point of view and when you read the poem backwards it is from another character’s point of view. I have no idea how the author managed to do this. It’s word brilliant. Major word skills. Each poem is like a word puzzle in the same way soduku is a number puzzle. THEN, to make it even better, the illustrator made the pictures the same way.

I gave this a try using Grover and Tyson from the Percy Jackson books. It’s lame, four lines, but hey, I’m a beginner.

Together til the end
Percy is my friend
And now
Brothers in arms

See, if you read it from top to bottom it’s about Grover. Percy is his friend at school before Percy knows he’s a demi-god, but then they become brothers in arms in the war against Kronos. If you read the lines in reverse, it’s about Tyson. Tyson and Percy are Brothers in arms first fighting their way back into to camp half-blood. It’s only later that they become friends.

It kinda works. Trying it shows you how hard this is. You have to consider each line and how it will work for the two different points of view. And mine doesn’t even rhyme or anything. Marilyn Singer’s poems have everything: the poems flow right, the rhyming is right, the poems make total sense read both ways. Really. How in the world did she do this? Amazing.

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