Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Some of the Eureka! Award Books

Last month I blogged about the Eureka! Awards for Nonfiction, given each year by the California Reading Association.  A recap:

I like all things about the Eureka! Awards.
I like that they honor many types of nonfiction – those closely tied to the curriculum and those that are not.
I like that all age levels receive Eureka! Awards: K-12.
I like that small presses are liberally represented among the prize winners.*
I like that awards go to books with clever, often multi-disciplinary approaches to a subject.

*Small presses with 2013 winners include Annick Press (4 awards,) Scarletta Junior Readers, Mountain Press, Dawn Publications, Lee & Low, Bearport, Calkins Creek, and Wordsong, as well as big NY-based houses.

A list of all the 2013 Eureka! Winners is here

Bones Never Lie: How Forensics Helps Solve History’s Mysteries by Elizabeth MacLeod (Annick Press) blends history and science into a mystery format as it explains how old and new forensic science has solved age-old mysteries about the deaths of Napolean, King Tut, Anatasia Romanov, and a recent King of Thailand.

The Great Bicycle Experiment: The Army’s Historic Black Bicycle Corps, 1896-97 by Kay Moore (Mountain Press Publishing), uncovers an obscure bit of history. This group of intrepid athletes rode primitive bicycles on wretched roads over mountains, through rivers, and broiling prairies. Period photographs show just how challenging the rides were. Subsequent history of the corps reveals racist injustice that was not overturned until the 1970s.

Cowboy Up? Ride the Navajo Rodeo by Nancy Bo Flood (WordSong) takes us out West, and gives us a multi-layered day at the rodeo. We hear a voice in verse of a young rodeo rider; the announcer rousing the crowd, and a narrative that explains the intricacies of each event. Stunning action photographs complement the text.

Here Come the Girls Scouts by Shana Corey (Scholastic) is a wonderful example of how illustrations and book design can add to the power of the text. Hadley Hooper’s paintings bring Daisy Low’s energy and enthusiasm alive.

Potatoes on the Rooftop: Farming in the City, by Hadley Dyer (Annick Press) also uses book design to make an impact. This book combines nutrition, geography, zoology, botany, with lots of go-out-and-get-your-hands-dirty activities. Urban gardens at home, in schools, and communities all around the world are presented.

It Can’t Be True  (Dorling Kindersley) is for readers who are interested in how big, how tall, how much, how fast. Chapters on the universe, the earth, living things, and feats of engineering are presented with photos, graphs, drawings and wacky analogies. (“An adult heart pumps enough blood to fill 5.3 10,000 gallon road tankers every month.”)

Animals Upside Down: A Pull, Pop, Lift & Learn Book  by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (Houghton Mifflin) Leave it to these two authors to show us yet another quirky view of the animal world. Pull, lift, slide to see some odd creatures and how they live. 

Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale (Lee & Low Books) will intrigue kids from pre-K to 12, as it relates kids’ play (stacking cups, mud pies, building blocks, sand castles, house of cards, etc) to architectural treasures all around the world, in rhyming verse. Back matter introduces the architects represented.

10 Plants That Shook the World by Gillian Richardson (Annick Press.) Some food – pepper, tea, sugarcane, cacao. Some not – papyrus, rubber, cotton, cinchona (source of quinine.) All these plants have had enormous economic, political, and social consequences through the centuries. Lots of biology info too.

Cool World Cooking by Lisa Wagner (Scarletta) gives us recipes with text and visual directions, suitable for many ages of children (with adult help.) While it certainly can offer curriculum connections, it also offers a great way to have fun with kids at home.

Happy eating and reading to you all!


Susan E. Goodman said...

All good books. I do especially like Dreaming Up.

Anonymous said...

I have an article in Library Media Connection coming in January about sources to find good non-fiction. I wish I'd know about this award as they really provide appealing books. I did list your blog, so readers could find the award here!

Jenny said...

Thanks for sharing these titles and the Eureka awards. I have never heard of them but have checked out several books from th awards and have been very pleased so far. This site is a great resource.