Tuesday, September 27, 2011

3 Great Picture Books About Wangari Maathai

It saddened my heart to hear of Wangari Maathai’s recent passing.

There is no better example of leaving a legacy.

There is no better example of how the dedicated work of one person toward a vision can change landscapes (both figurative and literal) for future generations.

Through the simple act of planting a tree, Wangari Maathai fought for the environment, the rights of women and peace.

TAKING ROOT: The Vision of Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai address to Earth Day NY in Times Square - April 22, 2010

Three beautiful books that share the work and life of Wangari Maathai:

Wangari's Trees of Peace: a True Story from Africa
by Jeanette Winter

Mama Miti
written by Donna Jo Napoli
Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Seeds of Change 
winner of the 2011 Coretta Scott King John Steptoe Award for New Talent
written by Jen Cullerton Johnson
illustrated by Sonia Lynn Sadler

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I'm a Guest Blogger @ Lemme Library!

I was utterly flattered to be one of the librarians, authors, and book lovers that Kelly Butcher (@LemmeLibrary on Twitter) asked to be a guest blogger on thelemmelibrary.blogspot.com for her blogiversary.

I signed on right away before I thought about what I was planning to share, and then struggled with what to write.

One thing I have learned from the many folks I respect in my Personal Learning Network on Twitter is that Re-Tweeting is fine, but sharing a bit of yourself adds something new to the conversation.

So here is something of myself... my reading autobiography:
Portrait of a Librarian as a Young Reader

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Kakapo Rescue by Sy Montgomery & Nic Bishop

Whether it's picture books, graphic novels or chapter books, I tend to be a fiction reader. But with the help of my pals in Nonfiction Navigators, I am pushing myself to read more nonfiction. Our group's book for September, Kakapo Rescue, won the Sibert Medal for informational books for 2011. 

Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot 
(from the series Scientists in the Field)
text by Sy Montgomery
photos by Nic Bishop

What it's about:
Scientists on Codfish island off the southern coast of New Zealand are striving to preserve and increase the small remaining population of Kakapo (KAR-ka-poe), a large, nocturnal, flightless parrot.

What I love: 
Montgomery's writing immediately pulls you into the book telling the story of the "nest minders" keeping watch over a young chick. She continues with great pacing that connects the reader emotionally to the birds and chicks: Lisa, Flossie, Richard Henry, Bill and others. There is humor with the story of the Kakapo Sirocco who, raised by humans, wants to mate with humans. There is the true happiness that comes with the miracle of birth when Jeff (one of the scientists) holds his first Kakapo chick. And there is the very real sadness that comes with the struggle to save a species one rare egg at a time. Kakapo Rescue does not create a simplistic feeling of hope by sharing one example of a success story, but rather it imparts a sense of deep hope with sadness around the edges by sharing a true picture of the many dedicated individuals struggling to save the tenuous existence of the uniquely beautiful Kakapo.

Other connections:
This would make a wonderful nonfiction read-aloud for middle grade students. The Kakapo are such endearing birds, many students interested animals and endangered species would be riveted.
I plan to use the first chapter about the nest-minders for future book talks.

"We could be witness to one of the most thrilling conservation success stories in human history -- or one of its noblest but most tragic failures."
(pg 3 of Kakapo Rescue)

Meet the Author Sy Montgomery