Archive | Bullet Booktalks

Untamed Companion Booktalks

To get you start­ed on the Book­storm™ Books …

Chimpanzees I Love  

The Chim­panzees I Love: Sav­ing Their World and Ours

Jane Goodall
Scholas­tic Press, 2001 

  • Uses sto­ries of indi­vid­ual chim­panzees to share infor­ma­tion about chim­panzee behav­ior and their envi­ron­ment as well as the author’s own biog­ra­phy

  • Heav­i­ly illus­trat­ed with engag­ing pho­tos

  • Wealth of infor­ma­tion pre­sent­ed in nar­ra­tive, side­bar com­men­tary, pic­ture cap­tions, quo­ta­tions, and back mat­ter

The Elephant Scientist


The Ele­phant Sci­en­tist

Caitlin O’Connell and Don­na M. Jack­son
illus­trat­ed by Tim­o­thy Rod­well
Houghton Mif­flin, 2011

  • Fol­lows Caitlin O’Connell in her study of ele­phants in Africa in Etosha Nation­al Park and in engag­ing well-orga­nized text shows a sci­en­tist at work

  • Ele­phant behav­ior is amaz­ing!

  • Heav­i­ly pho­to-illus­trat­ed with infor­ma­tive cap­tions



Friends: True Sto­ries of Extra­or­di­nary Ani­mal Friend­ships

Cather­ine Thimmesh
Houghton Mif­flin, 2011

  • Rhyming text cel­e­brates the true-life ani­mal friend­ships that are depict­ed in very appeal­ing, large col­or pho­tos

  • Includes back­sto­ry of each friend­ship

  • Sto­ries are from around the world: India, Indone­sia, Europe, Japan, and North Amer­i­ca

Gorilla Doctors  

Goril­la Doc­tors: Sav­ing Endan­gered Great Apes

Pamela S. Turn­er
Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 2008

  • Book opens with an engag­ing bang: the true sto­ry of a sin­gle Goril­la, Mararo, who has been injured when caught in a poacher’s trap

  • In addi­tion to the sto­ry of the doc­tors car­ing for these threat­ened ani­mals, the book includes back­ground infor­ma­tion about goril­las and human intru­sion into goril­la habi­tats

  • Pri­mar­i­ly pho­to illus­trat­ed, but also includes sev­er­al help­ful maps

Hope for the Animals  

Hope for Ani­mals and Their World: How Endan­gered Species Are Being Res­cued from the Brink

Jane Goodall, Gail Hud­son, and Thane May­nard
Grand Cen­tral Pub­lish­ing, 2009

  • Sur­vival sto­ries about con­ser­va­tion efforts to bring back endan­gered species and to pro­tect their habi­tats

  • Sto­ries are from around the globe and focus on appeal­ing ani­mals (Abbott’s Boo­by in Aus­tralia, Pygmy Hog in India, Amer­i­can Croc­o­dile in the U.S.)

  • Pub­lished for adults, but the sto­ries are short (8−10) and pho­to illus­trat­ed (includ­ing many col­or plates) and will engage strong read­ers 10 and up

Life in the Ocean  

Life in the Ocean: the Sto­ry of Oceanog­ra­ph­er Sylvia Ear­le

writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Claire Nivola
Far­rar, Straus & Giroux, 2012

  • Biog­ra­phy of ocean sci­en­tist Ear­le, who lived on a farm as a child

  • Illus­tra­tions tar­get ocean life and details of Earle’s sto­ry that will catch the eye and hold inter­est of young read­ers: aqua suits, sub­mersibles, whales, and a mul­ti­tude of fish and oth­er sea crea­tures

  • Includes author’s note and bib­li­og­ra­phy

Magic Gourd  

The Mag­ic Gourd

writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Baba Wague Diakite
Scholas­tic Press, 2003

  • A folk tale from Mali involv­ing many ani­mal char­ac­ters — great for read-alouds

  • Illus­trat­ed by Coret­ta Scott King Hon­oree (for A Hunter­man and the Croc­o­dile: A West African Folk­tale)

  • Back mat­ter include glos­sary and notes on author’s native Mali

termites on a stick  

Ter­mites on a Stick

writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Michéle Colon
Star Bright Books, 2008

  • One of Dr. Goodall’s most impor­tant dis­cov­er­ies was the obser­va­tion that chim­panzees con­trive and use tools, which shat­tered the pre­vail­ing idea that only humans were tool­mak­ers and users; this book trans­fers that impor­tant obser­va­tion into a child-friend­ly sto­ry

  • Appeal­ing illus­tra­tions and moth­er-child nar­ra­tive will appeal to young read­ers and lis­ten­ers

  • Back mat­ter includes help­ful­ly illus­trat­ed infor­ma­tion about chim­panzees and ter­mites

Tree Lady  

Tree Lady: the True Sto­ry of How One Tree-Lov­ing Woman Changed a City For­ev­er

H. Joseph Hop­kins
illus­trat­ed by Jill McEl­mur­ry
Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schus­ter, 2013

  • Pic­ture book bio of Kate Ses­sions, the first woman to grad­u­ate from the U of Cal­i­forn­ian in sci­ence and who trans­formed the bare desert in and around San Diego into a hor­ti­cul­tur­al oasis

  • Lush, engag­ing illus­tra­tions

  • Author’s note includes addi­tion­al bio­graph­i­cal mate­r­i­al for Ses­sions


Unlikely friendships  

Unlike­ly Friend­ships: 47 Remark­able Sto­ries from the Ani­mal King­dom

Jen­nifer Hol­land
Work­man, 2011

  • While short (3−5 pages), each sto­ry gives ample infor­ma­tion for reports  

  • Sto­ries are from around zoos and ani­mal reha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­ters around the world

  • Pho­to illus­trat­ed


Chasing Freedom Companion Booktalks

To get you start­ed on the Book­storm™ Books …


Alec’s Primer

Mil­dred Pitts Wal­ter
illus­trat­ed by Lar­ry John­son
Ver­mont Folk­life Cen­ter, 2005

  • Based on the true sto­ry of Alec Turn­er (1845−1923), who learned to read as a boy with the help of his own­er’s daugh­ter

  • Sup­ple­ment the sto­ry with sto­ries and songs from tape-record­ed inter­views with Daisy Turn­er, Alec’s daugh­ter

  • A Carter G. Wood­son hon­or book from a Coret­ta Scott King-win­ning author


All Dif­fer­ent Now: June­teenth, the First Day of Free­dom

Angela John­son
illus­trat­ed by E.B. Lewis
Simon & Schus­ter, 2014

  • Per­fect­ly and pow­er­ful­ly, 289 words evoke a mon­u­men­tal event

  • Back mat­ter includes author and illus­tra­tor notes, impor­tant dates list, short his­to­ry of June­teenth, and a glos­sary

  • Coret­ta Scott King Award-win­ning author and illus­tra­tor


Cross­ing Bok Chit­to: A Choctaw Tale of Friend­ship and Free­dom 

Tim Tin­gle
illus­trat­ed by Jeanne Rorex Bridges
Cin­co Pun­tas Press, 2006

  • Set in the Old South, Cross­ing Bok Chit­to is an Indi­an book, writ­ten by Indi­an voic­es, and paint­ed by an Indi­an artist” (from the author’s note)

  • Sev­en slaves cross to free­dom, led by a young Choctaw girl; adds a new per­spec­tive to the estab­lished escape lit­er­a­ture

  • Back mat­ter includes short pro­file of the Choctaw nations and a note on Choctaw sto­ry­telling


Eliz­a­beth Leads the Way: Eliz­a­beth Cady Stan­ton and the Right to Vote

Tanya Lee Stone
illus­trat­ed by Rebec­ca Gib­bon
Hen­ry Holt, 2008

  • The girl­hood and young adult years of a lead­ing famous suf­frag­ist

  • Author’s note includes a brief overview of Cady Stanton’s life and pub­lic image

  • ALA Notable, Junior Library Guild Pre­mier Selec­tion, 2009 Amelia Bloomer Award Book


Har­ri­et Tub­man, Secret Agent: How Dar­ing Slaves and Free Blacks Spied for the Union dur­ing the Civ­il War

Thomas B. Allen
illus­trat­ed by Car­la Bauer
Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Chil­dren’s Books, 2006

  • Com­bines the sto­ry of Har­ri­et Tub­man’s post-Under­ground Rail­road work as spy and mil­i­tary leader with a his­to­ry of the abo­li­tion­ist move­ment and the Civ­il War

  • Back mat­ter includes time line, a bib­li­og­ra­phy, and notes and quote sources

  • Includes some secret codes to deci­pher!


Heart and Soul: the Sto­ry of Amer­i­ca and African Amer­i­cans

writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Kadir Nel­son
Balzer+Bray, 2012

  • …a grand and awe-inspir­ing sur­vey of the black expe­ri­ence in Amer­i­ca, deliv­ered in 108 pages” (Wal­ter Dean Myers)

  • Coret­ta Scott King win­ner (author) AND Coret­ta Scott King hon­or (illus­tra­tor)

  • Back mat­ter includes author’s note, time­line, exten­sive bib­li­og­ra­phy


I Could Do That! Esther Mor­ris Gets Women the Right to Vote

Lin­da Arms White
illus­trat­ed by Nan­cy Car­pen­ter
Far­rar, Straus& Giroux, 2005

  • Pic­ture book (some­what fic­tion­al­ized) biog­ra­phy of woman who was instru­men­tal in the suc­cess­ful fight for women’s suf­frage in Wyoming — 51 years before it was won nation­al­ly

  • Back mat­ter includes author’s note and resources

  • Humor­ous  illus­tra­tions expand the kid-appeal of the sto­ry


Many Thou­sand Gone: African Amer­i­cans from Slav­ery to Free­dom

Vir­ginia Hamil­ton
illus­trat­ed by Leo and Diane Dil­lon
Knopf, 1993

  • Giant-heart­ed book from three children’s lit­er­a­ture giants

  • 250 years of slav­ery in the U.S. told through pro­files of slaves and freed peo­ple

  • Pre­sent­ed in chrono­log­i­cal order, each chapter/profile includes a stun­ning black and white illus­tra­tion by the Dil­lons



March­ing with Aunt Susan: Susan B. Antho­ny and the Fight for Women’s Suf­frage

Claire Rudolf Mur­phy
illus­trat­ed by Stacey Schuett
Peachtree, 2011

  • The nar­ra­tive is from the point of view of Bessie Kei­th Pond, a (real) ten-year old Cal­i­for­nia girl, which cre­ates engag­ing imme­di­a­cy to the his­to­ry

  • Exten­sive back mat­ter — per­fect for report writ­ing

  • Amelia Bloomer project 2012 book list


Moses: When Har­ri­et Tub­man Led Her Peo­ple to Free­dom

Car­ole Boston Weath­er­ford
illus­trat­ed by Kadir Nel­son
Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 2006

  • Calde­cott-hon­or for Nelson’s stun­ning illus­tra­tions; most are dou­ble-page spreads

  • Unique three-voiced nar­ra­tive that is easy to fol­low and con­veys the pow­er of Tubman’s per­son­al mis­sion; we hear the sto­ry­teller, Har­ri­et Tub­man, and the voice of God as she hears it

  • Author is an NAACP image award final­ist and Carter G. Wood­son Award win­ner; author’s note includes con­cise biog­ra­phy of Tub­man


Trav­el­ing the Free­dom Road: From Slav­ery and the Civ­il War through Recon­struc­tion

Lin­da Bar­rett Osborne
Hen­ry N. Abrams, Inc., 2009

  • Pub­lished in asso­ci­a­tion with the Library of Con­gress, it’s loaded with pri­ma­ry sources — doc­u­ments and images

  • Nar­ra­tive focus­es on young peo­ple and includes many first-per­son rec­ol­lec­tions of the time peri­od

  • Library of Con­gress author video and oth­er resources to sup­ple­ment read­ing


With Courage and Cloth: Win­ning the Fight for a Wom­an’s Right to Vote

Ann Bausum  
Nation­al Geo­graph­ic, 2004

  • Detailed, pho­to-illus­trat­ed his­to­ry of women’s suf­frage in the U.S. from a Sib­ert hon­or and Carter Wood­son Award author

  • Just why is “cloth” so impor­tant? A per­fect top­ic for research and dis­cus­sion

  • Back mat­ter galore for reports


Catch You Later, Traitor Companion Booktalks

To get you start­ed on the Book­storm™ Books …
America in the 1950s cover  

Amer­i­ca in the 1950s

Edmund Lin­dop with Sarah Deca­pua
21st Cen­tu­ry Books, 2010

  • Top­ic-cen­tered chap­ters, e.g.: the tran­si­tion from WWII, the Kore­an War, the 50’s econ­o­my and soci­ety, the Red Scare

  • Pho­to-illus­trat­ed

  • Report mate­r­i­al galore, includ­ing sub­stan­tial back mat­ter

Bat 6 cover


Bat 6

Vir­ginia Euw­er Wolff
Scholas­tic, 1998

  • In rur­al Ore­gon not long after WWII, the annu­al soft­ball game between 6th grade girls from two towns is a caul­dron of secrets, sim­mer­ing racism, class divide, hope and friend­ship.

  • Quick-read­ing, mul­ti­ple-view­point nar­ra­tive shared by all the girls and some adults pro­vides a “you are there” report of the big event

  • Jane Addams Peace Award, an SLJ Best Book of the Year

Belles of the Ballpark cover  

Belles of the Ball­park: Cel­e­brat­ing the All-Amer­i­can Girls Pro­fes­sion­al Base­ball League

Diana Star Helmer with Thomas S. Owens
Sum­mer Games, 2015

  • The 1992 film A League of their Own is now a gen­er­a­tion old and pos­si­bly unknown to many young stu­dents; this book is per­fect for those just dis­cov­er­ing the women’s‑league top­ic or for fans of the film that want to know more

  • Detailed league his­to­ry from its ori­gins dur­ing WWII, through its 12 sea­sons

  • Loads of pho­tos and many inter­views

Catch a Tiger cover  

Catch a Tiger by the Toe

Ellen Levine
Viking Juve­nile, 2005

  • It’s 1953 in New York, and 13-year-old Jamie’s father IS a com­mu­nist; life changes

  • Com­mu­nists in the ‘50s were often very involved in civ­il rights actions; this nov­el explores the rel­e­vance of that con­nec­tion to the “witch-hunt­ing” and fin­ger-point­ing

  • Author’s note and addi­tion­al back mat­ter

City of Spies cover  

City of Spies

Susan Kim and Lau­rence Kla­van
illus by Pas­cal Dizin
First Sec­ond, 2010

  • It’s 1942 and the world is at war, and in New York 10 year old Eve­lyn has the run of the city; adven­ture ensues in this graph­ic nov­el

  • Visu­al blend of old-style-Amer­i­can comics (Eve­lyn reads them and draws her own) and updat­ed Euro­pean (Tin-Tin) visu­al sto­ry­telling

  • See­ing the ene­my every­where — a great cur­rent top­ic for dis­cus­sion and a ter­rif­ic nar­ra­tive back­bone for a mys­tery

Cold War cover  

Cold War

Josepha Sher­man
Lern­er Pub­li­ca­tions 2004

  • Begins with his­tor­i­cal back­ground on the “rise of the super­pow­ers,” includ­ing a brief run­down on both the US and Russ­ian rev­o­lu­tions and the par­ti­tion­ing of Europe dur­ing and after World War II.

  • Strong pho­to illus­tra­tion

  • Back mat­ter includes glos­sary, time­line of Cold War events, maps, and read­ing list

Fabulous Fashions cover  

Fab­u­lous Fash­ions of the 1950s

Feli­cia Lowen­stein Niv­en
Enslow, 2011

  • 48-page overview of the fash­ion era

  • Pho­to illus­trat­ed, with repro­duc­tions of actu­al 50s adver­tis­ing

  • Glos­sary and fash­ion time­line in back mat­ter

Green Glass Sea  cover  

The Green Glass Sea

Ellen Klages 
Viking Books, 2006

  • And you think your fam­i­ly has a secret… A nov­el about grow­ing up in the shad­ow of the Man­hat­tan project

  • Set in 1943, pro­vides con­text for why the Sovi­et Union and com­mu­nism would loom as such a foe in the 1950s

  • Scott O’Dell Award for his­tor­i­cal fic­tion


Discovered Poetry cover  

How I Dis­cov­ered Poet­ry

Mar­i­lyn Nel­son
illus by Hadley Hoop­er
Dial Books for Young Read­ers, 2014

  • Child­hood mem­oir — fic­tion­al­ized — in poems, each set in the years 1950 – 1959

  • Illus­tra­tions and black and white pho­tographs expand the “curb appeal” for the read­er wary of poet­ry

  • Coret­ta Scott King hon­or book

LIFE cover  

Life: Our Cen­tu­ry in Pic­tures for Young People

edit­ed by Richard B. Stol­ley
adapt­ed by Amy E. Sklan­sky
Lit­tle, Brown and Co., 2000

  • Before, dur­ing, and after the 1950s. Great con­text for study and dis­cus­sion of the decade

  • Intro­duc­to­ry essays for each decade writ­ten by notable children’s authors, includ­ing Lois Lowry, Patri­cia and Fred­er­ick McKis­sack, Avi, and Kather­ine Pater­son.

  • Illus­trat­ed with pho­tos from the Life mag­a­zine archives

Francine cover  

The Loud Silence of Francine Green

Karen Cush­man
Clar­i­on Books, 2005

  • Com­mu­nism, the Red Scare, injus­tice; also, friend­ship and being 13

  • Detailed and unusu­al set­ting (1950 Los Ange­les, a Catholic school) with many cul­tur­al ref­er­ence stu­dents will enjoy explor­ing; dis­cus­sion guide  

  • New­bery medal author

Spy cover  


Richard Platt  
DK Eye­wit­ness Books, 2009

  • His­to­ry of spy­ing with many bios of famous spies

  • Gad­gets galore

  • The usu­al DK mag­ic potion of well-done visu­als and text

Played for Nothing cover  

We Would Have Played for Noth­ing: Base­ball Stars of the 1950s and 1960s Talk About the Game They Loved

Fay Vin­cent
Simon & Schus­ter, 2008

  • Inter­views with some of baseball’s best play­ers from the 1950s and 1960s

  • Sec­ond install­ment of the author’s project, an oral his­to­ry of base­ball; inter­est­ed read­ers can go back to Vol­ume 1 (1930s and 40s) or jump to Vol­ume 3 (1970s and 80s)

  • Illus­trat­ed with peri­od pho­tos  


The Shadow Hero Companion Booktalks

A 12-pack to get you start­ed on the Book­storm™ Books …

bk_100_5Minute5‑Minute Mar­vel Sto­ries, by Dis­ney Book Group, Mar­vel Press, 2012. Ages 3 and up.

  • Per­fect read-aloud length for younger fans
  • Nice intro­duc­tion for new­com­ers to Spi­der­man, Iron­man, the Hulk, the Avengers, the X‑Men, Cap­tain Amer­i­ca
  • Oth­er than a few swing­ing fists, lit­tle vio­lence

bk_100_BoysSteelBoys of Steel: the Cre­ators of Super­man, by Marc Tyler Noble­man, illus­trat­ed by Ross Mac­don­ald, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Read­ers, 2008. Ages 8 and up.

  • How two high school out­siders cre­at­ed the most famous super hero
  • Pic­ture book for­mat but text and illus­tra­tions will appeal to inde­pen­dent read­ers
  • Back mat­ter includes the sto­ry of the writer and artist’s super strug­gle to be acknowl­edged and com­pen­sat­ed ful­ly for their cre­ation

bk_100_BrothersBroth­ers, by Yin, illus­tra­tions by Chris Soent­pi­et, Philomel, 2006. Ages 8 and up.

  • The sto­ry of Ming, a Chi­nese immi­grant who arrives in San Fran­cis­co’s Chi­na­town in the 1800s
  • A friend­ships sto­ry devel­ops when Ming defies an old­er brother’s orders and ven­tures past the Chi­na­town bor­der
  • Beau­ti­ful, detailed wide-spread water col­or illus­tra­tions on every page 

bk_100_CompleteGuideCom­plete Guide to Fig­ure Draw­ing for Comics and Graph­ic Nov­els, by Dan Cooney, Barron’s Edu­ca­tion­al Series, 2012. Ages 10 and up.

  • Every page has mul­ti­ple tips and exam­ples with very read­able text and clear illus­tra­tions.
  • Empha­sizes clas­sic com­ic book action pos­es and char­ac­ter
  • Back mat­ter includes advice on sub­mit­ting port­fo­lios and a glos­sary 

bk_100_DragonwingsDrag­onwings, by Lau­rence Yep, Harper­Collins, 1977.

  • In the ear­ly 20th Cen­tu­ry, a young boy trav­els from Chi­na to Amer­i­ca to meet a father he doesn’t know.
  • Part of the Gold­en Moun­tain series con­sist­ing of 10 books
  • New­bery Hon­or book 


bk_100_FoiledFoiled by Jane Yolen, illus­tra­tions by Mike Cav­al­laro, First Sec­ond, 2011. Ages 8 and up.

  • Aliera’s ordi­nary life changes when she meets a new guy, acquires a new sword (she’s into fenc­ing) and one day heads to Grand Cen­tral Sta­tion
  • Man­ga-style illus­tra­tions alter­nate between two-tone (ordi­nary world) and full col­or (the fan­tas­tic), occa­sion­al­ly merg­ing
  • Details of fenc­ing skills and equip­ment pro­vide unusu­al back­ground and good char­ac­ter devel­op­ment

bk_100_MarvelWayHow to Draw Comics the Mar­vel Way, by Stan Lee and John Busce­ma, Touch­stone, 1984. Ages 8 and up.

  • Author Stan Lee is the cre­ator of many comics leg­ends, Busce­ma is the illus­tra­tor of many cur­rent comics
  • Many exam­ples begin with stick fig­ures and devel­op step by step — per­fect for novice and expe­ri­enced illus­tra­tor
  • Includes glos­sary

bk_100_LittleWhiteLit­tle White Duck: a Child­hood in Chi­na, by Na Liu and Andres Vera Mar­tinez, illus­tra­tions by Andrés Vera Martínez. Graph­ic Uni­verse, 2012. Ages 8 and up.

  • Graph­ic mem­oir about Na Liu’s child­hood in 1970s Chi­na; wife/husband col­lab­o­ra­tion
  • Divid­ed into 8 short sto­ries
  • Includes glos­sary of Chi­nese words and at-a-glance time­line of Chi­nese his­to­ry

bk_100_PowerlessPow­er­less, by Matthew Cody, Knopf, 2009. Ages 8 and up.

  • Daniel is the new kid in a town — and the only one his age with­out a super­pow­er
  • A Sher­lock Holmes fan, Daniel decides to unearth the mys­tery behind the super­pow­ers his new friends have — and why they dis­ap­pear at age 13
  • First in series of three

bk_SharkKing_extendedShark King by R. Kikuo John­son, TOON Books, 2013. Ages 4 to 8. Asian Pacif­ic ALA’s Lit­er­ary Award.

  • Child-friend­ly ver­sion of a Hawai­ian myth
  • Clean lay­out — no sen­so­ry over­load from text or illus­tra­tions
  • Includes dis­cus­sion mate­r­i­al for teach­ers and par­ents


bk_100ABCSuper­Hero ABC, writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Bob McLeod, Harper­Collins, 2008. Ages 3 and up.

  • An alpha­bet book, not a primer on super­heroes, with com­ic-like illus­tra­tions
  • Humor­ous orig­i­nal heroes and hero­ines, such as Bub­ble­man and Fire­fly
  • Good prompt for indi­vid­ual or group super­hero writ­ing or draw­ing project

bk_Zita100Zita the Space­girl, by Ben Hatke, First Sec­ond, 2011. Ages 8 and up.

  • Graph­ic nov­el with a Wiz­ard of Oz sto­ry­line: young girl is trans­port­ed to a strange world
  • Though Zita is try­ing to save an abduct­ed friend, and though the plan­et is about to be destroyed, the text and art are more about fun than fear
  • How many weird crea­tures can you find?



Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled Companion Booktalks

To get you start­ed on the Book­storm™ books …

cover imageAge of Rep­tiles and Age of Rep­tiles: the Hunt, Richard Del­ga­do, Dark Horse Books, 2011. Ages 12 and up.

  • Word­less sto­ry­telling through beau­ti­ful (some­times gory) art
  • What hap­pens when you steal the T‑rex eggs? What hap­pens when an Allosaurus takes revenge on the Cer­atosaurs that killed his moth­er?
  • The author-artist has worked on movies such as Men in Black, The Incred­i­bles, WALL‑E

cover imageCap­tain Rap­tor series, writ­ten by Kevin O’Mal­ley, illus­trat­ed by Patrick O’Brien, Walk­er Books, 2005. Ages 5 – 8.

  • Dinosaurs are the char­ac­ters on the plan­et Juras­si­ca
  • Rock­et ships and action
  • Good guys, bad guys, scary stuff, and fun inven­tions

cover imageThe Dinosaurs of Water­house Hawkins, writ­ten by Bar­bara Ker­ley, illus­trat­ed by Bri­an Selznick, Scholas­tic Press, 2001.

  • Biog­ra­phy of  19th cen­tu­ry pale­oartist Water­house Hawkins who pop­u­lar­ized dinosaurs and once threw a din­ner par­ty inside one of his dinosaur sculp­tures
  • Just why are pieces of his dinosaur sculp­tures buried in New York’s Cen­tral Park?
  • Calde­cott Hon­or book

 cover imageDinosaurs: the Grand Tour, writ­ten by Keiron Pim and Jack Horner, The Exper­i­ment, 2014. Appro­pri­ate for chil­dren and adults.

  • Report mate­r­i­al on more than 300 dinosaurs and the sci­en­tists who have dis­cov­ered and stud­ied them
  • Help­ful orga­ni­za­tion (col­or-cod­ed by Geo­log­ic peri­od) with gray scale illus­tra­tions
  • Includes Chi­nese and Native Amer­i­can mythol­o­gy linked to dinosaurs

cover imageHow the Dinosaur Got to the Muse­um, Jessie Hart­land, Blue Apple Books, 2013. Ages 6 to 9

  • Pic­ture book about the team­work need­ed to bring a dinosaur skele­ton to a place where many peo­ple can see it and learn from it (the Smith­son­ian Muse­um)
  • Sol­id infor­ma­tion deliv­ered in bright art and live­ly lan­guage
  • A Book­list “Top Ten Sci-Tech Books for Youth” (2010)

cover imageHow to Draw Incred­i­ble Dinosaurs, writ­ten by Kris­ten McCur­ry, illus­trat­ed by Juan Calle, Smith­son­ian Draw­ing Books/Capstone Press, 2012. Ages 5 and up.

  • Step-by-step instruc­tions for ages 5 and up
  • Each draw­ing les­son comes with a brief “bio” of the dinosaur mod­el
  • One in a set of 4 draw­ing books (also: Incred­i­ble Ocean Ani­mals, Amaz­ing Ani­mals, Amaz­ing Space­craft)

cover imagePale­on­tol­ogy: the Study of Pre­his­toric Life, writ­ten by Susan H. Gray, Scholas­tic, 2012. ages 4 and up

  • A begin­ning intro­duc­tion to the sci­ence of pale­on­tol­ogy
  • Quick facts in col­or­ful large font, illus­trat­ed with many pho­tographs
  • Includes his­to­ry of pale­on­tol­ogy, how sci­en­tists date fos­sils, the tools they use

cover imagePlant Hunters: True sto­ries of their dar­ing adven­tures to the far cor­ners of the Earth, Ani­ta Sil­vey, Far­rar, Straus & Giroux, 2012. Ages 8 and up.

  • Sci­en­tists have had the cra­zi­est adven­tures
  • Beau­ti­ful­ly illus­trat­ed (many archival pho­tographs) and use­ful­ly orga­nized — great report mate­r­i­al
  • Includes a chap­ter on con­tem­po­rary sci­en­tists

bk_BulletPrehistoricLifPre­his­toric Life by DK Pub­lish­ing, 2010. Ages 8 and up

  • Dinosaurs and more: the plants, inver­te­brates, amphib­ians, birds, rep­tiles, and mam­mals from the ori­gins of life in the sea to the evo­lu­tion of man
  • DK’s sig­na­ture explod­ed dia­grams, cut­aways, and high-inter­est visu­als
  • Cof­fee table-beau­ti­ful and with tons of report mate­r­i­al

cover imageStone Girl, Bone Girl: the Sto­ry of Mary Anning, writ­ten by Lau­rence Anholt, illus­trat­ed by Sheila Mox­ley, Frances Lin­coln, 2006. Ages 6 – 9

  • Mary Anning: Struck by light­en­ing as a baby, famous at age 12, a girl work­ing in a man’s world
  • Vivid­ly illus­trat­ed pic­ture book sto­ry about the most famous fos­sil hunter of all (and the inspi­ra­tion for the wicked tongue twister “She Sells Sea Shells”)
  • Puts an engag­ing, human face on the 19th cen­tu­ry icon by mix­ing biog­ra­phy with an ele­ment of tall tale

cover imageUbiq­ui­tous: Cel­e­brat­ing Nature’s Sur­vivors, writ­ten by Joyce Sid­man, illus­trat­ed by Beck­ie Prange, HMH Books for Young Read­ers, 2010. Ages 7 – 12.

  • Mam­mals and birds and rep­tiles that have sur­vived extinc­tion, excel­lent for con­trast in a dis­cus­sion about dinosaurs
  • Each spread includes a poem, facts, and a hand-col­ored linocut
  • From the cre­ators of the Calde­cott Hon­or Book Song of the Water Boat­man and Oth­er Pond Poems



Lowriders in Space Companion Booktalks


To get you start­ed on the Book­storm™ books …

13 Planets13 Plan­ets: The Lat­est View of the Solar Sys­tem, by David A. Aguilar. Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Children’s Books, 2011.  Grades 2 – 6

  • Report mate­r­i­al galore, beau­ti­ful­ly orga­nized
  • Illus­trat­ed with a com­bi­na­tion of pho­tographs and dig­i­tal art
  • Includes sev­er­al hands-on activ­i­ties

Car Science coverCar Sci­ence: an Under-the-Hood, Behind-the-Dash Look at How Cars Work, by Richard Ham­mond, DK Books, 2008. Grades 3 and up

  • Key physics con­cepts as they relate to how cars run
  • DK’s sig­na­ture explod­ed dia­grams, cut­aways, and high-inter­est visu­als
  • Mate­r­i­al is divid­ed into intrigu­ing sec­tions: Pow­er, Speed, Han­dling, and Tech­nol­o­gy

Chato's Kitchen coverChato’s Kitchen, by Gary Soto, illus­tra­tions by Susan Gue­vara, Pen­guin, 1997. Preschool through Grade 3.

  • Mouse fam­i­ly vs Cha­to, a very cool cat
  • Good sto­ry for “pre­dic­tion”
  • Span­ish and Eng­lish vocab­u­lary

Draw 50 Cars coverDraw 50 Cars, Trucks, and Motor­cy­cles: The Step-by-Step Way to Draw Drag­sters, Vin­tage Cars, Dune Bug­gies, Mini Chop­pers, and Much More, by Lee J. Ames, Wat­son-Gup­till, 2012.  Grade 1 through Adult.

  • From a Dis­ney stu­dios artist
  • Vari­ety of draw­ing projects suit­able for range of expe­ri­ence
  • Step-by-step” is real­ly lay­er-by-lay­er, show­ing how a draw­ing is “built”

Girls Think of Everything coverGirls Think of Every­thing: Sto­ries of Inge­nious Inven­tions by Women, by Cather­ine Thimmesh, illus­trat­ed by Melis­sa Sweet, Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 2002. Grades 3 and up.

  • Sib­ert-win­ning author, Calde­cott-win­ning artist
  • Inven­tions from exot­ic to famil­iar
  • Inven­tors and inven­tions going back to 3000 BC

If I Built a CarIf I Built a Car, by Chris Van Dusen. Dut­ton Books for Young Read­ers, 2005.  Pri­ma­ry grades.

  • 2006 E.B. White Read Aloud Award
  • Clas­sic Van Dusen illus­tra­tions: bold col­ors, car­toon-style (look for hid­den ref­er­ences to a few oth­er Van Dusen books)
  • Great dis­cus­sion starter for all ages: What kind of car would YOU design?

Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush coverMr. Mendoza’s Paint­brush, by Luis Alber­to Urrea, illus­trat­ed by Christo­pher Car­di­nale, Cin­co Pun­tos Press, 2010. Grades 7 and up.

  • Graph­ic nov­el about a graf­fi­ti artist and Mex­i­can vil­lage life, with some mag­ic real­ism
  • Nar­ra­tive is a non-lin­ear rem­i­nis­cence — bold flash­es of sto­ry to match the art
  • Rich­ly-col­ored wood­block-style art

My Little Car coverMy Lit­tle Car, by Gary Soto, illus­trat­ed by Pam Paparone, Put­nam, 2006. Preschool and pri­ma­ry grades.

  • Child-grand­par­ent sto­ry
  • Eng­lish and Span­ish vocab­u­lary
  • Just how do you make a car dance?

NicoVisitsNico Vis­its the Moon, by Hon­o­rio Rob­le­do, Cin­co Pun­tos Press, 2001. Preschool and pri­ma­ry grades.

  • Vivid, imag­i­na­tive, art
  • Crawl­ing baby, bal­loons, the moon — each page turn deliv­ers a fan­ta­sy sur­prise
  • Bilin­gual in Span­ish and Eng­lish

Norther Lights coverNorth­ern Lights: The Sci­ence, Myth, and Won­der of the Auro­ra Bore­alis, by George Bryson, pho­tographs by Calvin Hall and Daryl Ped­er­son, Sasquatch Books, 2001. Grades 3 and up for look­ing at the pho­tographs, grades 5 and up for the sci­ence.

  • Beau­ti­ful pho­tographs that can be looked at again and again
  • Dis­cuss­es the many myths and leg­ends inspired by the lights
  • Con­cise expla­na­tion of geo­physics behind the phe­nom­e­non

Remind coverRemind, by Jason Brubak­er, Cof­fee Table Comics, 2011. Grades 5 and up.

  • Graph­ic nov­el with a great cast: Son­ja, a young woman who is a mechan­i­cal genius; Vict­uals, her cat that may have received the brain of an exiled lizard man; an under­wa­ter colony of lizard peo­ple
  • Won­der­ful array of mechan­i­cal inven­tions (Dis­cuss: what kind of giz­mos would you like to invent?)
  • Crisp, unclut­tered illus­tra­tions — at times suit­ably creepy

Shark King CoverShark King, by R. Kikuo Johnon, TOON Books, 2012. Grades 1 and up.

  • Child-friend­ly ver­sion of a Hawai­ian myth
  • Clean, high­ly read­able lay­out — no sen­so­ry over­load from text or illus­tra­tions
  • Includes dis­cus­sion mate­r­i­al for teach­ers and par­ents


Zita coverZita the Space­girl, by Ben Hatke, First Sec­ond, 2010.  Grades 3 and up.

  • Graph­ic nov­el with a Wiz­ard of Oz sto­ry­line: young girl is trans­port­ed to a strange world
  • Though Zita is try­ing to save an abduct­ed friend, and though the plan­et is about to be destroyed, the text and art are more about fun than fear
  • How many weird crea­tures can you find?




Catherine, Called Birdy Companion Booktalks

A baker’s dozen to get you start­ed on the April Book­storm™  books …

Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction ManualAviary Won­ders Inc. Spring Cat­a­log and Instruc­tion Man­u­al, Kate Sam­worth. Clar­i­on Books, 2014

  • Win­ner of the 2014 Kirkus Prize for Young Read­ers’ Lit­er­a­ture
  • Fan­tas­tic illus­tra­tions of fan­tas­ti­cal crea­tures
  • Build your own birds!


Backyard BirdsBack­yard Birds by Karen Stray Nolt­ing, Jonathan Latimer, and Roger Tory Peter­son. Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 1999

  • Col­or pho­tographs and draw­ings
  • Easy guides on how-to-iden­ti­fy com­mon birds
  • Great sup­ple­men­tary mate­r­i­al for reports 


Blood Red HorseBlood Red Horse by K.M. Grant. Walk­er, 2006 (Book 1 of a tril­o­gy)

  • 13 year old rides a beloved horse into bat­tle dur­ing the cru­sades
  • Nar­ra­tive fol­lows both Chris­t­ian and Mus­lim char­ac­ters
  • What does it take to become a knight? 


CastleCas­tle, writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by David Macaulay. Can­dlewick Press, 2005 edi­tion

  • Calde­cott Hon­or book
  • Step-by-step con­struc­tion of fic­tion­al 13th Cen­tu­ry cas­tle
  • Easy Read­er ver­sion avail­able 

Castle DiaryCas­tle Diary: the Jour­nal of Tobias Burgess by Richard Platt, illus­trat­ed by Chris Ridell. Can­dlewick Press, 2003

  • Dai­ly life in a cas­tle from an 11-year-old servant’s point of view
  • Joust­ing, sword fight­ing, archery, horse-back rid­ing
  • What was it like to live in a cas­tle? 

FleasCreepy Crea­tures: Fleas by Valerie Bod­den. Cre­ative Paper­backs, 2014

  • Under-the-micro­scope pho­tographs with amaz­ing details
  • Great back mat­ter for report writ­ing
  • One in a set of Creepy Crea­tures books 

Crispin: The Cross of LeadCrispin: Cross of Lead by Avi. Pen­guin, 2002

  • New­bery win­ner
  • Page-turn­ing action
  • False­ly-accused boy goes on the run in 14th cen­tu­ry Eng­land


Doodle StitchingDoo­dle Stitch­ing: Fresh and Fun Embroi­dery for Begin­ners by Aimee Ray. Ster­ling Pub­lish­ing, 2007

  • Easy-to-fol­low pat­terns for a vari­ety of projects (book cov­ers!)
  • Doo­dles” appeal­ing to boys and girls
  • Many designs that even begin­ners could fin­ish in a short block of time 

Good masters, Sweet LadiesGood Mas­ters! Sweet Ladies! Voic­es from a Medieval Vil­lage by Lau­ra Amy Schlitz, illus­trat­ed by Robert Byrd. Can­dlewick Press, 2011

  • Linked sto­ries told through mono­logues, per­fect for read­ers the­ater or solo read­ing
  • New­bery win­ner
  • Vil­lage map and oth­er illus­tra­tions by Robert Byrd and Lau­ra Amy Schlitz’s author notes pro­vide a wealth of detail to sup­port the sto­ries

Oxford Dictionary of SaintsOxford Dic­tio­nary of Saints by David Farmer. Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 5th edi­tion, 2011

  • Easy-read­ing biogra­phies of 1300 saints, with empha­sis on most famil­iar and Eng­lish saints
  • Gives folk­lore asso­ci­at­ed with saints as well as his­to­ry
  • Just-the-facts approach — doesn’t judge or pros­e­ly­tize


A Proud Taste for Scarlet and MiniverProud Taste for Scar­let and Miniv­er, by E.L. Konigs­burg. 2001 reprint

  • His­tor­i­cal fic­tion from two-time New­bery-win­ning author
  • Meet one of the most pow­er­ful women in his­to­ry: Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • Fast-mov­ing, dia­logue-rich nar­ra­tive


SaladinSal­adin: Noble Prince of Islam by Diane Stan­ley. Harper­Collins, 2002

  • Biog­ra­phy of an Islam­ic hero and ruler dur­ing the Cru­sades
  • Beau­ti­ful illus­tra­tions evoke medieval Islam­ic art
  • Great back mat­ter for report writ­ing 


Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13-3/4Secret Diary of Adri­an Mole, Aged 13−3÷4 by Sue Townsend. Harper­Teen, 2003

  • First crush, acne, a roy­al wed­ding, being broke — through the eyes of British teen
  • First in a series of humor­ous diaries
  • 1980s Britain — details of set­ting might be unfa­mil­iar to today’s read­ers but emo­tions won’t be 



Leroy Ninker Saddles Up! Companion Booktalks

Let these help you get start­ed on the Book­storm™ books:

Actual SizeActu­al Size, writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Steve Jenk­ins

  • Ani­mal parts or whole ani­mals shown in actu­al size (a squid’s eye!)
  • Try to guess the ani­mal by look­ing at just one part
  • Ide­al for com­par­ing and con­trast­ing

Bill PicketBill Pick­et: Rodeo-Ridin’ Cow­boy,
 writ­ten by Andrea Pinkney, illus­trat­ed by Bri­an Pinkney

  • True sto­ry of an African-Amer­i­can rodeo star
  • You won’t believe his trick for qui­et­ing bulls and calves
  • Biog­ra­phy of a true-life action super­hero

Black Cowboys, Wild HorsesBlack Cow­boy, Wild Hors­es,
 writ­ten by Julius Lester, illus­trat­ed by Jer­ry Pinkney

  • True sto­ry about one of the many African-Amer­i­can cow­boys
  • Find all the cam­ou­flaged crit­ters!
  • Hors­es galore!

Cowboy UpCow­boy Up! Ride the Nava­jo Rodeo
, writ­ten by Nan­cy Bo Flood, pho­tographs by Jan Son­nemair

  • You’ve heard of buckin’ bron­cos — how about buckin’ sheep?
  • Pho­tos of chil­dren and teens of the Nava­jo Nation par­tic­i­pat­ing in all the events
  • Poet­ry, pho­tos, and prose make you feel part of the action

Cowgirl KateCow­girl Kate and Cocoa,
 writ­ten by Eri­ca Sil­ver­man, illus­trat­ed by Bet­sy Lewin

  • Easy read­er with four stand-alone chap­ters
  • A girl with her very own horse
  • Kate and her con­trary horse get into all sorts of trou­ble

FriendsFriends: True Sto­ries of Extra­or­di­nary Ani­mal Friend­ships,
writ­ten by Cather­ine Thimmesh

  • Friend­ships between ani­mals of dif­fer­ent species — some are very unusu­al ani­mals
  • What hap­pens to injured wild ani­mals? Learn about ani­mal reha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­ters
  • Entic­ing, imme­di­ate pho­tographs

Horse SongHorse Song: the Naadam of Mon­go­lia, writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Ted and Bet­sy Lewin

  • Based on the authors’ own vis­it to Mon­go­lia
  • Young read­ers will love rid­ing into com­pe­ti­tion with 9 year-old jock­ey Tamir
  • Illus­tra­tions bring the Naadam fes­ti­val to life

In the Days of the VaquerosIn the Days of the Vaque­ros,
writ­ten by Rus­sell Freed­man

  • Who were the first cow­boys in the Amer­i­c­as? How were they dif­fer­ent from the cow­boys in movies?
  • Find out why Cal­i­for­nia Vaque­ros would las­so and cap­ture griz­zly bears
  • Great mate­r­i­al for a report

Just the Right SizeJust the Right Size,
writ­ten by Nico­la Davies, illus­trat­ed by Neal Lay­ton

  • Why can’t there be a real King Kong?
  • Why can geck­oes climb on ceil­ings and humans can’t?
  • Have fun with math (and the car­toon illus­tra­tions) to find the answers

Leroy NinkerLeroy Ninker Sad­dles Up
, writ­ten by Kate DiCamil­lo, illus­trat­ed by Chris Van Dusen

  • A scary storm, a search for a lost friend, a cel­e­bra­tion with friends — excit­ing action
  • Sil­ly char­ac­ters and their tongue-twisty, fun­ny dia­logue
  • First book in a com­pan­ion series to the author’s Mer­cy Wat­son books — plen­ty more read­ing for eager read­ers

Name JarThe Name Jar
, writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Yang­sook Choi

  • Class­room sto­ry about young Kore­an immi­grant Unhei’s dilem­ma: should she choose an Amer­i­can name?
  • Warm, sim­ple illus­tra­tions that evoke all the emo­tions and humor
  • Top­ic of “Your name” makes a won­der­ful dis­cus­sion and writ­ing prompt

writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Bar­bara Lehman.

  • What do you think about on a rainy day?
  • Min­gles a boy’s real and imag­ined world in a sto­ry with­out words
  • Calde­cott Hon­or author/illustrator


Ready Steady SpaghettiReady Steady Spaghet­ti, by Lucy Broad­hurst

  • Cook­book with col­or­ful and engag­ing pho­tographs — wow fac­tor
  • Uncom­pli­cat­ed recipes for a range of food – veg­e­tar­i­an, desserts, snacks, and more
  • Swamp Mud” looks deli­cious!

Star of Wild Horse CanyonStar of Wild Horse Canyon,
writ­ten by Clyde Robert Bul­la, illus­trat­ed by Grace Paull

  • Cap­tur­ing and tam­ing wild hors­es!
  • A mys­tery involv­ing a lost horse — can you solve it before Dan­ny does?
  • Why is the horse named Star?

, writ­ten by Mar­i­on Dane Bauer, illus­trat­ed by John Wal­lace

  • All the facts about this unseen weath­er ele­ment — in text just right for begin­ning read­ers
  • Part of a set of four, also includ­ing Rain, Snow, and Clouds—great for first sci­ence reports
  • And just where does the wind come from?