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Book Reviews

These books are nonfiction for ages 9–12.
Use the following links for other books.

Nonfiction 9–12


Ultra Hush-Hush
This is a well-rounded examination of an often overlooked part of WWII history, complete with updates on Navajo code talkers and all manner of graphics, timelines, photos, and other that make it well worth reading.

The Vanishing Rainforest
This book, for upper elementary and middle school students, from Frances Lincoln is an example of how a book can also be a message. In this case, the title itself is the message, with the book's contents backing up the claim made by the title.

Voices of Ancient Egypt
The folks at National Geographic have another winner on ancient Egypt, this one for slightly older readers. It's called Voices of Ancient Egypt, and its wonderful words and outstanding images will resonate with readers for a long time afterward. The device for this book is a good one: Each two-page spread is a picture of a worker and the work that he or she does in the society of ancient Egypt. Examples are Scribe, Farmer, Pyramid Builder, Embalmer, Goldsmith, and Washer of Clothes. Each person vividly explains his or her duties (in the words of Kay Winters), and the accompanying images (by Barry Moser) masterfully illustrate that work.

We Came Through Ellis Island
This great little book is part of National Geographic's I Am American series. In this installment, young Emma Markowitz (who becomes Emma Marks when her family docks in America) explains her family's transition from the poor steppes of Russia to the poor tenements of New York's Lower East Side. As with other books in this series, this one illuminates with letters and diary entries, giving alternating tenors to a story that is told with one voice.

Who Came First?
The good folks at National Geographic have another winner with Who Came First?: New Clues to Prehistoric Americans. Written by noted children's author Patricia Lauber, this book paints some theories into a familiar canvas--how did the first Americans get to America.

William Henry Harrison, Young Tippecanoe
Learn more about the childhood of the ninth president and hero of the Battle of Tippecanoe. This book, another in the great Young Patriots Series from Patria Press, also does a great job of explaining the Revolutionary War through a kid's eyes.

With Courage and Cloth
The story of how American women won the right to vote in national elections is a fascinating one, and author Ann Bausum has done high justice to the subject matter by producing a wonderfully detailed and entertainingly written winner of a bookd called With Courage and Cloth. Published by National Geographic (and its usual stable of winning photos and graphics), this book traces the woman suffrage movement from its beginnings to its successful end in the 19th Amendment.

The Wright Brothers
This Wright Brothers book has all of the standard facts and stories of other books like it plus "the talking Wright Brothers!" Check out this fun, illustrated book and revisit the story of Kitty Hawk.

Graphics courtesy of ArtToday

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