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Monday, January 4, 2016

Storytime: New & Notable Picture Books (30)

This week's Storytime features an influential presidential hopeful, a president who helped heal a nation, and a founding father who spread the seeds of democracy and agriculture.

Written by Jonah Winter; Illustrated by Raul Colon
Ages 5-8, Available 1.5.2016

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In this beautiful and empowering picture-book biography of presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Times bestselling author Winter and award-winning illustrator Col√≥n illuminate her distinguished life and career. This stunning project follows Clinton from her early years as an outspoken student at Wellesley College and Yale Law School to marrying Bill Clinton and raising daughter Chelsea, to becoming First Lady of the United States and then a U.S. Senator and Secretary of State. Here is the inspiring story of the woman who may soon change the world—into a place where a girl can dream of growing up to be president.
  I usually quite enjoy Jonah Winter's and Raul Colon's work, so I was excited to delve into this newest offering, Hillary. I was especially taken with Colon's illustrations, which frame the text beautifully. There were some interesting facts within the text and I liked that much of the focus was on Hillary's dedication to women's and children's rights.   

Nice Work, Franklin!
Written by Suzanne Tripp Jurmain; Illustrated by Larry Day
Ages 8-12, Available 1.5.2016

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As one of our most inspirational and determined presidents, Franklin Roosevelt overcame his disability to lead the country out of the Great Depression.

Franklin Roosevelt idolized his cousin Teddy Roosevelt. He started wearing eyeglasses like Teddy, he spoke like Teddy, and he held the same public offices as Teddy. But then one day his life changed—he got sick. He developed polio and he could no longer walk. But Franklin also had Teddy’s determination, so after physical therapy and hard work, he ran for governor of New York and won. Then a different kind of sickness, the Great Depression, spread across the country: Banks were closing, and thousands lost their jobs.

Franklin said that if you have a problem, solve it. If one solution doesn’t work, try another but above all TRY SOMETHING. So Franklin ran for president, and on Inauguration Day, he made it clear that together they would conquer this sickness. He got to work creating jobs and slowly America started getting better.

Suzanne Tripp Jurmain and Larry Day of George Did It and Worst of Friends fame are teamed up again to tell the story of how our only disabled president saved himself and then saved the country.
In this nonfiction picture book about Franklin D. Roosevelt, Suzanne Tripp Jurmain parallels Roosevelt's refusing to let polio hold him back with the effects of the Great Depression on the US. Nice Work, Franklin is a feel-good look at Roosevelt's political life and impact that has the potential to open up in-depth discussions about many of the programs put in place during and after the Depression.

Thomas Jefferson Grows a Nation 
Written by Peggy Thomas; Illustrated by Stacy Innerst
Ages 9-12, Available Now

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Thomas Jefferson was more than a president and patriot. He was also a planter and gardener who loved to watch things grow—everything from plants and crops to even his brand-new nation. As minister to France, Jefferson promoted all things American, sharing corn and pecans with his Parisian neighbors. As secretary of state, he encouraged his fellow farmers to grow olives, rice and maple trees. As president, he doubled the size of the nation with the Louisiana Purchase. Even in his retirement, Jefferson continued to nurture the nation, laying the groundwork for the University of Virginia. In this meticulously researched picture book for older readers, author Peggy Thomas uncovers Jefferson’s passion for agriculture and his country. And Stacy Innerst’s incredibly original illustrations offer the right balance of reverence and whimsy. This is Thomas Jefferson as he’s never been seen before! Back matter includes an author’s note on Jefferson’s legacy today; timeline, bibliography; place to visit (Monticello); and source notes.
Before reading this book, I had no idea how integral Thomas Jefferson's ideas were to the development of agricultural in the US. I appreciated that the author's note at the end, which adds: "We must decide for ourselves how slavery taints the legacy of Thomas Jefferson." Addressing the shortcomings of Jefferson provided a better rounded illustration of this founding father.

Hillary Rodham Clinton: Dreams Taking Flight
Written by Kathleen Krull; Illustrated by Amy June-Bates
Ages 5-10, Available Now

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The beautifully illustrated picture book about Hillary Clinton—now revised and updated with brand-new material about her time as Secretary of State.

Before Hillary Clinton was in the running to be president, she was a young girl growing up outside Chicago who lost the election for student-body president. She wanted to be an astronaut, to soar as high as the stars above. She kept reaching up and up as she grew. There were people who told her no—most of them simply because she was a girl—but she didn’t listen to them. There were people who didn’t think she could do it. But she believed in herself. And Hillary has been making history ever since. This is the inspiring story of a girl with dreams as big as the open sky.
It's interesting to read this older (recently revised) title next to the new picture book biography, Hillary, from Winter & Colon. This book feels more appropriate for slightly younger readers, but the recommended age level for both books starts at 5 years. The historical information about HRC's life included at the back of this book is a notable inclusion; there's a wealth of information packed into only a few short pages, which allowed me to better appreciate the text!

Love any of the books featured this week? Let me know in the comments!


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