Monday, April 23, 2012

Bayard Rustin

A  good title to keep in mind for next Black History Month is We Are One: the Story of Bayard Rustin. He was a civil rights activist who was largely responsible for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963.

Here's a sample: "Bayard strolled over to the Washington Monument to see how the march was shaping up. Journalists and the security patrol greeted him, but there were only a handful of protesters."

I have a personal connection to Larry Dane Brimner, the author of this book.
 He was an instructor at the Writers Workshop at  Chautauqua the summer I attended and I benefitted from discussions with him.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Patience's Grand Adventure

You may have never heard of Patience Wright who created wax sculptures for important people in England. Born in Philadelphia, she also served as a spy for the American cause during the Revolution. Read all about her in
Patience Wright: America's First Sculptor and Revolutionary Spy by Pegi Deitz Shea.

Here is a sample: "London, England already had a thriving wax-sculpting industry in the late 1700s. So in 1772, American-born Patience Lovell Wright moved across the the Atlantic Ocean, and her sculpting business soared."

This is a letter George Washington wrote to Patience. It  is a primary source: a letter written by George Washington himself. It's not only letters but also newspaper and magazine articles written during a person's lifetime.
Can you find a primary source from this year?

Visit The Nonfiction Detectives, today's hosts for Nonfiction Monday.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Have You Ever Visited Trinidad?

One day I plan on visiting Trinidad and Tobago, two islands in the West Indies that comprise one nation. Here is a sneak peak:  Kamal Goes to Trinidad by Malcolm Frederick.

This sample tells how the steelpan, the native instrument of Trinidad and Tobago is made: "First they take an old oil drum and cut it in half, then they bang the top of the drum to make a  big dent..."

The photographs greatly add to the enjoyment  of this book.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Manatee -A Fascinating Mammal

A few years ago I visited a nature preserve in Florida where manatees live. I could only see a ripple underneath the water but I knew they were there.  Did you know that they live in other places besides Florida? Well they do: coastal West Africa and rivers in the Amazon basin.

 Read all about this in The Manatee Scientists: Saving Vulnerable Species by Peter Lourie.

 Here is a sample: "Manaus [Brazil] is one of the only places you can pet young Amazonian mantees...But you have to make a little noise in the water so they know someone is nearby."

Test your manatee knowledge:

Do manatees have eyelashes?
How long do they live?
How often do they surface for air?
Are they an endangered species?

(For the answers click on the link in the first paragraph.)