Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Iron Guy Is A Cybil!

And just what is a Cybil, you may ask? Well, it doesn't mean that I'm an ancient Roman oracle (I'd hate to live in a cave) but it does mean that I've joined up with a lot of book bloggers all across the country, who call themselves The Cybils, to choose the best kid books of 2017. Pretty cool, huh? It's my first time to do this and I'm very honored.

I signed up for the team that judged nonfiction. Actually, I joined the second-round team, which meant another team read through a whole lot of nonfiction books and narrowed them down to fourteen finalists. That was great for me because I was too busy to be on the first round. Anyway, I got to read some great stuff and want to tell you about a few books that I think you'd like. (These are in alphabetical order and not in any order of ranking)

Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion by Chris Barton

Battleships are all just all painted dull gray, right? Wrong! During World War I, someone came up with the idea of painting ships bright colors with all sorts of swirly designs. Why? Well, you'll have to read this book to find out! Although I was a little disappointed with the ending, this was an interesting book. There's more interesting info at the back and an actual photo (in black and white) of one of the "dazzle ships."

Fred Korematsu Speaks Up by Laura Atkins

This is a good story of a teenager who was rounded up with his family
and sent to a Japanese interment camp in World War II but, unlike many others, he did not go quietly. In fact, he spoke out against his unfair treatment and even had a lawyer offer to take his case for free. What became of it? Once again, you'll have to read it to find out! It's a good book although I wish the publisher had put the book together in a different way. They included a whole lot of good photos, sidebars and other information but it all comes every two or three pages and interrupts the flow of the story. Nevertheless, it's still a good book and well worth reading and a good reminder to be glad of living in a country in which, when wrong things are done, people can speak up and redress those wrongs. (it's not like that everywhere!)

Hatching Chicks in Room Six by Caroline Arnold

Here's something good for our younger reader guys, like first, second or even third grade. It's the story of a kindergarten class that watches a bunch of chicks hatch from eggs and grow until old enough to go to the chicken coop. The language is simple, the photos are great and the book has lots of information. I liked it and even learned a few things!

Pathfinders: The Journeys of 16 Extraordinary Black Souls by Tanya Bolden

Did you ever hear of Richard Potter, an African-American magician and showman in colonial American days? Or Charlie Wiggins, the first African-American race driver? Or Eugene Bullard, a Black World War I combat pilot? NO? Don't worry--not many other people have heard of them, either! That is what makes this book so interesting--it's full of true stories of little-known people who deserve to have their stories told. There are 13 more such lives discussed in this book which means, unfortunately, that I didn't get to know as much about each person as I would have liked but that's OK. I really enjoyed this and learned quite a lot.

Red Cloud: A Lakota Story of War and Surrender by S. D. Nelson

Here's another good story about a great historical figure that I knew very little about. Red Cloud was a chief of the Lakota people, a Native American group who lived in what is now North and South Dakota. When the American westward expansion started and pushed many Native people off their lands, many tribes and their leaders fought back. Including Red Cloud. In fact, he fought so well that the American army had to come and negotiate with him. Of course, the outcome was inevitable...(let's have a TBH moment, guys--not all of our country's wrongs have been righted) Anyway, this was quite a story and the illustrations, based on Native American designs, were really good.

Two Truths and a Lie by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson

You can believe everything you see in books and on the internet, right? Oh, man, you are SO wrong and this book proves it! There are nine chapters and each is divided into three topics but---two of them are true and one is a big fat lie!! Are you savvy enough to figure out which topics are true and which are not? Don't be so sure--everything looks very convincing! I had a hard time figuring out the real from the false and didn't always get the correct answers. Not only is this book interesting, however, it's also a lot of  FUN!. Plus there's a Research Guide at the end that gives good tips on how to be sure that you know how to find actual factual information instead of the phony stuff.

Zoo Scientists to the Rescue by Patricia Newman

I wanted to be clever and start this off by saying, "The zoo--who knew??" But who really knew that zoos do so much to protect endangered animals around the world? Or that zoo employees have lived such adventurous lives in such exotic locations? Well, that's what I learned about in this fascinating book. It tells about three zoo people who help preserve three different endangered animals--the orangutan, the black-footed ferret and the black rhinoceros--and the amazing lengths they went to help in preservation. A really interesting read with lots of good photos.

Today the Cybils announced the winners of all the different categories. The winners for nonfiction are:

Hatching Chicks in Room Six (for Elementary Nonfiction)

Two Truths and a Lie (Middle Grade Nonfiction)

Check all the winners of all the different types of books at the Cybils website. I bet you will find some books you will like.

OK, guys, the library has plenty of copies of the books I mentioned today, so check them out and enjoy! And let me say,"Thanks!" to my good friend Ms Yingling, who encouraged me to get involved with the Cybils.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Want to Hear the Best? Then Listen to "The Worst..."

Hey, there, guys, I'm going to do an unusual thing today and tell you about something that I haven't finished. In fact, I'm only one-quarter of the way through! But it is so much fun that I just can't wait and, besides, I KNOW it's going to turn out to be great!!

Perhaps the funniest thing I ever listened to was the audiobook version of Science Fair by Dave Barry. (the library has plenty of copies--hint, hint!) Anyway, Dave Barry could win the award for Funniest Man Ever to Write Books--or, if not, he could certainly win for Writing the Funniest Books Guys Would Like. Science Fair was a big hit with guys here (check out some reactions here and here) and I listened to the audiobook version and nearly laughed my MANLY head off! So I was checking in books the other day and saw the audiobook version of another Dave Barry title--The Worst Class Trip Ever--and said to myself, "Well, why not?" I've listened to almost all of Disc 1 and it's so funny that I just have to tell you guys about it!

Wyatt and his best friend Matt, two eighth-graders from Culver Middle School in Miami, are flying with their classmates on the way to the school's annual trip o Washington DC. with their classmates to the school's annual trip to Washington DC. Behind them are two-strange-looking guys, one with a very large bag that won't fit into the overhead compartment and another with a backpack that he absolutely won't let go of. All through the flight, the two guys keep looking obsessively at aerial photos of the White House. Are they terrorists? Are they hiding a missile and a control box in their bags?? Is Matt the only one who can save the White House??? I won't tell you the answers, but, oh, man, are you ever going to laugh as you listen to what happens! Besides, you'll get to hear about what happened when an alligator attacked Wyatt's dad in his boxer shorts, meet an 80-jillion-year-old flight attendant and find out why Wyatt may have to wait until he's seventy before he gets to go out with Suzana Delgado, his crush.

And all this is on Disc 1!

BTW, did I mention this audiobook is funny?

I'll give you a final verdict when I'm finished but I'm sure, based on what I've experienced from Dave Barry so far, I bet I won't be disappointed. And stay tuned to this blog. There will be more fun and interesting stuff here in the next few weeks. In the meantime, go check this out! The library has plenty of copies of this one too.