Inspire curious young minds
You never know what will capture your child's imagination
You can't be interested in something you don't know exists. The kinds of books children are exposed to will have a profound effect on both their present and future lives. In the case of nonfiction books, children learn not only facts but can be inspired by what they learn.
It's up to you to make sure children are exposed to as many topics as possible. Armed with a wide breadth of knowledge, who knows what the child will do with it all, now and in years to come. In all likelihood, probably something very good will result from this one simple gift from you.
Books to Buy
The following book is available at many public libraries.
"Stone Girl, Bone Girl — The Story of Mary Anning" by Laurence Anholt, illustrated by Sheila Moxley, Orchard, 28 pages
Read aloud: age 6 and older
Read yourself: age 8 and older
Born in England in 1799, Mary Anning was a bright and curious girl. One of her greatest interests was digging for strange stone shapes she found in the clay cliffs near her home. Mary called her findings "curiosities" and sold them to tourists.
But it wasn't long before her neighbors, the Philpot sisters, realized that Mary's discoveries were far more important than simple stones. The Philpot sisters were scientists and quickly took Mary under their wing to teach her about her discoveries — fossils.
Mary listened carefully to all the Philpot sisters shared with her and borrowed books from them to increase her knowledge. One day, Annie Philpot showed Mary a huge tooth she had found buried in the clay cliffs.
Annie told Mary that the tooth belonged to a great sea monster, and she believed the rest of the creature was still hidden in the cliffs. From that moment on, Mary imagined finding the ancient sea monster and didn't abandon her dream despite the tormenting of her peers.
A fascinating, true story of Mary Anning's discovery and subsequent contributions to the world of archaeology and paleontology, this selection promises to captivate and motivate readers of many ages.
Library: Biggs Branch, Butte County Library, 464-A B St., Biggs
Library Director: Linda Mielke
Branch Librarian: Cynthia Pustejovsky
Choices this week: "The Napping House" by Audrey Wood; "Hank Zipper" series by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver; "Beezus and Ramona" by Beverly Cleary
Books to Buy
The following books are available at your favorite bookstores.
"The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon, Dial, 2012, 32 pages, $16.99 hardcover
Read aloud: age 7 and older
Read yourself: age 8 — 9 and older
As a young boy in Malawi, Africa, William Kamkwamba was very interested in how mechanical things worked. Like most people in his small village, his family farmed the land for a living. When a severe drought choked the life out of the land and crops, the people of Malawi began to starve.
Reduced to one small meal a day and forced to drop out of school, 14-year-old William was intent on continuing his studies. To do so, he visited the library, taught himself English so he could read the books there and was determined to learn from those books how to build a windmill to bring electricity and eventually water to his poor village.
People thought William was crazy because he used scraps from the junkyard to create his windmill. But when his hard work, perseverance and creative intellect yielded exactly what he had set out to do, no one called him crazy ever again.
This true story of the young hero William Kamkwaba, his dream and his determination to change his world is truly inspirational in every way.
"Gorilla" written and photographed by Suzi Esterhas, Francis Lincoln, 2012, 28 pages, $15.99 hardcover
Read aloud: age 2 — 3 and older
Read yourself: age 7 — 8 and older
Outstanding photographs combine with this fascinating story that chronicles the life of a baby gorilla in the mountains of Africa. Readers learn how the baby gorilla is tenderly cared for by her mother from birth to age 6, how her mother teaches her what foods to eat and where to find them, how to keep clean and learn about life in the jungle.
But growing up isn't all serious business — there's ample time to play with other young gorillas and have lots of fun doing just that.
A splendid offering that provides young readers with just the right amount of information and stunning photographs, "Gorilla" is a great read.
Kendal A. Rautzhan writes and lectures about children's literature. She can be reached at her website: greatestbooksforkids.com.