Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What Color Is My World

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Here at Teach Mentor Texts we are always looking for more ways to support teachers! We've found that teachers seem to be constantly on the lookout for great nonfiction. We know we are! To help with this undying quest for outstanding non-fiction, we are excited to participate in Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and The Nonfiction Detectives. Every Wednesday, you'll find a non-fiction review here - although it may not always be a picture book review. Please visit Kid Lit Frenzy to see what non-fiction others have to share, too.

Title: What Color is My World? 
Author: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld  
Illustrator: Ben Boos and K.G. Ford  
Publisher: Candlewick Press 
Publication Date: January, 2012 
Genre/Format: Hybrid Realistic Fiction and Non-Fiction Biography/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, basketball legend and the NBA's alltime leading scorer, champions a lineup
of little-known African-American inventors in this lively, kid-friendly book.
Did you know that James West invented the microphone in your cell phone? That Fred Jones invented the refrigerated truck that makes supermarkets possible? Or that Dr. Percy Julian synthesized cortisone from soy, easing untold people's pain? These are just some of the black inventors and innovators scoring big points in this dynamic look at several unsung heroes who shared a desire to improve people's lives. Offering profiles with fast facts on flaps and framed by a funny contemporary story featuring two feisty twins, here is a nod to the minds behind the gamma electric cell and the ice-cream scoop, improvements to traffic lights, open-heart surgery, and more - inventors whose ingenuity and perseverance against great odds made our world safer, better, and brighter.  
What I Think: I had to think longer than usual when coming up with the genre and format for this book because it seems fairly unique. This book tells the story of two kids whose parents recently bought a new house. As they work with a family friend to fix up the house, he tells them about African-American inventors that may not be well-known but that made a contribution to the world we live in today. Woven throughout are the kids' notes about what they learn as well as biographies of the famous African-American inventors who are highlighted.
     I really liked how they included people who specifically influenced technology that we use today. I look at Peanut and Little Bean and think of how they understand and use technology and I can't help but think that they just think things happen magically. I'm not sure they have any grasp of what's inside of any of the devices they use or how they work. There have been countless times that Little Bean touches my laptop screen or our TV thinking that it will work like a touch screen. A book like this is so important to remind kids of what we have in our world today and the people that had an hand in making these things possible in our lives.
Read Together: Grades 2 - 4 
Read Alone: Grades 3 - 5 
Read With: Courage Has No Color by Tanya Lee Stone, Bad New for Outlaws by Vaunda Micheux Nelson, We are the Ship by Kadir Nelson, A Vision of Beauty and others by Kathryn Lasky, other non-fiction about African-Americans in history
Snatch of Text: 
"' Sir Isaac Newton once said - '
'The apple-proves-gravity guy,' Ella said.
'Right. He said 'If I have seen farther than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.' Meaning that whatever he achieved is because of what he learned from all the great scientists that came before them.'"  
Mentor Text For: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Asking Questions, Expository
Writing Prompts: Look around you throughout the day and find something around you that you want to learn more about. Do research on the history of one thing that you recognize you want to learn more about. Write about what you learn and create something to share with others. 
Topics Covered: Ingenuity, History, Innovation, Inventions, Appreciation
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