Libraries host new nonfiction

Posted: Friday, December 14, 2007

Here's a handful of new nonfiction books for kids, plus an unusual offering I can't resist telling you about.

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"The Arrival," by Shaun Tan. Readers never learn the name of the man who leaves his family and country for a better life in this wordless book, but they will be affected by his story. Tan's illustrations let us feel the man's own bewilderment as he arrives in his new land where only the people are recognizable. All else - the animals, food, language, transportation and architecture - is puzzling and strange to both the man and readers. The friends the man makes help him settle in and find work, and soon he is eagerly greeting his wife and daughter as they arrive as new immigrants. Beautifully detailed, with the feel of looking through an old photo album, this multileveled book will capture the minds of both kids and adults.

"How Many?" designed and executed by Ron van der Meer. Give this to the kids and adults you know who love Waldo but are ready for something a little different. Each page of this pop-up book features an elaborate paper sculpture and questions such as: How many squares are reflected in the mirror? Which line is the longest? There are no right or wrong answers and no one way to enjoy this book. For kids 6 years and up.

"Blue 2" designed and executed by David A. Carter. Here's another fascinating but delicate pop-up-and-find-it book for older kids and adults. This one is focused entirely on the blue number 2s that are hidden in each page. There's an alphabetical clue on each page to help readers along, and some 2s are happy to be found. Others, however, remain elusive after many searches, which will spur the dedicated and obsessive to return again and again.

"Asian Kites," by Wayne Hosking. This beautifully organized book introduces the history of kites in Asia, discusses the traditional and modern materials used, covers ways of decorating them, and explains how to launch your kite and keep it aloft. Meant for kids 7 and up (with adult assistance), there are step-by-step instructions for each kite along with a photo of the finished and decorated product. Keep this in mind for a project day at home.

"The Great Circle," by Neil Philip. This ambitious book takes on the question of white-native relationships in America from the time the Vikings first arrived up to modern times. Philip's underlying explanation for the atrocities that occurred on both sides is that the worldviews of Europeans and First Nations people were so incredibly different that there was almost no common ground. Whereas Europeans saw themselves moving straight forward through life, Native Americans saw themselves as part of cycles of change. Each lavishly illustrated chapter examines the interactions between a variety of tribes and settlers, and the conflicts between and within each group. Philip's sophisticated ideas are thoroughly researched, clearly written and appropriate for middle school readers, but high school and adult readers will find this fascinating reading as well.

"Here's Looking at Me," by Bob Raczka. This collection of self-portraits is designed to help young art lovers understand why an artist might chose to paint him or herself in a particular way. For instance, Artemisia Gentileschi's portrait of herself as Pittura, the spirit of painting, shows her defiance of what a woman's role should be, and Diego Velasquez's portrait of himself as the court painter for the Spanish royal family expresses his pride of position while acknowledging that he will never be the equal of royals. This is a great way to introduce young (and even the not-so young) artists to the idea of self-portraits.


In other Juneau Public Libraries news, story and toddler times are in recess at all branches until January.

For more information about any of our programs, or to place a hold on any of our material, visit us at or call us at 586-5249.

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