World: History, Cultures, Countries, Regions

Rating

Difficulty

14 Cows for America [DETERMINE IMPORTANCE]

by Gonzalez, Thomas and Deedy, Carmen Agra

World: History, Cultures, Countries, Regions

Difficulty: Average

DETERMINE IMPORTANCE

A picture book about foreign aid involving the United States and a remote village in Kenya, but this is not what you think. A gift of cows is bestowed on the American men, women, and children by the Maasai nine months since the September 11 attacks.

Over and over in the scenes, two spears or two sticks or even two giraffe necks appear in the background, a subtle echo of the twin towers.

Age Range: 7 – 10

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Average
14 Cows for America

Bodies from the Ash: Life and Death in Ancient Pompeii [DETERMINE IMPORTANCE]

by Deem, James M.

World: History, Cultures, Countries, Regions

Difficulty: Challenging

DETERMINE IMPORTANCE

“Over 2,000 years ago, the busy Roman city of Pompeii was buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted. Since its re-discovery and excavation in the 1700s, it has offered invaluable information about the past (some of which has been lost to looters). James Deem provides budding archeologists with this intriguing look at the lost town. The first chapter gives a bit of history and background of the town itself, while the rest of the book is devoted to looking at the town from an archeological standpoint. Chapter Two details how the city was eventually rediscovered and became one of the most famous archeological sites in the world. Chapter Three is entirely dedicated to describing how many of the bodies left imprints in the ash, imprints that one could use to create plaster casts of the victims. Chapter Four explains how these casts help historians re-create the last moments of the victims and even tell a bit about their lives. Chapter Five describes the lesser-known town of Herculaneum, also a victim of Vesuvius. The final chapter describes Pompeii in the modern world, from new techniques for creating casts to threats to the city. This detailed yet easily comprehensible text is accompanied by numerous color photographs. A must for any student researching a report on Pompeii.”

Age Range: 8 and up

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Challenging
Bodies from Ash

Bodies from the Bog [DETERMINE IMPORTANCE]

by Deem, James M.

World: History, Cultures, Countries, Regions

Difficulty: Challenging

DETERMINE IMPORTANCE

“One morning in April 1952, Danish workmen digging in a peat bog near the town of Grauballe made an astonishing discovery: the body of a man preserved in the bog, his face flattened by the weight of the peat and his skin as brown as the earth in which he lay. Who was this man, and how had he come to be there? With striking photographs and engaging text, James M. Deem tells the story of Grauballe Man and other bog bodies discovered in European peat bogs. He explains who they were, how they lived and died, and how their peat graves acted to preserve their bodies so well.”

Age Range: 12 and up

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Challenging
Bodies from the Bog

Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past [DETERMINE IMPORTANCE]

by Deem, James M.

World: History, Cultures, Countries, Regions

Difficulty: Challenging

DETERMINE IMPORTANCE

“In 1991, mountain climbers on the Niederjoch Glacier on the Italian-Austrian border came across something unexpected: a body. It had been a very warm summer, and five bodies had already turned up in the area. But something here was different. The materials found with the body suggested it might be very old, perhaps from the 1800s. But radiocarbon dating proved the iceman was 5,300 years older, from the Copper Age. He was named Otzi and he is the oldest human mummy preserved in ice ever found. James M. Deem takes us on a captivating and creepy journey to learn about glaciers, hulking masses of moving ice that are now offering up many secrets of the past.”

Age Range: 12 and up

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Challenging
Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past

Buried in Ice: The Mystery Of A Lost Arctic Expedition [DETERMINE IMPORTANCE]

by Beatty, Owen and Geiger, John

World: History, Cultures, Countries, Regions

Difficulty: Challenging

DETERMINE IMPORTANCE

“In 1845, Sir John Franklin and his two ships, Erebus and Terror , sailed from England to begin a search in icy Arctic waters for the fabled Northwest Passage. It was one of the most well-planned, well-supplied, and well-commanded expeditions of all times; yet it ended in disaster. Not one man returned alive. For almost a century and a half, no one could explain their mysterious deaths. In this compelling, contemporary account, anthropologist Beattie and journalist Geiger describe how they solved the 147-year-old mystery. The narrative is interspersed with an imaginative section that relates the story of the expedition from the point of view of 19-year-old Luke, a member of the crew. While the text is exciting, the book’s greatest strength is its superb illustrations: drawings, paintings, and historic and present day photographs are used to enrich each page.”

Age Range: 7 – 12

Lexile: 1010L

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Challenging
Buried in Ice: The Mystery Of A Lost Arctic Expedition

Cats of Krasinski Square [DETERMINE IMPORTANCE]

by Hesse, Karen. Illustrated by Watson, Wendy

World: History, Cultures, Countries, Regions

Difficulty: Average

DETERMINE IMPORTANCE

“The cats in Krasinski Square once belonged to someone…. And so did a young girl, whose family has been destroyed by war. As she and her sister struggle to survive amid the war’s chaos, they became involved in a plan to help those still inside Warsaw’s infamous Ghetto. Food must be delivered inside the Ghetto walls. But the soldiers have dogs that will sniff out the hidden food the smugglers bring to Warsaw by train. If the dogs can be distracted, then the smugglers might be able to slip away. Suddenly, a young girl and the cats in Krasinski Square are risking their lives to save those behind the Ghetto walls. Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse has written an achingly beautiful picture book about the courage of brave young women and men who, at great risk, fought not with weapons, but with their hearts and souls. Wendy Watson’s luminous paintings inspire a visual journey to a time and place that must never be forgotten.”

Age Range: 7 – 10

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Average
The Cats of Krasinski Square

Ducky [ACTIVATE & CONNECT]

by Bunting, Eve

World: History, Cultures, Countries, Regions

Difficulty: Average

ACTIVATE & CONNECT

“As the author’s note explains, a true story inspired this plucky survival tale: in 1992, a crate of 29,000 bath toys washed overboard from a Hong Kong cargo ship, and hundreds of the toys have since turned up on beaches, primarily in Alaska. Here one of those toys gives his account. “I am a yellow plastic duck and I am in great danger,” begins Ducky. Bunting (Smoky Night) uses simple declarative sentences that emphasize the plump duck’s fear and isolation. He is nearly eaten by a shark and his brightly colored toy friends inadvertently abandon him. Finally buffeted onto a beach where many of his shipwrecked pals are likewise drifting ashore, Ducky is picked up by a friendly boy who takes him home to the bathtub, his destiny.”

Age Range: 4 – 8

Lexile: 0440L

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Average
Ducky

Frozen Man [ASK QUESTIONS]

by Getz, David. Illustrated by McCarty, Peter

World: History, Cultures, Countries, Regions

Difficulty: Challenging

ASK QUESTIONS

“When an archaeologist examines a body found frozen in the Austrian Alps, he learns something extraordinary. The well-preserved body – and the tools and clothing found at the site – indicates that the man died more than 5,000 years ago.”

– ALA Recommended Book for Reluctant Readers

– Hungry Mind Review Children’s Book of Distinction

– NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children

Ages: 8 and up

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Challenging
Frozen Man

Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg and Three Cups of Tea [DETERMINE IMPORTANCE]

by Mortenson, Greg. Illustrated by Roth, Susan L.

World: History, Cultures, Countries, Regions

Difficulty: Average

DETERMINE IMPORTANCE

The author adapted his best-selling book for adults, Three Cups of Tea, and adapted it for children.

While climbing in the Himalayan mountains, Mortenson meets the people who capture his heart. This is the story of his efforts to build schools in remote areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In this picture book version, the story is told through the voices of children.

Ages: 4 – 8

Lexile AD740L

Average
Listen to the Wind

Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship [ACTIVATE & CONNECT]

by Hatkoff, Isabella and Craig; Kahumba, Paula. Photos by Greste, Peter

World: History, Cultures, Countries, Regions

Difficulty: Challenging

ACTIVATE & CONNECT

“The inspiring true story of two great friends, a baby hippo named Owen and a 130-yr-old giant tortoise named Mzee (Mm-ZAY). When Owen was stranded after the Dec 2004 tsunami, villagers in Kenya worked tirelessly to rescue him. Then, to everyone’s amazement, the orphan hippo and the elderly tortoise adopted each other. Now they are inseparable, swimming, eating, and playing together. Adorable photos e-mailed from friend to friend quickly made them worldwide celebrities. Here is a joyous reminder that in times of trouble, friendship is stronger than the differences that too often pull us apart.”

Age Range: 4 – 10 Lexile: AD920L

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Challenging
Owen and Mzee

Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai [ASK QUESTIONS]

by Nivola, Claire A.

World: History, Cultures, Countries, Regions

Difficulty: Average

ASK QUESTIONS

“Wangari Maathai, winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize and founder of the Green Belt Movement, grew up in the highlands of Kenya, where fig trees cloaked the hills, fish filled the streams, and the people tended their bountiful gardens. But over many years, as more and more land was cleared, Kenya was transformed. When Wangari returned home from college in America, she found the village gardens dry, the people malnourished, and the trees gone. How could she alone bring back the trees and restore the gardens and the people?

With glowing watercolor illustrations and lyrical prose, Claire Nivola tells the remarkable story of one woman’s effort to change the fate of her land by teaching many to care for it. An author’s note provides further information about Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement. In keeping with the theme of the story, the book is printed on recycled paper.”

Suggested to use with Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story of Africa by Jeanette Winter.

Age Range: 4 – 8

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Average
Planting the Trees of Kenya

T4 [ASK QUESTIONS]

by LeZotte, Ann Clare

World: History, Cultures, Countries, Regions

Difficulty: Challenging

ASK QUESTIONS

“Thirteen year-old Paula Becker is deaf, a death sentence in Germany in 1939, because the Nazi regime orders the killing of anyone who is disabled or mentally ill. With the help of their priest, Paula’s parents send her into hiding, first to live with a retired schoolteacher, and then to a homeless shelter, where she meets “Poor Kurt.” Paula and Poor Kurt become friends, enduring hardship and loss over the course their stay at the shelter. After the war, Paula returns home and brings Poor Kurt with her. She learns his real name is Walthar, that he had disguised himself as an old beggar, but is really a young man. He gets work on a nearby farm and a few years later, he and Paula marry. Though they are happy, their guilt over surviving while so many perished, persists. Written in graceful free verse in Paula’s voice, this is a riveting account of yet another horror of the Holocaust.”

Age Range: 12 and up

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Challenging
T4

Terrible Things: An Allegory of the Holocaust [INFER & VISUALIZE]

by Bunting, Eve

World: History, Cultures, Countries, Regions

Difficulty: Average

INFER & VISUALIZE

A unique introduction to the Holocaust for children, in “this allegory, the author’s reaction to the Holocaust, the animals of the forest are carried away, one type after another, by the Terrible Things, not realizing that if perhaps they would all stick together and not look the other way, such terrible things might not happen.”

Teaches children the meaning of bystanders and what can happen if bystanders don’t speak up for victims.

Age Range: 6 – 10

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Average
Terrible Things

Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa [ASK QUESTIONS]

by Winter, Jeanette

World: History, Cultures, Countries, Regions

Difficulty: Easy Reading

ASK QUESTIONS

“As a young girl growing up in Kenya, Wangari was surrounded by trees. But years later when she returns home, she is shocked to see whole forests being cut down, and she knows that soon all the trees will be destroyed. So Wangari decides to do something – and starts by planting nine seedlings in her own backyard. And as they grow, so do her plans.

This true story of Wangari Maathai, environmentalist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, is a shining example of how one woman’s passion, vision, and determination inspired great change.”

Suggested to use with Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai by Claire A. Nivola.

Age Range: 3 – 8

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.