Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Evolution of a Reading List

Do you have a reader at home (or are you one yourself?) who has a little too much, shall we say, focus? Maybe your reader- we'll call him "Johnny"- only likes graphic novels and absolutely will not read anything else. Or maybe little Johnny refuses to look at anything that's not a reference book, and you'd like him to check out something with a little plot. Or maybe little Johnny's really very small indeed, and wants to hear the same picture books over and over and over and over and over.

Little Shop of Stories can help!

For those readers who believe that loving nonfiction means never having to read a novel, we have an assortment of non-reference books on a nonfiction topic: Charles Darwin.

The Humblebee Hunter, by Deborah Hopkinson, for instance, is a wonderful little picture book about a day when Darwin asks his children to help him with an experiment with the honeybees in their garden. It has great illustrations and serves the dual purposes of giving Johnny a great story about the baby steps of science (and some really cute honeybees) and being more interesting to those of you who may reading it aloud than some of the more repetitive picture books.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, by Jacqueline Kelly, is one of this year's Newbery Honor books, and would be a great book to show l'il Johnny that it's real people who make science happen. Calpurnia Tate is a self-appointed naturalist who, with her grandfather, goes on a quest to discover a new species.  Despite the impediment of being a young girl who doesn't want to be "a lady" in a time and place when that was a difficult thing, she succeeds like crazy.

Now, if Johnny STILL will not touch anything but a graphic novel, there are ways to get around it. We suggest Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation, by Michael Keller. It's a cool book with very cool illustrations, and we'd bet that Little Johnny gets most of the way though it before he realizes that- gasp! horror! he's reading something educational.

Now, of course, if you're blessed with a Johnny who is well-rounded and has none of these issues, none of this really applies- you're sitting pretty. But he'll probably want to read all of these, plus the regular nonfiction books and biographies on Darwin.  And of course, if evolution's not your thing, we have lots of other choices for great books about nonfiction topics - so come on in and check 'em out!.

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