As I work back towards using a schedule I created for myself years ago, now with a book-centric focus, I bring to you today a super collection of wonderful books that are collections in themselves; that is, today’s post features books that are a collection of essays, stories, and voices to inspire and inform.
What I love about collections and/or anthologies are the fact that you can pick it up and read it in any order you wish to; and each and every one is bound to leave you better in a slightly different way — all packaged within the pages of one wonderful book!
While today’s post includes five different books – across age-ranges and topics – each one is worth a read, and is sure to be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
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the Super Collection
Body Talk: 37 Voices Explore Our Radical Anatomy
Title: Body Talk: 37 Voices Explore Our Radical Anatomy
Author/Editor: Kelly Jensen
Length: 256 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Self-reliance, Health (Teen/YA and up)
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers (August 18th 2020)
Source: My local library
There is so much to love in this book; and much more to learn from it. A diverse group of people discuss an even diverse-r variety of body issues with a honesty that leaves readers informed yet curious for more. The book is divided into chapters by category (like “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” or “Things You Cannot See”); and each chapter has a few essays that brilliantly explore various topics ranging from body positivity and hormones to testicular cancer and scoliosis, from eating disorders and acne to asexuality and facial hair.
Interspersed within the essays are FAQs, points to ponder, comic strips, and essay essays, FAQs, comic strips, and artwork that complements the narrative excellently. Overall, this wonderful medley of essays makes for a non-judgmental and totally informative read for all ages, especially for teens and young adults. There is bound to be (more than) something for everyone, no matter who reads it.
Changing the Equation: 50+ US Black Women in STEM
Celebrating the unknown heroes is what this book does, and that makes it a much needed must-read. Bolden includes women across STEM fields, from doctors to aviators to scientists, and more. Each bite-sized biography along with photographs and illustrations from the time-period as well as helpful footnotes and quotes make this book a truly enjoyable read. You can read a little at a time, read it in any order, and keep being inspired by each one of these women.
You will learn about “a foremother of invention,” Sarah E.Goode, and about Rebecca Cumpler, the first black women in the United States to become a doctor, as well as about Martha Euphemia Lofton Haynes, who was the first African-American to earn a Phd in Mathematics, and so many more.
This book can easily serve as an inspiration to young readers of all races to be curious about the world around them, and to persevere in the face of obstacles, like all of these women did. Backmatter includes notes, a bibliography, and an index.
Modern Art Explorer: Discover the Stories Behind Famous Artworks
Title: Modern Art Explorer: Discover the Stories Behind Famous Artworks
Author: Alice Harman
Illustrator: Serge Bloch
Length: 96 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Art History (9 – 12 years)
Publisher: Thames & Hudson (October 6, 2020)
Source: e-review copy from publishers for Cybils Awards as a Round 1 judge
In its’ 96 pages, this book is an art museum in itself, complete with a museum docent to help you understand and analyze the wonderful treasures you see as you tour the museum! And to top it all off, that docent simply happens to be a witty, perfectly and age-appropriately irreverent, and totally knowledgeable one.
Readers (including me) will find themselves smiling and LOLing and nodding their heads vigorously in agreement to what is being said about the featured art-pieces; and at the same time find themselves armed with little nuggets of information as they turn the pages. Perfect to use when you are talking to someone who is an “art-expert!” You can then tell them about the time French artist Pierre Bonnard asked a friend to distract a museum guard so he could add a blob of paint to his painting already on display (because of his obsession with getting his art just right!) or about…. !
Overall, a fun and colorful and enjoyable read about great artists and their art.
Women’s Art Work: More than 30 Female Artists Who Changed the World
Title: Women’s Art Work: More than 30 Female Artists Who Changed the World
Author: Sophia Bennett
Illustrator: Manjit Thapp
Length: 112 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/Art History, Women’s Biographies(10 – 14 years)
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers (March 17th 2020)
Source: My local library
While the book seemed crowded on some pages and space-y on others, I loved the vibrant colors (apt considering it is about artwork) as well as the presentation of the information. Bennett uses a combination of: interview style Q&A with some of the featured current artists along with a short bio for them; detailed biographies of artists from earlier; as well as fun facts interspersed between and within these artist biographies (like quotes, Did You Knows?, snippets about museums and jobs in the art-world, and more).
Effort has been made to include women artists from around the world, though most of them are from the recent past or current times. An initial two-page spread does however include women pioneers in the art world. Overall, a rich starter set that will help to discover and learn more about women in the artworld, as well as inspire readers to be more creative (considering it is brimming with ideas and inspiration from the artists themselves). I certainly did not know many of these featured women.
Backmatter includes a quiz, a glossary and timeline, credits, as well as suggested reading (websites, articles and books). In addition, there are notes from both the author and the illustrator, and a detailed index. The book is sure to appeal with its vibrancy and unique presentation.
Women in Biology
Title: Women in Biology
Author: Mary Wissinger
Illustrator: Danielle Pioli
Length: 40 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/STEM, Biographies(7 – 10 years)
Publisher: Science, Naturally! (October 7th 2020)
Source: Review copy from publishers for Cybils Awards as a Round 1 judge
Women in Biology takes the readers on a journey across (well, back and forth in) time as the inquisitive young protagonist asks questions and the narrator answers by introducing concepts and women biologists in a fun and engaging manner. I learned a lot from this book, and considering I truly enjoyed biology as a young student, this was a doubly fun read.
This book is super cool in the transitions between the different things and women it talks about. And the artwork is simply beautiful as well. I also enjoyed how readers will be spurred on to action – using the scientific method – towards the end. Backmatter includes a fun-finding activity as well as a useful glossary.
And Now, the End of This Post
Dear reader, have you read any of these books? If yes, your thoughts? If not, which one do you plan to read first? As always, any recommendations are welcome – of books this post reminded you of, or of other collections/anthologies you loved reading.