Gorilla Doctors: Saving Endangered Apes by Pamela S. Turner

Bibliographic Citation: Turner, Pamela S. Gorilla Doctors: Saving Endangered Apes. New York: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2005. 64p. ISBN: 9780618445554.

Awards/Selection Lists:

ALSC Notable Books list

Author’s Website:

http://www.pamelasturner.com/

Annotation:

Pamela S. Turner’s Gorilla Doctors examines the work of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project. 

Personal Reaction:

The Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project was the first veterinary service to care for an endangered animal in its natural environment. It’s funded by the Morris Animal Foundation, which promotes animal health. Pamela S. Turner’s Gorilla Doctors: Saving Endangered Great Apes shares with readers the noble work of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, or the MGVP. The MGVP serves to protect gorillas from poachers and human illness and disease.

Offering background information on gorillas, such as when they were discovered by humans and how their interactions with humans have negatively impacted their survival, Turner offers readers a well rounded view of the endangered animal. The book delicately communicates the affect human actions have on other species. The book’s greatest strength, however, is its inclusion of many stunning photographs. These photographs capture the MGVP at work as well as sweet moments like a baby mountain gorilla cuddling with its mother.

Front Matter:

Dedication page

Back Matter:

“Doing Your Part,” Resources, Postscript, Index

gorilla-doctors-saving-endangered-great-apes-pamela-s-turner-hardcover-cover-art

 

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland by Sally M. Walker

Bibliographic Citation: Walker, Sally M. Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, 2009. 144p. ISBN: 9780822571353.

Awards/Selection Lists:

ALSC Notable Books list

Author’s Website:

http://www.sallymwalker.com/home.html

Annotation:

Sally M. Walker’s Written in Bone follows forensic scientists as they excavate graves in Jamestown and Colonial Maryland.

Personal Reaction:

A skeletal human body is found in the cellar of an excavated plantation home in what was Providence, Maryland. The body belonged to a male about 15 or 16 years old at the time of his death. He was most likely an indentured servant, and he’d led a life of difficult labor. Suffering from a serious infection, the boy had probably met a violent end. He’d died sometime between 1662 and 1670. But how do we know so much about his life? After all, all we have to go off of is a skeleton.

As examined in Sally M. Walker’s Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland, scientists are able to use forensics to sketch a portrait of a long dead person’s life. The aforementioned boy is just one example of the many lives uncovered by Dr. Douglas Owsley and his team of forensic scientists. Dr. Owsley and his team use a variety of scientific methods to estimate a skeleton’s gender, the age at which they died, the way in which they died, their social class, their general health at the time of their death, etc. In Written in Bone, Walker uses the work of forensic scientists as well has historical context to provide readers with an accurate picture of what life was like in Jamestown and Colonial Maryland. Walker’s book includes many photographs, maps, diagrams, charts, and other images that greatly enhance her text. The book is thorough, though not overly scientific, making it a great resource for young adult readers.

Front Matter:

Dedication page, TOC, “A Note to the Reader”

Back Matter:

Source notes, Timeline, Selected bibliography, Further reading and websites, “Author’s acknowledgments,” Index, About the author, photo acknowledgments

written-in-bone

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Good Brother, Bad Brother: The Story of Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth by James Cross Giblin

Bibliographic Citation: Cross Giblin, James. Good Brother, Bad Brother: The Story of Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth. New York: Clarion Books, 2005. 244p. ISBN: 9780618096428.

Awards/Selection Lists:

ALSC Notable Books list

Author’s Website:

No website

Annotation:

Good Brother, Bad Brother examines the lives of John Wilkes Booth, the assassinator of President Abraham Lincoln, and his brother Edwin Booth, an esteemed actor who would suffer the burden of his brother’s mistakes.

Personal Reaction:

Edwin Booth began travelling with his dad, the talented actor Junius Brutus Booth, at the age of thirteen. Essentially, Edwin accompanied his father on his acting tours as his babysitter. His job was to keep his father from alcohol and ensure that he made to his rehearsals and performances. Though Edwin would later develop his father’s taste for alcohol, he also shared his talent for acting. Edwin later became a successful actor with a family of his own. His younger brother, John Wilkes Booth, also dabbled in the acting trade. Charming and handsome, John had a promising future. He was distracted, however, by a dangerous plot to kidnap the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. A strong supporter of the South, John believed that, if re-elected, Lincoln would make himself the “King” of the United States. When his plans to kidnap the President were waylaid, John decided that he would assassinate the man instead. On April 14, 1865, John shot Abraham Lincoln while he watched a play at Ford’s Theater.

James Cross Giblin’s Good Brother, Bad Brother: The Story of Edwin Booth & John Wilkes Booth, examines the lives of John Wilkes Booth and his lesser known brother, Edwin Booth. Though Edwin made a name for himself as an actor, Giblin writes, “for every person who knows that there was once a great actor named Edwin Booth, there are thousands who know that his brother, John Wilkes Booth, assassinated Abraham Lincoln” (Cross Giblin, 2005, p.221). However, Giblin does paint Edwin as the “good” brother or Edwin as the “bad” brother. Rather, the author presents an honest rendering of both that reveals them to be complex, flesh and blood human beings. The flaws as well as the favorable traits of both men are examined, emphasizing the fact that the events of the past have many layers.

Front Matter:

“Also by James Cross Giblin,” dedication page, acknowledgments, TOC

Back Matter:

Bibliography and source notes, Index

0618096426

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Wilderness Family: At Home with Africa’s Wildlife by Kobie Kruger

Bibliographic Citation: Kruger, Kobie. The Wilderness Family: At Home with Africa’s Wildlife. New York: The Ballantine Publishing Group, 2001. 381p. ISBN: 9780345444264.

Awards/Selection Lists:

Alex Award

Author’s Website:

No website

Annotation:

Kobie Kruger’s The Wilderness Family: At Home with Africa’s Wildlife shares with readers her experiences as a game ranger’s wife in South Africa’s Kruger National Park.

Personal Reaction:

Both born and raised on farms in South Africa’s Northern Province, Kobie and Kobus Kruger met while they were both studying at the University of Pretoria. Married after graduation, they would eventually follow Kobus’ dream of being a game ranger to Kruger National Park. There, Kobie and Kobus raised their three daughters and lived among Africa’s wildlife. The Wilderness Family: At Home with Africa’s Wildlife is Kobie’s memoir of her experiences living in the park as the game ranger’s wife.

Reading Kobie’s book I was in awe of the absolutely unbelievable things Kobie experienced during her time at Kruger National Park. Living in Southern California, the idea of encountering an elephant, hippo, or lion in its natural habitat is unimaginable to me. In fact, it’s often to difficult to see the lion at my local San Diego Zoo! Kobie, however, encountered such incredible animals on a daily basis. Her memoir offers readers a peek into the kind of life most can only dream about. Teeming with adventure, The Wilderness Family often had me afraid for the lives of Kobie and her family. From the time her youngest daughter discovered a cobra curled up in the family’s toilet, to when a mad hippo charged their boat, Kobie’s writing made me feel as though I was there with her.

Kobie’s writing is also very conversational and familiar, and quite often funny! The author’s sense of humor shows through in scenes such as the one in which she tells her sister-in-law that Kobus has been attacked by a wounded lion. “You sound like you’re in denial,” her sister-in-law says. “I do?” Kobie asks. “You said a cat bit him,” she replies. Moments like this had me laughing out loud. Animal lovers will love reading about how Kobie “mothered” many animals, from a honey badger, to a chick, to a serval kitten, to even a lion. The Wilderness Family is a heartwarming, uplifting read that adventure and animals lovers alike will enjoy getting lost in.

Front Matter:

Dedication page, TOC, maps of Kruger National Park and Mahlangeni

Back Matter:

Postscript, acknowledgments

51FRMKSRGPL._SL500_AA300_

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Eagle Blue: A Team, a Tribe, and a High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska by Michael D’Orso

Bibliographic Citation: D’Orso, Michael. Eagle Blue: A Team, a Tribe, and a High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2006.    323p. ISBN: 9781582346236.

Awards/Selection Lists:

Alex Award

Author’s Website:

http://www.mikedorso.com/

Annotation:

Michael D’Orso’s Eagle Blue follows Fort Yukon’s high school basketball team, the Fort Yukon Eagles, to the state finals.

Personal Reaction:

In Eagle Blue: A Team, A Tribe, and a High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska exposes Fort Yukon, Alaska as, in the eyes of many of its residents, a “forsaken” community. Though the town’s cultural heritage is disappearing, Fort Yukon is not a part of mainstream American culture either. Most of the town’s residents are living below the poverty line and feel “trapped.” Drug and alcohol abuse are widespread and even suicide is a common occurrence. From November to March, however, the residents of Fort Yukon unite for a shared purpose: supporting the high school basketball team, the Fort Yukon Eagles. Basketball is Fort Yukon’s strongest link to mainstream America. Each season brings the town a renewed sense of unity, as well as a renewed sense of identity.

Michael D’Orso’s treats the Eagles, as well as their friends and families, with compassion. His readers will come to know some of them intimately, and it is this opportunity that allows for a deeper connection to D’Orso’s story. Reading Eagle Blue, I felt particularly connected to Matt Shewfelt, an Eagle, as well as to Coach Bridges. Matt, a sweet senior with a foul mouth, whose brothers call him “Mother Matt,” and Coach Bridges is able to quell the team’s gloom after the most disappointing of losses. Another of D’Orso’s strengths in writing Eagle Blue is his treatment of the boys’ games. With riveting, fast-paced writing, the scenes do justice to the sport.

Front Matter:

TOC, “Fort Yukon Boys Basketball Team,” “People of Fort Yukon,” Prologue

Back Matter:

Epilogue, Afterward, “Notes, Sources, and Acknowledgments,” “A Note on the Author,” “A Note on the Type”

eagle-blue

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

John Winthrop, Oliver Cromwell, and the Land of Promise by Marc Aronson

Bibliographic Citation: Aronson, Marc. John Winthrop, Oliver Cromwell, and the Land of Promise. New York: Clarion Books, 2004. 205p. ISBN: 9780618181773. 

Awards/Selection Lists:

Author’s Website:

http://www.marcaronson.com/

Annotation:

Author Marc Aronson examines the lives, legacies, and religious convictions of John Winthrop and Oliver Cromwell.

Personal Reaction:

John Winthrop and Oliver Cromwell were both highly religious men, driven by their passionate convictions. Looking to escape God’s judgment, Winthrop set off for America hoping to form a community “so closely woven together that all were equally important to its future” (Aronson, 2004, p.40). The foundation of the godly community Winthrop imagined was Christian love. Oliver Cromwell, however, sought to be the “avenging arm of divine judgment” (Aronson, 2004, p.101). Commanding Parliamentary forces in Britain’s Civil War, Cromwell was the Presbyterians living nightmare.

Marc Aronson’s John Winthrop, Oliver Cromwell, and the Land of Promise the intertwined lives of these men. As with all of Aronson’s non-fiction for young adults, the book is thoroughly researched and rich with historical context. Many maps and other images serve to enhance the reader’s experience, but don’t distract from the main content of the book. Aronson’s greatest strength in writing John Winthrop, Oliver Cromwell, and the Land of Promise, however, is the parallels he draws between the book’s subject and the Islamic holy war. His ability to connect his readers modern experiences to a very distant past makes this book an incredibly valuable resource for young adults.

Front Matter:

Dedication page, TOC, Acknowledgments, “Why This Book,” “Cast of Characters,” Prologue

Back Matter:

Epilogue, Endnotes and Bibliography, Timeline, Index

101951166

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer

Bibliographic Citation: Krakauer, Jon. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster. New York: Villard Books, 1997. 293p. ISBN: 9780679457527. 

Awards/Selection Lists:

Alex Award

Author’s Website:

http://www.randomhouse.com/features/krakauer/author.html

Annotation:

In Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer pieces together the devastating details of his May 1996 expedition to the summit of Mt. Everest.

Personal Reaction:

On May 10, 1996, Jon Krakauer, having reached the summit of Mt. Everest, found himself on the “roof” of the world. Severely impaired from hypoxia, he was too far gone to fully appreciate the moment and spent no more than five minutes upon the summit before heading back down. Krakauer had no idea that he and his teammates would soon be met with tragedy. A rogue storm would ravage the mountain and ultimately result in the deaths of four of his five teammates.

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster is Krakauer’s attempt to piece together the details of the 1996 expedition that left many altered for life, or dead. Relying heavily on personal interviews with the survivors, Krakauer is able to present as complete a version of the disastrous events as one would imagine is possible. Into Thin Air captures with heartbreaking honesty the survivor’s guilt Krakauer suffers from, exposing him as a man broken by tragedy. Examining the captivating mystique of Mt. Everest, the author offers readers a peek into a world known by few.

Front Matter:

“Also by Jon Krakauer,” dedication page, introduction, “Dramatis Personae”

Back Matter:

Author’s Note, Selected Bibliography, About the Author

200px-Into_Thin_Air

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment