Discovering Architecture (Eduard Altarriba & Berta Bardí I Milà)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Discovering Architecture by Eduard Altarriba and Berta Bardí I Milà, an illustrated primer in historical world architecture for young bookworms.

Moving in a generally chronological order, readers are given a visual crash course in architecture, both its history and principles, using Altarriba’s fantastic educational-illustrative style. Bookworms can learn about the tallest buildings in the world, the history of city planning and building materials, and meet some of the most recognized architects in history, then take a look forward to the future of green and interplanetary architecture.

There’s a lot to like about this visual encyclopedia: the detailed, appealing artwork, which does a great job of illustrating the concepts and science on display, and how the text takes complex elements of construction and engineering and puts them in child-friendly and accessible terms. The two unnamed child characters that act as guides give the book a sense of cohesion and a touch of friendly engagement. However, there are a few weak areas, especially representation: only one of the architects featured is female and/or nonwhite, and most of the architecture is Euro-centric; while smatterings of Asian, Middle Eastern, and US architecture are featured, Latin America, Australia and sub-Saharan Africa pop up only very occasionally. The length is definitely for slightly older, middle-grade bookworms, though JJ still enjoyed the lovely artwork. This is by no means a definitive volume, but is still a great primer for readers curious about the science and history of architecture. Rough around the edges, but we liked it – Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Super Summer: All Kinds of Summer Facts And Fun (Bruce Goldstone)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Super Summer: All Kinds of Summer Facts And Fun by Bruce Goldstone, a spirited look at all the things that fill our summer months.

Fourth in Goldstone’s seasonal nonfiction series, young readers are given a colorful primer in many subjects that relate to the summer months (focusing on the northern hemisphere, primarily the United States). The topics are wide-ranging – from weather and sun protection, to various animals’ cooling systems, to sunflowers’ heliotropic adaptation, to a list of fun places one might go on summer vacation. Each page is filled to bright, colorful photographs to illustrate the topics, and a list of summery crafts and recipes, along with instructions, is included in the backmatter.

Awesome! This was a really cool compendium of summer facts, perfect for curious bookworms who enjoy learning about their world. The subjects and the manner in which they are covered strike a good balance between challenging yet easy to follow; concepts such a plant’s life cycle varying depending on its environment, or summer clothing being lighter in color to reflect light and heat, are explained in a way that educates without patronizing young readers. The eye-popping colors are pitch perfect, making spreads featuring summer fruits and veggies, flowers, and fireworks a delight, and feature a diverse range of human subjects enjoying summer activities. The length was fine for slightly older bookworms like JJ, and certain subjects can be skimmed for younger ones, who will love the bright photography. If your little one is a fan of nonfiction books, this is one to check out! Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Let’s Hatch Chicks!: Explore The Wonderful World Of Chickens And Eggs (Lisa Steele)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Let’s Hatch Chicks!: Explore The Wonderful World Of Chickens And Eggs, written by Lisa Steele and illustrated by Perry Taylor, an adorably informative instruction book for young poultry enthusiasts.

The book begins by introducing Violet, a Lavender Orpington chicken (based on Steele’s real-life hen) who lives on a sunny farm with a happy herd of chickens in a lovely coop. Violet is ready to become a mommy chicken, and there’s lots to do to prepare for little chicks of her own. The reader follows through the process of egg laying, brooding, hatching, and the early and adolescence of young chickens, and soon, they will be more than prepared to help care for chickens and chicks of their own.

Very cool! The many, many elements of breeding and raising chickens are simplified down to a kid-friendly format, then laid out in a pseudo-story, allowing children to learn as they invest in Violet and her chicks. The information is formatted especially well, making each new piece of information it’s own self-contained section, so as to educate without being too overwhelming or dry. The illustrations also do a great service here, visualizing the animals in a darling yet realistic style that provides engaging visual aides. This isn’t a true storybook, and not for reading in one sitting (though JJ still loved the art), but is a perfect book for families introducing their little ones to chicken farming. A wonderful resource for aspiring chicken fanciers and/or farmers, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight For Desegregation (Duncan Tonatiuh)

Hello, everybody! Today’s book is Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight For Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh, the true story of the Mendez family’s fight to desegregate California public schools.

When Sylvia’s father uses his life savings to move his family to a new town, he is thrilled with the promise of his children getting a good education. But when Sylvia’s aunt takes them to enroll, she and her brothers are turned away and told they must attend the “Mexican school.” Despite being US citizens and speaking perfect English, Sylvia and her brothers are forced to attend a substandard school with disinterested teachers, flies, even an electric fence. Sylvia’s parents decide to fight this injustice: her father hires a lawyer and tours to raise support, and her mother works day and night to keep the farm running in his absence. After three years of fighting in the courts, the Mendez family wins their case, and the governor of California signs a law saying that all public schools must be open to ALL children. Sylvia is sometimes taunted at her new school, but she learns to hold her head high regardless: her family fought for justice, and they won.

This book was absolutely incredible. I loved that it did not shy away from the racist mindsets that school officials used to justify marginalizing these families. The story recounts testimony of a school superintendent who cites a lack of intelligence, work ethic, and even hygiene as reasons that Latino children should be barred from attending white schools. It’s an honest example of the extreme systemic prejudice that these families faced at the time, and still face today. This is ultimately a story of triumph, of one family’s fight and sacrifice to provide a better future for not only their children, but all children. The Mexican folk art-inspired illustrations are a wonderful addition, as is the educational appendix. The length may be pushing it for most baby bookworms, but this is a must-read when kids are ready. Absolutely phenomenal, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved.