Monday, November 21, 2011

Nonfiction Monday

Rumor has it that the new state standards for language arts will require that 60% of the literature children read be nonfiction. This is a bit of a departure; think core novels and literature based education. I've done what I can, but I don't know how that state has chosen to change this when most of the schools in Columbus Public don't have librarians. We will see how many librarians we have in my district next year, and if we have any money to buy the needed nonfiction. Not that I'm feeling bitter or anything this morning.

Malam, John. Pompeii and Other Lost Cities
This is a great book to hand to students after they have read about Pompeii in social studies class. It gives a brief description of what a "lost city" is, and then proceeds to give examples of "lost" and "found" cities including Pompeii, Amarna, Skara Brae, Machu Picchu and Akrotiri. (I was there! it was really cool.) The text is accompanied by a map, pictures of artifacts, and drawings of purported reconstructions.
Strengths: Just the right amount of information for casual reading, and the accompanying visuals make this an intriguing beginning source for these areas of the world.
Weaknesses: This does not have enough information for a research project, if students were doing a report on Pompeii, etc.

Cohen, Robert Z. Transylvania: Birthplace of Vampires.
This is part of a Rosen series that also includes Dracula: The Life of Vlad the Impaler, Vampires in Film and Television, Vampires in Literature and Vampires in mythology. This gives an overview of the history of the area, a description of indigenous vampire lore, examples of vampire-like behavior from historical characters, a description of how Transylvania became so firmly linked with vampire legends, and information about modern Romania.
Strengths: Great book lay out, excellent information, and good additional resources at the back of the book. This will be picked up frequently.
Weaknesses: This might be more information about Transylvania than most readers really want, but I thought it was interesting.

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