Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday (10)

As part of the Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge 2012 (Twitter: #nfpb2012), my goal is to read and review as many of the new non-fiction picture books that are released this year.  Wednesdays will be my primary day to post the reviews.

Though I believe we should celebrate Women's History all year long, March has been designated Women's History Month.  As March comes to a close, I am celebrating Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday with a review & giveaway of Women Explorers by Julie Cummins. 

Women Explorers
Author: Julie Cummins
Illustrator: Cheryl Harness
Publisher: Dial/Penguin Group (February 16, 2012)
Source: Copy for Review
Audience:  Grades 4th to 8th
Women's History * Biography * Nonfiction

Description from GoodReads:
Though most people have heard of explorers like Henry Hudson and Christopher Columbus, few have heard names like Nellie Cashman and Annie Smith Peck. With engaging text and bold illustrations, "Women Explorers" introduces 10 of these adventurous women to the world. Full color.

My thoughts on the book:

I am really loving the wonderful variety of nonfiction picture books and biographical picture books that are currently available.  The format and design are reader friendly and very accessible for kids.  Julie Cummins' Women Explorers is one of those books.  Cummins looks at the lives of 10 women explorers who lived during the late 19th Century and the early 20th Century.

With colorful illustrations and 3 pages of text per woman, Cummins shares just enough information to provide readers with a sense of each of these unique individuals and to pique interest in discovering more about them.  These very special women went everywhere and did amazing things considering that in the late 1800's and early 1900's women did not typically have the same opportunities as men.  Additionally, traveling all around the world was not an easy endeavor.  Each of these women demonstrated great strength, courage, curiosity, and dedication as they explored places like the Artic, the South Seas, the wilderness of Mexico, or Africa.

For many of them, their upper-class families' resources and wealth, afforded them opportunities that would normally be closed to women.  It was also fascinating to read about the types of clothes that they wore and sometimes the amounts of luggage or equipment that was needed in order to embark on these journeys. Though some of these women lived well into their 80's or even 90's, some died young due to illness or unfortunate situations encountered on their travels.

I was inspired and amazed by the lives of these incredible women.  I am not certain that I could endure some of the conditions that they had to face in order to pursue their dreams.  When I was younger, I moved from the east coast to the west coast.  With the support of a friend, I traveled in a Uhaul and camped out each night.  I remember distinctly thinking about the men and women who had made similar journeys during the 1800's in horse drawn wagons.  The mountains of the west were impressive to this East Coaster, but I couldn't imagine crossing them on horse.

Everyone of these special women were to be admired, but I was especially in awe of Lucy Evelyn Cheesman.  This diminutive woman, dressed in "a bush suit with shoes and stockings", used a nail file to cut through the threads of a particularly challenging spider's web and dined with cannibals in the South Pacific.

This is a book that I would certainly recommend for school and classroom libraries.  Each story can be read as an individual read aloud or used as a tie-in with other text.  If you are interested in a copy, why not enter the giveaway below courtesy of Penguin Books.

Also, don't forget to add any recent nonfiction picture book reviews to the Mr. Linky widget below. Thanks to those who are participating in the Nonfiction Picture Book challenge. 

Giveaway Rules:

1. Though comments are very much appreciated, please do not enter any personal information in the comments section (including your email, website, etc.).  If you do enter personal information, you comment will not be posted.

2.  You must complete the Entry Form to officially enter the contest.

3.  The Contest runs from  March 28, 2012 to 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on April 4, 2012.

4.  You must be 13 or older to participate in this contest.

5.  If you are selected as a winner, I will notify you by e-mail.  If you do not respond within 48 hours, I will select a new winner.

6.  International participants are welcome to enter the contest.