Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

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.

Here are some of the books from this past week:

Mrs. Harkness and the Panda
Author:  Alicia Potter
Illustrator: Melissa Sweet
Publisher: Random House (March 13, 2012)
Audience: Grades 2-5

Ruth Harkness in 1936 did something that most women would not have done. She left her home and went to China to find a baby panda bear. Her husband died during an earlier exploration (due to cancer) and Harkness wanted to finish that search despite being a woman.

Now though we don't advocate going to another country to capture an animal, in 1936 attitudes were different. Harkness's actions provided many people with information about pandas that had not been available before.

I did find it humorous that she took 22 pieces of luggage with her but again due to the times they had to pack everything they would need for a long trip.
Definitely an interesting story which was released just in time for Women's History Month.

Melissa Sweet who created Balloons over Broadway uses similar techinques to create the illustrations for this book.  They are wonderful and I do hope they get some recognition.

Georgia in Hawaii: When Georgia O'Keeffe Painted What She Pleased
Author:  Amy Novesky
Illustrator: Yuyi Morales
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (March 20, 2012, but I have seen it in the wild)
Audience: Grades 2-5

Another book out in time for Women's History Book focuses on the famous female artist Georgia O'Keeffe.  Amy Novesky is paired up with Yuyi Morales covering the illustrations.  Morales brings her considerable skill in painting rich, vibrant pictures that just jump out at you.  The choice to use such vibrant colors paired with creating illustrations based off of O'Keeffe's actual work brings depth to the story.

Novesky's story captures Georgia's trip and experience in Hawaii.  O'Keeffe was determined to explore Hawaii and paint the beautiful scenes which she was witnessing.   This put her in direct conflict with the wishes of the Pineapple Company which just wanted O'Keeffe to paint a pineapple. 

Though the book ends a bit abruptly, I loved many of the illustrations and the sense of who Georgia O'Keeffe was as a woman and painter.

It's that time of the week...add your nonfiction reviews to the Mr. Linky below.