Monday, November 16, 2009

Miscellaneous Non-Fiction Monday

I've got a couple different non-fiction works to share with you today that I've recently received in the mail. One I was previously familiar with, but not the second! Hopefully you'll enjoy them.

Raven, Margot Theis.
Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot.
Sleeping Bear Press.

I read this book several years ago as part of a reading project for one of my Master's classes. I loved it then and was so happy to receive a review copy in the mail a few weeks ago! Chuck full of history about the Berlin Airlift, stemming as a result of WWII, the concept of the "Chocolate Pilot" will easily draw in children. After Berlin blockaded off the roads, railroads and canal routes in an attempt to Germany under his communist control, West Berliners were left without food, clothing, heat and electricity, as there was no way for it to be delivered. The Allies (U.S., Great Britain and France) came up with the idea of a "sky bridge." The mission delivered more than 2.3 million tons of supplies to West Berliners. Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot tells the story of one seven-year old West Berlin girl, Mercedes and the "chocolate pilot" Lt. Gail Halvorsen. The children of West Berlin used to beg Lt. Halvorsen for "sweet freedom" and wished to give them something sweet, even though he knew it couldn't yet be freedom. Instead, he began dropping gum and candy to the children and even made a special delivery to Mercedes herself after she wrote a letter of appeal to him!

During this holiday season, perhaps more now than ever, there are many families here in the United States that are unfortunately not going to have the "sweetest" holiday season. Perhaps, in your own community (as part of a school, library, or even just your family), you could become "Chocolate Pilots" yourself, holding a chocolate drive. Collect as much chocolate as you can for the less fortunate in your candy. Then, as the holidays near, take your collection to the local food pantry that is in charge of putting together holiday meals and let them add a bit of chocolate to each family's meal basket - sweeten up someone else's holiday and in doing so, remember the kindness and love Lt. Havlorsen showed to the children of West Berlin!

Schonberg, Marcia.
I is for Idea: An Inventions Alphabet.
Sleeping Bear Press.

From the peanut butter sandwich to the sewing machine to dynamite and gas masks, this is the book for inquisitive children who love trivia and inventions! I think I've said this before, but these alphabet books by Sleeping Bear Press are great because they can be very basic when they need to be in order to use with the youngest of children but also provide a great deal of detail for older readers who want to know everything they can about a specific topic. That is what makes this book the perfect candidate to use in a 3rd grade social studies class here in New York when children are learning about inventors and inventions. Here, they will learn about 25 very different inventions by 25 very different inventors, all while learning that they, too, can become inventors, as the "I" page exhibits!
These are Inventions in our book
standing for the letter I.
You can be an inventor, too,
but only if you try.
I think you will find this book useful in many ways, even if you're just looking to encourage your child(ren)'s creativity and imagination. You will also find useful activities for using the book in the Teacher's Guide, provided by Sleeping Bear Press!

If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to


style='clear: both;' Debbie said...

Thank you for sharing, these sound like very interesting books, I will have to look for them at our library.