Monday, August 23, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: Who was Amelia Earhart? by Kate Boehm Jerome, illustrated by David Cain

Occasionally, I get asked for biographies. Usually by kids who have a school assignment. I don protective gear and trudge back to the last shelf of the juvenile nonfiction. I close my eyes and gingerly snatch a few shabby volumes off the shelf, shake off the dust and spiders, and hand them to gloomy-eyed children, who meander slowly away, looking with disgust at my offerings.

In other words, our biography section is sadly outdated. But, I don't really get enough call for biographies to justify updating it at this point. Even if I had the money. Which I don't.

But I do occasionally have kids who actually, *gasp*, like to read biographies. One of them asked me if we had any of the "Who Was..." series. Of course, we didn't. But I borrowed one from another library to see if they were a possibility for that far-off time when we do update the biography section.

They definitely are. This particular volume, a life of Amelia Earhart, has a breezy narrative style with enough tidbits and stories to hold a reader's interest, as well as enough facts for a school report. I learned quite a few new things about Earhart myself, including her career in fashion design and the fact that she had a long hiatus from flying while she was dealing with financial difficulties. The illustrations break up the story nicely, although they're not particularly fascinating on their own, and the text is a good, readable size.

The illustrations include a map or two and there are also several inset pages on the Wright Brothers, the aviation industry, etc. A timeline and bibliography are included at the back. And the book is - ta dum ta dum - 106 pages long. This is VERY important, because 99% of school reports involving biographies require something at least 100 pages.

Verdict: This looks like an excellent, and very useful series. Recommended by one of my young patrons and now myself! I'll put this on the list for that hypothetical time when I weed and update the biography section.

ISBN: 978-0448428567; Published November 2002 by Grosset and Dunlap; Borrowed from the library

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