Monday, April 6, 2009

Non-Fiction Monday: Discovering our past

When I get to read books like these two, it reminds me how much I really enjoy Non-fiction titles. I never used to be a big fan, not in the children's genre at least, and now, after seeing so many great ones this year...I love them wholeheartedly.

Lucy Long Ago: Uncovering the Mystery of Where We Came From is written by Catherine Thimmesh. Literally a step-by-step "story" of how a paleontology team uncovered a skeleton in Ethiopia, leading to a very cool process of discovery. "Lucy," as the skeleton became affectionately called appealed to many different times of scientists, all searching for answers as to who she "was." Did humans descend from Lucy? Did she walk on two feet?

Accompanied by beautiful photography (the cover is awesome), the text is written simply, easy for kids to read, and is very interesting, never dry. Not only does the reader learn about Lucy, but also about the different jobs of archeologists, paleontologists, anthropologists, etc. A great glossary is included, as well as a list of different sources, websites, and an index.

This is a fantastic book for libraries (middle school and high school)... fun to read and incredibly educational!

Lucy Long Ago: Uncovering the Mystery of Where We Came From
Catherine Thimmesh
64 pages
Houghton Mifflin
May 2009

Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland, is written by Sally M. Walker and takes us on a slightly different path of discovering our ancestors. With this book, we already know there is no question about these people landing on our continent and setting up lives...this is just a deeper look into what their lives were actually like and how it influenced us as a country.

Again, anthropologists uncover skeletons, and are thus able to learn about specifics in their lives. What they ate, what work they did, how they died, and their ancestry. Included are amazing photographs, diagrams, maps, and other cool learning tools, alongside the text. The back provides a timeline, sources, recommended reading, and websites.

The writing in Written in Bone is slightly more advanced that Lucy Long Ago, making it more appealing to your older kids, probably 7th grade and up. The info is more detailed, but very interesting. The forensic anthropology is definitely going to intrigue kids into picking this one up, and learning more about our ancestors is always a plus.

Another great title for libraries!

Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland
Sally M. Walker
144 pages
Carolrhoda Books
February 2009

To learn more about either of these titles, or to purchase, click on the book covers above to link to Amazon.

1 comment:

Debi said...

I love middle grade/young adult non-fiction, too! I find it a great way to learn a lot while getting my feet wet in a new subject. If I feel like reading more, I can always follow up. But if I find I'm not that interested after all, I haven't wasted the time it would have taken me to get through some 500 page adult non-fiction book on the subject.