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An Evaluation Guide for Nonfiction

Books For Children Ages 0-7


Author: Will Mara
Title: Amelia Earhart
Publisher: Childrens Press
Synopsis: This book covers the birth, life and accomplishments of Amelia Earhart. It also covers her disappearance and what her life
meant for women.
Summary: Do you ever dream of flying a plane? Amelia Earhart did. From her birth in her grandparents house in Kansas in 1897, to her
enrollment in flying lessons soon after she took her first flight, this book covers the life of Amelia Earhart. It gives great detail to the
things that she thought were important, and how she set goals for herself, and was very purposeful in attaining them.
Evaluation
Style and language (precise vocabulary, figurative language, strong and clear exposition, Personal voice, avoids didacticism and condescension,
etc.) 1 - 10 = 10
Comment: I enjoyed the personal voice used in this biography. The author is very clear and paints Earhart in a dynamic manner.
Compelling details (quotations, anecdotes, little-known facts, etc.)

1 - 10 = 10

Comment: While reading this book, I learned that Amelia Earhart came to love flying and developed her yearning to become a pilot.
Fascinating comparisons

1 10 =10

Comment:
Unusual subjects or viewpoints 1 - 10 =10
Comment: I enjoyed the fact that the author painted Earhart in such a pleasing light and speaks so highly of her accomplishments and
what they meant for women of that time- all without painting her as a feminist. The author speaks of Amelias goals but makes them out
to be personal goals.
Personalized content (new perspectives, first-person accounts, etc.)

1 - 10 =5

Comments: There are no first-person accounts in this book.


Accuracy (up-to-date research, references, no mixing of fact and fiction or anthropomorphism, etc.)

1 - 10 =10

Comments: The research and facts presented in this biography seems spot on in comparison to other biographies I have read on Earhart.
Attractive design (Photos, artwork, etc.)

1 10 =10

Comments: The real life photos used in this book help to put the face with the name. I think that children will enjoy seeing photos of the
planes that Earhart flew and her planned route when she attempted to fly around the world.
Photo or artwork captions (new information?) 1 10 =10
Comments:
Is it a well-rounded piece? 1 10 =10
Comments: The pictures and information presented in this book make it a well- rounded biography.
Rating (10 high; 1 low)

1 10 =10

Comments: I rate this book highly. I have done units on flying before, and Amelia Earhart has always been a favorite of the children (and
a personal favorite of my own when I was much younger) Incidentally, when I learned about Amelia Earhart, I learned that her plane
disappeared in the Bermuda triangle. Not exactly factual information! Imagine my surprise a few years later in middle school when I
found out the truth!

An Evaluation Guide for Nonfiction


Author: Pamela Walker
Title: Abraham Lincoln
Publisher: Childrens Press
Synopsis: This account of Abraham Lincolns birth, youth, rise to presidency and his legacy is very detailed and written on a
developmentally appropriate level for young children.
Summary: From his birth in 1809, to his death in 1865, Abraham Lincoln was a beloved figure in American history. This book provides a
beginning understanding of Lincolns accomplishments in a way that is friendly for young children- minus the horrific details of slavery
and his murder.
Evaluation
Style and language (precise vocabulary, figurative language, strong and clear exposition, Personal voice, avoids didacticism and condescension,
etc.) 1 - 10 = 10
Comment: I very much appreciated the page in this book that shows Abraham Lincoln chopping wood and saying what a hard worker he
was. This is a very important lesson for young children.
Compelling details (quotations, anecdotes, little-known facts, etc.)

1 - 10 = 10

Comment: I love the fact that a picture of The Lincoln Memorial is included in this book, along with the quote In this temple, as in the
hearts of the people for whom he saved the union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever. This is such a powerful
statement for young readers.
Fascinating comparisons

1 10 =10

Comment:
Unusual subjects or viewpoints 1 - 10 =10
Comment:
Personalized content (new perspectives, first-person accounts, etc.)

1 - 10 =10

Comments: I have never known the history of Abraham Lincoln to be presented minus the gore. It was somewhat refreshing to see a
biography written on Lincoln without the need to talk about his death.
Accuracy (up-to-date research, references, no mixing of fact and fiction or anthropomorphism, etc.)

1 - 10 =10

Comments: The facts presented here are spot on compared to other historical accounts of Lincolns life. The research seems current and is
not mixed with fiction.
Attractive design (Photos, artwork, etc.)

1 10 =10

Comments: I enjoyed the photos I this book. I also enjoyed the painting of Lincoln holding the ax.
Photo or artwork captions (new information?) 1 10 =10
Comments:
Is it a well-rounded piece? 1 10 =10
Comments: This is a well- rounded piece. I specifically enjoyed the real photographs of Lincoln. Even if they are very blurry by todays
standards, they give an accurate account of his stature.
Rating (10 high; 1 low)

1 10 =7

Comments: I only wish that there were a few more details provided in this book. I feel that it is very developmentally appropriate in that
is does not include any of the horrific things that ended Lincolns life, but I do think a few more details may have made this book even
better. Maybe more photos of Lincolns family, or adding a detail or two about The Gettysburg Address.

An Evaluation Guide for Nonfiction


Author: Dana Meachen Rau
Title: Dr. Seuss
Publisher: Childrens Press
Synopsis: This autobiography details the life and some of the work of Theodore Geisel AKA Dr. Seuss.
Summary: Have you ever heard of Sneeches or The Grinch? This book covers the birth of Theodore Geisel, his education at Dartmouth,
his transformation into Dr. Seuss, how he enjoyed making people laugh. It also covers parts of his stance on helping others and taking
care of the environment. This biography also covers Theodore Geisels death in La Jolla, CA in 1991.
Evaluation
Style and language (precise vocabulary, figurative language, strong and clear exposition, Personal voice, avoids didacticism and condescension,
etc.) 1 - 10 = 9
Comment: The author is very clear in her descriptions of Theodore Geisels life. The personal voice added by the author gives a touch that
softens the small amount of didacticism in this book.
Compelling details (quotations, anecdotes, little-known facts, etc.)

1 - 10 = 10

Comment: I enjoyed learning that Green Eggs and Ham was written using only 50 words!
Fascinating comparisons

1 10 = 10

Comment: I learned that when Dr. Seuss wrote The Cat in the Hat, that it changed the way that people wrote childrens books.
Unusual subjects or viewpoints 1 - 10 = 9
Comment:
Personalized content (new perspectives, first-person accounts, etc.)

1 - 10 = 7

Comments:
Accuracy (up-to-date research, references, no mixing of fact and fiction or anthropomorphism, etc.)

1 - 10 = 10

Comments: The factual accuracy and research seem to be spot on.


Attractive design (Photos, artwork, etc.)

1 10 = 10

Comments: The real life photos that are used in this book make it easy for young children to correlate this author to some of their
favorite stories.
Photo or artwork captions (new information?) 1 10 = 10
Comments: The descriptions of the photos used in this book are clear and thought provoking. They show Dr. Seuss at all stages of his life.
Is it a well-rounded piece? 1 10 = 10
Comments: This is a well- rounded piece. It provides information that any young reader may want to know about Dr. Seuss. Its photos
match perfectly and help illustrate how this wonderful author lived.
Rating (10 high; 1 low)

1 10 = 9

Comments: I rated this book a 9 because after I put it down, I still wanted to know more about Theodore Geisel. I feel that this book is
very good for younger readers and I will be sure to keep it in mind if I ever want to do a Dr. Seuss unit in the future.

An Evaluation Guide for Nonfiction


Books for Older Children
Author: Leslie Garrett
Title: Helen Keller
Publisher: DK Publishing
Synopsis: From her birth in 1880 to her death in 1968, Helen Keller lived an amazing life, and showed that anything is possible when
someone cares enough to help another person in need.
Summary:
Evaluation
Style and language (precise vocabulary, figurative language, strong and clear exposition, Personal voice, avoids didacticism and condescension,
etc.) 1 - 10 = 10
Comment: The figurative language used in this book was perfect for describing the scenarios and interactions between Helen Keller and
her teacher Annie Sullivan. Ex: One beautiful day, a month after Annies arrival, Annie put Helens hands under the cool water.
Compelling details (quotations, anecdotes, little-known facts, etc.)

1 - 10 = 10

Comment: I did not know that Annie Sullivan herself had been blind at one point, and that surgery had restored her vision.
Fascinating comparisons

1 10 =10

Comment:
Unusual subjects or viewpoints 1 - 10 =10
Comment: The authors viewpoint of why Annie Sullivan did not want to accept her honorary diploma from Temple University was very
thought provoking.
Personalized content (new perspectives, first-person accounts, etc.)

1 - 10 =10

Comments: I enjoyed the first person accounts of Helen Kellers later years, and her feelings about not wanting to live alone at home
after Annie Sullivan died.
Accuracy (up-to-date research, references, no mixing of fact and fiction or anthropomorphism, etc.)

1 - 10 =10

Comments: Annie Sullivans first person account of her work with Helen to her friend was heartwarming. I think I shall succeed beyond
my dreams.
Attractive design (Photos, artwork, etc.)

1 10 =10

Comments: The mixture of photographs and illustrations in this book are truly a work of art. I enjoyed both of them equally.
Photo or artwork captions (new information?) 1 10 =10
Comments: The captions in this book add new depth to the information provided within the text and pictures. Example: The text talks of
Radcliffe College, and the photograph and caption of Radcliffe College go into further detail of how it was a school for girls who wanted
to attend Harvard, which was a boys only school at the time.
Is it a well-rounded piece? 1 10 =10
Comments: This is a very well-rounded piece. The information is very informative and there is a great deal to be learned from the
photographs as well.
Rating (10 high; 1 low)

1 10 =10

Comments: I learned so much from this book. Many details that I never knew. The personal touch from this author is wonderful. I cant
wait to be able to use this book someday.

An Evaluation Guide for Nonfiction

Author: Jen Green


Title: Vincent van Gogh
Publisher: Franklin Watts a Division of Scholastic
Synopsis: This book covers the birth of Vincent van Gogh, his childhood, childhood love of sketching, move to London, mental health
issues and ultimately, his suicide.
Summary: Vincent van Gogh was born in the Netherlands in 1853. He was the fourth born of five children. As a young child, van Gogh
loved to roam around the countryside and sketch. He was very close to his younger brother, Theo. When he was 20 years old, he moved to
London and began dealing art. He quickly became disillusioned with art dealing and decided to become a priest. He tried, twice,
unsuccessfully, to enter seminary. Van Gogh decided to learn to be a painter. Van Gogh had a stint with mental illness and eventually
took his own life. His brother, Theo died just a few months after van Gogh and is buried at his side. Van Gogh left behind around 800 oil
paintings and 700 sketches. His first art exhibition was arranged by his Brother Theos wife, Jo, a few years after Vincent and Theo
passed away.
Evaluation
Style and language (precise vocabulary, figurative language, strong and clear exposition, Personal voice, avoids didacticism and condescension,
etc.) 1 - 10 = 10
Comment: I feel the personal voice in this biography adds a nice touch compared to other biographies I have read of van Gogh. A good
example of this is in the descriptions of each of the paintings duplicated for this book.
Compelling details (quotations, anecdotes, little-known facts, etc.)

1 - 10 = 10

Comment: Did you know that Vincent van Goghs brother, Theo, is buried next to him? That he painted the mental institution where he
recovered? A first time reader of a van Gogh biography will be on overload. There are so many facts!
Fascinating comparisons

1 10 =10

Comment: This book compares van Goghs work to another French painter who lived with van Gogh at the time, Paul Gauguin. I do see
many similarities in their impressionist artwork. Apparently, the two of them had many disagreements.
Unusual subjects or viewpoints 1 - 10 =10
Comment:
Personalized content (new perspectives, first-person accounts, etc.)

1 - 10 =6

Comments: I did not notice any new perspectives in this biography as compared with other biographies of van Gogh.
Accuracy (up-to-date research, references, no mixing of fact and fiction or anthropomorphism, etc.)

1 - 10 =10

Comments:
Attractive design (Photos, artwork, etc.)

1 10 =10

Comments: The layout of the book flows very nicely. The reproductions of van Goghs art really add a new dimension to the book. I feel
that children will benefit greatly from seeing these paintings.
Photo or artwork captions (new information?) 1 10 =10
Comments: The art in this book is truly breathtaking. I feel that the captions of the reproductions in this book add so much depth and
detail. For example in the caption of the Langlois Bridge at Arles with Road alongside the Canal, 1888, the author adds the details that
This became one of van Goghs favorite spots, and continues on giving information about Japanese Art.
Is it a well-rounded piece? 1 10 =10
Comments: This is definitely a well-rounded piece. Lots of information, the art work is visually stimulating and the words are very
informative.
Rating (10 high; 1 low)

1 10 =10

Comments: I rate this book so highly because of the reproductions of van Goghs artwork. While I do not see any new information as
compared to other van Gogh biographies, the information contained inside of this book is second to none. If you want to know anything
about van Gogh, this is definitely the book for you!

An Evaluation Guide for Nonfiction