Inspiring true stories for kids
True stories of courage, ingenuity, determination and perseverance can inspire kids in many important ways. Such is the case with the books reviewed today. In our present cultural climate where young and old alike are constantly flooded with news that is anything but uplifting, often confusing, and not exactly something inspiring or something to aspire to, it’s a good practice to incorporate true stories that offer the opposite. See for yourself; you never know when a seed might be planted and take root, just because you made the effort to read these stories to the important child in your life.
Books to Borrow
The following book is available at many public libraries. “The Secret of the Yellow Death: A True Story of Medical Sleuthing” by Suzanne Jurmain, photographs various credits, Houghton Mifflin, 104 pages Read aloud: age 10 and older. Read yourself: age 10 - 11 and older. First there is a bone-freezing chill, a crushing headache, and a stomach twisted in pain. This is quickly followed by a boiling hot fever, skin and the whites of the eyes that turn yellow. Streams of vomit black with digested clots of blood occur over and over. The victim of this terrible disease called yellow fever will, in all likelihood, be dead in days. The trail of misery and death had been occurring for a long time. “The fever struck the rich. It struck the poor. It killed the humble, and it humbled the important.” It was widely known that yellow fever killed, but doctors and scientists were unable to combat the disease because they didn’t know what caused it. Here is the true story of how five courageous people - four Americans and one Cuban - tracked down one of the world’s most vicious killers: yellow fever. Expertly researched and written, this astonishing and inspiring story is a must-read.
Library: Switzerland County Public Library, 205 Ferry St., Vevay Library Director: Shannon Phipps Choices this week: “Turtle Splash” by Cathryn Falwell; “Earth Day” by Margaret McNamara; “Winter” by Julie Murray
Books to Buy
The following books are available at favorite bookstores. “The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s Coral Reefs” by Kate Messner, illustrated by Matthew Forsythe, Chronicle Books, 2018, 48 pages, $17.99 hardcover Read aloud: age 7 - 9. Read yourself: age 8 - 9. As a young boy growing up in Florida, Ken Nedimyer loved the ocean and especially the reefs of the Florida Keys that teemed with life. Ken learned to scuba dive and studied many species of fish he collected in his thirty aquariums in his bedroom. As Ken got older and was scuba diving out on the reef, he noticed the corals were losing their color and there were far fewer fish among them. Something was terribly wrong - the coral reefs were dying. Now a grown man, Ken and his daughter contemplated this dreadful problem and had an idea. Perhaps they could grow corals and attach those pieces to a dying reef and bring it back to life. Was it possible? Would it work? They had to try. A fitting tribute to Ken Nedimyer and his determination to restore our fragile, environmentally essential coral reefs, is beautifully written and boasts terrific illustrations, making The Brilliant Deep at once fascinating, informative, and a solid nod to anyone who chooses to make a difference. “Sisters & Champions: The True Story of Venus and Serena Williams” by Howard Bryant, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, Philomel, 2018, 32 pages, $17.99 hardcover Read aloud: age 5 - 8. Read yourself: age 7 - 8. As little girls, Venus and Serena Williams and their parents lived in Compton, a tough part of Los Angeles. The girls’ father, Richard, had a dream that his girls would someday be tennis champions. People laughed behind Richard’s back at his claims; his girls were black, black people didn’t play tennis, and no one without money should dream so big. The family soon moved to Florida so the sisters could focus more on tennis. Despite what others said and thought, the sisters (and best friends) continued to practice vigorously and excel at their sport. Their parents always told their daughters “they were special, made of magic and big hearts.” And their father painted a sign to encourage them: “If you fail to prepare properly, you prepare to fail.” The sisters never stopped working and never quit, leading them both to become two of the greatest tennis players and athletes of all time. A thoroughly inspiring true story, this choice will light a fire under kids determined to follow their own dreams. Nationally syndicated Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children’s literature. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org