Books by Theme

Thanks for the Dreamers

Children sometimes need reminders that big changes in our world often start with the small actions of just one person. Meet people whose passion for art or science or helping others just may inspire others. And who knows what special dreamers may read a book today!

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

An Eye for Color: The Story of Josef Albers

By: Natasha Wing
Illustrated by: Julia Breckenreid
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

As a child, "Josef Albers saw art in the simplest things…" His interest in color and the way colors changed forever altered the way color theory was taught. The author was Albers' neighbor as a child and provides an assessible, engaging glimpse of how one man's vision can change the way things are viewed.

Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You a Pie: A Story About Edna Lewis

By: Robbin Gourley
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Edna Lewis grew up on a Virginia farm where she developed a deep appreciation for the rhythm of nature, the beauty in growing things, and the warmth in sharing a home cooked meal. Edna's early life and passion led to a career as a professional chef known for preserving cooking traditions. Several recipes are included in this handsome, lively book.

In Her Hands: The Story of Sculptor Augusta Savage

By: Alan Schroeder
Illustrated by: JaeMe Bereal
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Augusta Savage was a born artist, making clay figures even as a child. She pursued her passion, actually earning money for her family until she was old enough to travel from her rural Florida home to New York City where she studied at Cooper Union and became part of what is now known as the Harlem Renaissance.

Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci

By: Gene Barretta
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Even though Leonardo da Vinci lived a long time ago (born in 15th century Florence), his ideas have intrigued inventors and scientists ever since. In cartoon-like illustrations and brief text, old "Leo" ideas are juxtaposed to newer "Neo" ideas. This playful book is informative and engaging and may inspire further investigation of man and inventions.

One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference

By: Kate Smith Milway
Illustrated by: Eugenie Fernandes
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This fictionalized story of Kojo, a boy from Ghana, who changes his world with a small loan and one hen, is based on a real person. Kwabena Darko lives in West Africa and started a system of micro-loans in villages that would not otherwise have access. Additional resources and sources for further information allow readers to find out more.

Pennies for Elephants

By: Lita Judge
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

When Dorothy and Henry see a notice that the city of Boston cannot afford to buy three trained elephants, they begin city-wide campaign to raise the needed $6,000. Working together, the children are successful and present the pachyderms to the mayor for the zoo. Inspired by actual events in 1914, this can-do tale will empower, engage and perhaps inspire.

Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangara Maathai

By: Claire Nivola
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Wangari Maathai's native Kenya was a changed land, literally blowing away because its trees and growth had been destroyed. Rather than complain, she started a reforestation effort for which she was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Handsome illustrations combine with crisp text to tell the story of one person’s impact.

Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story

By: Paula Woo
Illustrated by: Lin Wang
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Anna May Wong grew up in San Francisco in the 1920s, working diligently in her family's laundromat but secretly daydreaming of becoming a movie star. When she set out to realize her dream, she soon discovered the lack of opportunity in Hollywood for Asian American actors. After traveling in Europe and China, Anna May ultimately decided to portray only roles she felt presented a positive image of Asians, leading the way for the many actors who followed in her footsteps.

The Secret World of Walter Anderson

By: Hester Bass
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Walter Anderson "may be the most famous American artist you've never heard of." But he and his passion for nature on the U.S. Gulf coast are introduced through an evocative text and luminous illustrations. An extensive author's note provides additional information and several reproductions of Anderson's work.

The Storyteller's Candle

By: Lucía González
Illustrated by: Lulu Delacre
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This is the story of librarian Pura Belpré, told through the eyes of two young children who are introduced to the library and its treasures just before Christmas. Lulu Delacre's lovely illustrations evoke New York City at the time of the Great Depression, as well as the close-knit and vibrant Puerto Rican community that was thriving in El Barrio during this time. Bilingual Spanish-English text.

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Maria Salvadore
Maria Salvadore
July 5, 2016

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"I'm wondering what to read next." — Matilda, Roald Dahl