Tag: Nonfiction

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

Author: Katherine Applegate
Illustrator: G. Brian Karas
Published: October 7, 2014
40 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: June 10, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

In a spare, powerful text and evocative illustrations, the Newbery medalist Katherine Applegate and the artist G. Brian Karas present the extraordinary real story of a special gorilla.

Captured as a baby, Ivan was brought to a Tacoma, Washington, mall to attract shoppers. Gradually, public pressure built until a better way of life for Ivan was found at Zoo Atlanta. From the Congo to America, and from a local business attraction to a national symbol of animal welfare, Ivan the Shopping Mall Gorilla traveled an astonishing distance in miles and in impact.

This is his true story and includes photographs of Ivan.

Jessica’s Review:

This is the sad, but true story of Ivan the gorilla. It has a happy ending and is aimed for younger children.  Ivan was taken away from his family as a baby in the Congo and grew up in Tacoma, Washington. He became a shopping mall spectacle to attract shoppers. He lived in a cage at the shopping mall for 27 years!

Finally, after protests Ivan was sent to Zoo Atlanta where he lived the rest of his life. He lived to age 50. In the wild gorillas live into their 30s. Ivan passed away in 2012.

I am from Georgia but never really knew Ivan’s story: Now I want to learn more about him.  This children’s book is a great introduction to Ivan and his life before going to Zoo Atlanta. The illustrations do a good job of helping to tell Ivan’s story.

There is an ‘About Ivan’ section in the back that gives basic information on his life and includes pictures.

To find out more about Ivan, Zoo Atlanta has a section of their website dedicated to him.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

 

Project Semicolon: Your Story Isn’t Over

 

Author: Amy Bleuel
Published: September 5, 2017
355 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: May 11-19, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

For fans of PostSecret, Humans of New York, and If You Feel Too Much, this collection from suicide-awareness organization Project Semicolon features stories and photos from those struggling with mental illness.

Project Semicolon began in 2013 to spread a message of hope: No one struggling with a mental illness is alone; you, too, can survive and live a life filled with joy and love. In support of the project and its message, thousands of people all over the world have gotten semicolon tattoos and shared photos of them, often alongside stories of hardship, growth, and rebirth.

Project Semicolon: Your Story Isn’t Over reveals dozens of new portraits and stories from people of all ages talking about what they have endured and what they want for their futures. This represents a new step in the movement and a new awareness around those who struggle with mental illness and those who support them. At once heartfelt, unflinchingly honest, and eternally hopeful, this collection tells a story of choice: every day you choose to live and let your story continue on.

Learn more about the project at www.projectsemicolon.com.

Jessica’s Review:

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so I feel reading and reviewing Project Semicolon this month was in perfect timing.

Amy Bleuel started Project Semicolon in 2013 to give hope and love for those who are struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction, and self-injury. The semicolon is used because in literature it is intended to continue a sentence versus ending it.  Using the semicolon, you show that you are choosing to continue on despite your situation. This is a symbol with so much meaning!

Project Semicolon is a non-fiction book that is comprised of many individual stories in their own words. These stories range from a few sentences to several pages. Some stories give details of their lives, some just touch on issues.  It does begin with a disclaimer/trigger warning that these stories could affect you if you have suffered and advises to stop reading if this occurs. At the end of the book is various organizations’ information on who to contact if you feel you need assistance.

Project Semicolon is a book you do not have to read in its entirety, but you should and I did.  It is a difficult read and one I took in steps to read.  You can feel the anguish that all the authors have in sharing their stories.  Some of the stories are ‘In Memoriam’, with those sharing stories after losing someone to suicide. I recommended reading all of Project Semicolon as the stories that touched me the most were in the second half of the book.   The stories that affected me the most were:

Teresa S (page 256)
Hayleigh H (page 280)
Kristie C (Page 307)
All were In Memoriam stories

In addition to the stories shared, there are photos of the semicolon tattoo in its various forms throughout the book that are the storytellers’ own tattoos. That gives each story an even more personal touch. I would have liked more details in some of the stories: Some are so brief we don’t learn much about the person’s story. Some stories felt incomplete (which they of course could be as they may still be facing their monsters) and some felt impersonal and like an essay. I would have liked to learned more on their journeys and what helped them succeed.

Project Semicolon does also include Amy’s story in her own words.  Despite starting Project Semicolon, Amy lost her battle with these issues on March 23, 2017 at the age of 31. Her legacy continues as Project Semicolon is still around helping those who need it today.  Here is an article I found that address Amy’s death and how complex suicide prevention is.

Amy’s story is here in her own words.

Project Semicolon is definitely worth a read and is a great organization that is devoted to helping others overcome their battles they face. If you feel you need help please get it. You ARE worth it and your story isn’t over!

https://projectsemicolon.com/

 

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The Space Adventurer’s Guide

The Space Adventurer’s Guide: Your Passport to the Coolest Things to See and Do in the Universe

Author: Peter McMahon
Illustrator: Josh Holinaty
To Be Published: May 1, 2018
104 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: April 18, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

It’s not just astronauts who get to travel into space anymore. Forward-thinking entrepreneurs have now made space flight a reality for adventure-seekers of all kinds. And just in time, here’s a travel guide for kids to plan their own out-of-this-world journeys. Eight potential space vacations are described, one per chapter, complete with information about pre-trip preparations (like training to withstand extreme g-forces), accommodations and dining (hot dogs in zero gravity, anyone?), awesome activities (how about a real moon walk?) and so much more.

The trips range from orbiting Earth (available now), to voyaging through Saturn’s rings, which may be possible within the next few decades. Featuring the coolest things to see and do in the universe, these space vacations are not to be missed!

Award-winning science journalist Peter McMahon has come up with an intriguing concept sure to pique a young reader’s interest in all things outer space. Based on the latest science and featuring first-person accounts from experts in the field, this book is chock-full of opportunities for science and technology lessons. With kid-sized bursts of text (including loads of amazing, and sometimes icky, facts), fascinating photographs of everyday life on actual space flights, as well as fun-filled illustrations from Josh Holinaty, this hugely appealing book is also one that children will gladly pick up on their own — and devour. A glossary and index are included.

Jessica’s Review:

If you have a child interested in space, then get them this book!  This book has plenty for them to learn about and as an adult you will learn too!  There are real pictures of astronauts in space as well as drawings.  Between these and the fun facts given(which can be TMI that the kids will find hilarious and make the adults cringe)  throughout, this will  keep kids interested in the subject of Space!

The Guide talks about space travel now and in the future. It does mention the high cost of space travel.  It is crazy to think that what is mentioned here for the future will happen at some point:  From staying on the Moon to cruising in space and even on a comet!  In the far off future we will even be able to travel to Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn!  All of the different kinds of trips are mentioned with how long they will take to get there (and how for the long term trips) and how far away these places are.  Guide mentions the training one must go through as well. These trips are not something you just decide to do! Also mentioned in these trip are ‘things to do” which keeps the kids learning as they read.

This children’s book helps you to realize how advanced we are and will become in the future. And one day just maybe space travel will be as common as getting in your car for a drive!

Special thanks to Kids Can Press for an e-arc via NetGalley!

Pre-order Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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