Thursday, October 29, 2009

CYBILS 2009 - One Giant Leap

I actually blogged about One Giant Leap this summer, but since it has now been nominated for a Cybils nonfiction / informational picture book award, and I am one of the panelists, I thought it would be good to bring it to everyone's attention again. What follows is the blog post I published in July, shortly after receiving this book as a gift at a seminar on word study:

I was recently with Franki Sibberson ( Year of Reading) at a seminar she was presenting. During her seminar, she handed out a few mentor texts to support her topic. One such text was the picture book One Giant Leap by Robert Burleigh and painted by Mike Wimmer.

This book is amazing on many different levels:
  • The book tells the story of how Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon in the Eagle while their fellow astronaut, Michael Collins, continued the orbit of the moon on his own in the Columbia. What a phenomenal moment in history!
  • For all of us who watched this unfold on our black and white TVs (and even for those of you too young or not born at the time), this book captures the feelings of worry (would they be ok landing and taking off from the moon), excitement (as Armstrong and Aldrin climbed down the steps of the Eagle and then bounced around on the moon), pride (that NASA has been able to accomplish this feat), and disbelief (how could man be on the moon, or even in outer space).
  • The story is told completely in verse, with amazing language for children to hear and read over and over. This is a book meant to be reread many, many times!
  • The paintings by Wimmer are breathtaking -- they capture the words of Burleigh perfectly.
  • The story gets inside the feelings and emotions of Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins, and lets the reader know what they were thinking during this monumental moment in history. That technique draws the reader in even more.
  • We are soon approaching the 40th anniversary of this event - July 20, 1969 - so this book is a very timely. One Giant Leap can bring this event alive for an entire new generation.
  • And, on a personal note, in addition to everything else I've listed, this will be a great book to add to the Earth and Moon study I do with my students.
This is a fabulous book, and I am so glad I have it! I have many excellent nonfiction books in my classroom collection, but only a few are like "magnets" to the entire class. I believe One Giant Leap will be another one of those "magnets". I can't wait to share this with my students!

1 comment:

  1. I'm constantly amazed by Mike Wimmer. This book is really gorgeous...