Friday, February 11, 2011

11th February Holly Keller (1942) National Inventors Day

Of course it is Jane Yolen and Mo Willems birthday, but I wrote about them last year and they are very well known. Today I want to focus on Holly Keller. She is an American author and a prolific illustrator, having illustrated so many books for other authors, especially science titles. When she also does the writing she tends to choose to have animal protagonists who deal with family issues such as sibling rivalry, adoption, fitting in and coping with a change like the death of a pet. There's a series of stories about each of these, Geraldine, a piglet, Henry, a possum, and Horace, a leopard who is adopted by tigers. But, my favourite of her books is Grandfather's Dream, a story set in the ricefields of a river delta in Vietnam. Nam's grandfather has told her stories about the cranes who frequented the area before the war and they would like them to return. This beautiful story has many layers of meaning and an important message which is accessible to a large age range. The book could be used with children from four to twelve, whereas many of Holly's other books are for a much younger audience.

National Inventors Day commemorates the birth of Thomas Edison (1847 - 1931). While there are many information books which feature him such as Marcia Williams's Three Cheers for Inventors! I thought it would be fun to read a book to younger children that features an inventor. Louise Yates has a new book Frank and Teddy Make Friends in which Frank, a mouse is always inventing things including a new friend, Teddy.

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