2008 Non-Fiction Picture Book Finalists

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams
written by Jen Bryant
illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Eerdmans Books for Young ReadersThis biography follows “Willie Williams” from his days as a smart,
athletic youngster to his later years as a physician. As readers see
him aging, they also see the inexplicable pull of poetry in his life
and the making of a man as a poet. The multimedia illustrations
closely compliment the text, making for a book that exudes the spirit
of Williams in every way. The book concludes with timelines of both
Williams’ life and world history during Williams’ lifetime.

Astronaut Handbook
written and illustrated by Meghan McCarthy
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

How does one become an astronaut? McCarthy opens the door to astronaut
training and lets readers in on all the secrets. The eye-popping
illustrations offer ways to understand information that would be too
difficult for the target audience had it been presented only in text.
The back matter includes a page of fascinating facts and a
bibliography of books, web sites, videos and places to visit.

Duel! Burr and Hamilton’s Deadly War of Words
written by Dennis Brindell Fradin
illustrated by Larry Day
Walker Books for Young Readers

Fradin’s historically accurate telling of the story of the duel
between Hamilton and Burr is dramatically told. Both men are cast as
well-rounded human beings with flaws and strengths, and both are shown
to be at fault for the duel. The book concludes with a lengthy

Fabulous Fishes
written and illustrated by Susan Stockdale

This Seuss-like look at the world of fish uses bold illustrations and
rhyming text to introduce young readers to the wide variety of ocean
fish. Stockdale follows up her textual overview with a few pages of
additional information about each fish pictured. A long list of
resources is also included.

Nic Bishop Frogs
written and illustrated by Nic Bishop
Scholastic Nonfiction

Jam-packed with amazing and sometimes quirky facts, and gorgeous
photos, this book takes readers on a journey through the wonderful
world of frogs. Scientifically, Bishop doesn’t talk down to young
readers, but rather helps to make the mystery that is life and science
more understandable. A glossary and index are included.

Wanda Gag: The Girl Who Lived to Draw
written and illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray

Using Gág’s own words, Kogan Ray tells the story of a woman born into
an art-loving family who followed her own dream to create art, no
matter what obstacles stood in her way. This biography follows Gág
from her childhood years up through the publication of her Newbery
award-winning book, Millions of Cats.

Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa
written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter

Winter’s bold illustrations and straightforward prose tell the story
of this Nobel Peace Prize winner’s efforts to bring the green back to
Kenya. Focused on her early life, this biography introduces readers to
a girl who loved nature, decried its destruction, and worked
tirelessly to reforest her beloved homeland. The back matter includes
an author’s note and quote from Maathai.

–Fiona Bayrock, organizer