Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ain't Nothing But a Man: My Quest to Find the Real John Henry by Scott Reynolds Nelson

Lynn: "I suddenly saw it, the clue that changed everything." Scott Nelson's journey to discover if John Henry was a real person makes for exciting reading in this beautifully designed book. He takes the reader step by step through the research process, from dead ends and roadblocks to the hard work and inspiration that helped him to solve the problem. Young readers get a taste of what it is really like to do historical research and along the way they will learn a lot about the time, the events and forces that shape our world.

This is the kind of nonfiction that inspires and motivates and is fun too! The endnotes are fascinating and the section by Marc Aronson on "How To Be a Historian" is also very well done.
Cindy: I'll never hear the ballad of John Henry again that I won't think of this wonderful book. Teachers should have success using this book to illuminate the research process, but teens who give it a chance will be sucked into the mystery from the first page. A must purchase for school and public libraries...and a darn fine holiday gift book as well.