Friday, July 14, 2006


HOW WE ARE SMART by W. Nikola-Lisa, illustrated by Sean Qualls (Lee and Low)

Being smart can be about more than doing well in school. Using Dr. Howard Gardener's multiple intelligence theory, the author celebrates the many ways that people can be smart: body smart, logic smart, music smart, nature smart, people smart, picture smart, self smart and word smart. Each kind of smart is exemplified in a short biographical portrait containing a quote from a notable individual , a poem, and a paragraph-long description of the subject's life and accomplishments. At the end of each passage, the author invites the reader to ask, "Are you like...?" and they will be eager to compare themselves to this decidedly multicultural "who's who," containing such effervescent talents as scientist Ynés Mexia, architect I.M. Pei, Explorer Matthew Henson, musician Tito Puente, among others, a shining dozen all together.

Besides serving as a very nifty book of biographical introductions, it will do so much to help children value whatever kind of smart that they are, and will remind adults of the special and varied gifts every child has, just waiting to be unwrapped. Be book smart and add this inspiring addition to your collection, and the excellent backmatter including resources and activities make this a must-have for progressive teachers and homeschoolers. (8 and up)

Speaking of must-have, if your school has a budget for guest authors you must have this author, W. Nikola-Lisa! I will never forget the rainy afternoon he spent at the PlanetEsme Bookroom, in which he entranced a roomful of people for a timeless hour, reading not only his own books but the books of many others. He played music and cast everyone under such a charismatic, magical bookloving spell that we had to wonder, "television? What's that?" Truly, for his special gifts of not only writing fine books but getting folks to love reading, this man is a national treasure.

Look at this guy! Clearly, he knows what kids like.

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.

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