Bunny the Brave War Horse: Based on a True Story


by Elizabeth MacLeod

A look at history through a picturebook, this books tells of the little-known role of several million horses used during WWI. The real-life police horse from Toronto, Ontario, helps keep the kids interest as the story covers quite a bit of ground. And, although the book touches on some heavy topics such as the death of a main character, poison gas, and heavy gunfire, the simple, childish pictures manage to convey the scene without showing guns, bombers, or the dying.


Picturebook with more detailed information on the last pages.

Ages 3-12

Available from public libraries


Reviewer: Doreen


Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist



by Karen Prior

You know John Newton and William Wilberforce, but did you know that they were part of the Clapham group? And that each member had a key role to play in the religious awakening and political reform of their day? Meet Hannah More, the prolific writer who in William Wilberforce’s words had a great impact on society: “Individuals who are not in parliament seldom have an opportunity of doing good to considerable numbers. Even while I was writing the sentence I became conscious of the falsehood of the position; witness Mrs. Hannah More, and all those who labour with the pen.”

Here is a book for those who love biographies, are pursuing a writing career, or who want a fuller picture of the anti-slavery work that was going on in England at that time. Well-written!


Ages 16-adult

Available from public libraries


Reviewer: Doreen

Into the Woods: John James Audubon Lives His Dream


by Robert Burleigh

A poetic look at the work of John Audubon. If you know nothing of him, it would be better to start with the brief autobiographical note at the end of the story. Told in rhyme as a letter to his father, the book highlights his love for birds and nature. True (but brief ) excerpts from his journal are what make the book worth reading. Illustrations are well done.

Ages 6-12

Picture book

Available from public libraries


Reviewer: Doreen

My Heart Glow: The Birth of American Sign Language

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My Heart Glow: Alice Cogswell, Thomas Gallaudet, and the Birth of American Sign Language

by Emily McCully

A warm retelling of how one small deaf girl’s need opened up the first school for the deaf in America. Picturebook.

Ages 5-10


Available from public libraries

Reviewer: Doreen


Helen Keller

When checking out nonfiction books on a famous life like this one, there are so many options, that it can be overwhelming. Disappointing, too, if you order books without seeing them, and they turn out to be dull. So here are a variety of books for a variety of ages on Helen Keller.

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Hand in Hand: based on the real-life story of Helen Keller and Martha Washington, by Jean Little

The author develops this historical fiction novel based on the real relationship that Helen had as a girl with Martha, the cook’s daughter, who was her first friend.  Chapter book, ages 7-10.

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Annie and Helen, by Deborah Hopkinson and Raul Colon

A picture book that begins with Helen’s inability to communicate and ends with the joy of her first letter written home by herself. A thorough and clear explanation of Annie’s methods, with large illustrations for children, and real excerpts from Annie Sullivan’s journal at the time. Picture book, ages 5-10.

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Helen Keller and the Big Storm, by Patricia Lakin, easy reader

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Helen Keller’s Best Friend Belle, by Holly M. Barry,  picturebook

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Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen Keller,  by Doreen Rappaport

This picture book is similar in style to Annie and Helen, but covers Helen’s whole life from babyhood to death. The large pictures make it attractive to children, and the text is very clear, interesting and informative. Quotes sprinkled throughout are from Helen’s journal this time, instead of Annie’s. Well-done. Picturebook, ages 5-10.

The Private World of Tasha Tudor

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by Tasha Tudor and Richard Brown

Best known for her children’s artwork from half a century ago, this book gives a photographic look and biography into Tasha’s later life as an elderly lady in America who was convinced she should have lived 150 years ago.

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Her story and pictures will inspire adult readers who love the idea of being self-sufficient, working with pioneer-time tools, corgis, or true English-style cottage gardens.

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Ages 16 and up

Available from public libraries

Reviewer: Doreen

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Misty of Chincoteague


By Marguerite Henry

Here is an adventure for horse-loving children that will introduce you to a wild horse band on two real islands off the coast of North America. The story focuses on the efforts of a brother and sister to get a pony of their own, and speculates a little on the history and legend of how the first wild ponies got to North America. The children’s success in the story may seem a little too-good-to-be-true, but the author assures her readers at the beginning that though the order of the events in the book may have been shuffled, the events did truly happen!

Bonus: There are many more “horse” books written by this author. It is too bad that public libraries don’t seem to carry many of others.

Recommended for horse-adventure lovers

Chapter Book or Unabridged Audio Book

Available from public libraries

Ages 6-12

Reviewer: Doreen

Leonardo’s Horse

leonardo's horse

By Jean Fritz

Nonfiction/biography doesn’t get much better than this! Enjoy this picture book that tells a true story that begins in the late 1400’s with young Leonardo daVinci in Italy, and ends in current-day Michigan in Frederick Meijers Gardens!  Here is a story that satisfies an interest in not only the artistry behind this 24 foot bronze horse, but also tells the actual process of how such a big statue is made. Overall, a wonderful depiction of Leonardo’s times and creativity.

Below: a peek inside the book


Ages 6 and up



Available from: public libraries


Reviewer: Doreen


Alexander the Great


by Jane Bingham

A real chapter book, it still includes colourful illustrations on every page. Very interestingly told narrative. Not told from a Christian worldview but great for adventure-lovers or if (you) your child needs to brush up on that period of time.

Part of the USBorne Famous Lives series.

History, nonfiction, 64 pages

Ages 6-12

Available from: Hamilton Public Library


Reviewer: Doreen

The Boy on Fairfield Street: How Ted Geisel Grew up to Become Dr. Seuss

the boy

By Kathleen Krull

A fascinating, warm telling of Ted Geisel’s childhood, school years, and how he became “Dr. Seuss” in his early twenties. Both the story-telling and wonderful pictures make it an enjoyable interesting read for those who wonder about the creative mind behind the creatures that walk, leap, fly, swim and creep across the pages of his books!


Biography, Picturebook

Ages 5 and up

Available from: Hamilton Public Library


Reviewer: Doreen

teds mother