Books can help open doors to careers

Books can help children open doors to careers

November 17, 2012

As children, few of us knew what our future career would be. Many adults have had more than one career path, changing direction every now and then until they found something in which they exceled and liked.

But it’s not possible to know what interests us if we don’t know it exists. One of the benefits of exploring nonfiction books with children is that those books open new worlds and new ideas. When something clicks and an interest emerges in a particular subject, it can be the start of a lifelong passion that may even develop into a future career.

Today’s reviewed books explore this idea in different ways. Ask your local librarian to help you find other books to fuel the budding interest your child may have. You never know where that effort might lead.

Books to borrow

The following book is available at many public libraries:

Gorillas by Seymour Simon and photographs by various credits (Smithsonian/HarperCollins, 32 pages)

Read aloud: age 5 to 9

Read yourself: age 8 to 9

This outstanding book provides young animal lovers with the latest and most important information about one of nature’s most intelligent animals.

Outstanding color photographs are coupled with engaging, informative text elucidating man’s closest genetic relative – the gorilla. Learn about the different kinds of gorillas, how and where they live, groom, sleep, play and more. Fascinating in every regard, it’s no wonder Seymour Simon has been hailed as “the dean of the (children’s science book) field.”

Librarian’s choice

Library: Peters Township Public Library, 616 E. McMurray Road, McMurray

Library director: Pier Lee

Children’s librarian: Heather Blake

Choices this week: “The Giant Hug” by Sandra Horning; “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” by John Bellairs; “The Neverending Story” by Michael Ende

Books to buy

The following books are available at bookstores:

The Skull in the Rock: How a Scientist, a Boy, and Google Earth Opened a New Window on Human Origins by Lee R. Berger & Marc Aronson (National Geographic, 2012, 64 pages, $18.95 hardcover)

Read aloud: age 9 to 10 and older

Read yourself: age 10 to 11 and older

For 17 years, Professor Lee Berger had explored South Africa’s Cradle of Humankind – the most studied and excavated fossil hunting ground on the planet. Like many great scientists who have searched for and found many important fossils of our ancient ancestors in the Cradle, Lee persisted in his search.

When Google Earth was launched, Lee had an idea. Using this new tool, Lee would be able to view this familiar terrain from a completely new perspective. Lee’s careful examination showed several new caves and possible fossil sites.

In August, 2008, Lee and his 9-year-old son, Matthew, were hunting for fossils in the Cradle using the new map. Suddenly, young Matthew shouted that he had found a fossil. But this wasn’t a typical fossil found in the Cradle; this find “ … opened a door two million years back in time.”

An extraordinary book that makes clear that there are always new discoveries to be made, “The Skull in the Rock” is an adventure not to be missed.

The Story of Silk: From Worm Spit to Woven Scarves, written and photographed by Richard Sobol (Candlewick, 2012, 37 pages, $17.99 hardcover)

Read aloud: age 9 to 10

Read yourself: age 10 to 11 and older

Silk has long been one of the world’s most sought-after fabrics. But for those who think they know about silk, think again. This book explains things most of us would ever know about silk, taking readers and listeners on a fascinating journey to Thailand, where author/photographer Richard Sobol investigates just what it takes to create this luxurious textile, from the careful tending and feeding of silkworms all the way to the magnificent finished product.

Prepare to be amazed and informed; this selection is terrific.

Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children’s literature. She can be reached at her website,



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