Over the last few years, inhabitants of Washington and its environs have witnessed the new National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) slowly rising from the ground. Now, budding historians can get an inside look at How to Build a Museum (Viking, $17.99) thanks to Tonya Bolden’s fascinating account. The NMAAHC’s recent opening marked the realization of more than a century of petitioning, fundraising, and planning, but the first step was very simple: as the opening chapter title attests, it was to dream. Learn how this dream became a reality in a fascinating tale of Americans coming together to create a truly vital institution. Ages 11-14.
What would a hospital be without nurses? How could an army go into battle without them? Before Florence Nightingale (Clarion, $18.99) appeared on the scene, such was the case in British military hospitals. Although she gained her greatest fame for shattering this particular glass ceiling during the Crimean War, however, Nightingale’s accomplishments extended far beyond the end of the war. She braved severe family opposition to answer what she understood to be a call from God to serve, a vocation she continued to perform in myriad ways for the rest of her long life. Noted biographer Catherine Reef’s latest book provides a fascinating glimpse into how one woman’s intelligence and grit changed the world forever, as well as a reminder of the essential and courageous work that nurses continue to do today. Ages 12-15.
Take a tour of the Best in Snow (Beach Lane, $17.99) with April Pulley Sayre. Her deceptively simple verses are not only charming in their own right; as a helpful section at the end of the book explains, they are also a poetic interpretation of scientific facts about snow. The real stars of this show, however, are Sayre’s breathtaking photographs: images of ice-covered trees are truly dazzling, while forest critters shown in the midst of a winter wonderland will rob readers of the ability to say anything but “awwww.” Thanks to this sprightly volume, book lovers can enjoy the beauty of winter even after the snow has melted. Ages 3-7.