Picture Books: Bella’s Picks

The Flower Hunter: William Bartram, America’s First Naturalist

I didn’t know anything about William Bartram but I stumbled across this book either on Amazon or on our library’s online catalog. It’s a beautiful book and I loved learning about a little-known but very influential figure in American history, identifying and naming more than 200 species of plants, also writing about birds and native peoples in Florida and the Southeast. His book was an important influence on Lewis and Clark, William Wordsworth and others. His botanical drawings are beautiful.

This was a gem of a book, beautifully illustrated, a lovely introduction to a scientist and explorer I hope to learn more about.

The Romans in the Days of Empire ( Life Long Ago ) by Shane Miller

This is an awesome book for learning about the Roman Empire. We picked it up from the library, even though Bella wasn’t at all impressed when she looked through it. All the pictures are black, white, and brown. Though they are nicely detailed, that’s not going to grab the attention of a seven year-old girl who loves beautiful pictures. But I noticed that it was a story instead of an informational book and I know she prefers to learn from books with stories.

I didn’t read the whole book, Dom and I took turns reading bits of it over the course of several nights. But what I did read was very impressive. The story follows the path of a coin as it passes from hand to hand all over the Roman empire. It travels as far as Hadrian’s wall in the north of Britain. Along the way you learn about the Roman army, roads, ships, traveling in the empire, the judicial system…. all sorts of great information weaves into the story of the coin. The illustrations while not flashy full color are well done, full of detail. They are quite informative in their own right.

I believe it’s out of print, but I think this is a book that would be worth hunting down.

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