Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge

Alyson Beecher over at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts a Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge and has a roundup every Wednesday. I love the encouragement to explore more non-fiction. My plan is to read at least 100 nonfiction picture books this year.
The Amazing Discoveries of Ibn Sina 
by Fatima Sharafeddine 
illustrated by Intelaq Mohammed Ali

Summary: Born in Persia more than a thousand years ago, Ibn Sina was one of the greatest thinkers of his time — a philosopher, scientist and physician who made significant discoveries, especially in the field of medicine, and wrote more than one hundred books.

As a child, Ibn Sina was extremely bright, a voracious reader who loved to learn and was fortunate to have the best teachers. He memorized the Qur’an by the age of ten and completed his medical studies at sixteen. He spent his life traveling, treating the sick, seeking knowledge through research, and writing about his discoveries. He came up with new theories in the fields of physics, chemistry, astronomy and education. His most famous work is The Canon of Medicine, a collection of books that were used for teaching in universities across the Islamic world and Europe for centuries.

Ibn Sina’s story, told in the first person and beautifully illustrated, provides a fascinating glimpse into the life of one of the great intellects of the past.

Manuscript of Qanun [Fil-Tibb] (Cannon [of Medicine]) by Ibn Sina
Aga Khan Museum, Toronto

Review: As I was reading this story I thought something about it seemed familiar. When I got to the author's note, I was sent running to my photos from visiting Toronto this summer. I had looked at Ibn Sina's most famous work earlier this year. I love it when I have connections to books like this.

In this picture book biography, readers come to know about the life of Ibn Sina. He was incredibly intelligent and loved learning about medicine. He became incredibly knowledgeable about medicine and wrote about the things he had learned and discovered. I am happy that my students can learn about this man and his contributions through an easy to read picture book. I do wish the author had included a bibliography. There is a brief author's note, but it doesn't include more resources only why she wrote the book and where his manuscripts are kept. There are maps embedded in some of the illustrations, but a more detailed map would have been nice too.

The illustrations are colorful and attractive. I especially liked the use of a frame around the edges of most of the pages.

Though the Astounding ABC from the Aga Khan Museum, is a board book designed for a younger audience, I would likely pair these together. They would complement each other well as the ABC book shares artifacts from Islamic history and readers could make connections between the pieces there and the illustrations.


  1. This sounds like a really interesting book. I'm not familiar with Ibn Sina and will be sure to look for it in the library. Thanks for sharing it today on Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday.

  2. I think I've read another review of this because the book is already on my wish list. I'll try to get it from the library, Crystal. So interesting to learn of those who gave us knowledge to build upon.

  3. I wasn't familiar with Ibn Sina either, so I'm glad you shared this!

  4. You always manage to find nfpb that I have never heard of before but are ones I want to try and find after reading your posts!

  5. What a great connection. I love that you shared this today!

  6. So interesting to see a biography of an Arabic subject. I love your suggestion of the ABC book to pair it with, too. I also loved Deep in the Sahara.