Myra here.

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We are excited to join Kidlit Frenzy’s Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year. For November-December, we are featuring Paranormal Fantasies: Dragons and Unicorns, Vampires and Elves.

Many thanks, dear Iphigene, for this lovely widget. Truly beautiful.
Many thanks, dear Iphigene, for this lovely widget. Truly beautiful.

As such, we are also sharing picture book biographies of word weavers and fantasy makers.

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This book details the story of the scholar Peter Mark Roget born in Switzerland in 1779 and lived in London England until he died in 1869. He was a “man of letters,” a true scholar. And his life’s journey is documented here in painstaking detail, the research thorough, the art and layout befitting the man Roget had been.

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The image of the pink blossom, for some reason, made me unbearably sad. Roget’s family was constantly on the move, making it difficult for him to find and keep friends. And so he found refuge in his books and in his word lists, taking comfort in being able to find the exact word that would communicate his thought with great clarity, illuminating each facet of his emotion with just “the right word.”

He wrote his first book when he was eight years old entitled Peter, Mark, Roget. His Book. It can’t get any clearer than that, could it?

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Roget’s brilliance is evidenced in the fact that he is fascinated with so many things: taxonomy being one of his interests, with Linnaeus’ Systema Naturae being one of his inspirations for his later works. He was also a medical doctor, an inventor, a researcher. More than anything, though, he was a word-catcher. He wanted to pin words down in his notebook; putting them together, classifiying and subclassifying those that reflect a shade of emotion, a nuance of thought, a spark of feeling.

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Roget knew how powerful words can be. As a lover of words and lists, I draw strength from the knowledge that words have wings, and that the right permutation of phrases delivered in perfect cadence can change the world. Roget believed in the significance of his purpose. He wanted his book to be a tool not just for academics or researchers, scholars or professors who have their noses forever buried in a book. Roget wanted his words to reach the ear of just about anyone who needed it:

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The amount of research that both writer and illustrator did to make this book come alive is seen in the extensive backmatter that they have included, as well as their list of resources. The endpapers created by Melissa Sweet are absolutely riveting. They have definitely done Roget proud in this extremely successful collaboration.

This would be a great book to pair with the following books. Click on the image to be taken to my review:

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The Right Word: Roget And His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet. Published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2014. Book borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

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Reading Challenge Update: 282 (25)

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Nonfiction PictureBook Challenge: 62 (25)

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Singapore. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she serves as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads or meeting up with her book club friends, she is smashing that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life.

3 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Roget and His List of Words in “The Right Word”

  1. I loved reading the nonfiction PB about Webster and loved it! I KNOW I’ll love this one, too. I canNOT imagine my writing life (or life, in general) without two of my favorite books: the dictionary and the thesaurus 😀

    Like

  2. I loved this book after the first read! I haven’t used it in the class yet, but I plan to in January! I hope the kids enjoy the message and artwork!

    Like

  3. Pingback: [Nonfiction Wednesday] The Makings Of The Man Behind The Dictionary in “Noah Webster and His Words” – Gathering Books

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