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[Nonfiction Wednesday] On Crime Lab Detectives and Forensic Detectives Written For Children

Perfect for aspiring investigators and would-be "squints."

Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2018 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.

For Monday reading, I shared simplified versions of police forensics and undercover operations in nonfiction picturebook titles. These two I am sharing now would be great companion texts, stretching the young reader’s investigative skills even further.

Crime Lab Detectives

Written by John Townsend
Published by Franklin Watts (2011)
ISBN-10: 1607531704 (ISBN13: 9781607531708)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Given the popularity of TV shows such as CSI, Criminal Minds, and Bones, it is not surprising that there are now books that explore the science behind such seemingly-glamorous and infinitely-interesting occupations.

Too often, police detectives or the FBI, CIA, soldiers and double agents are given the centre stage when it comes to their invaluable contributions in fighting crime, terrorists, or biohazardous threats.

Yet increasingly, the so-called “squints” (as referred to lovingly in the TV show Bones by the character Seeley Booth) are the ones who actually solve the crime through their advanced technological tools in their crime lab where DNA testing, blood science, fibre proof and the like are painstakingly done.

I especially enjoyed this title as it links to real-life crime that had been solved through the theme highlighted by the author: be it human hair, DNA evidence, dog poop, forensic images, paper crime to cite a few. Yet, once again, the information is presented in an accessible and engaging way that will make young readers want to re-read the book immediately after finishing it – or maybe finding something very similar to said title to know more.

Forensic Detectives

Written by Katie Kawa
Published by PowerKids Press (2016)
ISBN-10: 1508145237 (ISBN13: 9781508145233)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Among the nonfiction titles related to crime and forensics I have shared here, this is probably the one that I liked the most. The information is presented in a coherent way, in fearless uninterrupted blocks of texts in the left-hand side of the page (with a fairly-large-enough font), and the photographs presented in the right-hand side:

I also liked how the author has anticipated what the reader may be asking about in their mind’s eye – by presenting them with the different branches of forensic science, what it studies, and what kind of education a person needs to have in order to get that kind of job. Pretty useful and important information.

There is also more information presented concerning fingerprint matching, the study of skeletons, how a body is examined, how to test for drugs and poison, and details concerning computers and crime.

Katie Kawa did not only share about high-tech equipment, gadgets, DNA testing – she also mentioned about the disposition required for one to become a forensic detective, primarily the capacity to “stay calm and think clearly in situations that might scare other people.” She also cunningly mentioned the significance of math and science classes as the place to begin if one wants to get into this field. This will definitely be a worthwhile addition to a teacher’s classroom library, and would most likely be one of the more popular titles among young sleuths and scientists.

#LitWorld2018GB Update: United Kingdom | United States Of America

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. 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 served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. 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, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

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