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[Nonfiction Wednesday] From Gobbler Of Books to Field Paleontologist

Meet Sue Hendrickson in "When Sue Found Sue" by Toni Buzzeo and Diana Sudyka.

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Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2020 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.

I love stories about shy, intelligent, bright-eyed women who are the best at what they do. Sue Hendrickson definitely fits the bill.


When Sue Found Sue: Sue Hendrickson Discovers Her T. Rex (Amazon | Book Depository)

Written by Toni Buzzeo Illustrated by Diana Sudyka
Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers (2019)
ISBN: 1419731637 (ISBN13: 9781419731631)
Borrowed from NLB Singapore Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

While there are multiple picturebook biographies on female visual artists, athletes, mathematicians, dancers, singers, scientists, librarians – there are few that actually focus on the social sciences, paleontology, for example. The closest one I can think of, off the top of my head (apart from the many variations on Jane Goodall’s life) is the life story of herpetologist Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor, by Patricia Valdez and Felicita Sala (Amazon | Book Depository) – see my review here. This is the gap this picturebook intends to fill:

The image above is priceless – this idea of gobbling books and the delicious feeling of learning and growing with every page of the book is one that I can definitely resonate with. Sue was a treasure hunter and took refuge in books and found objects.

At age seventeen, Sue already knew that she would live a life of discovery. Her curiosity demanded to be satisfied with journeys, expeditions, the glorious hunt for lost objects that are aching to be found. This goal led her to faraway places such as the deserts of Peru, Dominican amber mines, and the hills of western South Dakota. It was in one of these expeditions when Sue followed her unerring instincts that she was led to the treasure of a lifetime.

The thrill of discovery, the unremitting hard work, the singular focus were all conveyed in this picturebook biography that effectively humanized Sue Hendrickson, described in the Author’s Note as “an adventurer, an explorer, an underwater archaeological excavation driver, a marine archaeologist, a dinosaur hunter, a field paleontologist, and a renowned expert on amber fossils.” Teachers would also be happy to note that there are resources for children provided at the end of the book, along with a list of references for young researchers who want to know more about Sue Hendrickson’s fascinating life.


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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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