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Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize (True Stories) Hardcover – April 15, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3–6—Accompanied by large, captivating realistic paintings, this picture-book biography briefly depicts Nobel's life. According to the straightforward text, the inventor of dynamite hoped his discoveries "…would prevent war. He thought that if people were afraid of the harm that explosions could cause, perhaps they would settle things peacefully first." However, he eventually realized that he was perceived as "a man who earned his wealth by inventing ways to injure and kill," a fact that depressed him. While the text provides basic research information, it raises complicated questions in a sometimes oversimplified manner. Ultimately, it leaves readers yearning for more and wondering just who Alfred Nobel really was. A list of Nobel Peace Prize winners is appended.—Sarah O'Holla, Village Community School, New York City
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Zachary Pullen's picture-book illustrations have won awards and garnered starred reviews. He has been honored several times with acceptance into the prestigous Society of Illustrators juried shows and Communication Arts Illustration Annual of the best in current illustration. Zak lives in Wyoming.

Kathy-jo Wargin is the author of more than 30 books for children, including The Legend of Sleeping Bear. Her many awards include an IRA Children's Choice Award for The Legend of the Loon and an IRA Teacher's Choice Award for Win One for the Gipper. Kathy-jo lives in Minnetonka, Minnesota.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 and up
  • Grade Level: 2 - 4
  • Series: True Stories
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press; 1 edition (April 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585362816
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585362813
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kathy-jo Wargin is the bestselling author of more than 45 books such as the children's classic The Legend of Sleeping Bear, 2001 IRA Children's Choice Award Winner The Legend of the Loon, IRA Teacher's Choice Award Winner Win One for the Gipper, Bank Street College of Education Best Book Listee The Voyageur's Paddle, and newly released Alfred Nobel, The Man Behind the Peace Prize. She has also written two widely successful coffee table books titled Michigan, The Spirit of the Land and The Great Lakes Cottage Book, working in collaboration with her husband, Great Lakes photographer Ed Wargin.

Kathy-jo Wargin was born and raised on the iron range of northern Minnesota, and studied music composition at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. She has been writing professionally for more than twenty years, and is dedicated to the creation and promotion of quality literature for children. She is a frequent guest speaker at reading conferences throughout the nation such as IRA, MAME, MRA and more. In addition, she regularly visits school systems to perform large and small group presentations and teacher in-service programs, as well as frequent book signing tours and promotional events. Kathy-jo Wargin and family reside in Minnetonka, Minnesota.

Her newest book is titled Moose on the Loose. Here's what School Library Journal has to say: PreS-Gr 1-This rhyming text begins by asking: "What/would you do/with a moose/on the loose?/Would you chase him,/or race him,/or stand up to face him?" As the book continues, the creature becomes more daring, and children will delight in the antics of both the moose and its young human companion. Bold, bright, cartoonlike illustrations capture the action in a humorous style, inviting readers to look closely at all the details. The large boldfaced type complements the illustrations and action. Colorful spreads and simple rhymes will make this whimsical story a hit.-Margaret R. Tassia, Millersville University, PA

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Yana V. Rodgers on August 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Early in his career as a scientist and inventor, Alfred Nobel felt drawn to the field of explosives. He was particularly interested in developing methods that would make nitroglycerin safer to handle when constructing roads and bridges and when manufacturing weapons. The experiments were extremely dangerous and even caused a fatal workshop accident that killed five people, including Alfred's brother Emil. One of Alfred's subsequent breakthroughs led to the creation of dynamite, which ultimately made him a very rich man.

Over time, Alfred apparently felt growing remorse that others viewed his invention and its applications in the military primarily as a means of injuring and killing people. He bequeathed almost his entire fortune to the creation of a fund that would finance generous annual prizes in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace. (The prize in economics was added decades later.)

This book brings to life an interesting story that children will enjoy hearing, particularly with the direct text that crisply presents important highlights, and the fabulous illustrations that magnify the characters' facial features. Children and adults alike will walk away with a new understanding of the invention of dynamite, the establishment of the Nobel Prizes, and the ironic link between these two events.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Bogart on October 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The 2009 Nobel Prize announcements are still fresh in our memories. With this year's surprising choice of President Obama as the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, the time is ripe to share the history of the Peace Prize with our children. Whether taught in a social studies/current events setting or around the kitchen table at dinner, Alfred Nobel's name is now much more closely associated with his prizes than it is with the invention of dynamite.

In January of this year, Sleeping Bear Press released Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize to familiarize young readers with Nobel's life: his love for literature, poetry, the sciences, and mankind, and the bequeathal that continues to finance the prizes to this day -- over 100 years later.

Multi-genre children's author Kathy-Jo Wargin turns her accomplished pen (over 30 children's titles) to the task of relating Nobel's life and accomplishments to primary-aged readers. Using vivid, action filled prose; Wargin deftly sculpts the emotional contours of Nobel's life, clearly displaying his idealism, work-ethic, and loneliness despite his great wealth.

Following Nobel through his early experiments with nitroglycerin, his blasting-cap explosive model, the loss of his brother Emil and four workers in a workshop accident, the search for a safer form of explosive, the invention of dynamite, his fame, and death, children will be equipped with a solid peg upon which to hang further knowledge about Nobel's life and the prizes as they grow.

Zachary Pullen's rich, detailed oil paintings straddle the divide between portrait and caricature, as Nobel's larger-than-life facial expressions dominate many of the pages.
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By Beth Ann Choate on March 23, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Even though it is geared toward children, the information is sketchy. I was extremely disappointed. Even young friends, ages 7 & 8 thought it was boring and mentioned that perhaps this book should be geared toward children 5 to 7.
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