Review by Deborah K. Frontiera
Children rarely think about where anything comes from or how it is made. Most of them, if asked, will say, “From the store.” Where anything was before that is far from their minds. And yet, it is important that children know a thing or two about where food, clothing, etc. come from. While most things are factory made these days, learning the steps involved helps children understand what their ancestors had to do to have the things we take for granted, thereby learning some history as well. It would seem that Emily C. Cote felt that way too, as she describes step-by-step where socks come from in the new book A Sock Is Born.
While not a complete “how to”, Cote describes the basics of a sock from sheep in the field to putting a sock on your foot. If I had been reading this to the kindergartners I used to teach before retiring, I’d be hearing things like: “Wow,” or “Huh?” or “That’s cool.” I particularly liked her description of “the big haircut” to describe sheep shearing. It’s important for children to understand that shearing does not hurt the sheep any more than a haircut hurts a person.
The author also suggests a bit of experimentation for kids to stretch and twist a cotton ball to get the idea of spinning and why it works. This made me ponder how some ancient human may have gotten bored and tried that with some plant or animal fiber in the ancient past and perhaps thought, “Hmmm, I could do something with this.”
learned a thing or two I didn’t know about lanolin from this book. While younger children might not be interested in the position of the needles for knitting and pearling, older children could actually understand and try it from the details in the illustrations. The fact that the book is all in black and white and hand drawn, adds to the “homemade” feel of the book, but one can easily see that the whole project is professionally done. (Kassandra White, project manager; Nicole Struk, layout and jacket design)
While it might not be something one would think of for the “traditional picture book set”, A Sock Is Born is wonderful nonfiction, an intriguing book of basic ideas to educate in simple form and stimulate young people who want to know more with its list of books for further reading at the end. I highly recommend it for families, classroom teachers, and home school use.
Atlantic Publishing Group Inc. Ocala, FL. 2020 ISBN 978-1-620237-82-3, Ret. $19.95
Deborah K. Frontiera grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. From 1985 through 2008, she taught in Houston public schools, followed by several years teaching in Houston’s Writers In The Schools program. A “migratory creature”, she spends spring, summer, and fall in her beloved U.P. and the dead of winter in Houston, Texas, with her daughters and grandchildren. Four of her books have been honor or award winners. She has published fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s books. She edits the newsletter for the Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association. For details about her many books and accomplishments, visit her web site