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The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas


The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas


The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas


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May 17 Daily Update
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Karina Grokhovskaya, WTV Executive Producer • May 17, 2024

WTV's Ryan Shapiro, Karina Grokhovskaya, and Sadie Johnson bring you a few last words

Every Book Has a Silver Lining: The girl who drew butterflies

Christina Huang
In this weekly review, Every Book has a Silver Lining, staff reporter Christina Huang takes a look at books to find their silver lining.

Nonfiction isn’t the most popular genre out there, especially when a younger audience is concerned. Joyce Sidman tackles the challenge in her biographical novel The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science, attempting to tell the informative story of Merian’s discoveries in a lighthearted way to appeal to children. 

The writing is clearly understood and split into just twelve chapters, each one starting with a photo of a stage in a butterfly’s life cycle. Filled with direct quotes from Merian, artwork from her and the people around her, and other related images( such as a German bill that has a picture of Merian on it), the book is undoubtedly colorful and bright, but it can feel like a textbook at times. 

The poet goes above and beyond, providing some historical context relevant to the book’s setting (explaining the persecution of those who in that time were accused to be ‘witches,’ for instance) as she informs her readers about the crawling insects and the life cycle of a butterfly, and the life of the woman who discovered much about them. 

Sidman might know the history, but she was limited in some of the claims she could make when people’s intentions were concerned. In other words, Sidman knew the history: the who, what, when, and where, but she couldn’t provide readers with the why. So instead, she occasionally posed rhetorical questions, suggesting possible answers to these questions. 

With a bibliography, timeline, and glossary, the informative intent is undeniable, but it’s difficult to turn all of the information into something entertaining for those who aren’t as passionate about the history or the science behind the story. However, the audience does help make the nonfiction book easier to digest without deviating from historical accuracy. 

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About the Contributor
Christina Huang
Christina Huang, Staff Reporter/Interactive Media Editor
Christina Huang is a sophomore in her first year officially with Wingspan. She enjoys reading, writing, playing the piano and viola, and finding/creating wallpapers for her phone which she will likely never use. She’s looking forward to the opportunity to better her writing and find the good in scorned books this year through her book blog: Every Book Has a Silver Lining. Contact Christina:

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