Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy by Richard Michelson, illustrated by Edel Rodriguez

One of my favorite memories of my brother is watching old Star Trek reruns together on television. They ran on local stations in syndication then and as far as we were concerned, it didn't matter how many times we saw each episode - and eventually we saw them all. And while Captain Kirk was the lead character of the show, for us, it was really Mr. Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy.

Naturally, when I learned there was a new picture book about Leonard Nimoy, I was very excited.  I no longer watch Star Trek (well...maybe once in a while I do), but I was aware of Nimoy's acting/directing career, as well as his photography books.  I realized, however, that I knew nothing about his early life, other than the little I had read in his obituary.

Fascinating is written by Leonard Nimoy's good friend and gallerist Richard Michelson, and if Michelson's name rings a bell, it is because he has written his share of excellent children's books besides being a gallery owner.  Michelson begins his biography with Nimoy's first stage performance - singing "God Bless America" at a talent show in Boston's West End, where the family lived.

His performance was well received, but Lenny's parents had emigrated to the United States from Russia and were less then encouraging about following his dreams, unlike his Bubbe and Zayde who both advised him to do just that.  By 17, Lenny had been bitten by the acting bug and saved all his money to travel to Hollywood and become an actor.

Michelson follows Lenny's acting career as well as his interest in photography but basically ends the book with his role as Spock on Star Trek and the influence of both his hair style for that role and his Vulcan greeting "Live Long and Prosper." The hand gesture that went with it was part of a blessing Lenny saw during a Rosh Hashanah service when he was a young boy.  He was fascinated by it and practiced getting his fingers to separate in the middle by taping them together.  Who knew it would become such a famous gesture world wide?
Fascinating is a really well-crafted biography that introduces the life of this beloved actor to adult fans as well as a whole new generation of kids.  And Edel Rodriguez's colorful illustrations compliment and enhance the text, making it a very accessible book.

Star Trek hasn't disappeared from TV and so neither has Leonard Nimoy.  There are also the movies, some of which he was able to reprise his role as Spock.  And you may recall he also made a guest appearance as Spock on a The Big Bang show before his death.

This is an insightful and inspiring book about a man who found his passion(s) and successfully pursued them.  If for no other reason, it is a book to share with kids today.

This book is recommended for readers age 5+
This book was purchased for my personal library (because deep down, I'm still a Trekkie)

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge is a weekly celebration of 
nonfiction books hosted by Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy 


  1. This is very exciting. I didn't know about this book and will be sure to find it, Alex. I remember well watching those first tv shows, something new and wonderful! Thanks!


  2. Hi Alex, I watched repeats of Star Trek in the late 1970s & early 80s with my son. I don’t remember watching before that, but it’s possible I did because I think they started at the end of the 60s. My mum and dad were huge fans of Quatermass and the Pit. It used to terrify the life out of me but having recently watched a repeat I was less than impressed. Star Trek seems to have stood the test of time where other things haven’t.

    Fascinating sounds like an informative and interest book – fascinating in fact.

    I enjoyed your comment on my blog, and yes; I do get your drift and agree with you!

  3. I really loved this book and thought the author did a great job of sharing Nimoy's life. I learned quite a bit and felt like I wanted to know even more. That's a good sign.


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