Nonfiction 10 for 10 event is back for year two! I welcome any opportunity to celebrate fantastic nonfiction picture books. Thank you to Cathy Mere from Reflect and Refine, Mandy Robek of Enjoy and Embrace Learning and Julie Balen of Write at the Edge for hosting this meme. Click here to read all of the top ten lists shared.
On Wednesdays, Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy also hosts the #nfpb2014 event where bloggers can link up to share nonfiction picture book titles. As always, thanks to Alyson for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2014! Go here for this link up.
Last year for #nf10for10 I shared favourite nonfiction titles – many that I have used with my class over the last few years in a variety of ways.
This year, I chose to focus on nonfiction picture book biographies that feature inspiring women. I have read numerous biographies to my class this year – including some of the titles below. I am very conscious of making sure my students are exposed to both inspiring women and men. These stories spark so much wonder, discussion and learning.
In honour of wonderful women . . .
Me . . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell
The brilliant Patrick McDonnell won a Caldecott Honor for this title for very good reason. It is an absolute detailed dream of the little girl who grew up to be the inspiring Jane Goodall. Little Jane drags her stuffed monkey Jubilee through the woods, around the farm and all about the great outdoors. We see sketches from Jane’s own nature journals. We learn about her lifetime passion for animals. We hear about her dreams to go to Africa. And then it is so . . . Jane’s dreams really did come true.
Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A Nivola
A wonderful read aloud to share with upper primary (and older) students about finding your passion and making it your life’s work. I love this book for many reasons. The depiction of Earle’s curious childhood in the water, descriptions of moments in her life that truly shaped and changed her, beautiful and enticing illustrations and this very important message: “You can’t care if you don’t know.” In this story, this message applies to ecology and caring for our natural world but it is a message that applies to so many things. One worth thinking a lot about.
Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell written by Tanya Lee Stone and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
I love the style of this book – the visual style and the appealing narration. It makes the story both interesting and accessible for young readers. And what a story! An important biography about determination, changing general opinion and beliefs and following a dream. While I want all of my students to hear this story (I have purchased my own copy for my picture book biography collection), there are some children that I specifically have in mind who will rejoice in the messages of this book.
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Maker’s Strike of 1909 written by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
A fabulous story made even more spectacular by Melissa Sweet’s illustrations. This book tells the story of Clara Lemlich who was instrumental in the labour movement in the garment industry in the early 1900s. Introduces children to themes of work place safety, worker’s rights and individual strength and resolve.
The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry
I will admit that I bought this book because I was captured by its gorgeous cover and I knew it was about an inspirational woman who transformed an entire city. Love it for its passionate celebration of nature. For its gorgeous illustrations. Or for its important historical journey back in time beginning in the 1860s with a little girl named Katherine Olivia Sessions. A little girl who brought lush, green life to the city of San Diego. A woman who studied science when other women and girls did not. A woman who took what she had learned it and applied it in the most important of ways and brought a city to life. And oh, that cover . . .
Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills written by Renee Watson and illustrated by Christian Robinson
Not only a glimpse into the life of Harlem Renaissance singer Florence Mills but a story of courage, commitment and the power to make change.
Miss Moore Thought Otherwise: How Anne Carroll Moore created Libraries for Children written by Jan Pinborough and illustrated by Debby Atwell
Well. . . Anne Carroll Moore now has superhero status as far as I am concerned. Loved this story of how one woman acted as a champion for children’s access to books, libraries and beautiful spaces. Moore opened the first children’s room in the New York Public Library. She made that this was truly a place for children full of art, natural collections, story tellers and most importantly books and children to read and celebrate them.
Miss Dorothy and her Bookmobile written by Gloria Houston and illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb
Such an inspiring story about Dorothy Thomas, an absolute book hero. Dorothy’s dreams of a fine brick building where she could be librarian never materialized. But her role in bringing books to a community was huge. True testament to how books change lives and connect community.
Queen of the Falls by Chris VanAllsburg
How could a 62 year old woman plan and execute a stunt such as going over Niagara Falls in a barrel? Here is the story of Annie Edson Taylor, determined to make her fortune by being the first person to go over the falls. A compelling and sad story. This blurs nonfiction and fiction as it is told by master story teller VanAllsburg but I feel it has enough connection to Taylor and the events surrounding this stunt to make it fit the nonfiction category.
Helen’s Big World The Life of Helen Keller written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Matt Tavares
What an incredibly inspirational book about Helen Keller and her brilliant teacher Annie Sullivan. This book has quotations by Keller on every page. Beautifully, beautifully illustrated. What an amazing relationship between teacher and student. What a tribute to the power of education. So much to this book.
Thanks again to Cathy, Julie and Mandy for the inspiration and hosting this event!
Happy reading and sharing everyone! Hurray for nonfiction picture books!