It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday!
I have always read aloud to my children who are now eleven and in Grade 6 (boy/girl twins). Our reading history includes books of all kinds: board books, poetry, picture books, nonfiction, comics/graphics, and novels.
And now? My children are still happy to be my “test children” for new picture book titles. And we ALWAYS have a novel on the go. But do we read nonfiction together? We do. But much more avidly than we ever did! In the past, it was a title here and there. Now, that I am an active participant in this challenge hosted by Alyson Beecher at KidLit Frenzy, my nonfiction reading and awareness has been transformed. I am aware of so many fantastic titles and I have transferred my passion and commitment to nonfiction, to my read aloud time with my children. Usually, we have a longer title on the go that we will read over a week or two – just a little each night. Our evening reading often looks like a section of our nonfiction title and then a chapter or two (depending on the time and the begging) of our novel. Sometimes, we are so engrossed in the nonfiction title, we just read that.
My children and I have all benefitted from the talk that happens with our nonfiction reading. Sometimes one of us is not all that interested in the topic and it requires more talk time and initial research of the topic (watching a video, looking at other books, etc) Other times we are all incredibly curious right from the beginning. Always it is worth it for the connections we make, the questions we share and the learning that we do. How amazing is it to be learning alongside my own children every day!
I highly recommend adding more nonfiction to your read aloud diet!
Our last few nonfiction read alouds were Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill, Dare the Wind written by Tracey Fern and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully and Saving the Ghost of the Mountain: An Expedition Among Snow Leopards in Mongolia written by Sy Montgomery with photographs by Nic Bishop. I have featured all of these on my blog in recent weeks.
What’s up next for us?
Sea Turtle Scientist by Stephen R. Swinburne (published 2014)
I find these Scientiest in the Field titles the perfect read alouds for this age group (10 – 13). My children and I are quite enamoured with sea turtles and I am particularly interested in sharing details of the conservation efforts to protect turtles.
Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa’s Fastest Cats written by Sy Montgomery with photographs by Nic Bishop (published 2014)
Another Scientist in the Field title. Children are fascinated by cheetahs and my children are no different. But, we have talked more and more about how many of Africa’s animals are at risk of extinction. This is an important read.
The Skull in the Rock: How a Scientist, A Boy and Google Earth opened a New Window on Human Origins by Lee R. Berger and Marc Aronson. (published 2012)
I found this book in my school library and immediately signed it out to bring home and share with my children. A nine year old boy out fossil hunting with his Dad (Dr. Lee Berger) finds a piece of bone likely two million years old. This book looks just fascinating! My learning curve will be big. My husband, who loves all things fossils, wants to sit in when we do this read aloud.
Shimmer and Splash: The Sparkling World of Sea Life by Jim Arnosky (published 2013)
Gorgeous paintings by Arnosky and the stories of his experience and knowledge of each of the creatures featured here. We have been reading many nonfiction titles about the ocean so have lots of interest in various sea life.
Unusual Creatures: A Mostly Accurate Account of Some of Earth’s Strangest Animals by Michael Hearst and illustrated by Arjen Noordeman, Christie Wright, and Jelmer Noordeman (published 2012)
I found this in one of my favourite book shops on a weekend walk. It has what looks like a tiny nibble out of one corner (my theory is that one of these creatures featured in this book is secretly alive and comes out at night and dines on the book it now lives within) so it was in the half price bin. Giant Gippsland Earthworms up to 10 feet long. A Mimic Octopus that wasn’t discovered until 1998 (too busy hiding by being able to mimic other creatures!). Leafy Sea Dragons that look like floating seaweed. Really, how could I resist this book? Can’t wait to share and hear the chorus of “Cool!” and “Gross!” that my children are sure to repeat on each page!
Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2014! Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction titles.
My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 63/65 complete!