Nonfiction 10 for 10 event is back for a third year! How happy am I to celebrate fantastic nonfiction picture books? Well, that is a silly question! Ecstatic of course.
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.
For the first year of #nf10for10 I shared favourite nonfiction titles – many that I have used with my class over the last few years in a variety of ways. Last year, I chose to focus on nonfiction picture book biographies that feature inspiring women.
This year I am sharing my favourite nonfiction titles that allow us to think about something from a completely new or different perspective.
These books all allow us to look at the subject in a new way. It might be offering us an alternative glimpse of an animal or phenomenon. Maybe the book answers a question you never even knew you had. Or perhaps your learning gets turned on its head. All of these books had this impact on me.
Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy
I freely admit that I think sharks are one of the most truly terrifying creatures. But this book captivated me. Its mixture of gorgeously painted illustrations, detailed relevant diagrams and the story of how the great whites who hunt in the Farallon Islands hunt so successfully, kept me reading and interested to the final pages.
Different perspective? Think about the shark beyond its frightening predator status.
How Big Were Dinosaurs? by Lita Judge
Each dinosaur featured here is drawn next to something that children already know to allow them to imagine the exact size of the dinosaur. For example, the velociraptor was only the size of a modern day dog. The image shown is of a velociraptor on a leash near by a dog also out for a walk. So engaging
Different perspective? Allows the reader to imagine what it might be like to have dinosaurs around now by providing a sense of their size in reference to what we know. Dinosaurs, for a moment, materialize beside us rather than lay down in fossilized form in a photograph or drawing.
Weeds Find a Way written by Cindy Jenson-Elliott and illustrated by Carolyn Fisher
Lyrical and visually stunning. I now love the weeds in this book but still battle with those in my garden. Those weeds that seem to always be winning. They seem to find many a way.
Different perspective? It is possible to see the beauty and the tenacity in weeds. Seeing beauty where one previously did not. I appreciated Holly Mueller‘s view on this book – that it lets you look at weeds as children do. First, with appreciation.
No Monkeys, No Chocolate written by Melissa Stewart and Allen Young with illustrations by Nicole Wong
What a rich engaging information story book. The reader is quickly wooed by a page of delicious desserts and treats with chocolate as a main ingredient . . . but where does chocolate come from? We travel to the rainforests of Central and South America and learn the very complicated series of natural events that make it possible to harvest the cocoa bean.
Different perspective? The amazing learning here is about how nature is not about isolated events or lone miracles but how a chain of events with each piece dependent on many others is necessary in order for things to happen. This book illustrates this to children in a way that makes this concept truly accessible and clear.
A Leaf Can Be . . . by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Violeta Dabija
Beautiful nonfiction describing and hinting at all of the roles leaves can play – from “rain stopper” to “shade spiller” and many more.
Different perspective? The different perspective here is simple and complicated all at once – stretching the imagination. Absolutely beautiful.
Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey written by Loree Griffin Burns with photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz
The most special thing about this title is that it answers a question that few children might have imagined: How exactly do butterflies get to live exhibits in the north? Many children have been to Science Centres and Natural History Museums that might house live exhibits. Where do those butterflies come from? How do they get there? This title tells that story.
Different perspective? Poses and answers a question readers have not even entertained.
Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors poems by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beckie Prange
Poet and artist celebrate nature’s successes. Who has been around for a long time and continues to thrive? Introduced in order of their evolutionary arrival, read poems and facts about such creatures as the squirrel, ants, geckos and diatoms. Fascinating and a lyrical experience all at once. Blending of art, poetry and nonfiction.
Different perspective? We often think about endangered animals (as we should) but this book allows us to think about those creatures and life forms that have survived and thrived. What are their secrets?
Feathers Not Just for Flying written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen
Such a beautifully written and organized book – almost like a nature journal or a scrap book. Read about sixteen birds in particular as you learn about different ways feathers are used. Perfect as an interactive read aloud experience.
Different perspective? Stretches the reader’s imagination to think about various ways feathers are useful and needed for various types of birds. Many would not even have been considered.
One World, One Day by Barbara Kerley
Spectacular photographs showcasing the daily routines that many of us share – all a little different in different places but yet, so much the same.
Different perspective? The more we think we are different, the more we realize we have much in common. A wonderful reminder of this.
Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons written by Sara Levine with illustrations by T.S. Spookytooth
How do our bones function within our skeletal system? What about compared to animal skeletons. What if we didn’t have certain bones or what if they were much different than they are? Can you imagine if we had extra bones attached to our spine? We’d have a tail! And what would that be like?
Different perspective? We often don’t think about our bones, their purposes and what it would be like if they were different. Fascinating questions to help us learn about the body (both human and various animals).
The Boy who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos written by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham
This is a fascinating biography that not only makes math seem absolutely engrossing but gives us a glimpse into a mind that was truly one track. A beautiful balance between the mathematical life and the other life of Paul Erdos. Accessible and intriguing for younger readers/listeners. A definite book to be explored multiple times.
Different perspective? The everyday, human side of genius. Revealed that when we are really good at one thing, we may not be good at other things (like laundry).
Are there books that fit this theme for you? That transformed your thinking about something? All of these titles to me highlight the amazing power of nonfiction picture books to teach and inspire us. When we are reading and sharing these books, we are always part of the learning journey.
I wanted to include one of Laura’s book (Leaf or water), but thought Sidman’s Winter Bees had more variety, will use them all, plus more for non-fiction poetry. I love your list too, so enjoyed some of these. That probably should be another one of my product ideas, POV! I did love the Weeds Find A Way very much, and need to get Bone by Bone-too many keep saying how good it is. Thanks, Carrie!
Nonfiction poetry is so rich. I am falling more and more in love with it. Bone by Bone is just fantastic. I think it would be fun to share with Ingrid!
What a lovely selection of books. I already have a couple of titles, maybe from a previous recommendation of yours. I think I’ll have to be getting a couple more though. I think nonfiction picture books should feature prominently on any home and classroom bookshelf. I like the way you have described each book and suggested how to look at the subject from a different perspective. I think that is a great thing to do, and one that will also encourage the development of empathy, being able to see things from another’s perspective.
Thanks for such an interesting post.
Thanks Norah. I started thinking about the idea for this post and quite quickly had a list of more than ten titles that would fit. So I had to edit!
There’s always more! 🙂
We love the way you organized these titles. It is so important to show learners that nonfiction texts teach us new ideas and we change because of these texts.
Thanks ladies! All of these books really made me switch up my thinking and I loved how that happened.
Handle with Care looks beautiful! It went right on my list! I love this idea that our perspective can change, even with our youngest readers. Thanks for sharing!
This book was particularly powerful in my room. The kids had a lot of wonders and questions and then, new learning 🙂
Honored to have LEAF on this list–thank you! I love 6 of the other books you shared and am off to put the other 2 on reserve immediately:>)
I so love your books Laura! They are absolute treasures.
I know lots of these books and adore them. There is something about Melissa Stewart books that thrills kids. I get so excited to share them because I know I will learn more about their lives and loves. Thank you for always sharing your new perspective about things.
Melissa Stewart is certainly a very special author.
Thanks for joining us again. I love your theme and am adding One World One Day and Weeds find a Way to my shopping cart for a future purchase. Children do appreciate weeds and I’m going to keep that in mind if we ever get out of this frozen tundra we are in right now.
Oh yes, that frozen landscape. Yikes. Stay warm! Weeds Find a Way is really stunning.
I have read most of the titles on your list Carrie but Bone by Bone looks really intriguing to me. Thanks for another creative theme. You are a true blue champion of nonfiction.
So appreciated Margie. What a lovely compliment!
Saturday morning and I’m finally getting a chance to look at some of these terrific lists. I love the “bent” you have taken– really interesting. Already thinking about how I might do my list for next year. BONE BY BONE is new to me. I’ve added it to my list of books to hunt down immediately!
Definitely find it – a book you can share from Ks to adults! So much fun. Thanks Carol.
I really like the theme you picked- changing perspective is important to teach and you have found some great models.
Thanks! Aren’t we lucky that so much amazing is out there in terms of nonfiction picture books!?
I love your theme and the books you picked! I have not read most of these so I look forward to that treat! Congrats on your keynote! And all the joy that came with too! I’m not sure how I got distracted from not leaving a comment when I read your post on Thursday-your theme is so unique!
Thanks so much! It was a really fun theme to select titles for – of course, once I started, I found I had more than ten titles . . .
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