This week I found B is for Bear: A Natural Alphabet by Hannah Viano (October 2015) and was absolutely charmed by it. Striking art work and all things lovely and wonderful from the natural world of North America. Part alphabet book, part celebration of nature, many parts simple beauty.
Each page holds an upper case word for the letter represented and a simple, descriptive sentence of additional information along with a stunning image (these are paper cuttings!)
“Standing still on one leg, an EGRET watches the water closely, waiting for his dinner to swim by.”
Some wonderful things selected P for PEBBLE, Q for QUEEN ANNE’s LACE, R for RAINSTORM
I particularly loved this book because it got me thinking about how to use it in the classroom. Last week Melissa Stewart wrote a post wondering about doing research with elementary students. “Is there a fun way to do research?” she asks. She has more posts to come (yippee!) but I have been thinking about this question a lot. I’ve been thinking about letting research first be part of a discovery, expressive process. Something that involves art, creativity, poetry, creating images while being a part of the process of wondering and finding new information. And then, what to do with it?
I love the idea of some simple pieces – like art work inspired by a book like this. Create an image of something, share a fact discovered by a little bit of reading or exploring a website or . . . Think about what fact feels the most important and how to share it.
Wouldn’t you like to create an alphabet book linked to a particular place – a country, a province (or state), a city, a neighbourhood? And include a number of interesting pieces of art with extra information. A piece of beautiful art and a simple, carefully crafted sentence. Seems like the ideal marriage of beginning fact finding and information honouring.
Already thinking of a book like this for my class to do on our neighbourhood . . . And about where we might find more information about things we might want to highlight . . .
I love books that both enrich and inspire – accessible and lovely mentor texts to imitate. This is a beautiful one indeed.
Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2016. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!