Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some titles to book talk #1

It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! 

klf_nonfiction2014_medium (1)

So often, I discover amazing nonfiction that I just can’t wait to read aloud. But it is equally exciting to find titles that will become part of our class nonfiction collection. Some Wednesdays, I’ve decided to share some titles that I will be adding to our nonfiction bins and some of the features I will highlight when I share them with the students.

I think our guiding questions and the information we point out when introducing books really helps our students have more success when reading the texts independently.

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 books you need to read!

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 95/65 complete!

The Worm by Elise Gravel (published 2014)

This Disgusting Critters series is something I am very excited to share with my students this fall. There is guaranteed kid appeal in the humour, the yucky facts and the conversational narration. Lots of bold text, speech bubbles and silly pictures. But, this is not a nonfiction title where you will find the features we often expect in a nonfiction title. There is no table of contents, glossary or index to organize facts. In fact the facts are found within the text – sometimes with bolded words and sometimes with diagrams that illustrate a point. No guarantees. A sample of the text:

“An earthworm is basically a long digestive tract with inside a muscle tube. It’s that muscle tube that’s slimy and disgusting.”

This is what I would highlight when I book talked this title:

  • Notice that some of the new vocabulary is in bold
  • Discover new facts by asking yourself at the end of the page, “Did I just learn something new?” “Was there a fact I could note on this page?”
  • Appreciate the amusing way that the author communicates new information
  • Choose another book on the same topic for further reading

 The Worm Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some titles to book talk #1

I would pair Worms (part of the Creepy Creatures series) by Valerie Bodden with this book. This series is very popular in my classroom and the ideal reading level for primary students.

Worms Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some titles to book talk #1

Wild about Bears by Jeannie Brett (published 2014)

This book highlights information about each of the eight species of bears on earth today. Can you name the specific eight? I couldn’t! There are some things that I really like about this title but a few things that might make it a little challenging for children to navigate. I would highlight each of these things in sharing this book.

  • Check out the main headings on each two page spread that introduce us to one of the eight bear species. The common name is also included and may be the name you know. For example, Moon bears (the term I was familiar with) are actually part of the Asiatic Black Bears species. The weight range of each bear is also included here.
  • Notice the habitat glossary in the back of the book that gives more information about the habitats where each bear species lives
  • Refer often to the colour coded world map in the back to see where you can find each bear species
  • Make sure you read some of the smaller text next to the diagrams for more information. Be aware though that these are not all captions – just additional information about each of the bear species. You might not see what the text is talking about in the picture.
  • How do we learn new vocabulary in nonfiction text? Often our learning is reinforced and enhanced through bolded words, a glossary and an index. Notice that these things are missing in this text so you may need to look specific words up in other sources for more information.
  • Would you have appreciated colour photographs of the bears – maybe in the back of the book to see what they looked like in the wild? Where could you go to find real life photographs of each species in their habitats?

 Wild About Bears Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some titles to book talk #1

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Jasper’s Story – Saving Moon Bears

It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! 

NFPB 2014

This is a story I found at the public library and then picked up a few days ago to read with morning coffee. I put it down and instantly started looking into more information on the internet. Jasper’s story is one you just might not know and all of us should. A terrible instance of animals being captured and imprisoned so that their bile can be extracted for use in traditional Asian medicine. All the more heartbreaking and cruel because there are more than 54 different kinds of herbal and synthetic substitutes.

This book tells the story of Jasper, one bear who was rescued – his journey to recovery and his amazing ability to forgive.

Jasper’s Story: Saving Moon Bears written by Jill Robinson and Marc Bekoff; illustrated by  Gijisbert van Frankenhuyzen (published 2013)

Jasper is a bear that was rescued by Jill Robinson (the author) and her Animals Asia team and brought to a sanctuary in China. He had been held in a cage for 15 years and was very weak and injured from so many years of cruel captivity. He required surgery to fix his injuries and then was placed in a large room that he could actually move around in to begin his recovery. As he grew stronger, he was exposed to an outside enclosure where he could learn to dig and search for food. As Jasper physically recovered, his spirit also healed. He demonstrated a playful side with other bears and welcome other new bears to the sanctuary. Jill describes Jasper as courageous and loving; a symbol of forgiveness and hope. This is such an important story that captures the work that Jill and her team do.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Jasper's Story - Saving Moon Bears There's a Book for That

 

Detailed messages from both authors and the illustrator in the back of the book give more information about Jasper and other “farmed” bears that have been rescued in China and Vietnam. At this time, Animals Asia (the rescue center that was formed in 1998) has rescued over 400 bears.

More information about Animals Asia can be found on their website here. Very worth spending some time on this site. There, I found this video of a little sun bear cub, Layla, just rescued in Vietnam this month.

Other nonfiction picture books about bears that might be of interest. These are all information story books (narrative nonfiction). I have read each of these titles with my students in the past few years and found the learning and discussion they promote to be excellent. Jasper’s Story is one I will be sharing this year.

Fraser Bear Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Jasper's Story - Saving Moon Bears There's a Book for That

old mother bear Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Jasper's Story - Saving Moon Bears There's a Book for That

ice bear Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Jasper's Story - Saving Moon Bears There's a Book for That

Knut Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Jasper's Story - Saving Moon Bears There's a Book for That

Eat Like A Bear Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Jasper's Story - Saving Moon Bears There's a Book for That

 

Moon Bear Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Jasper's Story - Saving Moon Bears There's a Book for That

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: 80/65 complete!