Nonfiction 10 for 10: Wandering through Wonders

This year for nonfiction 10 for 10, I invite you to wander with me where questions and wondering takes us. Start with a topic and let the questions happen. How do we find out more? Usually, there’s a book for that!

Thank you to Cathy Mere from Reflect and RefineMandy 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.

This is my sixth year participating in this meme!

In 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.

In the second year, I chose to focus on nonfiction picture book biographies that feature inspiring women.

In my third year, I shared nonfiction titles that allow us to think about something from a completely new or different perspective.

Year four was about travelling the world through nonfiction picture books.

Last year, my list focussed on ocean life and ocean exploration.

Nonfiction 10 for 10Recently in my classroom we read a book about the moon as part of our Mock Caldecott unit. This book led us to many, many questions. As the children were busy wondering, I was busy thinking about books on my bookshelf that might help us to begin answering some of the questions and to explore some of the wonders more deeply. Some have just been published. Others have been on my shelves for years. We are still in the middle of our exploring so part of my wandering from book to book is imagined: What might we wonder when we read about . . . ? The first few books are the titles where we began.

If you read

If You Were the Moon written by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Jaime Kim (2017) 

you might have some questions about gravity. So you should probably read

Gravity by Jason Chin (2014)

 Gravity Nonfiction Picture Books Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to NonfictionYou might also begin wondering about space and our galaxy. Reading Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson (2014) is a fantastic place to begin.

Maybe you have questions about how the world was made and how everything came to be. How did it all begin? How is the world put together? What is inside the earth? The questions are endless.

There are a few places you can turn

Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years written by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by David Litchfield (2017)

The Story of Life: A First Book of Evolution by Catherine Barr and Steve Williams with illustrations by Amy Husband (2015)

Earth Verse Haiku from the Ground Up by Sally M Walker and William Grill (2018)

This might lead to questions about specific landforms. A perfect book to turn to here is

Island: A Story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin (2012)

Island  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

Some of you might be more interested to learn about all things tiny and microscopic rather than huge and majestic things like islands.

Tiny Creatures: the world of Microbes by Nicola Davies with illustrations by Emily Sutton (2014) is the book for you!

But some of you might want to head back into the past and talk about early life forms. Small things that emerged from the sea? Or gigantic creatures that roamed the Earth like dinosaurs!

Born to Be Giants: How Baby Dinosaurs Grew to Rule the World by Lita Judge (2010) is the ideal title for the dinosaur enthusiast.

This book might lead us to wonder what else might become extinct? Thee are many books about endangered animals. This is one of my favourites, full of truths and hope:

Counting Lions: Portraits from the Wild is written by Katie Cotton and illustrated by Stephen Walton (2015)

Counting Lions: 2015 Gift BooksWhat are you wondering about now? Your questions can lead us to more incredible nonfiction titles!

 

A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited

I read a lot of nonfiction aloud to my class. I never get to as many titles as I intend to – the “must share” stack is always growing. It’s not necessarily due to lack of time. I make lots of time for nonfiction reading. It’s that I believe nonfiction read alouds need to be rich reading experiences. And so, they require time. Time for questions. Time for discussion. Time to think and absorb and ponder. We “stretch out” our read alouds over days and days – reading, writing, talking, drawing. I celebrate the time we take with each book because I know the learning is rich.

I thought I would make this post for Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday be all about the celebration of and learning from our nonfiction reading this year.

Here are (most of) the titles we read together in this “stretched out” style. We also read many other nonfiction titles – some in their entirety, some just a few pages here or there.

A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

I chose some particularly important learning to highlight here.

A Boy and A Jaguar written by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Cátia Chien

In this title we learned that a love for animals can be deep and a promise to protect them can be deeper. Alan Rabinowitz is a huge inspiration for my students. They felt his anxiety growing up stuttering and were inspired by his commitment to his work.

 A Boy and a Jaguar A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Ivan’s story prompted discussions of animals in captivity, of human cruelty, of just “why?” Lots of conversations. Thanks To Katherine Applegate and all of those who have loved Ivan, we love Ivan too.

 Ivan A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey written by Loree Griffin Burns with photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz

This title allowed students to explore a question they had never before considered – just how do butterflies get to museums and science centres all over the world? But it did more than that. It gave students a close up view at the miraculous life cycle of a butterfly and allowed them to see the beauty in every stage.

 Handle with Care A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry

This book gave my students hope. It energized them. It reminded them about the power of an individual to impact a community. When we closed the book, students made comments like this one: “I like Kate so much. It happened a long time ago but her soul probably still speaks for trees. She was one person who did so much.”

 The Tree Lady A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

Galapágos George written by Jean Craighead George and illustrated by Wendell Minor

This title let us talk about extinction. It allowed students to grasp the true vulnerability of so many species. We read this after reading various books about endangered animals. Reading about a special creature that actually became extinct prompted both outrage and sadness. “So many animals could disappear because of humans . . . ” one child observed solemnly.

Galapagos George A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

Tiny Creatures The World of Microbes by Nicola Davies; illustrated by Emily Sutton

This title prompted a lot of “Wows” and a lot of hand washing! 🙂 It is so important for students to wonder about the world they can not easily see. The power of something very tiny is a very big idea.

 Tiny Creatures A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book about Henri Matisse written by Patricia MacLachlan with illustrations by Hadley Hooper

This title opened up the conversation about inspiration. What inspires an artist? What inspires any art? One child commented, “The book was about what inspired Matisse. Maybe we have inspiration all around us too.”

Iridesence of Birds A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

Our learning climbs up the walls, surrounding us all year.

A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That A Year of Nonfiction Picture Books Revisited There's a Book for That

We learned. Some things. A lot of things, in fact. Not close to everything. It’s a huge amazing world out there. But wow, did we learn.

We wondered. We pondered. We talked and listened. We developed our curiosity. We considered things from new perspectives. Most importantly, we considered our place in the world. What do we impact? What can we impact? What do we notice? What do we not yet understand? What do we plan to find out?

A year of reading nonfiction.  I have described reading nonfiction titles with a class as building shared knowledge, one learning layer at a time. How exciting it was to build this developing understanding of the world with this group of children this year.

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2015. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

#nfpb2015Looking for nonfiction titles to read aloud? Check out this list: Nonfiction Picture Books for Reading Aloud

NFPB Wednesday: Tiny Creatures & Little Scientists

It is June. The end of June in fact. Literally, I can count the hours before we end our year. What am I thinking about those hours? How many more read alouds can I fit in? What should they be? How to choose . . . ? Sigh

So . . . last week when I knew our Let’s Talk Science volunteers were coming in one last time, I decided we needed a “science” theme day – the perfect chance to read more nonfiction books!

I asked my students a big question that morning: Why science? Why science education? Who wants to be a scientist? Their answers, as usual, were wonderful. They told me that scientists/science learners:

  • want to discover things
  • care about about people
  • have a passion/interest in science
  • want to solve theories
  • have lots of energy
  • are interested in facts/things they can prove
  • ask lots of questions

NFPB Wednesday: Tiny Creatures & Little Scientists There's a Book for That

We filled our day with science experiments, science themed yoga (thanks to the wonderful Miriam Tratt) and read alouds about science including . . .

Tiny Creatures The World of Microbes by Nicola Davies; illustrated by Emily Sutton (Candlewick Press 2014)

 Tiny Creatures NFPB Wednesday: Tiny Creatures & Little Scientists There's a Book for That

I could rave on and on about how this book is so very ideal for young learners – making a huge and seemingly confusing subject, manageable and meaningful. But . . . I will let my students do the raving. Their reactions and messages to Nicola Davies:

“How are you such a great author? You taught us about microbes and made it fun, not boring!”

“How did it pop into your head to write about microbes?”

“Thank you for making this all easy to understand!”

“It makes my mind explode with ideas.”

“I really want to wash my hands now.”

“Can you make a book about what an atom is made of please?”

The mark of a great nonfiction title for me is all about the engagement, the wonder, the questions and the “settling in” of understanding. This book had my students completely fascinated. After school one boy found me in the library. He had run back to school to show me the word “microbe” in the novel he was reading.

“And now I know what it’s talking about!”

I am such a fan of the nonfiction picture book read aloud!

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2015. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

#nfpb2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Fourteen favourites of 2014 (Part 2)

I am thrilled to share my favourite fourteen nonfiction titles of 2014!

2014 Nonfiction Picture Books

I love books. As in absolutely adore, frequently gush over, make piles, make lists, always reading kind of #booklove devotion. If you had asked me to talk favourites a few years ago, a nonfiction title would have made it on the list here and there. I have always appreciated the power of the nonfiction read aloud but . . . it wasn’t until I began participating in the nonfiction picture book challenges organized by Alyson Beecher (from Kid Lit Frenzy) that I have become absolutely smitten with nonfiction titles.

I have been busily tweeting about this as of late . . .

I am thrilled to renew my commitment to nonfiction reading by participating in the #nfpb2015 challenge! The more nonfiction I read, the more I learn and the more my students ultimately benefit.

#nfpb2015

More about my favourites of 2014. If these titles are not on your already read and loved or must read radar, consider adding them to the list!

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

ivan

The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

The Right Word

Gravity by Jason Chin

gravity_chin

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Emily Sutton

tiny-creatures

Weeds Find a Way written by Cindy Jenson-Elliott and illustrated by Carolyn Fisher

weeds-find-a-way

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill

shackletons-journey

Eye to Eye: How Animals See The World by Steve Jenkins 

eye-to-eye

Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

creature-features-coversmall

Born in the Wild: Baby Mammals and their Parents by Lita Judge

Born in the Wild

A Boy and A Jaguar written by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Cátia Chien 

boyandajaguarcover

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy 

neighborhood-sharks

Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen

winter bees

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson

star stuff

Feathers Not Just for Flying written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen

feathers

I have included picture books here but must also note that Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa’s Fastest Cats written by Sy Montgomery with photographs by Nic Bishop was an absolute favourite of the year.

cheetahs

I am also pleased to report that I more than met my goal of reading 65 nonfiction picture books this year. Grand total: 144 titles! 🙂

What are your favourites of the year?

Monday September 8th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

imwayr

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. You are guaranteed to find something new to add to your list.

I read a real range of titles this week. My favourites:

Everybody Bonjours! written by Leslie Kimmelman and illustrated by Sarah McMenemy

A simple little picture book that is a great reminder about how important it is to learn a few words of the language when one goes to visit a new country. Being able to greet people with a hello and a big smile goes a long way.

Everybody Bonjours! #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 8th 2014

Jessica Finch in Pig Trouble written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Erwin Madrid

Perfect for those readers just beginning chapter books. Judy Moody helps her friend solve a mystery. Well sort of . . . A wonderful surprise at the end. I bought a handful of copies of this book and in the spring my students held a little reading club to read this title together. Hope more in the series are on their way.

Jessica Finch in Pig Trouble #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 8th 2014

Lulu’s Mysterious Mission written by Judith Viorst tand illustrated by Kevin Cornell

I adore Lulu. I love her cheeky nature, her creativity, her misbehaviour and her unintended failures. Of course, Viorst writes with such voice. Another delightful book in this series!

Lulu's Mysterious Mission #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 8th 2014

Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit up the World written by Elizabeth Rusch and illustrated by Oliver Dominguez

I learned so much from reading this book: how inspirational and transformative Tesla was with not only his invention of electricity but also how much his inventions have shaped modern life as we know it. I also had no idea about his rivalry with Thomas Edison and how Edison treated Tesla who had viewed him as a hero. Fantastic scientific notes in the back of the book give so many more details for the eager reader. Perfect title for intermediate students.

Electrical Wizard #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 8th 2014

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Emily Sutton

I am very excited to share this book with my students. It is the perfect introduction to microbes – making sense of a confusing concept in a way that allows students to understand aspects of the microscopic world. Wonderful illustrations by Sutton compliment the engaging style Davies writes in.

Tiny Creatures #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 8th 2014

Yikes, I am slipping on my reading goals. One would think being on strike would afford me a lot of time. Unfortunately, I use up a lot of time reading articles, blog posts and twitter communications about B.C. Education trying to figure out what the heck is happening. Not sure why I bother sometimes. The constant and unchanging news? We are on strike. Yes, there is lots of drama and mud slinging, but in the end, I spend too much time walking circles on a sidewalk.

I am however almost finished Revolution by Deborah Wiles. It is so very, very good.

Hoping for more reading time next week. My mind needs distraction!

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 60/100 novels complete

Goodreads Challenge: 411/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 106/65 complete