Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Counting Lions

Shouldn’t book lovers know most of all to not fall in love with a book because of its cover? Or are we the most easily tempted? I am not so sure. This book, I will admit, had me from the cover. Holding the book in my hands? Absolutely, I was done in. Oversized and gorgeous. Charcoal drawings that look as realistic as photographs. Vibrant orange end papers. This book is simply beautiful.

Counting Lions Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Counting Lions

Beautiful, yes. But even more, so important. Walk into a world of nature, of animals. Marvel at their beauty. Wonder about their unique habitats. Look, so very close up, at their behaviours and interactions. And then, think about counting them. Think about that not in the context of how many are on the page. But think about that with this question in mind, “What if we were counting the final ones?”

In the powerful forward by Virginia McKenna, she writes,

“In Counting Lions, children will start at number one and end at number ten. If it were true that there were, in reality, only five elephants or four tigers, then the world would know that the end of those species is in sight.”

This book is not meant to create fear, it is more about inspiring wonder. But a piece of that wonder needs to be about how we protect each of these species on our planet from all of the things that threaten their populations.

Each page is a gorgeous two page spread that consists of drawings (all in dark charcoal) and poetic text (all in bright orange). Each page begins and ends with the repeated number of each individual animal shared on the page. One to ten. One Lion. Two gorillas. Three giraffes. Four tigers. Five elephants. Six Ethiopian wolves. Seven penguins. Eight turtles. Nine macaws.Ten zebras.

At the end of the book more information is provided about each animal including its protection status. For the animals included in this book four are Endangered (gorillas, tigers, Ethiopian wolves, loggerhead turtles), two are Vulnerable (lions, elephants), one is Near Threatened (emperor penguins) and three are Least Concern (zebras, macaws, giraffes). We learn what specifically threatens each species and what if any conservation efforts are currently in practice. There is also different status for different animals. For example, the Plains zebras featured in this book are not Endangered but Grevy’s zebras in Kenya and Ethiopia have Endangered status.

Final pages also include more information about the contributors (author, artist and writer of the forward). Links to relevant websites to learn more are also provided.

Counting Lions: Portraits from the Wild is written by Katie Cotton and illustrated by Stephen Walton. Virginia McKenna (from the Born Free Foundation) writes the forward. Published in October 2015 by Candlewick Press.

Margie Myers-Culver from the blog Librarian’s Quest wrote a beautiful post about this book last week.

This book will be a stunning starting point to further reading and investigation about Endangered animals. In May, I put together a list: Endangered Animals: Building a Read Aloud collection. Start here for a variety of nonfiction picture books that can be shared in the Elementary classroom or with your own children.

 

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

Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection

Many thanks to Alyson Beecher, Melissa Stewart and Margie Culvers who answered my call when I asked for favourite titles on the theme of endangered and extinct animals. Their suggestions helped me collect more books to share with my students. We have been reading through many of these titles and it has led to lots of writing, talk and rich questions.

I thought I would share my list with all of you here and welcome suggestions for more titles if you have some to add. Please share in the comments section. I chose 20 titles that I have, will or could share with a Grade 3/4 class.

Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Almost Gone by Steve Jenkins

Almost Gone Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Abayomi The Brazilian Puma by Darcy Pattison and Kitty Harvill

Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma- The True Story of an Orphaned cub Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

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

 Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Trapped! A Whale’s Rescue written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Wendell Minor

Trapped! A Whale's Rescue Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Can We Save the Tiger? written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Vicky White

can we Save the Tiger? Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Ape written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Vicky White

 Ape Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Looking for Miza by Juliana Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff and Paula Kahumbu

 Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth

Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

SkyDiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World by Celia Godkin

Skydiver- Saving the Fastest Bird in the World Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Tale of a Great White Fish: A Stugeon Story by Maggie De Vries illustrated by Renné Benoit 

Tale of a Great White Fish Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

A Place for Butterflies by Melissa Stewart illustrated by Higgins Bond 

Place for Butterflies Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

A Little Book of Sloth by Lucy Cooke

sloth Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Ice Bear (In the Steps of the Polar Bear) written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Gary Blythe

ice bear Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Here Come the Humpbacks written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Jamie Hogan

here come the humpbacks Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Wandering Whale Sharks by Susumu Shingu

Wandering Whale Sharks Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

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

Galapagos George Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Jimmy the Joey by Deborah Lee Rose and Susan Kelly

Jimmy the Joey Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out! Written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Annie Patterson

Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

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

Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection There's a Book for That

Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors poems by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beckie Prange  *creatures that are NOT endangered but survivors POEMS

Ubiquitous-Celebrating-Natures-Survivors Endangered Animals: Building a read aloud collection 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 2015. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

#nfpb2015

Reading and responding: A Boy and a Jaguar

When I first read A Boy and A Jaguar written by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Cátia Chien, I closed it, took a deep breath, opened it up and read it again. And then I began to think about sharing it with my students. Soon, I thought about it so much, I bought a copy for my classroom and finally, as part of a study about endangered animals, I am reading it aloud.

As we do in our room, we are taking our time with this title. There is much to share and discuss. We are now two thirds of the way through and our word list (recorded on a sticky note on the inside cover) is getting long: voice, stuttering, broken, fluently, promise, protected area, hunters, capture and release, Belize, endangered, wild . . . 

 Reading and responding:  A Boy and a Jaguar  There's a Book for That

So far, we have talked a lot. What is it like to stutter? What makes a difference for Alan? Why does being around animals have such impact? What is his promise all about? Why does he feel so broken?

Students were honestly appalled that Alan was excluded from his classroom community. Many of them talked a lot about this. Lots of questions. Lots of upset.

 Reading and responding:  A Boy and a Jaguar  There's a Book for That

The children also felt sad that Alan continued to feel “broken” despite learning to speak without stuttering.

 Reading and responding:  A Boy and a Jaguar  There's a Book for That

On this page, one child shared: “I think he has been told this so many times about himself, he doesn’t know how to feel differently.”

When the talk is powerful, the writing is powerful. Full of both passion and compassion.

Some student responses from this part in the story:

“I think he feels sad and lonely. His parents help him buy help from doctors. I wouldn’t want to be judged. I think the boy feels comfortable around the jaguars and hopeful and happy. He feels right talking to animals.”

“Alan was a little boy. He was stuttering. My class, we talked with each other about how he stuttered. It is sad having no friends. He is probably very lonely. Maybe he just sits on a chair and reads a book and minds his business. I think he goes to the zoo to see the jaguar and maybe this makes him stop stuttering.”

“If I was the boy, I think I know the cure because if he doesn’t talk when he talks to animals, so when he’s talking to people, he should imagine an animal. I think he should try practicing by talking to his parents. Of if he is shy, he could face his fears. I think he can always feel sad at school because he keeps stuttering and he has no friends.

“This book is about how Alan stuttered and his teacher would put him in time out or away because she thought he was broken. So he thought he was broken. But the good thing is that he could talk to animals without stuttering and he could sing. I wonder if he still stutters now? I think he can talk to animals because they don’t make fun of him and he really liked talking to jaguars. His Dad took him to the big cat’s cage probably so he can be happy because he likes talking to jaguars.”

“Alan’s life was hard when he was young. He stuttered. There was no cure and he was told he would be a stutterer for life. He figured out that he didn’t stutter when he talked to animals. Maybe if he told the teachers that he didn’t stutter when he talked to animals, he would get through a special course with animals involved.”

“We’re reading a new book and I really like it so far. It’s called A Boy and a Jaguar. It’s about a boy who is a stutterer and he has a hard time talking to people but he can speak smoothly when he’s singing (but he says it’s not very good) and he can speak fluently when he speaks to his pets. Yes, that’s right, pets with a “s”. He’s got more than one pet. He’s got a turtle, a snake and . . . I forget the rest. It must have been hard for him thinking that he doesn’t fit in and that the teachers say he’s broken. When they say that to him, he questions himself “Am I broken?” But deep down Alan has to remember that he is not broken. He’s different in his own way. Everybody is different and the same and that’s why you don’t judge someone because if you put yourself in a stranger’s footsteps, you would actually know what their life is like. Alan makes a promise to his many pets that when he finds his voice, he would help his animals and animals in general. It’s toughing to read about a boy and that animals change his life. That’s why we shouldn’t treat animals horribly.”

We continued to read about how Alan went to Belize and studied jaguars. He was given 15 minutes to present to the government of Belize that they should make a protected area for jaguars. We stopped here and wrote again.

 Reading and responding:  A Boy and a Jaguar  There's a Book for That

Some more writing:

“I wonder if he is worrying because he won’t be able to convince them? Is he going to stutter when he is talking? I wonder if he is saying to himself, ” I have to do this.””

“I wonder if he still studies animals. I feel bad for the animals because they’re being hunted still today. I hope that Alan did not stutter to the government. I’m worried in 15 minutes he will stutter. I think he gots butterflies in his stomach and I think he’s nervous.”

“Alan goes to the Smoky Mountains to study black bears. Then he does his promise because he found his voice to go study and learn more about jaguars because he was the first person to study jaguars in Belize. That country is really poor so it will take lots of convincing power to build a jaguar sanctuary. I think he will think what he is going to say through and not stutter but maybe a minor stutter. I think he is nervicited (new word).”

“It’s sad to hear in this book that jaguars are in danger. I hope they don’t get extinct. Why do people do this? They kill animals for a shiny trophy? That’s not fair. Animals are just like humans. They care for their babies like humans do. Animals drink water, they eat like humans do. Humans are killing more animals than animals attack humans. Did you know that humans kill hundreds and hundreds of sharks year after year for their skin, their fins and even for medicine.”

“If I was him, I would write a script before I go to speak to the government because then I can speak properly and it has a better chance of no stuttering. I wonder if Alan will stutter? I wonder how Alan feels because I think he’s very nervous and worried.”

“When Alan knew that the hunters were on the loose, he wanted to find somewhere for them to be safe so he went to the Prime Minister. He only had 15 minutes. He seemed pretty nervous. He kept his promise that he made to animals. Hunters were trying to kill the jaguars so they are endangered. I hope that the Prime Minister says yes. It says he feels broken. At first I didn’t understand but then I thought and I got it. I think he feels pretty sad that animals like jaguars are dying.

 Reading and responding:  A Boy and a Jaguar  There's a Book for That

I look forward to the continued conversations and thinking from my students as we finish this book this week.

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: So, I think I might read . . .

So . . . I am back to teaching again! Finally! If you are a regular reader of this blog, you might notice that I have announced this frequently but considering we had job action disruption since May and more than 5 weeks of full scale strike action, I am celebrating in every moment that I am back to doing what I love.

My energy is “leapy” – which I am not sure is a word exactly but I’m translating it as: a feeling of great excitement; can result in jumping up and bouncing about in happiness. Often and without warning.

Sitting to write a blog post will be a little challenging. I decided to use this opportunity to celebrate nonfiction titles to share some books I am thinking of reading aloud to my students in the next few months and why. . .

The Rat by Elise Gravel (published 2014)

Our first read aloud of the year was The Fly by Gravel and it was a huge hit. Students are completely intrigued with this series and I can’t wait to share more titles with them. One child offered this description:

“great because it’s a graphic novel and it fills your head with knowledge and funny facts!”

The Rat Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: So, I think I might read . . .

Salmon Creek written by Annette LeBox and illustrated by Karen Reczuch (published 2002)

We are off on our first field trip of the year on Monday, heading up to Grouse Mountain to explore. Salmon Creek will give us an opportunity to read about B.C. wildlife and forest habitats.

Salmon Creek Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: So, I think I might read . . .

Can We Save the Tiger? written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Vicky White (published in 2011)

I want to study endangered and extinct animals as we learn more about habitats, animal interactions and adaptations. This is one of the best nonfiction titles to introduce some of these concepts.

Can we Save the Tiger? Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: So, I think I might read . . .

Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth (published in 2013) Winner of the 2014 Sibert Medal

The perfect story about how human actions can begin to help rather than only interfere with an endangered species.

 Parrots over Puerto Rico Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: So, I think I might read . . .

The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry (published 2013)

I love sharing picture book biographies and this is a title I didn’t get to read aloud last year. I also have some incredible art projects in mind that I think this book will inspire.

 The Tree Lady Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: So, I think I might read . . .

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

Another title that illustrates how a species can become endangered because of human treatment and behaviour. I found this book this summer and knew it would be a book I had to share with my class.

 Jasper's Story Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: So, I think I might read . . .

Feathers Not Just for Flying written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen (published 2014)

I have a very interesting project in mind that this book will be a part of. There are a few other titles that will also be part of the inspiration. I don’t want to spoil anything but stay tuned . . .

Feathers Not Just for Flying Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: So, I think I might read . . .

Eye to Eye: How Animals See The World by Steve Jenkins (published April 2014)

Every year I share bits of a Steve Jenkins book over the course of weeks or even months. A page or so a day. This is the Jenkins title I plan to begin with.

 Eye to Eye Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: So, I think I might read . . .

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!

klf_nonfiction2014_medium (1)

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 107/65 complete!

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Four “finally found” titles

It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! 

NFPB 2014This week I want to share four titles that have nothing in common beyond their nonfiction status except that all four of them are books I have been dying to read and have, finally, FOUND!

If you haven’t discovered these titles yet, I pass on high recommendations! These are must reads.

Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth (published in 2013) Winner of the 2014 Sibert Medal

My local bookstore seemed to always be out of copies of this beautiful title but I finally found it at my local public library. Now I see not only why this was an award winning title, but also why so many raved about how amazing it is! Susan L. Roth‘s collage images are stunning and I love the alternate orientation of the book – it is shared vertically rather than horizontally. But, it is, of course, the story that is so important. So often when we hear about animals on the brink of extinction, there is no happy ending story to share. Here, we have a story of hope and promise. Through much hard work the endangered parrots of Puerto Rico are once again flying through the treetops. Both captive bred parrots and wild flocks are being supported by the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program.

This book has many extras in the final pages to support further learning:

  • an extensive Afterward with full colour photographs of the different birds discussed in this book and more information about the recovery program.
  • a timeline of important dates
  • a list of the author’s sources

 Parrots over Puerto Rico  NonFiction Picture Book Wednesday: Four "finally found" titles

Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson (published in 2013)

This cover has been staring at me from various book lists and blogs and finally, just recently, my requested copy arrived from the library! I immediately included it on this list of Swoon Worthy Nonfiction titles because the illustrations beautifully narrate a story all their own. Brief and lyrical text tells the story of Mandela’s life and his determination to see his people live in a free South Africa where apartheid was abolished. Kadir Nelson‘s back pages flush out details of the story he shared. A book guaranteed to get students talking about Mandela, his inspiration and his leadership.

Nelson Mandela NonFiction Picture Book Wednesday: Four "finally found" titles

Dream Something Big: The Story of the Watts Towers by Dianna Hutts Aston with collages by Susan L. Roth (published in 2011)

This book recently came onto my radar. This was a title by Dianna Aston that I didn’t know and art by Susan L. Roth? I had to find it. Luckily our public library had a copy for me to request! I knew nothing of this story of Simon Rodia (called Uncle Sam) and his big dream that resulted in the spectacular Watts Towers (up to 100 feet high in parts) in Los Angeles. Absolutely stunning folk art that you can’t imagine until you see it. More information can be found on this website. It’s worth taking a peek to see what the towers actually look like.

The end pages include close up photographs of tower sections. There is also an author’s note that gives more details about Simon Rodia and his work. Building these towers took thirty-four years and was done completely alone without even a ladder or any drawings/plans. There is also a step by step guide to creating your own Watts Towers for children to try.

Dream Something Big NonFiction Picture Book Wednesday: Four "finally found" titles

Can We Save the Tiger? written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Vicky White (published in 2011)

Ape by this author/illustrator team is one of my all time favourite nonfiction read alouds. Next year, I am looping my Grade 2/3/4 class into a Grade 3/4 class and will have many of the same students. Students expressed a lot of curiosity and interest about endangered animals and threats to animal populations which is related to the habitat and communities strand of the Grade 4 Science curriculum.

This book by Jenkins and White introduces students to a huge variety of endangered and extinct animals. With some creatures, like the tiger, more details are provided about the animal including reasons for its vulnerable status. Definite themes come through about why certain populations are threatened: lack of space, destruction of habitat, invasive non-native predators, climate change and exposure to medicine administered to another species. Again, there is hope. Stories are shared of animals that were close to extinction and now have healthy populations – like the American bison. There is an index in the back and a list of online resources to find out more about what animals are endangered and what organizations exist that are trying to protect them.

This is a title I will be purchasing for our class collection.

Can we Save the Tiger? NonFiction Picture Book Wednesday: Four "finally found" titles

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: 87/65 complete! If I were counting (and I am), I would announce that that is 22 books over my goal and it’s still July!

This week, I have had some wonderful conversations via twitter with Alyson Beecher who blogs at Kid Lit Frenzy and author Melissa Stewart about sharing nonfiction with our students. This inspired me to write a series of posts sharing my passion for nonfiction books. The first two of three posts are complete and linked here if you haven’t had a chance to check them out. I would love any feedback from this #nfpb2014 community who shares such #NFbooklove!

Teaching with a passion for nonfiction picture books:

Part 1: Everywhere you look . . . let there be nonfiction!

Part 2: The importance of the nonfiction read aloud

Coming soon: Part 3: Interacting with nonfiction: getting students reading, thinking and talking together

 

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!

 

Nic Bishop photography for all ages and stages

It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! 

NFPB 2014

 

I have always been impressed by Nic Bishop‘s incredible close up and fascinating photographs in his nonfiction books for children. But after hearing him speak at Western Washington University’s Children’s Literacy Conference this year, I read books that feature his photographs with even more awe and amazement. What I love best – besides having new understanding for how these photographs actually happen – is that his work is available to students at various reading levels. Today I am featuring three titles that I have shared recently with children. The first two titles I read aloud with my class and the last title I read to my own children who are eleven.

One interesting thing I learned from Nic’s presentation was that the work he does when working on Scientist in the Field titles is called photojournalism and the photos he takes for other nonfiction titles (like these first two) is called photo-illustration. I was pleased to know the correct terms to describe his work.

Spiders by Nic Bishop (published 2007; in Scholastic paperbacks, published 2012)

This is a hugely popular title in my room ever since I book talked the picture book version of this title and showed the students that Scholastic has also published it in a NF reader format. I judge the success of this book by the fact that some students beg to be able to read it next and spend ages marvelling at the photographs of spiders very close up. At the same time, other students insist that I promise to never even put this book near them because the images seriously terrify them! That front cover is pretty menacing.

Nic Bishop photography for all ages and stages #NFPB2014 There's a Book for That

Chameleon, Chameleon written by Joy Cowley with photographs by Nic Bishop (published 2005)

After a few pages, I had to skip to the back and find out just how this book was created. There was no way that chameleon actors were hired to tell this engaging tale about a chameleon on the move as it encounters different creatures in its habitat (various geckos, a frog, a scorpion, etc.) Yet the photo-illustrations so perfectly accompanied the text . . . Turns out that Bishop spent months with these chameleons in his care – observing them, finding them the perfect food, attending to their special needs. The result is that we are gifted by phenomenal photographs of chameleons to accompany a story that introduces children to lots of information. There are also two pages of additional, more detailed information about chameleons at the back of the book.

Nic Bishop photography for all ages and stages #NFPB2014 There's a Book for That

Saving the Ghost of the Mountain: An Expedition Among Snow Leopards in Mongolia written by Sy Montgomery with photographs by Nic Bishop (published 2009)

Over many weeks, I read sections of this book to my own children (it is all the more special as I was able to get our copy signed by Nic Bishop when at the #wwuclc2014 conference) as one of many read alouds we have on the go. How can a book about searching for snow leopards be so amazingly interesting when the snow leopards are never actually seen? Montgomery and Bishop tell an incredible tale about these magical and elusive creatures and their champion, scientist Tom McCarthy who has devoted his life’s work to their conservation. Mongolia is a beautiful place we seldom see – its landscape, people and culture highlighted through Bishop’s photographs and the stories Montgomery relates. We learn why the snow leopards are endangered and how the conservation efforts have centered on having the Mongolian people connect and want to protect these mysterious cats. How can McCarthy remain so passionate about an animal he has only seen in the wild a handful of times?

Protecting an animal is like loving someone. It’s not something you do and then finish. It’s a long-term promise, honored over and over, one step at a time.

I loved this quote in the notes form the photographer at the back of the book where Bishop writes,

“Some people have asked if I was disappointed not even to see a wild snow leopard. But in many ways I am happy not to see one. I love that some things in nature will always remain mysterious and unseen. Just knowing that they are out there is pleasure enough.”

Nic Bishop photography for all ages and stages #NFPB2014 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: 55/65 complete!