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

Nonfiction conversations: Talking nonfiction picture book biographies with kids

When I read aloud nonfiction titles to my class, it takes a long time. Often, we stretch a read aloud over weeks. Lots of reading aloud is happening in our room – a novel, various picture books, selections from titles we are book talking and always, always, one or more nonfiction titles.

No, my students don’t forget what was happening between read aloud sessions. Connections are made in the days between. We pick the title up and we loop back into our previous wonders, observations and learning. We bring more to the next time we read because there has been space for more thinking, more questions. And always, our nonfiction read alouds are titles we use to talk and share our thinking.

Turn and Talk. Share out. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Lots and lots and lots of talk.

We retell. We predict. We infer. We look for evidence. We list questions. We share observations.

The talking is rich so the learning is rich.

It sounds like:

“I noticed that . . . ”

“But we are still wondering why. . . ”

“Last time we learned _______ so .  . . ”

“My partner and I have a question still.”

“Oh! Now I get how . . . ”

“This is connected to what _____ just said: . . .”

So when I finish a nonfiction title, the book has become part of our classroom community. Our shared knowledge. Our shared thinking. Our layers of learning. Often, when I read the last page, the students clap. They jiggle about. We have come out the other side a little more enriched with knowing more about our world. We are celebrating.

Am I reading a variety of nonfiction titles aloud? I think so. I am so very conscious of this thanks to the conversations I have had via twitter and blogs with authors and educators who read, write and share nonfiction titles. I am particularly indebted to author Melissa Stewart and educator Alyson Beecher for stretching my thinking. When I think back to titles we have read deeply and meaningfully, I find narrative non fiction like biographies and nature themed books feature big. But I also read a lot of expository titles. And I often share snippets from what Melissa Stewart calls Fast Facts titles. See her Pinterest pages for specific examples.

So if I am exposing my students to a variety of styles, what do they think? Are they enjoying the genres we are reading? Starting with picture book biographies, I asked 🙂

 The Tree Lady  Nonfiction conversations: Talking nonfiction picture book biographies with kids

Yesterday, we finished The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry. When I closed the book, there was the reaction I love. The big smiles. The big breath in. The sitting up straighter. The perfect time to grab their thinking while the reactions were fresh. I asked questions and wrote down all of these thoughtful responses. Sharing here:

Me: “So what words describe how we are feeling right now?”

Class: “Hopeful.” “Energized.” “Joy” “Like standing up and connecting to the Earth.” “Smarter.” “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.”

Me: “This is one of many picture book biographies we have shared together. Last year we read Me . . . Jane (by Patrick McDonnell), Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell (written by Tanya Lee Stone and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman), The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos (written by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham), and many others. Why biographies? Why do you think I share these with you? Why do you like these titles? What are you thinking?”

Class: “I like to know about what other people did.” “I like those books that tell the story of someone who can’t but then they did.” “Kids can learn a lot.” “It inspires us.” “I respect people who helped us in the past.” “I feel grateful.”

Me: “Why do you think authors keep writing biographies?”

Class: “We are really interested. They know we will be.” “People can know about the past.” “It’s so we can know that one person can change things.” “So we will know history.” “Kids should know how things have transformed.”

Me: “How do these books make you feel?”

Class: “They show me not to be scared.” “They make me feel happy and inspired.” “Yeah, lots of inspired.” “People can do big things.” “I am learning history. About people who changed a city, or a country or the world!” “I like learning so much.” “This book also teaches us about community and dreams. We should think about that.” “Yeah. Cuz we will grow up and be adults. So we need to learn lots now.”

Me: “Okay. But here’s the thing, I usually read these titles to you. Then, a lot of you read them again. Or take them out from the library. But . . . would you choose to read these books on your own?”

Class: “Yes! Because I get to know facts and share them with other people.” “I don’t know where to find them in all libraries.” “Yes, because now I know there is lots of science in them.” “The librarians should make a big sign and an arrow – learn about interesting people in these books!” “It’s books that inspire you. We like that.” “It’s all new stuff. It’s nonfiction. I love nonfiction!”

Me: “But what if I had never read any picture book biographies to you? Would you choose to read them on your own?”

Class: A pause happened.

Then everyone started talking at once and I couldn’t write down specific comments. But I can summarize. Most students said that teachers need to show their students about these books. My language/their sentiment: Lots of exposure to this genre as classroom read alouds (where you get to talk and write and think together) will hook kids on this genre. Many expressed that they like that these books are written like a story that they can just settle in and at the same time, learn facts and be inspired. Some said they wouldn’t like to read a biography organized like other nonfiction titles with fact boxes, etc. because it would distract them from the person’s story. Some pointed out that some of the language would be too hard for some kids to read on their own. So these titles could first be read alouds and then be books they could read on their own when they were older. “Because we won’t forget about them,” one student added.

Me: “Should we read more picture book biographies this year?”

Class: “Yes!” “Six thumbs up!” “Like next week?”

My learning? It is still settling in. But a few things stand out.

  • It is imperative that we expose children to a variety of nonfiction genres
  • We need to name the genre. Talk about its purpose. Discuss how we feel and what we have learned.
  • Stories hook us. Stories that are full of learning and one particular personal story touch us deeply.
  • Conversation with children about what we are reading and talking about is so very rich

I wrote a series of blog posts in the summer about teaching with nonfiction titles. This post: Part 3: Interacting with nonfiction: getting students reading, thinking and talking together highlights some of what I am trying to emphasize here.

I plan to engage in conversations with my students about other nonfiction genres and share their thinking. Please let me know if this is helpful or interesting to you as you think about read aloud choices, nonfiction purchases, instruction around reading and sharing nonfiction titles.

*Note, my class is a Grade 3/4 class that I looped from a Grade 2/3/4 last year.

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: Some favourite nonfiction titles for older readers (List 3)

It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! 

This is the final list (3 of 3) where I share thirty titles (ten at a time) of my favourite nonfiction books for older readers. The first ten are here and second ten are here.

Even though I teach primary students, I often come across fantastic nonfiction titles that older students (Grades 4-8) might enjoy. Hope some of these titles are ideal for a reader you know.

The final ten:

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

Tracking Trash  Flotsam, Jetsam and the Science of Ocean Motion by Loree Griffin Burns (published 2007)

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

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

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

Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit up the World written by Elizabeth Rusch and illustrated by Oliver Dominguez (published 2013)

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

Birds of a Feather written by Francesco Pittau and illustrated by Bernadette Gervais  (published 2012)

birds of a feather Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

Just a Second by Steve Jenkins (published 2011)

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

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave written by Laban Carrick Hill and illustrated by Bryan Collier (published 2010)

 Dave the Potter  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet (published 2008)

 River of Words  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

The Journey: Stories of Migration written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Lambert Davis (published 2006)

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

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

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

Eruption: Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives written by Elizabeth Rusch with photographs by Tom Uhlman (published 2013)

Eruption  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers 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 books you need to read!

klf_nonfiction2014_medium (1)

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 104/65 complete!

Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books

I am a huge fan of nonfiction picture books in our Elementary classrooms. They are the jumping off point into deep, deep learning. But it is not just the learning that infuses these pages, it is also the beauty of the images that helps lure readers in.

Reasons for nonfiction read alouds? There are many: opportunity for rich discussion, shared learning experiences, new information conveyed, etc. But there is also the visual treat that so many titles provide. The inspiration to wonder, to marvel and to be in awe of our world.

For some students, just the lure of new knowledge is the gateway to reading fantastic nonfiction titles, others need a little nudge. Something beautiful . . .

I have a few students who resist picking up nonfiction titles without some persuasion. I try to entice them with the amazing facts that they might learn. Thinking of a few students in particular, I realize I have been approaching it all wrong. With these children, I should be starting with the images and let them work their magic. Many of our visual learners begin with the illustrations. They become lost in the pictures and then begin reading to answer the questions that start to form.

Do I have enough nonfiction picture books in my collection (or on my wish lists) for these readers?

I started a list. And then I thought I should share . . . .

Each of these titles has made me stop and stare.  Here are 25 of the most gorgeous nonfiction titles out there – absolutely swoon worthy, in my opinion 🙂

Learn more about the Natural World:

Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books: 25 beautiful titles to entice young readers with stunning illustrations From There's a Book for That

An Egg is Quiet written by Dianna Aston and illustrated by Sylvia Long

Over and Under the Snow written by the Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. (Note: This title is actually fiction but offers a beautiful invitation to begin learning more about the world under the snow)

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

Bird, Butterfly, Eel with story and paintings by James Prosek

The Long, Long Journey: The Godwit’s Amazing Migration written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Mia Posada

Nest by Jorey Hurley

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

Books about Creatures: Small to Gigantic, and all sizes in between:

Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books: 25 beautiful titles to entice young readers with stunning illustrations From There's a Book for That

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

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

Mama Built a Little Nest written by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Big Blue Whale written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Nick Maland

Jumping Penguins illustrated by Marije Tolman with text by Jesse Goossens

See What a Seal Can Do written by Chris Butterworth and illustrated by Kate Nelms

Information/Concept titles:

Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books: 25 beautiful titles to entice young readers with stunning illustrations From There's a Book for That

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals’ Lives  written by Lola Schaefer and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Swirl by Swirl (Spirals in Nature) written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beth Krommes

Gravity by Jason Chin

Locomotive by Brian Floca 

Biographies/Memoir:

 Biographies/Memoir Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books: 25 beautiful titles to entice young readers with stunning illustrations From There's a Book for That

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

Orani My Father’s Village by Claire A. Nivola

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill 

Dare the Wind written by Tracey Fern and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully 

Grandfather Gandhi written by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus and illustrated by Evan Turk

The Boy who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos written by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham 

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet

Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson

(I featured a few of these titles in this post last year: Wonder Inducing Nonfiction Read Alouds Some are clearly my favourites!)

What beautiful nonfiction picture books make you swoon? Please share them in the comments.

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.

NFPB 2014

The Wonder of Women: Ten nonfiction picture book biographies

The Wonder of Women #nf10for10 event There's a Book for That Picture Book Biographies

Nonfiction 10 for 10 event is back for year two! I welcome any opportunity to celebrate fantastic nonfiction picture books. 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.

Nonfiction 10 for 10

On Wednesdays, Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy also hosts the #nfpb2014 event where bloggers can link up to share nonfiction picture book titles. As always, thanks to Alyson for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2014! Go here for this link up.

NFPB 2014

Last year for #nf10for10 I shared favourite nonfiction titles – many that I have used with my class over the last few years in a variety of ways.

This year, I chose to focus on nonfiction picture book biographies that feature inspiring women. I have read numerous biographies to my class this year – including some of the titles below. I am very conscious of making sure my students are exposed to both inspiring women and men. These stories spark so much wonder, discussion and learning.

In honour of wonderful women . . .

Me . . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell

The brilliant Patrick McDonnell won a Caldecott Honor for this title for very good reason. It is an absolute detailed dream of the little girl who grew up to be the inspiring Jane Goodall. Little Jane drags her stuffed monkey Jubilee through the woods, around the farm and all about the great outdoors. We see sketches from Jane’s own nature journals. We learn about her lifetime passion for animals. We hear about her dreams to go to Africa. And then it is so . . . Jane’s dreams really did come true.

The Wonder of Women #nf10for10 event There's a Book for That Picture Book Biographies

Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A Nivola

A wonderful read aloud to share with upper primary (and older) students about finding your passion and making it your life’s work. I love this book for many reasons. The depiction of Earle’s curious childhood in the water, descriptions of moments in her life that truly shaped and changed her, beautiful and enticing illustrations and this very important message: “You can’t care if you don’t know.” In this story, this message applies to ecology and caring for our natural world but it is a message that applies to so many things. One worth thinking a lot about.

The Wonder of Women #nf10for10 event There's a Book for That Picture Book Biographies

Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell written by Tanya Lee Stone and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

I love the style of this book – the visual style and the appealing narration. It makes the story both interesting and accessible for young readers. And what a story! An important biography about determination, changing general opinion and beliefs and following a dream. While I want all of my students to hear this story (I have purchased my own copy for my picture book biography collection), there are some children that I specifically have in mind who will rejoice in the messages of this book.

The Wonder of Women #nf10for10 event There's a Book for That Picture Book Biographies

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Maker’s Strike of 1909 written by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

A fabulous story made even more spectacular by Melissa Sweet’s illustrations. This book tells the story of Clara Lemlich who was instrumental in the labour movement in the garment industry in the early 1900s. Introduces children to themes of work place safety, worker’s rights and individual strength and resolve.

The Wonder of Women #nf10for10 event There's a Book for That Picture Book Biographies

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

I will admit that I bought this book because I was captured by its gorgeous cover and I knew it was about an inspirational woman who transformed an entire city. Love it for its passionate celebration of nature. For its gorgeous illustrations. Or for its important historical journey back in time beginning in the 1860s with a little girl named Katherine Olivia Sessions. A little girl who brought lush, green life to the city of San Diego. A woman who studied science when other women and girls did not. A woman who took what she had learned it and applied it in the most important of ways and brought a city to life. And oh, that cover . . .

The Wonder of Women #nf10for10 event There's a Book for That Picture Book Biographies

Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills written by Renee Watson and illustrated by Christian Robinson

Not only a glimpse into the life of Harlem Renaissance singer Florence Mills but a story of courage, commitment and the power to make change.

The Wonder of Women #nf10for10 event There's a Book for That Picture Book Biographies

 Miss Moore Thought Otherwise: How Anne Carroll Moore created Libraries for Children written by Jan Pinborough and illustrated by Debby Atwell

Well. . . Anne Carroll Moore now has superhero status as far as I am concerned. Loved this story of how one woman acted as a champion for children’s access to books, libraries and beautiful spaces. Moore opened the first children’s room in the New York Public Library. She made that this was truly a place for children full of art, natural collections, story tellers and most importantly books and children to read and celebrate them.

The Wonder of Women #nf10for10 event There's a Book for That Picture Book Biographies

 Miss Dorothy and her Bookmobile written by Gloria Houston and illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb

Such an inspiring story about Dorothy Thomas, an absolute book hero. Dorothy’s dreams of a fine brick building where she could be librarian never materialized. But her role in bringing books to a community was huge. True testament to how books change lives and connect community.

The Wonder of Women #nf10for10 event There's a Book for That Picture Book Biographies

Queen of the Falls by Chris VanAllsburg 

How could a 62 year old woman plan and execute a stunt such as going over Niagara Falls in a barrel? Here is the story of Annie Edson Taylor, determined to make her fortune by being the first person to go over the falls.  A compelling and sad story. This blurs nonfiction and fiction as it is told by master story teller VanAllsburg but I feel it has enough connection to Taylor and the events surrounding this stunt to make it fit the nonfiction category.

The Wonder of Women #nf10for10 event There's a Book for That Picture Book Biographies

Helen’s Big World The Life of Helen Keller  written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Matt Tavares

What an incredibly inspirational book about Helen Keller and her brilliant teacher Annie Sullivan. This book has quotations by Keller on every page. Beautifully, beautifully illustrated. What an amazing relationship between teacher and student. What a tribute to the power of education. So much to this book.

The Wonder of Women #nf10for10 event There's a Book for That Picture Book Biographies

Thanks again to Cathy, Julie and Mandy for the inspiration and hosting this event!

Happy reading and sharing everyone! Hurray for nonfiction picture books!

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2014

I’ve been inspired once again by Alyson Beecher at KidLit Frenzy to participate in the 2014 Nonfiction picture book challenge! Link up here to join in!

NFPB 2014

According to Goodreads, last year I read 66 nonfiction picture books – my goal had been 60 titles. I read 44 nonfiction picture books in 2012 so it was wonderful that participating in this challenge allowed me to increase the titles I read by a third! Wonderful for me and wonderful for my students as my passion for these titles has spilled over into some amazing read aloud experiences! And the learning . . . Wow!

This year when I selected my favourite titles of the year, including nonfiction picture books was a priority – I credit this challenge with my new absolute love for this genre. Thank you Alyson and all of the fantastic bloggers sharing favourite reads all year!

I would like to keep reading at the nonfiction pace I read last year – so I am choosing 65 titles as my goal. Again, I will try and read many recently published books, but there are many 2013 (and even older) titles that I really want to get to so I will be reading both new and older titles. When I can, I will include favourites and link to Alyson’s Wednesday nonfiction posts.

One of my most popular posts of the year was for this challenge: Wonder Inducing Nonfiction Read Alouds. I have been using this list to guide which books I share with my students. In my timetable, I have set aside two guaranteed nonfiction read aloud times each week. Often, it is more. We read a lot of nonfiction in my room!

Like last year, I am excited to learn about a variety of nonfiction titles shared via the bloggers participating in this challenge! Reading passion is wonderfully contagious!

My ten nonfiction favourites read in 2013 (not just published in 2013) included:

The final 3 titles on this list were on my Favourites of 2013 list and four of these books were on my Gift Books 2013 list. Testament to the nonfiction love!

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

Tree Lady NF Picture Book Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

Is This Panama? A Migration Story written by Jan Thornhill and illustrated by Soyeon Kim 

Is this Panama? NF Picture Book Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

No Monkeys, No Chocolate written by Melissa Stewart and Allen Young with illustrations by Nicole Wong 

No monkeys, No chocolate NF Picture Book Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frog: A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle

The Case of the Vanishing Frogs NF Picture Book Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

My First Day by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

my first day NF Picture Book Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

A Little Book of Sloth by Lucy Cooke 

a little book of sloth NF Picture Book Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

Even an Octopus Needs a Home by Irene Kelly 

NF Picture Book Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals’ Lives  written by Lola Schaefer and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Lifetime NF Picture Book Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

On A Beam of Light- A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

 On a Beam of Light NF Picture Book Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

The Boy who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos written by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham 

 The Boy who Loved Math NF Picture Book Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That

I feel compelled to share this post to highlight all of the love this book had in my classroom: For the Love of Math

NF Picture Book Favourites of 2013 There's a Book for That