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!


Monday November 16th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week.

This week I have two. Both are all about reading engagement. These moments are everything when you are trying to grow readers.

Monday November 16th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Monday November 16th, 2015 There's a Book for That

I had to tweet about this book love shared above

We read some fantastic titles this week for #classroombookaday. Enemy Pie was well loved. We are reading lots of books on relationships and friendships. My students have requested it. Next week we will begin to read previous Caldecott honor and medal winners in anticipation of our Mock Caldecott in December.

Monday November 16th, 2015 There's a Book for That

I also loved how one little reader chose the simple but powerful Say Hello.

Monday November 16th, 2015 There's a Book for That

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. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.


Here I am again on Monday! And I shared for #nfpb2015 on Wednesday! Getting back into the blogging groove has been wonderful!

On the blog:

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Counting Lions 

Books I loved this week:

Fall Leaves written by Loretta Holland and illustrated by Elly MacKay

This is a wonderful nonfiction title about what happens all around us when it is fall. Stunning illustrations perfect for this title by Elly MacKay. Lots to inspire learning and questions with primary students.

Fall Leaves Monday November 16th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Shadow Chasers by Elly MacKay

Again, these illustrations are incredible. I loved the premise of this title more than its execution.

Shadow Chasers Monday November 16th, 2015 There's a Book for That

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

I shared this gorgeous book in my nonfiction post this week – see the link above. Perfect for a discussion about endangered animals and shrinking habitats.

Counting Lions Monday November 16th, 2015 There's a Book for That

The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage written by Selina Alko and illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko

I read this aloud at dinner tonight with my family and it prompted a lot of discussion about laws that have over time and in different countries prohibited marriage for various reasons. We loved the collaborative illustrations and the author’s note in the back which made us a little teary. Such an important read.

The Case for Loving- The Fight for Interracial Marriage

Poppy’s Best Paper written by Susan Eaddy and illustrated by Rosalinde Bennet

This was a suggestion from one of my favourite booksellers at Vancouver Kidsbooks. The perfect book to talk about Writing Workshop. Also perfect to explore friendships, peer relationships, jealousy, doing our best, etc. So many great themes.

Poppy's Best Paper Monday November 16th, 2015 There's a Book for That

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

This is a rare adult read. It was pure escapism. Did I love it? Not really. But definitely held my attention and took my mind off of other things.

the_husbands_secret-Monday November 16th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Up next? I am reading MosquitoLand by David Arnold

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 60/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 373/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 16/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 67/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 44/50 books read

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!