Nonfiction favourites from 2017

I haven’t read as many nonfiction titles as I would have liked to read this year. There are still titles on my To Read list that are likely to become favourites, perhaps even making their way on to this list. I definitely haven’t posted many #nfpb2017 posts.

Bur I have been reading and sharing and appreciating. Books from my nonfiction picture book collection are always well used and well loved. There have been some pretty amazing titles that I have had the pleasure of reading and I am sharing them here.

Here are my top ten of 2017 (published in 2017). Listed alphabetically by author.

Give Bees a Chance by Bethany Barton

Follow along as a reluctant bee enthusiast becomes convinced of the wonder and importance of bees. Entertaining and informative!

Penguin Day: A Family Story by Nic Bishop 

This title allows us to follow a penguin family through a typical day. Incredible photographs by Bishop of Rockhopper penguins in the Falkland Islands.

Grand Canyon by Jason Chin

Jason Chin is incredible. I believe that more and more with each book I read. Take a journey back and forth through time as you hike down, up and around the Grand Canyon.

What Makes a Monster?: Discovering the World’s Scariest Creatures written by Jess Keating and illustrated by David DeGrand

The second title in this series by Jess Keating. So. Much. Fun. Keating makes learning an adventure in the wow and wild!

This is How We Do it: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World by Matt Lamothe

What do you eat for dinner? What is school like?  What is your daily routine? What do you do for fun? How do you help your family? These details define us and unite us. They make us realize how we all have similar routines even though things in our day can be vastly different. Based on the lives of seven real children from around the world.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

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

What would you do if you were the moon? A poem travels line by line, page by page on one side of each two page spread and on the other, more information about the moon. Incredible illustrations by Jaime Kim accompanies a lyrical poem.

Can an Aardvark Bark? written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Created by nonfiction royalty, this book is a winner! Animal sounds. And many other cool things you might have wondered. I recently listened to Melissa Stewart talking about this book with Matthew Winner on an All the Wonders Podcast.

The Hidden Life of a Toad by Doug Wechsler

A photographic journey of the life cycle of the toad. Clear specific language, lots of essential vocabulary and incredible close up images.

If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams

A nonfiction title exploring ecosystems and the importance of keeping oceans healthy. Children will develop an understanding of food chains and how living creatures are interconnected in specific environments.

The World is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zana Hadid by Jeanette Winter

Zaha Hadid had incredible vision but having her designs come to life was a struggle. Learn more about the architect’s life in this nonfiction picture book biography. Images by Winter are spectacular.

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2017. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season

It’s December – the time to think about gifting books! How I love to help with shopping lists! Making a picture book list to give is one of my favourite holiday traditions. I started with 12 in 2013 and moved to 20 in 2014.  In 2015 and 2016, I bumped the list to 25. Once again, I am happy once again to celebrate 25 incredible titles for 2017! Looking to buy a special picture book (or books) for someone in particular? Here is a beautiful selection to consider.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

My criteria? Is it a book that can be shared multiple times? Does it inspire creativity, thinking, inspiration? Does it make its readers think differently? Does it celebrate something important? Does it freeze time? Is it a book that brings joy? Or does it simply make you laugh? Our world needs more laughter!

With those questions in mind, here is my list:

Listed alphabetically by author.

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

So a duck and a mouse take up residence in the belly of a wolf. Only Barnett and Klassen could pull this off. We all need a little wonderful wackiness in our lives.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Why Am I Me? written by Paige Britt and illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko

I loved this lyrical, beautiful book full of questions and musings about self, identity and the wider world.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell

Nearly wordless. All about important things. Kindness. Trust. Simplicity.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

A completely endearing title about one little boy’s route to being brave.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin

An allegorical tale that will make you giggle and nod vigorously and leap up and shout in agreement. Our voices cannot be silenced. Oh, this book is timely. Cannot recommend it enough.

the-rooster-who-would-not-be-quiet Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Windows by Julia Denos and illustrated E.B. Goodale

I could read this book endlessly. It is so calm and quiet and the little details are exquisite.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

You Don’t Want a Unicorn! by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Liz Climo

So, so very funny. Who could have guessed that a pet unicorn could be so problematic? You might never look at cupcakes the same way again!

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Milo and Georgie written by Bree Galbraith and illustrated by Josée Bisaillon

Moving is hard. Kids are quirky. It isn’t always easy to embrace change. Or maybe it is , , , This book celebrates adjusting to the new however we might approach things. Charming.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for ThatLittle Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin

This wordless title won my heart. Graphic panels. Sweet characters. Generosity and kindness. What more could you want in a picture book?

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins

Oh so clever! A very chatty conversation in the middle of a wordless book. A.k.a. a really hopeful wordless book interrupted by many words. Hilarious!

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

If I Had a Little Dream written by Nina Laden and illustrated by Melissa Castrillo

A celebration of possibilities from a child’s perspective. Beautiful.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

This is How We Do it: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World by Matt Lamothe

What do you eat for dinner? What is school like?  What is your daily routine? What do you do for fun? How do you help your family? These details define us and unite us. They make us realize how we all have similar routines even though things in our day can be vastly different. Based on the lives of seven real children from around the world.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Lines by Suzy Lee

This book is beautifully brilliant. Wordless and full of complete surprises and incredible movements (exquisitely implied).

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken

This book begins with an eye that was drawn too large. Where it ends up? Oh my! A creative and inspiring journey.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Things to Do by Elaine Magliaro and illustrated by Catia Chien

This title should ideally inspire endless poetry writing and will definitely help you see the world with a little more wonder. Gorgeous all around.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Cricket in the Thicket: Poems about Bugs written by Carol Murray and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

So much fun – lots of creepy and not so creepy crawlies flit, skitter and wander across these pages. Lots of information and delightful poems to share.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Now by Antoinette Portis

Being in the moment has never been celebrated with such lovely wonder and beauty.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

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

What would you do if you were the moon? A poem travels line by line, page by page on one side of each two page spread and on the other, more information about the moon. Incredible illustrations by Jaime Kim.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back up Again by Dan Santat

Find yourself completely surprised. This book. In awe.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Another Way to Climb a Tree written by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Hadley Hooper

Oh this book. Sweet. Inspiring. Creative. A perfect mix of text and illustrations.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith and illustrated by Danielle Daniel 

Sparse words, gorgeous illustrations and a message of strength.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires

Perseverance and risk taking are a journey. Love the way they are depicted here.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Can an Aardvark Bark? written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Created by nonfiction royalty, this book is a winner! Animal sounds. And many other cool things you might have wondered.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Accident! by Andrea Tsurumi

This story is an absolute adventure. It’s all in the details and such details! Lola the armadillo spills orange liquid all over a white chair in a cart wheeling mishap. It is viewed as an absolute disaster! The end of the world! The end of everything! As she escapes her own mess, she runs into many other catastrophes. In the end, some important resolutions are explored. A book to get lost in.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams

A nonfiction title exploring ecosystems and the importance of keeping oceans healthy. Children will develop an understanding of food chains and how living creatures are interconnected in specific environments.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Happy Reading. Happy Shopping. Happy Giving.

 

Monday April 24th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. Typically, I have more than one to share!

I love happening upon keen readers perched all over the room.

Monday April 24th, 2017

I am the #1 Reader spotter. I find them no matter where they hide!

Monday April 24th, 2017

Buddy reading spots

Monday April 24th, 2017

Lots of #classroombookaday photos to share. Can you see a theme in each collection?

Monday April 24th, 2017 Monday April 24th, 2017

Monday April 24th, 2017

Monday April 24th, 2017

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.

IMWAYR 2015

Books I enjoyed:

Out of Wonder Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderley and Marjorie Wentworth illustrations by Ekua Holmes

Here, I am speechless about this book. I can’t wait to begin reading poems from it aloud to my students. It will be inspiring more words. More poetry. More imagining. BUY this book! Your classroom or library need to have this title.

This is How We Do it: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World by Matt Lamothe I featured this title here.

Piper Green and the Fairy Tree: Going Places by Ellen Potter with illustrations by Qin Leng

This series is so popular with a few of my students. It has appeal for independent readers from a really broad age range. I had Grade 2s who loved this series. Now I have Grade 4s who love these books. This fourth title is a lot of fun. I love Piper’s bold conviction.

Princess Cora and the Crocodile written by Laura Amy Schlitz with illustrations by Brian Floca

I am pretty certain that most pet lists do not include crocodiles. This one turns out to be pretty amusing and wonderfully, hilariously heroic.

Terror at Bottle Creek by Watt Key 

An incredible adventure story that will have you on the edge of your seat. A Gulf Coast Hurricane creates conditions absolutely terrifying for 13 year old Cort and his two neighbours he is trying to keep safe.

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson 

Jade is a black student on scholarship at a mostly white private school. She questions the supports and opportunities offered to her as she struggles to figure out what she wants in her future. This title explores so many relationships: family, friendships, mentor/mentee, student/teacher. Jade’s voice is one that will weave questions into your head that will remain there for some time. Loved all of the things this book made me think about.

Matylda Bright and Tender by Holly M. McGhee 

This little book is all kinds of tender indeed. It holds you up through the heartbreaking and consoles you through all the hard. A beautiful middle grade read about friendship and grief and all the many ways to hope.

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 21/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 112/365 books read

Progress on challenge: On schedule!

#MustReadin2017: 13/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 18/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 16/50 books read

Up next? I am reading a bunch of things including Moon Shadow by Erin Downing

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: This is How We Do it

We all have a curiosity about how other people live – especially people from different places around the world. People just like us but yet, completely different. Children love the conversations we have in classrooms about what it is like in other countries where we once lived or places we have visited.

It’s the daily routines that are as interesting as the unique sights and physical characteristics of the land.

The tiny details. The things that make sense but seem so unusual.

What do you eat for dinner? What is school like? Do you have pets? What are the conveniences in your home? The hardships? What is your daily routine? What do you do for fun? What is served for dessert?

These details define us and unite us. They make us realize how we all have similar routines even though things in our day can be vastly different.

This is How We Do it: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World by Matt Lamothe (Chronicle Books May 2017offers a glimpse of the daily lives of seven children from around the world. Each child is between ages seven and eleven. All of these wonderful details are here:

  • What’s for breakfast?
  • What does your home look like?
  • What do you wear?
  • What is school like?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • What is your family like?
  • What do you do with your friends?
  • What do you eat for dinner?
  • Where do you sleep?

All of these questions and more are answered in detail by Kei from Japan, Ribaldo from Peru, Kian from Iran, Oleg from Russia, Ananya from India, Romeo from Italy and Daphne from Uganda.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: This is How We Do it

I shared this with my own children, who at age fourteen, were still very intrigued by all of the details. Some of the things they found especially interesting:

  • Breakfast foods like egg yolks mixed with sugar and milk in Italy and miso soup, consumed in Japan. Soup in the morning was a shock.
  • In many countries, students call their teachers by their first names. My children went to an Elementary school where this was done but it isn’t common here in Canada.
  • How late some children ate dinner. “What time do they go to bed?”
  • The differences in homes and sleeping arrangements.
  • That in Japan, children have to clean their own classrooms.
  • That kids in Peru have coffee with their dinners.

What makes this book so wonderful is revealed in the final pages. These children featured are real. We meet them in a photograph with their families and find out through the author’s note that all the details of their lives are based on their actual lives shared through photos and details given to author/illustrator Matt Lamothe.

I appreciated the balance of boys and girls and that the children who were chosen came from families who had lived for generations in the same country. Lamothe points out that these children can be seen to be representative of their country but of course only to a limited degree. All families and children are incredibly unique. I also appreciated that there was not a child from North America! While all families are depicted are two parent families, not all are two parent, two children families. There is some diversity in terms of number of children and ages of the children. One family has a tiny baby and so may still be growing. Another family mentions four older, grown siblings that no longer live with the family.

What an absolutely brilliant idea for a picture book!  An ideal book for classroom and school libraries. Children will delight in all of the details. Recommended for Grades 1 to 6.

A detailed glossary in the back explains unfamiliar terms.

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2017. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

Thank you to Fernanda from Raincoast Books for this review copy