Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Mock Sibert

For the past 3 years, Alyson Beecher has hosted a Mock Sibert on her blog as part of the Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday meme. Mock Sibert has grown! First Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy and Kellee from Unleashing Readers wrote posts and made predictions. In 2015, I was invited to join in and in 2016 Alyson opened it up to anyone who wanted to participate. Here are links to these posts:

Kid Lit Frenzy: 2016 Mock Sibert

There’s a Book for That: 2016 Mock Sibert

Kid Lit Frenzy: 2015 Mock Sibert

Unleashing Readers: 2015 Mock Sibert

There’s a Book for That: 2015 Mock Sibert

Kid Lit Frenzy: 2014 Mock Sibert

Unleashing Readers: 2014 Mock Sibert

This year, Kellee proposed expanding the Mock Sibert discussion even further by moving it to a year long conversation. She put feelers out to our little book loving PLN about  expanding the Mock Sibert to a Book Group on GoodReads.  By doing this, we get to discuss books all year long.

And . . . you can join in too!

Our plan for the group is for group members to start discussions about any nonfiction books that they feel are 2017 Sibert Award contenders. Then within those discussion boards, we will discuss the books we each “nominate.” At the end of December, we will vote for the books we feel need to be looked at again. We’ll then have a FINALISTS discussion board where we look closer at each of the books with an eye specifically towards the Sibert criteria. Following our discussions, we will vote for what we believe will be the finalists. We’ll then have a WINNER discussion board where we look again at the books we voted as finalists and discuss who we think will win. About a week before the 2017 ALA Media Awards, with enough time to blog about our winner and finalists if participants would like, we’ll vote for the winner.

Personally, I love reading about titles that others love. Their passion often sells me or at least lets me look at books with new perspective and new eyes!

Come join us on Goodreads at the Mock Sibert Book Club!

First, go to GROUPS at the top of the Goodreads home page.

You can search for the book club in the search bar at the top of the groups page.

Please make sure to answer our new member’s question, and we will approve you to jump into our conversation!

Hope you will come join us!

I have only read one 2016 nonfiction title so far. But there are a few I have my eye on (published at various times this year). Will they be Mock Sibert contenders? Who knows? The fun is in the reading! I can’t wait to discover more 2016 titles as the year unfolds.

Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep (November 2016)

Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep

Animals by the Numbers (November 2016)

Animals by the Numbers

Now You See Them, Now You Don’t: Poems about Creatures that Hide (February 2016)

Now You See Them Now You Don't

Giant Squid (September 2016)

Giant Squid

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2016. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

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Mock Sibert 2016

The Sibert Award is given annually to the most distinguished informational book published during the preceding year. Although the Sibert Award is not just for picture books, that is where I am focussing my predictions.

Honestly, I believe that the Sibert medal may go to a longer text and I don’t believe I have read that book. I am very excited to see what the announcement will be next week!

I read a lot of fantastic nonfiction last year but I focussed on texts suitable for younger readers because of switching grades this year (from a 3/4 with mostly Grade 4s to a 2/3 with mostly Grade 2s). Looking over some of the best of nonfiction lists, I think that there is a lot that I missed.

To be honored/win the Sibert Award, the book must include these important elements and qualities:

  • Excellent, engaging, and distinctive use of language.
  • Excellent, engaging, and distinctive visual presentation.
  • Appropriate organization and documentation.
  • Clear, accurate, and stimulating presentation of facts, concepts, and ideas.
  • Appropriate style of presentation for subject and for intended audience.
  • Supportive features (index, table of contents, maps, timelines, etc).
  • Respectful and of interest to children.

Based on this criteria, I have chosen 3 titles that I think may be honored when the Sibert titles are announced.

What I am really thinking about when making these selections are supportive features or documentation included somewhere in the text and that the books are really engaging for children. I am also very swayed by illustrations and I felt that each of these had a very unique and interesting style. Definitely the illustrations contributed in large ways to the appeal of the book.

Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled all of France  by Mara Rockliff with illustrations by Iacopo Bruno (March 2015 Candlewick Press)

I love the connection here to the importance of the scientific method. And it is also quite the story! The back pages include much additional information. Big kid appeal: mind control, magic forces, money making, Kings and Queens . . . Doesn’t get much better! Of course the ultimate power turns out to be science!

 Mesmerized Mock Sibert 2016

Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man who Sold the Eiffel Tower by Greg Pizzoli (March 2015 Viking Books)

There is something about swindlers and con artists that are immensely interesting! A con associated with something as well known and famous as the Eiffel Tower? Well! There are many stories within stories here and plenty of other historical and place specific information throughout the text. If I had an older grade, I would love to read this aloud!

Tricky Vic- The Impossilby True Story of the Man who Sold the Eiffel Tower by Greg Pizzoli Mock Sibert 2016

How to Swallow a Pig: Step-by-Step Advice from the Animal Kingdom by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (September 2015 HMH Books for Young Readers)

I love everything that Jenkins and Page do I will admit. That doesn’t make me biased, just constantly impressed. This title is particularly interesting because of the “how to” aspect. Of course it is also a great model for instructional writing – amazingly interesting instructional writing. Additional information is always rich in Jenkins/Page titles. Perfect for further reading.

How to Swallow a Pig Mock Sibert 2016

I looked back at past medal and honor titles and usually winners are longer picture books or middle grade illustrated texts taking a variety of formats. If brief texts with incredible visuals (illustrations or photographs) and strong back matter were to be considered, I think these 2015 titles could also be contenders. Who knows? Maybe they will be!

Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre (January 2015 Beach Lane Books)

Raindrops Roll Mock Sibert 2016

Water Is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Jason Chin (May 2015 Roaring Book Press)

Water is Water 2015 Gift Books

A Rock Can Be . . . by Laura Purdie Salas with illustrations by Violeta Dabija (March 2015 Millbrook Press)

A Rock Can Be Mock Sibert 2016

What are your #MockSibert choices?

I am excited to once again join the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge. My goal is to read 100 nonfiction titles this year. Most will be picture books but I will also read some longer texts. Many, but not all will be published recently (2014-2016). There are some older titles I have missed that I want to catch up on.

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2016. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

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The Mock Sibert 2015 Award Winner

Mock Sibert The Mock Sibert 2015 Award Winner

We are days away from learning which nonfiction book will be awarded the actual Sibert Award for 2015 but today is the day where we learn – here, on Kid Lit Fenzy and on Unleashing Readers which title won our Mock Sibert Award!

And . . .

THE WINNER IS . . . .

 The Right Word The Mock Sibert 2015 Award Winner

The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Such a spectacular choice!

Now we must wait until Monday to find out if the Sibert committee agrees.

We are also happy to announce our giveaway winner. Congratulations to Cathy Ballou Mealey who has chosen Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey written by Loree Griffin Burns with photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz  (one of our Mock Sibert titles) as her prize.

It was so much fun discussing and celebrating the fantastic nonfiction titles of 2014 with Alyson and Kellee. Hosting the Mock Sibert allowed us to highlight our favourites. Check out our original Mock Sibert choices here if you missed them:

On Kid Lit Frenzy

On There’s a Book for That

On Unleashing Readers

Thank you to all who participated! We cannot wait to see who wins on Monday!

Mock Sibert: 2015 The top picks by There’s a Book for That, Kid Lit Frenzy and Unleashing Readers

Mock Sibert Mock Sibert: 2015 The top picks by There's a Book for That, Kid Lit Frenzy and Unleashing Readers

Over the past three years, Alyson (of Kid Lit Frenzy) has hosted, and Kellee (of Unleashing Readers) and I have participated in a book challenge pushing ourselves to read more nonfiction picture books. Since we read many of the best nonfiction picture books published each year, in 2014 we decided to start hosting a Mock Sibert Award.

The Sibert Award is given annually to the most distinguished informational book published during the preceding year. Although the Sibert Award is not just for picture books, we are going to focus on the nonfiction picture books we feel would be honored or win this year. To be honored/win the Sibert Award, the book must include these important elements and qualities:

  • Excellent, engaging, and distinctive use of language.
  • Excellent, engaging, and distinctive visual presentation.
  • Appropriate organization and documentation.
  • Clear, accurate, and stimulating presentation of facts, concepts, and ideas.
  • Appropriate style of presentation for subject and for intended audience.
  • Supportive features (index, table of contents, maps, timelines, etc).
  • Respectful and of interest to children.

After reviewing the qualities and elements needed to win the Sibert Award, I chose these five titles as my Mock Sibert Finalists. On February 2nd when the winners are announced, I am hoping some of these picks will be on the list!

This was not an easy task! There were many nonfiction titles I treasured in 2014.

Check out Kid Lit Frenzy and Unleashing Readers to see what Alyson and Kellee chose as their picks.

In making my final choices, I thought carefully about which titles would be particularly appealing to young readers – which books would inspire wonder, would be engaging and easy to navigate?  Each of these titles stands out to me as ideal nonfiction reading for children.

Listed in order of publishing date

Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey written by Loree Griffin Burns with photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz (March 2014)

This is one of the last nonfiction titles I read in 2014 and the first nonfiction read aloud I brought in to share with my class in January. I love what one child said very early on in our reading: “This book gives us questions but lets us find the answers.” The most special thing about this title is that it answers a question that few children might have imagined: How exactly do butterflies get to live exhibits in the north? Many children have been to Science Centres and Natural History Museums that might house live exhibits. Where do those butterflies come from? How do they get there? This title tells that story. It describes how the important work on a butterfly farm in Costa Rica allows the farm workers to collect and ship butterfly pupae around the world, while at the same time, respecting and protecting the forest around the farm. A pupa, it turns out, is the perfect package! Incredible photographs of the butterflies at all stages of life are included, as well as photographs of El Bosque Nuevo, the butterfly farm featured in this book.

Not only was this an amazing story, but the learning continues in the final pages of the book. More information is provided about insects and their life cycles and additional details on insect words are explained. There is a detailed glossary, suggestions for further reading and stunning end pages with more photographs of both various pupae and also adult butterflies. Of particular interest to children? A section on helpful hints if you do get to visit a live butterfly exhibit.

 Handle with Care Mock Sibert: 2015 The top picks by There's a Book for That, Kid Lit Frenzy and Unleashing Readers

Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa’s Fastest Cats written by Sy Montgomery with photographs by Nic Bishop (April 2014)

I adore reading Scientist in the Field titles in general but have a special affinity for titles by Montgomery and Bishop. Their relationship with each other, the connection they form with the scientist, the prose, the photographs – all lend themselves to such incredible and engaging stories. I purchased this title as soon as it was published. Cheetahs are so frequently “nominated” by children as a favourite animal. But what is the story of their endangered status and what is being done about it? That is the story that this title showcases – in particular the story of  Laurie Marker and the work she does at the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF)‘s African headquarters in Nambia. This title is a wonderful blend of information about conservation efforts, facts about cheetahs, the story of the science behind the research and most delightful – an introduction to the various cheetah ambassadors who live at CCF in Nambia. The rescues, the orphaned babies, the rehabilitation, the releases back to the wild – such stories pull the reader strong and fast into the important work of the CCF.

Perfect for older readers, this title would also make a great read aloud for younger students who are learning about endangered animals and efforts being made to protect them. The final chapter of the book actually features the story of Marker’s visits to Rogate Primary School to speak to school children about the work of the Cheetah Conservation Fund and how farmers and cheetahs can coexist in Nambia.

 Chasing Cheetahs Mock Sibert: 2015 The top picks by There's a Book for That, Kid Lit Frenzy and Unleashing Readers

The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet (September 2014)

This book is like a piece of art. Layer upon layer of history, personal story, word joy and fascinating details – this is how a biography should arrive: all wrapped up to be peeled away piece by piece. Of course it is fitting that the man who imagined the thesaurus was enamoured by lists, language and the perfect word for each occasion. Enchanted by words and compelled to share, Roget dedicated his life to sharing knowledge and his passion for words.

This book is rich in supportive details beyond all of the creative collage elements shared by Sweet and the interesting text and lists by Bryant. I love the two page spread entitled: List of Principal Events. This is a timeline of important events in history happening at the same time as key events in Peter Mark Roget‘s life. What a wonderful way to show children that our personal histories are influenced and shaped by the world we live in. Author and illustrator notes are also full of additional reading pleasure!

The Right Word Mock Sibert: 2015 The top picks by There's a Book for That, Kid Lit Frenzy and Unleashing Readers

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy (September 2014)

I know how popular shark books are with children. I often buy books about sharks. I seldom read them. It’s fear factor avoidance. I freely admit that I think sharks are one of the most truly terrifying creatures. But this book captivated me. Its mixture of gorgeously painted illustrations, detailed relevant diagrams and the story of how the great whites who hunt in the Farallon Islands hunt so successfully, kept me reading and interested to the final pages. This book illustrates how sharks are perfectly adept hunters, at the top of the food chain. Katherine Roy shares specific information about body shape and function, the heat exchange system that gives the shark a warmer brain, its vision, its teeth and those projectile jaws. Against its prey, the shark clearly has many advantages. It is built to be an “absolute predator.”

The factual pages are embedded within a story of shark migration and hunting habits. I can see children studying the diagrams carefully in order to understand exactly why the shark is such a perfect killer. The paintings in this story don’t shy away from depicting the realities of the hunt: swirling waters, a stream of red, jaws full of teeth . . . Images that allow children to feel like they are getting a close up look at the hunt but not so gruesome to make anyone want to hide their eyes. Strangely, I think these paintings are superior to photographs in the sense that they pull the reader in rather than turn anyone away.

 Neigborhood Sharks Mock Sibert: 2015 The top picks by There's a Book for That, Kid Lit Frenzy and Unleashing Readers

Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen (November 2014)

My childhood was all about snow. Living now on the milder West Coast, I often think about those long winter seasons of snow covered ground that seemed to be endless. Snow days here are all about a fleeting time. Snow balls, snow men and the swish of seldom worn snow pants racing up the toboggan hill before it all melts away. But what about the animals who must survive long winters where snow is not a novelty but a part of life? Is the snow a burden? A hardship? How do they survive? How do they adapt to the long winter months? These are questions that children will find answers to in this stunning collection of poems, lino cut prints and informative paragraphs.

The poems are beautiful and convey details and images that simple text might not. Sidman’s words invite all of our senses into the visualization process. She writes of squishy damp leaf litter where springtails (snow fleas) live, of the ripped chips and thrashing twigs of the beaver’s lodge, and how the baby moose shrugs off the cold and sneezes at the wind. Lured by these images, the reader wants to know more. The descriptive paragraphs about each creature and detailed glossary provide lots of additional information. Allen’s prints layer colour and texture and suggest movement in their details. So appealing!

 Winter Bees Mock Sibert: 2015 The top picks by There's a Book for That, Kid Lit Frenzy and Unleashing Readers

After checking out these titles I have featured and Alyson and Kellee’s choices, which book do you think should win the Sibert?

Enter our Rafflecopter (follow the link) to win a copy of one of our picks (your choice!) as well as to vote for which book you think will win.

Please share any additional comments in the comment sections on any of our blogs!