Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: The Open Ocean

To celebrate Picture Book Month I am continuing to share conversations I have about particular picture books. This isn’t so much a conversation as an ooh and ahh fest I had with my own two children while exploring this nonfiction title.

The Open Ocean by Francesco Pittau and Bernadette Gervais is an oversized title that invites the reader to guess, read more, lift flaps and absorb amazing information. This title kept my two 12 year olds completely interested and engaged as we interacted with this gorgeous book. Our favourite 2 page spread was the section that showed closeups of shells, scales and other textures on various sealife. We didn’t guess any correctly! So much to interact with in this title.

 The Open Ocean Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Our favourite facts?

  • The compass jellyfish changes gender over its lifetime (“That’s just too strange,” remarked my son.)
  • The blue whale is one of longest living creatures.
  • The sea urchin is named after a hedgehog.
  • An octopus is super smart! It can open jars.(“But what are those scientists doing having it be in a lab to do experiments on? Terrible! Unless it is just tests? Do they release them after?” – this from my daughter.)
  • A sunfish can weigh over 500 pounds!
  • The swordfish is one of the fastest fish.
  • No one really knows how long lobsters live. They can live to be over 100 and they always seem to die for other reasons before perishing from old age.

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!

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My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 120/65 complete!

Ocean wonders: twenty nonfiction picture books about sea life

My class and I have fallen into a theme of ocean and sea life without really knowing we were heading in that direction. And just like dipping your toe into the deep blue sea and being lured into the depths, we have found that everywhere we turn, there are more books on this theme for us to discover. Here are twenty nonfiction picture book titles – some we have read, some that are in the pile to share and some we might not get to this time around. I hope that some will be ones you want to share with the children in your lives.

Books with a theme of Exploration:

Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea by Steve Jenkins  

How can we not be intrigued at the idea that we may only have encountered half of the large animals living in the sea?

Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau written by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Éric Puybaret

Cousteau was fascinated by a world that he couldn’t spend prolonged time in. Without being able to breather underwater, how could Cousteau explore its mysteries? Read a more detailed review here

The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jaques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino

Another fantastic picture book biography sharing the life of the inspiring Jacques Cousteau.

Sophie Scott Goes South by Alison Lester

This title is based on the author’s real experience of travelling to Antarctica. Full of all kinds of facts about icebergs, icebreakers, life in a research station. Read a more detailed review here.

 Ocean wonders: 20 nonfiction picture books about the sea There's a Book for That Nonfiction picture book Wednesday

Books with an Environment theme:

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

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.”

Winston of Churchill by Jean Davies Okimoto

This book tells us about Winston, the bear from Churchill, Manitoba who decides to mobolize a group of polar bears to teach the tourists who come to see the polar bears about the effects of global warming on the melting ice in the Arctic.

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

Nicola Davies tells us how polar bears survive in the Northern landscape weaving facts on each page into the beautiful story she tells in lovely poetic text.

Read about how I used this title in my room to practice deep thinking questions here

Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm 

Narrated by the sun. Learn about ocean’s life cycles and the importance of phytoplankton.

Environment  Ocean wonders: 20 nonfiction picture books about the sea There's a Book for That Nonfiction picture book Wednesday

Books about Specific Sea Creatures (one or many):

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

Through a story of a mother whale and her calf’s migratory journey, we are able to learn many things about humpback whales.

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

The reader is then invited into the world of seals. Learn all about gray seals – how they move, how they hunt and how their body is perfectly suited to their ocean home.

Read more about this book here.

One Tiny Turtle written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Jane Chapman

The amazing story of the lifecycle of the loggerhead turtle.

Surprising Sharks written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by James Croft

Learn lots about sharks including how humans pose many threats to their survival.

Bubble Homes and Fish farts written by Fiona Bayrock and illustrated by Carolyn Conahan 

How do animals use bubbles? In quite amazing ways! From the bubble nets of humpback whales to the bubbles sea otters use to stay extra warm in the cold ocean water.

In the Sea written by David Elliot and illustrated by Holly Meade

Poems about various sea creatures. Gorgeous illustrations.

Giant Squid: Searching for a Sea Monster by Mary M. Cerullo from the Smithsonian

Written like an active investigation. Just what is the giant squid? Why is it so elusive? How is it studied?

Shimmer & Splash: The Sparkling World of Sea Life by Jim Arnosky 

Learn about different fish and sea animals that live in the ocean. Amazing fold out pages.

Sea Creatures  Ocean wonders: 20 nonfiction picture books about the sea There's a Book for That Nonfiction picture book Wednesday

Books that begin on the Shore or wade into the Coral Reefs:

Coral Reefs by Jason Chin 

In this title, being lost in a book means getting lost in a completely different world – in this case the magical world of coral reefs.

Hello Ocean written by Pam Muñoz Ryan, with illustrations by Mark Estrella

Not exactly a nonfiction title but a poetic text that speaks to all of our senses close to the shore.

Star of the Sea: A Day in the Life of a Starfish written by Janet Halfmann and illustrated by Joan Paley

The book itself reads like a story – we learn about how sea stars hunt for food, how they eat (by extending a stomach out through the mouth) and how they are vulnerable when the tide goes out to being eaten by seabirds

Looking Closely Along the Shore by Frank Serafini 

Look at the shore in ways you have never quite imagined it through the camera lens and close up shots of Frank Serafini.

 Ocean wonders: 20 nonfiction picture books about the sea There's a Book for That Nonfiction picture book Wednesday

 

NFPB 2014

I learn so much by reading all of the blog posts that link to the Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday event that KidLit Frenzy hostsVisit Alyson’s blog to see what books are shared this week.

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 42/65 complete!

Do you have favourite nonfiction titles on any of these themes? Please share in the comments!

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Life in the Deep Blue Sea

It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! 

NFPB 2014

In my classroom right now we are reading many nonfiction books connected to a general ocean theme. Here are three titles that I read in the past week that I think are great read alouds for the primary/early intermediate classroom.

Star of the Sea: A Day in the Life of a Starfish written by Janet Halfmann and illustrated by Joan Paley  (published in 2011)

I learned so much about starfish in this title and appreciated the extra information included in the back of the book with titles like: Tube Feet and a Traveling Stomach, Swimming Babies and Lost Ray? No Problem.

The book itself reads like a story – we learn about how sea stars hunt for food, how they  eat (by extending a stomach out through the mouth) and how they are vulnerable when the tide goes out to being eaten by seabirds

I had no idea that if a sea star loses one of its rays (arms) that it will grow back – although it may take up to a year. Sea stars can also regrow tube feet and other body parts. There is a great labelled diagram from both the bottom and top views of the ochre sea star in the final pages.

 Life in the Deep Blue Sea #NFPB2014 There's a Book for That

Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea by Steve Jenkins  (published in 2009)

I know this title has been around for a few years but I finally read it cover to cover and wow . . . Just amazing how much we do not know about life in the ocean way down deep. I found it fascinating to explore various layers of the ocean as Jenkins took us on a journey farther and farther into the deep. How can we not be intrigued at the idea that we may only have encountered half of the large animals living in the sea? Like many Jenkins titles, this book has more detailed information in the back pages. I am reading this book aloud to my class – one page every morning. Students are spellbound. Some facts that stood out for me:

  • In the Sunlit Zone (100 m down) the pressure is ten times what it is at the surface. Many sea creatures are filled with fluid so they don’t have much problem with pressure. Jellyfish – soft bodied and transparent – are common here.
  • Sperm whales and Giant Squids engage in battles in the Dark Zone (13, 048 m down) These whales must return to the surface to breathe.  A sperm whale can hold its breath for up to 2 hours! A live giant squid had never been sighted until 2004! (spotted from a Japanese submarine)

 Life in the Deep Blue Sea #NFPB2014 There's a Book for That

Here Come the Humpbacks written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Jamie Hogan (published in 2013)

Just to picture walk this book is quite spectacular. These whales are incredible and Hogan has highlighted their grandeur and grace. Follow the humpback migration from warm Caribbean waters where baby humpbacks are born to summer feeding grounds near New England and back again. While humpback whales live in every ocean, this book focuses on whales that migrate in the Atlantic Ocean.

Through a story of a mother whale and her calf’s migratory journey, we are able to learn many things about humpback whales including:

  • what happens when a baby whale is born
  • details of when/why male humpback whales sing
  • challenges along the migration route
  • how ocean pollution impacts whales
  • how orcas pursue the humpback calves
  • information about the feeding grounds in the Gulf of Maine

More details about migration routes, studying whales and the endangered status of humpbacks are included in the final pages.

 Life in the Deep Blue Sea #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: 31/65 complete!