Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

Last year when I taught a Grade 2 & 3 class, I made a list of titles I might initially share to grow curiosity, introduce new concepts and spread the love of nonfiction picture books.

This year I am teaching Grade 4 & 5 in a new-to-me school and again, I have been going through my shelves thinking about first read alouds. At this point, I am less concerned about content and thinking more about exposing students to a variety of nonfiction titles so that their ideas about nonfiction picture books can grow. I want to also introduce them to a variety of genres, prolific authors and nonfiction series so that they can plan some of their future independent reading. In all of this reading, I want there to be room for questions, laughter and much discussion. Here are ten titles that I have placed in a pile to possibly share in our first month together.

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

Kids love cheetahs. 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 theCheetah Conservation Fund (CCF)‘s African headquarters in Nambia. This is a Scientist in the Field title – a series ideal for young scientists, naturalists and kids with questions.

 Chasing Cheetahs Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

Dorothea’s Eyes by Barb Rosenstock with illustrations by Gérard DuBois

Nonfiction picture book biographies are some of my favourite titles to share. They are full of information and inspiration. I think this fantastic biography of photographer Dorothea Lange will generate interest in other biographies.

Dorothea's Eyes Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

How to Swallow a Pig: Step-by-Step Advice from the Animal Kingdom by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

This title is particularly interesting because of the “how to” aspect. Of course it is also a great model for instructional writing. Additional information is always rich in Jenkins/Page titles. Jenkins and Page have collaborated on multiple nonfiction titles. All have huge kid appeal.

How to Swallow a Pig Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

Tooth by Tooth: Comparing Fangs, Tusks, and Chompers written by Sara Levine and illustrated by T.S. Spookytooth

“What kind of animal would you be if your teeth were long enough to stick out of your mouth, even when it was closed?” This is one of many questions posed in this informative and engaging book. Students love to guess and check and this title allows for a lot of that.

Tooth by Tooth Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

What if you had Animal Ears!? written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Howard McWilliam

This series is lots of fun. It gets kids talking and asking questions. They can later read more of the series on their own or with a buddy. Markle writes lots of great nonfiction. Win. Win. Win to share this one.

What if you had Animal ears?Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

Pink is for Blobfish: Discovering the World’s Perfectly Pink Animals written by Jess Keating with illustrations by David DeGrand

Just the cover captures interest but you need to open the book for the full impact. Lots of weird and interesting = perfect for curious minds. Jess Keating also writes middle grade novels – some are sitting on my book shelf and I predict they will be very popular after we share this title. And then there are the videos on her Youtube channel: Animals for Smart People

Pink is for Blobfish Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

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

Such a beautifully written and organized book – almost like a nature journal or a scrap book.  Perfect as an interactive read aloud experience.Allows the reader to consider and learn about many uses for feathers. Melissa Stewart has written many nonfiction titles in my collection. Students will know her by name by year’s end (or sooner).

 Feathers Not Just for Flying Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh

Nonfiction picture books introduce us to situations, history and struggles we may no nothing or little about. Such an important story about a family’s fight for their children’s equal education.

Separate is Never Equal Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

I, Fly The Buzz About Flies and How Awesome They Are written by Bridget Heos and illustrated by Jennifer Plecas

We can laugh a lot as we learn. This book showcases this perfectly!

I, Fly Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors poems by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beckie Prange 

Poet and artist celebrate nature’s successes. Who has been around for a long time and continues to thrive? Introduced in order of their evolutionary arrival, read poems and facts about such creatures as the squirrel, ants, geckos and diatoms. Fascinating and a lyrical experience all at once. Blending of art, poetry and nonfiction. I love to share nonfiction poetry and hope this is a form of writing that we will explore this year in Writer’s Workshop.

Ubiquitous-Celebrating-Natures-Survivors Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: First read alouds in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom

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!

nfpb2016logo

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, a meme created by The Broke and Bookish.

TTT

I haven’t participated in this meme for almost a year but today’s topic of course called to me.

This week’s topic? Ten Books You’d Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed You A Fully Loaded Gift Card

I would purchase a variety of titles – picture books and novels for my classroom. Some I would need to preorder.

Grandad’s Island by Benji Davies 

I fell in love with this picture book this week. It surprised me in the best of ways and I can’t stop thinking about it.

Grandad's Island Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

This one is published in October of 2016 and I can’t wait. LOVE Klassen’s hat titles. They have the ideal amount of wit and dark charm in an engaging story.

We Found a Hat Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

Flying Frogs and Walking Fish by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

I love everything that Jenkins and Page do and own most of their titles. This one was released in May and I would love to add it to my collection.

Flying Frogs and Walking Fish Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

Giant Squid by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohman

This one is released in September and it looks fantastic. Fleming does such interesting titles and paired with Eric Rohman? Can’t wait to see this book!

Giant Squid Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood with illustrations by Sally Wern Comport

I am so intrigued by everything I have heard about this book. I think it would make an ideal read aloud in an intermediate classroom.

ada's Violin Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor

I read and loved this book in April. Thinking I would like to read it as a read aloud with my new class so would need to have my own copy.

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T Cook by Leslie Connor Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

Dory Dory Black Sheep by Abby Hanlon

I so loved reading the first two Dory titles aloud to my class. Can’t wait to see what she gets up to next. This book hits shelves September 20th!

Dory Dory Black Sheep Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

Wish by Barbara O’Connor

I have been waiting for another Barbara O’Connor title. Not always patiently. Because every book she writes is some kind of magic.  I am the starring member of my own O’Connor fan club. This spring I almost met her in person. One day . . . This title is released at the end of the summer.

wish Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

I heard Peter Brown talk about his first novel in February. I can’t wait to get my own copy!

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eager

I read this earlier in the year from the library. It is one book I really think I need to own as I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

hour of the Bees Top Ten Tuesday: Ten titles I would buy right this second

What about you? Where would your book shopping lead you?

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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20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015

I so often agonize over this list, my favourite nonfiction titles of the year. Which titles should go on my favourites list? I have a very special spot for nonfiction picture books and LOVE being part of this Wednesday community hosted by Alyson Beecher.

I literally ran out to the library to pick up holds in the middle of writing this post to squeeze in a few more nonfiction reads. Then, I tried reading and blogging at the same time. I have mastered reading and folding laundry (although the sock matching often goes south) but reading while typing is a tad too challenging. So I took some breaks, read a few more books and made a few changes. Finally, 20 favourites emerged.

2015 Nonfiction Picture Books 20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

I always have a love of picture book biographies I might share in my classroom. So these featured big on this list.

In Mary’s Garden by Tina and Carson Kugler

In Mary's Garden  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

The Sky Painter written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Aliona Bereghici

The Sky Painter  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for ThatWhich Trombone Shorty written by Troy Andrews and illustrated by Bryan Collier

Trombone Shorty  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear written by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Finding Winnie  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah written by Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls

Emmanuel's Dream- The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Rafael López

Drum Dream Girl  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man who Sold the Eiffel Tower by Greg Pizzoli

Tricky Vic- The Impossilby True Story of the Man who Sold the Eiffel Tower by Greg Pizzoli  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova written by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Julie Morstad

swan the life and dance of anna pavlova  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

After experiencing water shortages this year on the rainy south coast, water is also on my mind. I found relevant and wonderful 2015 titles.

Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre

Raindrops Roll  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

Water Is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Jason Chin

Water is Water 20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

And then there are always certain nonfiction topics I am obsessed with: nests and eggs, whales, plants and seeds, endangered animals, Australian animals and rocks. I found titles that covered most of these things from 2015’s offerings.

The Blue Whale by Jenni Desmond

The Blue Whale  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

Trapped! A Whale’s Rescue written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Wendell Minor

Trapped! A Whale's Rescue  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

A Nest Is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long

Nest  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

Big Red Kangaroo written by Claire Saxby and illustrated by Graham Byrne

big red kangaroo  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

Emu written by Claire Saxby and illustrated by Graham Byrne

Emu

Counting Lions: Portraits from the Wild is written by Katie Cotton and illustrated by Stephen Walton. Virginia McKenna (from the Born Free Foundation)

Counting Lions:  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

A Rock Can Be . . . by Laura Purdie Salas with illustrations by Violeta Dabija

A Rock Can Be  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

Others that stood out are of course by favourite nonfiction writers Nicola Davies and Steve Jenkins

I (Don’t) Like Snakes written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Luciano Lozano

I Don't Like SnakesHow to Swallow a Pig by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

How to Swallow a Pig  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

Books published by Flying Eye books are often hugely beautiful and extremely interesting. This one about monkeys completely charmed me.

Mad About Monkeys by Owen Davey

Mad about Monkeys  20 favourite nonfiction titles of 2015 There's a Book for That

What are your favourites of 2015?

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!

#nfpb2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday and I’ve been reading . . .

Oh how I love nonfiction picture books and I have been reading some amazing titles. Somehow though, Tuesdays have been tricky days and my #nfpb2015 posts have been few and far between this fall/winter. Hello holidays and time to fill a post full to bursting with some recent favourites. I highly recommend each of these!

A Chicken Followed Me Home! Questions and Answers About a Familiar Fowl by Robin Page (May 2015)

The perfect book for a classroom raising chickens. Ideal for studying life cycles. Perfectly set up to tackle children’s curiosity and questions about chickens.

A Chicken Followed Me Home Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday and I've been reading . . .

I Don’t Like Snakes by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Luciano Lozano (September 2015)

Numerous snake facts interspersed with the story of a little girl who wants you to know that she REALLY does not like snakes. Snakes are slithery, slimy, with eyes that hold you in a stare. Or is there more to these creatures? I was completely charmed by the retro feel of these illustrations.

I Don't Like Snakes Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday and I've been reading . . .

Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova written by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Julie Morstad (August 2015)

This book is simply stunning. I purchased it for my dancing nieces and recommend it for anyone who wants to be inspired. For little dancers to be. For those with big hearts who know what it is to share.

 

swan the life and dance of anna pavlova Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday and I've been reading . . .

Friend or Foe: The Whole Truth About Animals People Love to Hate written by Etta Kaner and illustrated by David Anderson (September 2015)

This book has a very interesting format. First, delve into all of the reasons to fear and possibly loathe these creatures. Then, turn the page and discover a myriad of interesting facts about them. In the end, have your feelings changed? Would be a great mentor text for a research project for intermediate students.

Friend or Foe: The Whole Truth About Animals People Love to Hate Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday and I've been reading . . .

Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre (January 2015)

Oh, this book. I have had it on my radar all year and yesterday, I picked it up at the bookstore and it came home with me. The images – both text and photographs are powerful and I love all of the facts in the “Splash of Science” pages at the end. This title will become part of my collection for our unit on water which we will begin mid January. I also love the idea of April Pulley Sayre out searching for photographs in various downpours. I am a Vancouver resident. Rain is as natural as breathing. I love seeing it celebrated here.

Raindrops Roll Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday and I've been reading . . .

Luna & Me: The True Story of a Girl Who Lived in a Tree to Save a Forest by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw (May 2015)

This is nonfictionish so I am including it here. Based on the true story of Julie Butterfly Hill who lived for two years in a redwood tree (named Luna) to protest the cutting of great California redwoods. Absolutely gorgeous illustrations depicting such a beautiful connection to a tree.

Luna & Me Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday and I've been reading . . .

Mad About Monkeys by Owen Davey (August 2015)

Masquerading as a gorgeous coffee table art book, this title by Davey is full of information about monkeys. I discovered many things I did not know about various species. Gifting this title to my nephews.

Mad about Monkeys Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday and I've been reading . . .

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!

#nfpb2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some beginning read alouds

I have a brand new class: a busy group of seven and eight year olds. Many of them are not used to the nonfiction read aloud. But, they love to be read to and they are fascinated when I share facts with them about the world. Nonfiction books are stories of their world and I know they will be hooked. I wandered through my collection yesterday and pulled some titles to start reading aloud.

I needed titles that are not too long. They have to have engaging photos or illustrations. Ideally, there will be some humour or an interactive element (guessing and checking). The language needs to fit and if it can be lyrical and lovely, all the better. Or punchy and action packed!

Here are the ten titles I selected as beginning nonfiction read alouds:

Nest by Jorey Hurley

A series of words and beautiful images to explore birds and their nests.

nest Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some beginning read alouds

A Bird Is a Bird by Lizzy Rockwell

What makes a bird a bird exactly? A title to explore all the qualities of a bird.

A Bird Is a Bird Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some beginning read alouds

Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons written by Sara Levine with illustrations by T.S. Spookytooth 

A fun interactive style. What kind of animal would you be if . . . ?

bone by bone Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some beginning read alouds

Guess What is Growing Inside this Egg by Mia Posada

Clues and images lead us to the next page where we find the answer. Perfect to read a few pages at a time.

guess what is growing inside this egg Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some beginning read alouds

I’m Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton

Humour, spiders and some splatting. Learning as you laugh! Perfect.

Trying to Love Spiders Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some beginning read alouds

Eat Like a Bear written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Follow a bear over seasons – how and what does a bear eat?

Eat Like A Bear Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some beginning read alouds

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

Lyrical and visually stunning. Appreciate weeds for their beauty and persistence.

weeds-find-a-way Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some beginning read alouds

A Leaf Can Be . . . by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Violeta Dabija

Beautiful nonfiction describing and hinting at all of the roles leaves can play – from “rain stopper” to “shade spiller” and many more.

leaf can be Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some beginning read alouds

Best Foot Forward: Exploring Feet, Flippers, and Claws by Ingo Arndt

Marvel at the various interesting animal feet that different animals use to walk, climb, dig, paddle, etc. There is a guessing from a photograph aspect to this book.

 Best Foot Forward Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some beginning read alouds

Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

The format is engaging – each animal is introduced with a mini letter/question and answer.

creature-features-Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some beginning read alouds

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!

#nfpb2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit Collection

Last week Elisabeth Ellington put together this list: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction – one that was relevant from K-16 (as she teaches college)

From Elisabeth:

“What does a starter kit need? Representative titles that show the range and diversity of this genre. Books to read independently. Books to read together. Funny books. Serious books. A range of illustration styles. Books to teach writing. Books to teach research. Most of all, books to invite wonder and much more #booklove.”

She then wondered what we might include on our lists. I was so inspired I thought I would make my own. Which was much harder than it seemed. Elisabeth’s criteria made a lot of sense to me – especially thinking about books as invitations to wonder and to think about the world in new ways.

Finally, after a week of changing my mind, AND realizing that I couldn’t fit all of my favourites on one list, I chose ten incredible books.

Nonfiction a starter kit collection NFPB 2015 Ten titles for those new to nonfiction

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

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. Amazing photographs from Ellen Harasimowicz.

 Handle with Care Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction

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

This is a fascinating biography that not only makes math seem absolutely engrossing but gives us a glimpse into a mind that was truly one track. A beautiful balance between the mathematical life and the other life of Paul Erdos. Accessible and intriguing for younger readers/listeners. A definite book to be explored multiple times. This book was absolutely fascinating to my students.

 Teh Boy who Loved Math Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction

Can We Save the Tiger? written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Vicky White

This book introduces students to a huge variety of endangered and extinct animals. With some creatures, like the tiger, more details are provided about the animal including reasons for its vulnerable status. Heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time. And the illustrations are breathtaking.

can we Save the Tiger? Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction

Gravity by Jason Chin

Visual story telling, simple text explain a complex concept so that all readers can grasp it. Accessible for young readers and engaging for older readers.

 Gravity Nonfiction Picture Books Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction

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

What a rich engaging information story book. The reader is quickly wooed by a page of delicious desserts and treats with chocolate as a main ingredient . . . but where does chocolate come from? We travel to the rainforests of Central and South America and learn the very complicated series of natural events that make it possible to harvest the cocoa bean. Little bookworms on each page extend the learning and provide some humourous commentary,

no-monkeys-no-chocolate Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction

How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page 

Learn about the unique symbiotic relationships between specific creatures. Jenkins is, of course, nonfiction royalty and incredibly prolific often creating books with his wife Robin Page. I learned so much in this book – the children I have shared it with have been completely captured by it.

How to Clean a Hippopotamus Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction

Saving the Ghost of the Mountain: An Expedition Among Snow Leopards in Mongolia written by Sy Montgomery with photographs by Nic Bishop (published 2009)

How can a book about searching for snow leopards be so amazingly interesting when the snow leopards are never actually seen? Montgomery and Bishop tell an incredible tale about these magical and elusive creatures and their champion, scientist Tom McCarthy who has devoted his life’s work to their conservation.

 Saving the Ghost of the Mountain Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction

Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors poems by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beckie Prange 

Poet and artist celebrate nature’s successes. Who has been around for a long time and continues to thrive? Introduced in order of their evolutionary arrival, read poems and facts about such creatures as the squirrel, ants, geckos and diatoms. Fascinating and a lyrical experience all at once. Blending of art, poetry and nonfiction.

Ubiquitous-Celebrating-Natures-Survivors Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction

Bright Sky Starry City written by Uma Krishnaswami and illustrated by Aimée Sicuro tells the story of little Phoebe who helps her father set up telescopes outside of his shop to observe a special event in the night sky. Saturn and Mars are going to appear together in the sky. She fills the sidewalk with chalk drawings of the solar system and her mind fills with wonders and worries.

A beautiful story of father and daughter, of a curious girl wondering about space and astronomy, of a glorious sky full of stars and constellations. A mix of fiction and nonfiction with more information in the back matter detailing a number of the concepts from the story.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill

Such a story of adventure, misadventure, perseverance and survival. This book is full of so many details to share – learn about exploration, polar landscapes, geography, history – all the while, being captured by one of the most incredible survival stories of our times.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to Nonfiction

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!

#nfpb2015

What books would you include in your starter kit?