Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books That Came into my Possession

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

TTT

This week’s topic? The Last Ten Books That Came into my Possession

A hard one to answer – I just visited the book store and did a huge hold pick up at the library. A LOT of books just came into my possession! So, I thought I would think back over the last few months and make a list that shows some variety – both in the kinds of books and the kinds of reasons I now own them.

Shared in no particular order:

The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith 

I managed to purchase this book days before it was released. Andrew Smith was here in Vancouver to speak at a literacy conference so the book was brought in a little early. And I got it signed. And I got to chat books and teaching with Andrew Smith. What could be better?

 The Alex Crow Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books That Came into my Possession There's a Book for That

Jinx’s Fire by Sage Blackwood

My copy of this is an ARC that I got at nErD Camp Bellingham this spring. I own and have read the first two titles in this trilogy so can’t wait to read this one! It might be a read aloud to my children. I read them the second title and we finished it quite delightfully in the forest.

Jinx's Fire Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books That Came into my Possession There's a Book for That

A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord

I am so excited to meet Cynthia Lord next spring at the Western Washington University’s Children’s Literature Conference! I purchased this book at the end of the year from Scholastic so I could be caught up!

A Handful of stars Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books That Came into my Possession There's a Book for That

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

I read and loved this title when it was first released. Then I heard that Jacqueline was coming to Vancouver. I purchased the first two tickets sold to see her! My husband and I had an evening out – hearing Jacqueline Woodson and all of her brilliance and then we went for dinner. I bought a copy to have signed and I smile every time I see it on my shelf.

brown girl dreaming Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books That Came into my Possession There's a Book for That

Mark of a Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen 

I am a huge fan of Jennifer Nielsen. My children and I went to see her when Vancouver Kidsbooks hosted an author evening last year. As a family we listened to The False Prince and then I read the next two titles in the series aloud to my children. I was eagerly anticipating this novel and lucky me, received it as a gift from one of my classroom volunteers. So excited to read it!

Mark of the Thief Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books That Came into my Possession There's a Book for That

Pool by JiHyeon Lee 

I am completely helpless to the power of wordless titles. When I discover one that is beautiful, I can’t resist purchasing it. This one had me at the cover.

Pool Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books That Came into my Possession There's a Book for That

Wish by Matthew Cordell 

I have a huge variety of emotional and beautiful reasons why I had to own this book. It was meant for me as I know it is meant for many who finally have their most important of all wishes granted.

WIsh-Matthew Cordell Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books That Came into my Possession There's a Book for That

Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea 

Oh Bob Shea. You have full out giggle power over my students. I read this. Bought it. Read it aloud. Had it snatched from me. Daily, it would be momentarily returned. “Read it to all of us again.” I would. Then, snatched again. There are currently no students in my classroom. HA! I can go and read it anytime I want. Come September, I know I will never see it again. As it should be.

 Ballet Cat Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books That Came into my Possession There's a Book for That

Egg: Nature’s Perfect Package by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

Anything Steve Jenkins does, I have to own. I am always reading some parts of a Jenkins title to my students. We learn so much, so beautifully, from this man!

Egg Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books That Came into my Possession There's a Book for That

I’m Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton

I have a brand new group of students this fall. I want to hook them quickly on nonfiction – what better way to do it than through humour and spiders. Learning as you laugh! Perfect.

Trying to Love Spiders Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books That Came into my Possession There's a Book for ThatWhat have you purchased/acquired lately and why?

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Fascination with nests and eggs

Why are we so enamoured with nests and eggs? I know I am. I have a found hummingbird nest that is a treasured possession. All of that work and skill in such a tiny package. What draws us to eggs and nests? I think it is because nests and eggs represent the miracle of life in a much more observable way than pregnant bellies (although pregnancy itself is full of all kinds of miracles). Nests and eggs are about birth and growth and care – all on the outside for us to witness. If we happen to be so lucky. And when we get a peek, it seems so special.

I can manage clean sheets, fluffed pillows, layers of blankets, dim light. The intricate weaving, crafting, building that is nest making, I can’t even imagine.

But if I wanted some inspiration, A Nest Is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long (Chronicle Books 2015) is the place to start.

Most interesting for me?

  • the nests of African gray tree frogs – described as a “frothy mass that hardens into a meringue like crust.”
  • the neighbourly nests made by the black tailed prairie dog and the baya weavers
  • the nests hardened onto cave walls by cave swiftlets who spit strands of saliva to make these nests. These nests are what bird’s nest soup is made from. Wow.

Like all of Aston and Long titles, this is a must own.

A Nest is Noisy Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Fascination with nests and eggs There's a Book for That

Egg: Nature’s Perfect Package by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (HMH Books for Young Readers 2015)

Perfect indeed.

So incredible to see an egg and wonder what might possibly be inside. Who could imagine that a crow’s egg would be such a stunning mottled blue and black?

Nestled in nests or left on bare branches? If no predators are about, leaving an egg all on its own is just fine – like the white tern does. Or build your own protection? The green lacewing produces thin stalks, attaches them to a leaf and then places an individual egg at the end of each. No hungry ants will find them. Genius.

Lots of other information in this book: How many eggs do various creatures lay? Who likes to devour eggs? (Is it just me of is the egg-eating snake absolutely fascinating?) Who carries their eggs instead of leaving them in a nest? How do various creatures keep their eggs warm? How exactly do they get out?

I love the additional information at the back of the book that gives the habitat and length of each animal in the book. I use these pages when I share Jenkins titles with my class to estimate size – we predict and then get out our rulers. The children find this so interesting!

Egg Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Fascination with nests and eggs There's a Book for That

Other nonfiction picture books about nests and eggs I would recommend.

whose nest? Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Fascination with nests and eggs There's a Book for That

 Nest Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Fascination with nests and eggs There's a Book for That

Mama Built a Little Nest Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Fascination with nests and eggs There's a Book for That

eggs123 Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Fascination with nests and eggs There's a Book for That

An Egg is Quiet Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Fascination with nests and eggs There's a Book for That

 What Will Hatch Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Fascination with nests and eggs There's a Book for That

guess what is growing inside this egg Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Fascination with nests and eggs 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 2015. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

#nfpb2015

Monday February 2nd, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. This week I am sharing a photo of students engaged with a variety of nonfiction texts during “Nonfiction Reading Day” – where we devote our Reading Workshop time to reading nonfiction. Of course, for many readers, nonfiction reading happens all week but this focus allows all children to read more nonfiction, more widely.

Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I was excited to share our #MockCaldecott results and reflections here. In mere hours, we will know the actual medal and honor winners. So excited!

Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR 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.

imwayr

I realize that much of my reading this week was nonfiction picture books. Lots of variety and as usual, I learned so much. Some highlights:

The Top of the World: Climbing Mount Everest by Steve Jenkins

If you want to climb Mount Everest, what would you need to know? This book is filled with facts about history, geography and the myriad of challenges that climbers might encounter.

The Top of the World Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Animals in Flight by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

An older Jenkins title that I found in my school library. I was most interested in the history of flying creatures and the different ways various wings function.

Animals in Flight by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

A Place for Butterflies by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Higgins Bond

Focuses on a variety of butterflies and the threats to their environments. Framed with specific ideas about how to change human actions to make a difference to butterflies like planting native plants, protecting swamps and marshes and not trying to catch live butterflies for collections.

Place for Butterflies Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Mites by Valerie Bodden

Magnified things we never actually see in our day to day life are quite creepy – yet incredibly fascinating. Made me want to vacuum.

Mites Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I also read

Nine Words Max by Dan Bar-el and illustrated by David Huyck

Max is too talkative – wouldn’t it be great if he could only say nine words at a time? Ideal, think his brothers. But is it? Clever.

 Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Dolphin SOS by Roy Miki and Slavia Miki with illustrations by Julie Flett

This was one of those read alouds where at one point the silence in the room was thick – surrounding us like fog – it seemed like we could see it and feel it all at once. Such a beautifully emotional book about three dolphins off the coast of Newfoundland who became trapped in the ice in a cove. The townspeople had to listen to their cries for days before they finally intervened when government wouldn’t help. There is a moment between a dolphin and one of the rescuers that is just awe inspiring. Based on a true story.

Dolphin SOS Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Memory Tree by Britta Teckentrup

Death and grief healed by memories and community. A lovely, accessible picture book.

The Memory Tree Britta Teckentrup Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

A Gift for Mama by Linda Ravin Lodding illustrated by Alison Jay

I love Alison Jay’s illustrations and this book, set in Vienna, was an absolute visual and historical treat. A circular story about Oskar trying to find a perfect gift for his Mama for her birthday. Yet, he keeps encountering people in need of his gift and trades each of them for something new. Themes of kindness, generosity and optimism.

a gift for mama Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I also finished The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

I finished this morning. Incredible.

crossover Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Up next?  My children and I continue reading The Shadowhand Covenant (Book Two of the Vengekeep Prophecies) by Brian Farrey. With my class, I have started Each Little Bird that Sings by Deborah Wiles. Oh, so very good!

I am starting The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy (one of my #MustReadin2015 titles)

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 6/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 43/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 4/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 10/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 3/50 books read

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Fourteen favourites of 2014 (Part 2)

I am thrilled to share my favourite fourteen nonfiction titles of 2014!

2014 Nonfiction Picture Books

I love books. As in absolutely adore, frequently gush over, make piles, make lists, always reading kind of #booklove devotion. If you had asked me to talk favourites a few years ago, a nonfiction title would have made it on the list here and there. I have always appreciated the power of the nonfiction read aloud but . . . it wasn’t until I began participating in the nonfiction picture book challenges organized by Alyson Beecher (from Kid Lit Frenzy) that I have become absolutely smitten with nonfiction titles.

I have been busily tweeting about this as of late . . .

I am thrilled to renew my commitment to nonfiction reading by participating in the #nfpb2015 challenge! The more nonfiction I read, the more I learn and the more my students ultimately benefit.

#nfpb2015

More about my favourites of 2014. If these titles are not on your already read and loved or must read radar, consider adding them to the list!

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

ivan

The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

The Right Word

Gravity by Jason Chin

gravity_chin

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Emily Sutton

tiny-creatures

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

weeds-find-a-way

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill

shackletons-journey

Eye to Eye: How Animals See The World by Steve Jenkins 

eye-to-eye

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

creature-features-coversmall

Born in the Wild: Baby Mammals and their Parents by Lita Judge

Born in the Wild

A Boy and A Jaguar written by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Cátia Chien 

boyandajaguarcover

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

neighborhood-sharks

Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen

winter bees

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson

star stuff

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

feathers

I have included picture books here but must also note that Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa’s Fastest Cats written by Sy Montgomery with photographs by Nic Bishop was an absolute favourite of the year.

cheetahs

I am also pleased to report that I more than met my goal of reading 65 nonfiction picture books this year. Grand total: 144 titles! 🙂

What are your favourites of the year?

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Nonfiction “on the go” in our room

There are many ways you might know that nonfiction titles are important and well utilized in our classroom.

First of all, there are the visual clues. Some are organized by me – like our new book shelf full of titles on display that I have recently read or book talked. We add books here frequently and then switch them out and make room for more. Some live here for a while because they are very popular and students want to be able to find them easily. Some live here for just a little while – they are added when a reference comes up in a discussion for those students who want to read more. Centipedes came out when I read about a centipede in a silly poem and we talked about how many legs a centipede actually has and whether or not it was an insect. We talked about the word gnaw in word work and someone talked about how beavers and rats gnaw on things. I put a book about beavers on display. Fantastic Feet was a book by Melissa Stewart that I bought for the classroom recently. Lots of kids read it and started talking about animal feet and then animal tracks. We added books on these topics.

You can see how this shelf is well used!

We have a shelf like this for fiction titles too. 🙂

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Nonfiction "on the go" in our room There's a Book for That

We also display book titles we have read with key words used so we can refer to them later. I keep a list of words on a sticky note on the inside cover as we read. These are great for those few minutes of waiting for announcements or when lining people up. For example,

“Think back to the book Salmon Creek, who remembers what an estuary is. Tell the person beside you and then we’ll take answers.”

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Nonfiction "on the go" in our room There's a Book for That

Some proof of our nonfiction love is highlighted by the students who find connections in the titles they are reading and want to share. This child thought that the African landscape in the book Giraffes was similar to the dry land in San Diego when Kate Sessions (from the book The Tree Lady) arrived in this seaside town and was shocked by the lack of trees.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Nonfiction "on the go" in our room There's a Book for That

These boys were very excited to find blue footed boobies in two different nonfiction titles.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Nonfiction "on the go" in our room There's a Book for That

But you would also know that we are a class who loves nonfiction titles because we have so many nonfiction read alouds “on the go”. Walk into our room throughout the day and you might find us engaged with a nonfiction text. Currently we are reading pages from . . .

Math Appeal: Mind Stretching Riddles by Greg Tang Illustrated by Harry Briggs

My students love to try and solve a few of these riddles right after recess as we are waiting for students to get to the carpet. It’s great motivation to be on time!

If you aren’t familiar with Tang’s books, check out a sample page on his website.

Math Appeal Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Nonfiction "on the go" in our room There's a Book for That

Another math title we have on the go is Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals’ Lives  written by Lola Schaefer and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

I read a page at a time and we try and come up with all of the questions we would need to ask to figure out how the statement was made. Lots of gathering of information via question asking. For example, we just learned that a kangaroo has 50 joeys in her lifetime. We came up with these questions:

  • How many joeys does she have at one time? Single birth? Twins? More?
  • How long do kangaroos live?
  • How old is a kangaroo when she can have babies?
  • How many babies does one kangaroo have in a year?

The detailed information in the back of the book gives us all of the answers and then we figure out the math!

Lifetime Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Nonfiction "on the go" in our room There's a Book for That

Time to Sleep by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

We read this book every Thursday between Word Work and Reading Workshop. I read about the animal featured on the page and then ask the children to predict or infer to answer questions about the creature we are talking about. There is additional information about each animal in the back of the text. For example, we just read about how the flamingo stands on one leg to conserve energy. After we talked about how this is vastly different from the way we sleep, I then asked the children what they think flamingoes eat, where in the world we might find them and how tall they think they are. After they discussed their ideas with their turn and talk partners, I read the information in the back of the book. Listening for specific information is practiced as I share additional details.

time to sleep Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Nonfiction "on the go" in our room There's a Book for That

Eye to Eye: How Animals See The World by Steve Jenkins 

This is our current nonfiction read aloud that we are reading in depth. We are talking lots, learning lots of new vocabulary and writing some quick summaries of our learning. Our favourite thing? Getting out our rulers and figuring out the actual size of each creature depicted on the page! In the back there is information about the size of each animal talked about. We love predicting and comparing.

“Who thinks a garden snail is smaller than 10 cm or larger than 10 cm? Get ready to mark its length on your ruler . . . Here is its length: ______”

 Eye to Eye Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Nonfiction "on the go" in our room There's a Book for That

Nonfiction read alouds are never rushed in our classroom. They are springboards for further learning and discussion. When a book is finished, it has become part of our shared knowledge and who we are as learners.

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!

klf_nonfiction2014_medium

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 132/65 complete! More than double my original goal!

 

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

What a year in picture books! There are so many amazing titles to choose from. I have certainly not read every book out there. But I have read a lot and there are some that have stood out. Here is my list of twenty. Twenty books I think are absolutely worth owning and therefore, worth gifting. Fantastic titles in both fiction and nonfiction. My criteria? Is it a book that can be shared multiple times? Does it inspire creativity, thinking, inspiration? Does it make the readers think differently? Does it celebrate something important? Is it a book that brings joy? Or does it simply make you laugh? A lot.

With those questions in mind, here is my list:

Listed alphabetically by author.

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

This title is almost too special for words. After I read this book to my class, they wrote Ivan letters. Read more here. A book to inspire talk about how we treat animals and how we treat each other. Ivan’s story is a must read.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Quest by Aaron Becker

Experience the imaginative journey that Becker captures on the page. The reader is pulled through each illustration, all the while attempting to absorb every tiny detail. So wonderful that this is a picture book (wonderfully wordless) so that it can be experienced again and again.

 Quest Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Some Bugs written by Angela Diterlizzi and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel

The text is delightful and the illustrations, divine! You will want to shrink down to insect size and crawl about this insect world.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee

This title surprised me with its tenderness, the sweet, the kind. All the more amazing of course, because it is wordless.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma written by Diane Fox and illustrated by Christyan Fox

Funny, funny, funny – kind of like having a backseat driver “helping” tell a story. Annoying for the narrator. Amusing for the readers.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Any Questions? by Marie-Louise Gay

Enter Marie-Louise Gay‘s imagination, learn about her story conjuring process and hear a wonderful story . . . My class was completely spellbound by this book. More here.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke

Unique creatures and clever problem solving finesse. Speaks to loneliness and getting along with others with everyone pulling their weight.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle

Wordless. Playful and interactive with lots of flaps and expressions to study. Go ice dancing with Flora and her charming little friend.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

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

Why do certain creatures have these specific features? They will tell you in this gorgeous nonfiction title.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

A Perfectly Messed up Story by Patrick McDonnell

Lots of humour. A conversation starter. A book to read together and then to refer to often. Life is full of messes. How are we going to face them?

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Sparky! written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Chris Appelhans

This book is so absolutely charming. And wonderfully slow – yes, like a sloth.  It is about our desires and vulnerabilities. The last page will totally get you. This book needs to sit on your family’s bookshelf.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

This book will speak to your heart. Wordless perfection.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

 A Boy and A Jaguar written by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Cátia Chien 

Based on a true story. Gorgeous. Special. It’s a must own and must share. A story of a boy who finds his voice and shares it in the best of ways.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

The Adventures of Beekle, The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat

A little “imaginary friend” goes in search of his person. What could be better? A book about connection and “meant to be”.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Don’t Play with Your Food by Bob Shea

We need to laugh lots with those we love. Little people will delight in this story. Big people will adore reading it aloud.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman 

A wonderful story about siblings, mistakes, owning up and doing what’s right. I challenge you to find a favourite illustration. Just stunning.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

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

This book needs an audience! Guessers to be specific. What else could feathers be used for besides flight? Feels like you could pluck some of these feathers right off of the page. Share the book and then come back to it often as you notice birds in your neighbourhood.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin written by Chieri Uegaki with illustrations by Qin Leng

A story of determination, perseverance and creativity. Absolutely about courage and dreaming. Connections to family. A treasure.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems

This pigeon is channeling all children who resist, resist, resist the bath and then, absolutely refuse to get out. Have kids? You will relate!

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

What do you do with an idea? written by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mac Besom

I previously described this title as a celebration of imagination and a Must Have/Must Own/Must Share title. I’m still going with that. Tempted?

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Books are gifts to treasure! This season give books!

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A focus on Steve Jenkins titles

Steve Jenkins is royalty in the nonfiction picture book world as far as I am concerned. A leader, an inspiration, a sure thing. Does anyone own a Steve Jenkins title that they don’t adore? Every time I hear of a new Jenkins book being released, I can instantly convince myself that it must be a part of our class collection. And then I use it often for many different reasons. So much of our science learning begins with a Steve Jenkins’ book!

The latest book soon making its way into my room is this one: Eye to Eye: How Animals See The World by Steve Jenkins (published April 2014)

I just reread this title again and am so excited to share it with my students. Each page offers a close up illustration of a particular eye and details about how it works and the book also begins and ends with additional information. As always, there are more facts about the animals featured in the book, but this title also includes:

  • a summary of “the first eyes” – how some animals developed sight and how vision evolved
  • information about the four kinds of eyes: an eyespot, pinhole eyes, compound eyes and the camera eye
  • a summary of the evolution of the eye with labelled diagrams and examples
  • a comprehensive glossary that contains terms like retina, receptor cells and ultraviolet light

I learned so many things and know it is a perfect book to read to my students as we discuss topics like light and vision related to an upcoming workshop at Science World.

How will I share this book? I plan to read it and keep a list of ongoing wonders/questions – we will make s wonder board with these questions and do some research and experiments to develop our understanding around concepts covered in this book. Who knows where our questions will lead us?

 Eye to Eye Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A focus on Steve Jenkins titles

I started thinking about the myriad of ways that titles by Steve Jenkins (or Jenkins and Page) can be used in the classroom. The list is long. I have included some of my favourite Jenkins’ titles here and an idea about how to use them as part of a nonfiction read aloud experience that might extend over more than one class and into follow up activities.

Time to Sleep by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (published March 2011)

Learn all about how different animals sleep. Lots of additional information about each animal in the back pages of the book.

An idea: This book is a fantastic title to use when developing certain oral language skills: listening critically, making a relevant comment, building on what has been said and comparing and contrasting. Each page features a picture of an animal and a sentence or two about its sleep habits. Have the children comment in a turn and talk and then share out routine about how this is connected to or vastly different from human habits.

For example, the text says:

Snug in its underground burrow, the hairy armadillo snoozes for more than twenty hours a day.

Students might share: “Humans sleep above ground not underground.” “Humans don’t need as much sleep as armadillos. Kids sleep about 9-11 hours a night.” or “We don’t sleep in burrows but we snuggle under blankets to keep warm/snug.”

time to sleep Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A focus on Steve Jenkins titles

The Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins (published April 2012)

Detailed information about all of the different (and sometimes absolutely creepy) kinds of beautiful beetles that exist in the world.

An idea: Of course, this book screams art to me. But, after learning about beetle parts (abdomen, thorax, mandibles, flight wings, etc) art needs to be somewhat scientific art. Have the students sketch and colour (choose your medium) real or imagined beetles and label the parts. Perhaps some future coleopterists (people who study beetles) will be inspired.

 The Beetle Book Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A focus on Steve Jenkins titles

Bones by Steve Jenkins (published August 2010)

True to size or scaled down images of bones and how they work in various bodies. Incredible.

An idea: This book inspires more labelled diagrams to me. Have students sketch the skeletal system of a particular animal. A detailed labelled diagram (beyond just name) which explains how particular bones work to help the animal hunt, hide, move in its everyday life could be completed. Take this further and compare bone sizes to human bones. The human femur is _______ times as big (or cm longer than) the femur of the _________. Any kind of math could be practiced: ratios, length comparisons, fractions, etc.

Bones Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A focus on Steve Jenkins titles

How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (published May 2010)

Learn about the unique symbiotic relationships between specific creatures. I once read this book over the course of almost a year – a little each week and students were completely mesmerized by what they were learning.

An idea: This book was fantastic to practice summary writing using new vocabulary. An example: after reading about how the seagull eats worms (a parasite) from the ocean sunfish, I would ask students to explain the symbiotic relationship making sure to use specific words: parasites, ocean, surface, fin. After we did a few of these summaries together, students loved writing about the relationship between each pair of animals and illustrating it with a picture or two.

How to Clean a Hippopotamus Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A focus on Steve Jenkins titles

NFPB 2014

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!

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 116/65 complete!