I am so excited about the number of nonfiction picture books being written ideal for younger readers – from preschool to early primary. Recently I was invited to John Oliver High School‘s Wonder of Reading Event. My task? To read to rotating groups of preschool age children and their parents/caregivers for ten minutes at a time over the morning. What fun! I decided that rather than picking a fiction story, I would bring in a number of nonfiction titles and a basket of animal stuffies and set myself up for an interactive reading experience adventure into the world of animals.
I shared a few pages of different books depending on where the mood took us and the interest level of the group. We ended up talking a lot about ostriches, monkeys and penguins and the fact that none of us had a tail. What was in my bin of books?
Let me share:
From the brilliant Nicola Davies – three titles illustrated by Marc Boutavant. All of these books have a lift the flap and find out component. In my class we have started calling these “flip flap” books inspired by one student who refers to them like this because it makes one smile just to say it! 🙂
Who’s Like Me?(published 2012)
“Who’s like me? Who’s furry and breathes air like me? Is it . . . ?”
Who Lives Here? (published 2012)
“Who lives here? Who lives in this still, cool pond? Is it . . . ?”
What Happens Next? (published 2012)
“Here’s a hungry chameleon. Here’s a juicy grasshopper. What happens next?”
And even though none of us could find a tail on ourselves, we were sure excited to guess which tail belonged to which animal in Laura Hulbert‘s Who Has This Tail? Illustrated by Erik Brooks (published 2012)
Tushes & Tails! by Stephane Frattini (published 2012) Who belongs to which tush and/or tail? It is not as easy as it many seem to guess. This was a hit with the parents who were as curious as their little ones to find out about each mysterious bottom!
My original goal was 60 nonfiction picture books for 2013. Progress: 56/60 complete!
Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzyfor the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2013! Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction titles.
The Lonely Book written by Kate Berhheimer and illustrated by Chris Shelban
A story that tells many stories of how relationships with books can be so special. Sometimes a book is beloved by many and passes from hands to hands to hands. Sometimes a book’s qualities are treasured by one for any number of reasons. And sometimes a book, worn and well read, finds the best place to be and the reader who is most in need of its magic.
Sing . . . sing a song . . . lyrics by Joe Raposa, story in pictures by Tom Lichtenheld
Yes, this is a book of that song Sing, Sing a Song. Starts off wordless. Our frustrated little bird demonstrates perseverance and finds some confidence after being serenaded by a joyful guitar player. Full of happiness and smiles. Just a lovely little book.
Worth watching the video on youtube:
Tommaso and the Missing Line by Matteo Pericoli
One sentence summary: Tommaso goes in search of a line that has disappeared from a beloved drawing.
Wow. This is a book that asks to be shared and discussed. In big ways. With big questions. What inspires art? Does a piece of art contain a piece of the inspiration? Do things exist differently in our memories? Can art capture a memory? Can it prevent it from fading? Love this book.
I am the King by Leo Timmers
Part of why I was drawn to this book is that it is very pink but appears to not be a pinkish book (it isn’t) and also because last year my class fell in love with Timmers’ book The Magical Life of Mr. Renny so I was curious. This is an interesting book. Maybe one that on first read might not seem so interesting but then when you think about the potential questions it might inspire, its interest level elevates. Various animals find a golden crown and convinced it fits them perfectly, each announce, “I am the King!” The next animal finds that assertion preposterous, dons the crown (in a totally different way) and claims “King” status for themselves. Finally, the crown lands at the feet of Lion. Lion puts the crown on his head and all of the animals cheer that “Lion is the King.” That is just that.
So back to the questions:
Do we see ourselves vastly differently from the way others see us? Better? Worse?
Does competition prevent us from celebrating our potential for more?
Do some people (lions in this case) just command respect? How?
Wumbers written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
What an amusing mixture of numbers and words to communicate little stories scattered throughout this book. Lots of fun! I just wished a coherent story ran through the entire book. Still, I passed this to a student last week and he was instantly hooked on deciphering the text.
Is This Panama? A Migration Story written by Jan Thornhill and illustrated by Soyeon Kim I reviewed this book earlier this week here.
Tushes and Tails by Stephane Frattini
A hugely engaging nonfiction title ideal for an interactive read aloud experience. Who belongs to which tush and/or tail? It is not as easy as it many seem to guess. Under each lift the flap, one is rewarded with more information about each animal – enough to learn something new, not too much to lose the momentum of guessing, checking and discovering.
Queenie: One Elephant’s Story written by Corinne Fenton and illustrated by Peter Gouldthorpe
A story about a gentle elephant captured and put in a zoo. This book tells the story of Queenie, but really forces the readers to think about zoos, animals in captivity and our obligations to them and treatment of them. Made me think of Eve Bunting‘s The Summer of Riley and the questions around whether a dog should be euthanized or not based on its actions in particular circumstances. Can see this book being very powerful shared with an older primary or an intermediate class.
Mimi’s Village And How Health Care Transformed it written by Katie Smith Milway and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
Part of the Citizen Kidseries of information story books that talk about real world issues and how they affect children around the world. This book teaches readers all about what life is like when basic health care and disease prevention is limited. Set in Kenya, Mimi’s reality before a village health worker becomes attached to her village is one where she and her family lack clean water, appropriate nutrition, and protection from diseases. Simple things like mosquito netting to sleep under have huge impact.
Bean Dog and Nugget: The Ball, an early graphic novel by Cherise Mericle Harper
Delightfully silly. My class adores this little graphic story.
Boris Gets a Lizard an early illustrated chapter book by Andrew Joyner – part of the Branches series of books by Scholastic
Boris desperately wants his own Komodo Dragon. He is what you might call obsessed. What is his clever plan to have his own Komodo Dragon, if even temporarily? And does his plan succeed? I can see my younger readers being interested in this title. Full colour pictures and manageable text.
Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library written by Chris Grabenstein
A fully engaging middle grade mystery/adventure – even more perfect for book lovers and avid readers. Many have talked about connections to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and certainly this book has those wonderful elements of unexpected adventures set in a fantastical location with twists and turns on every page. I really liked this book. Think I would like it even more if I shared it with a class of children. I can imagine those reading this aloud to a classroom are having a delightful time of it!
Next up ? I am loving the novel Jinx by Sage Blackwood (and I really love saying the name Sage Blackwood, it’s so beautiful). Now that we are settled back into school routine and bedtimes, I am happy to have some dedicated evenings to continue reading The Fire Chronicle by John Stevens to my own children. We have been doing a lot of nonfiction picture book reading over the last few weeks and need to delve back into this novel that we were so excited about at the end of the summer.
Have a great reading week everyone! And if you are so inspired, check out this post and add your #5words: In 2013/2014 I will be . . . Loving the comments 🙂