Nonfiction 10 for 10: Wandering through Wonders

This year for nonfiction 10 for 10, I invite you to wander with me where questions and wondering takes us. Start with a topic and let the questions happen. How do we find out more? Usually, there’s a book for that!

Thank you to Cathy Mere from Reflect and RefineMandy Robek of Enjoy and Embrace Learning  and Julie Balen of Write at the Edge for hosting this meme. Click here to read all of the top ten lists shared.

This is my sixth year participating in this meme!

In the first year of #nf10for10 I shared favourite nonfiction titles – many that I have used with my class over the last few years in a variety of ways.

In the second year, I chose to focus on nonfiction picture book biographies that feature inspiring women.

In my third year, I shared nonfiction titles that allow us to think about something from a completely new or different perspective.

Year four was about travelling the world through nonfiction picture books.

Last year, my list focussed on ocean life and ocean exploration.

Nonfiction 10 for 10Recently in my classroom we read a book about the moon as part of our Mock Caldecott unit. This book led us to many, many questions. As the children were busy wondering, I was busy thinking about books on my bookshelf that might help us to begin answering some of the questions and to explore some of the wonders more deeply. Some have just been published. Others have been on my shelves for years. We are still in the middle of our exploring so part of my wandering from book to book is imagined: What might we wonder when we read about . . . ? The first few books are the titles where we began.

If you read

If You Were the Moon written by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Jaime Kim (2017) 

you might have some questions about gravity. So you should probably read

Gravity by Jason Chin (2014)

 Gravity Nonfiction Picture Books Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A Starter Kit for Teachers New to NonfictionYou might also begin wondering about space and our galaxy. Reading Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson (2014) is a fantastic place to begin.

Maybe you have questions about how the world was made and how everything came to be. How did it all begin? How is the world put together? What is inside the earth? The questions are endless.

There are a few places you can turn

Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years written by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by David Litchfield (2017)

The Story of Life: A First Book of Evolution by Catherine Barr and Steve Williams with illustrations by Amy Husband (2015)

Earth Verse Haiku from the Ground Up by Sally M Walker and William Grill (2018)

This might lead to questions about specific landforms. A perfect book to turn to here is

Island: A Story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin (2012)

Island  Nonfiction Reading Ten titles for older readers There's a Book for That

Some of you might be more interested to learn about all things tiny and microscopic rather than huge and majestic things like islands.

Tiny Creatures: the world of Microbes by Nicola Davies with illustrations by Emily Sutton (2014) is the book for you!

But some of you might want to head back into the past and talk about early life forms. Small things that emerged from the sea? Or gigantic creatures that roamed the Earth like dinosaurs!

Born to Be Giants: How Baby Dinosaurs Grew to Rule the World by Lita Judge (2010) is the ideal title for the dinosaur enthusiast.

This book might lead us to wonder what else might become extinct? Thee are many books about endangered animals. This is one of my favourites, full of truths and hope:

Counting Lions: Portraits from the Wild is written by Katie Cotton and illustrated by Stephen Walton (2015)

Counting Lions: 2015 Gift BooksWhat are you wondering about now? Your questions can lead us to more incredible nonfiction titles!


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.


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


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

The Right Word

Gravity by Jason Chin


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


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


Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill


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


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


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 


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


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


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.


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: My current TBR list, nonfiction style

It’s that time of year where we list our favourite books for the year, make reading plans for next year and celebrate another year of reading. At this time of year, I get worried that I might forget about some titles on my TBR list as I am browsing favourites lists and making my TBR list ever longer.

So, I went through my current nonfiction TBR list and made a long list into a shorter list. Highlighting these here lets me give them a little “I will get to you soon” pledge.

Here are nine nonfiction titles I can’t wait to read. Thank you to the wonderful readers in my network who have recommended them!

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

 Star STuff Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: My current TBR list, nonfiction style There's a Book for That

Animalium: Welcome to the Museum Curated by Katie Scott and Jenny Broom

Animalium Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: My current TBR list, nonfiction style There's a Book for That

Beetle Busters: A Rogue Insect and the People who Track it  written by Loree Griffin Burns with photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz

Beetle Busters Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: My current TBR list, nonfiction style There's a Book for That

Elizabeth Queen of the Seas written by Lynne Cox and illustrated by Brian Floca

Elizabeth queen of the sea Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: My current TBR list, nonfiction style There's a Book for That

If: A Mind Bending Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers written by David J. Smith illustrated by Steve Adams

if . . . Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: My current TBR list, nonfiction style There's a Book for That

The Case of the Vanishing HoneyBees: A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle

vanishing honeybees Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: My current TBR list, nonfiction style There's a Book for That

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

 Winter Bees Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: My current TBR list, nonfiction style There's a Book for That

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

neighborhood-sharks Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: My current TBR list, nonfiction style There's a Book for That

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

bone by bone Nonfiction TBR List There's a Book for That

 What’s on your nonfiction To Be Read List?

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: 124/65 complete!


Read aloud everyday – in practice

This week in a piece of writing, one of my students shared, “My teacher is a book maniac!” This not only made my day, it made my week. Because the love of books, the excitement over stories and the magic of reading are the gifts I never tire of giving and hope that I have gifted in abundance this year. Every week we share a lot of things. And books? Well, they are at the top of our list! Reading aloud on a daily basis is a priority. We find many reasons to read together.

What did Division 5 read this week? When you add it all up, it’s a lot! 

On Monday we read . . . 

We often begin our mornings with a read aloud (or two or three). On Monday when we had five students absent, we began to wonder if this book might have been up to no good on Friday afternoon. Was is ravenous? Were some children devoured? We had to wait until the next few days to see who returned all in one piece! A fabulous book to humorously explore a little bit of fear . . . . The Book that Eats People is written by John Perry and illustrated by Mark Fearling.

We used Thank You Miss Doover to get us in the mood for writing an appreciative and personal thank you letter. Students learned a lot about writing and giggled through the how to train a puppy aspects of the story. Hint: there is paper and it is often yellow after a certain puppy stands on it. I was ordered to place this new book in the humour bin!

(Written by Robin Pulver and illustrated by Stephanie Roth Sisson)

On Tuesday we read . . .

On Tuesday morning I shared some books that were brand new to our school library. When the students saw author Kevin Henkes on the cover of Penny and Her Song, they begged me to read the book aloud. Well, c’mon! Kevin Henkes? How could I say no?

I then shared another new to the library title. The Giant Seed by Arthur Geisert is the sequel to the fabulous Ice that we read a few months ago. (The book that instantly made us Geisert fans). This new title lets us revisit the island with the industrious pigs and this time, the disaster they face is not a water shortage but a volcanic eruption. Evacuation via dandelion parachutes is absolutley delightful. Our class loves sharing wordless books!

Our Reading Group finished Hurricane, another fantastic information story book by Celia Godkin. Students had many questions about what happens during and after a hurricane. Just how destructive can it be? How do living things survive? This book allowed us to explore these questions and later students wrote about what they discovered. Our latest focus in our writing has been to include supporting details/ evidence. This book offered lots of great information on life in and around a mangrove swamp just before, during and after a hurricane. Writing was prolific!

In the afternoon we read A Butterfly is Patient  (an extension of our plants/seeds/garden theme) and students wrote about their new learning and their background knowledge. Read more here.

 On Wednesday we read . . . 

Wednesday mornings always begin with Just a Second by Steve Jenkins. This is a perfect book to read in little chunks as there is so much to discuss, ponder and dijest. We only have 15 minutes before Ms. S picks students up for their weekly book exchange so we love to share a few fascinating facts to turn on our brains and make us exclaim “Wow!”

 After recess we have one of our favourite events of the week. A reader from the BLG law firm comes to read to us and leaves us with a wonderful new book for our Seymour library collection. This week we listened to Crafty Chloe read by our BLG reader, Dan. Read more here in our latest BLG Reads this week post.

Every Wednesday afternoon, our three primary classes meet for our weekly Social Reponsibility Gathering. Often we share a book with a SR theme or a title that helps us extend our learning over concepts covered in the MindUp curriculum. This week I read the gorgeous Little Bird. A book that celebrates finding joy in the smallest of things. We learned that when we are mindful of our environment and those around us, real magic happens. A nearly wordless book so we were able to tell it together. Just lovely. Written by Germano Zullo and illustrated by Albertine (winner of  2011 Prix Sorcieres (the French Caldecott) for this title).

little-bird 12 for 2012

On Thursday we read . . .

Crafty Chloe reminded me of the creative genius highlighted in I Had a Favourite Dress written by Boni Ashburn and illustrated by Julia Denos. So this new addition to Seymour’s library was our morning read aloud.

In the afternoon we shared stories from Donata Montanari‘s Children Around the World. We enjoyed reading about children’s lives in different countries: their school experiences, their homes, their traditions, the languages they speak, their parents’ jobs and tasks and their favourite pasttimes. This inspired our own writing where students shared information about themselves and their families thinking all the while about what a child somewhere else in the world might want to know. Lots of great writing and wonderful sharing!

Elementary teachers – What did you share in your classroom this week? Do you get a chance to read out loud every day?