Nonfiction favourites from 2017

I haven’t read as many nonfiction titles as I would have liked to read this year. There are still titles on my To Read list that are likely to become favourites, perhaps even making their way on to this list. I definitely haven’t posted many #nfpb2017 posts.

Bur I have been reading and sharing and appreciating. Books from my nonfiction picture book collection are always well used and well loved. There have been some pretty amazing titles that I have had the pleasure of reading and I am sharing them here.

Here are my top ten of 2017 (published in 2017). Listed alphabetically by author.

Give Bees a Chance by Bethany Barton

Follow along as a reluctant bee enthusiast becomes convinced of the wonder and importance of bees. Entertaining and informative!

Penguin Day: A Family Story by Nic Bishop 

This title allows us to follow a penguin family through a typical day. Incredible photographs by Bishop of Rockhopper penguins in the Falkland Islands.

Grand Canyon by Jason Chin

Jason Chin is incredible. I believe that more and more with each book I read. Take a journey back and forth through time as you hike down, up and around the Grand Canyon.

What Makes a Monster?: Discovering the World’s Scariest Creatures written by Jess Keating and illustrated by David DeGrand

The second title in this series by Jess Keating. So. Much. Fun. Keating makes learning an adventure in the wow and wild!

This is How We Do it: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World by Matt Lamothe

What do you eat for dinner? What is school like?  What is your daily routine? What do you do for fun? How do you help your family? These details define us and unite us. They make us realize how we all have similar routines even though things in our day can be vastly different. Based on the lives of seven real children from around the world.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

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

What would you do if you were the moon? A poem travels line by line, page by page on one side of each two page spread and on the other, more information about the moon. Incredible illustrations by Jaime Kim accompanies a lyrical poem.

Can an Aardvark Bark? written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Created by nonfiction royalty, this book is a winner! Animal sounds. And many other cool things you might have wondered. I recently listened to Melissa Stewart talking about this book with Matthew Winner on an All the Wonders Podcast.

The Hidden Life of a Toad by Doug Wechsler

A photographic journey of the life cycle of the toad. Clear specific language, lots of essential vocabulary and incredible close up images.

If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams

A nonfiction title exploring ecosystems and the importance of keeping oceans healthy. Children will develop an understanding of food chains and how living creatures are interconnected in specific environments.

The World is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zana Hadid by Jeanette Winter

Zaha Hadid had incredible vision but having her designs come to life was a struggle. Learn more about the architect’s life in this nonfiction picture book biography. Images by Winter are spectacular.

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2017. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season

It’s December – the time to think about gifting books! How I love to help with shopping lists! Making a picture book list to give is one of my favourite holiday traditions. I started with 12 in 2013 and moved to 20 in 2014.  In 2015 and 2016, I bumped the list to 25. Once again, I am happy once again to celebrate 25 incredible titles for 2017! Looking to buy a special picture book (or books) for someone in particular? Here is a beautiful selection to consider.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

My criteria? Is it a book that can be shared multiple times? Does it inspire creativity, thinking, inspiration? Does it make its readers think differently? Does it celebrate something important? Does it freeze time? Is it a book that brings joy? Or does it simply make you laugh? Our world needs more laughter!

With those questions in mind, here is my list:

Listed alphabetically by author.

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

So a duck and a mouse take up residence in the belly of a wolf. Only Barnett and Klassen could pull this off. We all need a little wonderful wackiness in our lives.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Why Am I Me? written by Paige Britt and illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko

I loved this lyrical, beautiful book full of questions and musings about self, identity and the wider world.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell

Nearly wordless. All about important things. Kindness. Trust. Simplicity.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

A completely endearing title about one little boy’s route to being brave.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin

An allegorical tale that will make you giggle and nod vigorously and leap up and shout in agreement. Our voices cannot be silenced. Oh, this book is timely. Cannot recommend it enough.

the-rooster-who-would-not-be-quiet Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Windows by Julia Denos and illustrated E.B. Goodale

I could read this book endlessly. It is so calm and quiet and the little details are exquisite.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

You Don’t Want a Unicorn! by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Liz Climo

So, so very funny. Who could have guessed that a pet unicorn could be so problematic? You might never look at cupcakes the same way again!

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Milo and Georgie written by Bree Galbraith and illustrated by Josée Bisaillon

Moving is hard. Kids are quirky. It isn’t always easy to embrace change. Or maybe it is , , , This book celebrates adjusting to the new however we might approach things. Charming.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for ThatLittle Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin

This wordless title won my heart. Graphic panels. Sweet characters. Generosity and kindness. What more could you want in a picture book?

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins

Oh so clever! A very chatty conversation in the middle of a wordless book. A.k.a. a really hopeful wordless book interrupted by many words. Hilarious!

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

If I Had a Little Dream written by Nina Laden and illustrated by Melissa Castrillo

A celebration of possibilities from a child’s perspective. Beautiful.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

This is How We Do it: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World by Matt Lamothe

What do you eat for dinner? What is school like?  What is your daily routine? What do you do for fun? How do you help your family? These details define us and unite us. They make us realize how we all have similar routines even though things in our day can be vastly different. Based on the lives of seven real children from around the world.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Lines by Suzy Lee

This book is beautifully brilliant. Wordless and full of complete surprises and incredible movements (exquisitely implied).

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken

This book begins with an eye that was drawn too large. Where it ends up? Oh my! A creative and inspiring journey.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Things to Do by Elaine Magliaro and illustrated by Catia Chien

This title should ideally inspire endless poetry writing and will definitely help you see the world with a little more wonder. Gorgeous all around.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Cricket in the Thicket: Poems about Bugs written by Carol Murray and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

So much fun – lots of creepy and not so creepy crawlies flit, skitter and wander across these pages. Lots of information and delightful poems to share.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Now by Antoinette Portis

Being in the moment has never been celebrated with such lovely wonder and beauty.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

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

What would you do if you were the moon? A poem travels line by line, page by page on one side of each two page spread and on the other, more information about the moon. Incredible illustrations by Jaime Kim.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back up Again by Dan Santat

Find yourself completely surprised. This book. In awe.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Another Way to Climb a Tree written by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Hadley Hooper

Oh this book. Sweet. Inspiring. Creative. A perfect mix of text and illustrations.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith and illustrated by Danielle Daniel 

Sparse words, gorgeous illustrations and a message of strength.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires

Perseverance and risk taking are a journey. Love the way they are depicted here.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Can an Aardvark Bark? written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Created by nonfiction royalty, this book is a winner! Animal sounds. And many other cool things you might have wondered.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Accident! by Andrea Tsurumi

This story is an absolute adventure. It’s all in the details and such details! Lola the armadillo spills orange liquid all over a white chair in a cart wheeling mishap. It is viewed as an absolute disaster! The end of the world! The end of everything! As she escapes her own mess, she runs into many other catastrophes. In the end, some important resolutions are explored. A book to get lost in.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams

A nonfiction title exploring ecosystems and the importance of keeping oceans healthy. Children will develop an understanding of food chains and how living creatures are interconnected in specific environments.

Gift Books 2017: 25 Picture Books to Gift this Season There's a Book for That

Happy Reading. Happy Shopping. Happy Giving.

 

Monday August 28th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a  reading photo of the week.

In a few weeks I will have students again to snap some pictures of but for now – here is a photo of our first planned read aloud – getting some moral support from a friend.

Monday August 28th, 2017

 

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.

I haven’t posted an #IMWAYR post for a few weeks as we have been travelling so this post highlights some favourites from a few weeks of reading.

On the blog:

Sharing a nonfiction title: A Bear’s Life

For picture book 10 for 10: Beautifully Quirky titles

These next 2 posts are part of a 5 part series on my blog:

Summer Maintenance in the Classroom Library. Step 3: Additions

Summer Maintenance in the Classroom Library. Step 4: The details

Books I enjoyed:

Today by Julie Morstad

Of course, this is Morstad stunning. I can see individuals or small groups getting lost in these pages.

How Much Does a Ladybug Weigh? by Alison Limentani

As much as a . . . A wonderful book about comparing mass.

Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin

This wordless title won my heart. Graphic panels. Sweet characters. Generosity and kindness. What more could you want in a picture book?

Can an Aardvark Bark? written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Created by nonfiction royalty, this book is a winner! Animal sounds. And many other cool things you might have wondered. Of course, this will be a new addition to our nonfiction library this fall. A must have for classrooms and libraries.

The Darkest Dark written by Chris Hadfield and illustrated by the Fan Brothers 

A little boy’s relationship with the dark, the sky, the universe. Astronaut Chris Hadfield tells his story and the Fan Brothers bring it to life. Wonderful!

A Small Thing . . . but Big written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Hadley Hooper

Brave acts are made of many small moments. Lovely.

Ally-saurus & the Very Bossy Monster by Richard Torrey

A fantastic title to share with young readers dealing with how to be with each other in play. Themes of friendship, relationship, being brave, standing up for yourself and others. Perfect for classroom discussions or library story time.

The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla

I absolutely adored Charlie. His journey is a must read experience.

Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson

This middle grade novel is not an easy read. Mississippi in the 1950s for a young black girl was about nothing easy. Rose is a character I can’t wait to follow and so was thrilled to see that Jackson has a second title being released next year.

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder

I have heard the hype. I have seen the tweets about the ending leaving too much unanswered. I loved every bit. This book captured me. I couldn’t put it down and read it all in one early morning sitting. Would love to read this aloud to a class but think it is better suited to an older class (not Grade 3)

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 46/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 197/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 41 books behind schedule. I need another bookstore visit!

#MustReadin2017: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 27/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 32/50 books read

Up next? I am reading Walking with Miss Millie by Tamara Bundy

Monday March 27th, 2017

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. As we were off this past few weeks, I have a photo of a bookstore visit to the incredible Munro’s Books  in Victoria B.C. Here is part of the picture book display.

Monday March 27th, 2017

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 2015

With Spring Break and being away for a few days I missed last week’s IMWAYR so this post captures 2 weeks of reading.

On the blog:

Continued Slice of Life posts mean daily posting:

Missing Primary: Slice of Life #26 I love Grade 4 and 5 but I miss the little ones

Shopping: Slice of Life #25 I am not a good shopper

So far: Slice of Life #24 So far from a year ago

Rain: Slice of Life #23 Caught in a deluge

Quiet Things: Slice of Life #22 The quiet things I love

Chapter book Challenges: Slice of Life #21 How we support students moving into chapter books

Writing cheats: Slice of Life #20 Words still eluding me

Missing words: Slice of Life #19 Writing steals my reading time

Simply easier: Slice of Life #18 Preparing to write about teaching before? Maybe soon

Slightly Awkward: Slice of Life #17 Thinking about the work that change in our practice involves

Mud: Slice of Life #16 Nothing to write about

For nonfiction Wednesday, Nic Bishop’s newest: Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Penguin Day – A Family Story

Capturing play: Slice of Life #15 The importance of play

Sometimes Guilt: Slice of Life #14 Sometimes, thinking back to leaving my previous school  brings guilt.

The little girl I should have taught: Slice of Life #13 Thinking about a child who should have been in my class

Books I enjoyed:

Triangle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

Love the way these two partner up to make us smile and wonder and shake our heads. Little bits of sneaky. Lots of funny. And always, the stunning artwork from Klassen.

A Walk in the Forest by Maria Dek

Oh this book. Visually it is absolutely stunning. If this doesn’t make you want to wander through the woods and use every sense . . .

Shy by Deborah Freedman

Underneath a very sweet story is permission to be just who you are.

Rain by Sam Usher

Gorgeous rain. The pages seem slightly drowned. The images feel like they are full of puddles. And a lovely little story about a boy and his Grandpa.

A Unicorn Named Sparkle by Amy Young

More than an “I want a pet” story. This is “I want a unicorn story” With big expectations come big disappointments. And then, big love.

Life on Mars by Jon Agee

Not really about Mars. More about set up and surprises and wanting something to be so. Really liked this one.

Dear Dragon written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo

Charming and full of all kinds of classroom possibilities. Writing to a pen pal becomes even more exciting when you begin to share more and more about yourself. What happens when the chance to meet in “person” happens? Told in rhyming letters, there is a lot to this little picture book.

Egg by Kevin Henkes

I have a thing about picture books where the egg plays a starring role. This one is especially wonderful.

Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Steve Jenkins 

For years, I have made it clear that I do not like squirrels. At all. They steal my daffodil bulbs. They have tried to burrow into my house. They make feeding birds a battle. So, I wasn’t sure about how I would feel about a title devoted to these creatures. Must admit, I kind of loved it and I learned a lot. But, I still do not like squirrels.

Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep

Feathers and Hair, What Animals Wear written by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by Jing Jing Tsong

This is a must experience it yourself nonfiction title. Really incredible illustrations. Would be a beautiful addition to any school or classroom library.

Completely Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

I have been putting off reading the final Clementine title because I didn’t want to say goodbye. We found Clementine as an audio book years ago when my children were smaller and went on to read all of the titles. In fact, I have read all but 2 titles aloud to my children. At 14, they weren’t going to sit through this one but I am excited to share it with students who I know have been Clementine fans.

Feathers  by Jacqueline Woodson 

A story of hope.Of family. Of observations. What a lovely read.

Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart 

Dramatic and hard to put down. There were parts of this story I found absolutely creepy. Kids who love action driven books will love this story. I am a big fan of Gemeinhart. This is not my favourite of his three so far published titles. But definitely an action packed read.

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan 

Holly Goldberg Sloan has a way of showcasing characters in stories that we don’t always see together. This is what I loved about Counting by 7s – the diversity of characters who were in each other’s lives. In Short, it is all about friendships between generations. It’s also about a play and all of the wonderful behind the scenes preparations. I fell in love with the characters here. A must read middle grade novel!

Reading Progress updates:

2017 Chapter Book Challenge: 17/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 94/365 books read

Progress on challenge: 11 books ahead of schedule!

#MustReadin2017: 8/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 17/50 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 13/50 books read

Up next? I am reading The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Nonfiction 10 for 10 2017: Dive Down Deep

Nonfiction 10 for 10 2017: Dive Down Deep

This year for nonfiction 10 for 10, I invite you to dive into the ocean and explore the wonders of ocean life and ocean exploration.

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 fifth 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.

Last year I featured titles that allowed readers to travel the world.

Nonfiction 10 for 10

Dive Down Deep! Head into the water! 

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?

 Nonfiction 10 for 10 2017: Dive Down Deep

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.

Nonfiction 10 for 10 2017: Dive Down Deep

Some amazing creatures:

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

A mixture of gorgeously painted illustrations, detailed relevant diagrams and the story of how the great whites hunt in the Farallon Islands so successfully. This book illustrates how sharks are perfectly adept hunters, at the top of the food chain.

Nonfiction 10 for 10 2017: Dive Down Deep

Giant Squid written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann

Such a book. I love the images, the rhythm of the text and the mystery of the still not known that is conveyed.

Nonfiction 10 for 10 2017: Dive Down Deep

The Blue Whale by Jenni Desmond

An incredible read aloud for children who love to be amazed by nature. I loved the illustration of the blue whale’s mouth with 50 people standing in its lower jaw!

The Blue Whale Nonfiction 10 for 10 2017: Dive Down Deep

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

A beautiful, lyrical story with stunning paintings by Wendell Minor. Follow this real life rescue of a humpback whale.

Trapped! A Whale's Rescue Nonfiction 10 for 10 2017: Dive Down Deep

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

The reader is 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.

See What A Seal Can Do Nonfiction 10 for 10 2017: Dive Down Deep

Celebrating the study of the ocean and ocean life:

Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark by Heather Lang and illustrated by Jodi Solano

“Sharks are magnificent and misunderstood!” This was Clark’s message to the world. Sharks need our respect and our protection.

Nonfiction 10 for 10 2017: Dive Down Deep

Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Raúl Colón

I love when nonfiction is the perfect blend of incredible story and breathtaking pictures – increases the wonder factor exponentially!

Nonfiction 10 for 10 2017: Dive Down Deep

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.”

Life in the Ocean Nonfiction 10 for 10 2017: Dive Down Deep

What are your favourite books about the ocean?

 

Nonfiction favourites from 2016

While I haven’t read my usual numbers of nonfiction titles this year, I have read enough to have some clear favourites. Here are my top ten of 2016 (published in 2016)

Looking for some incredible nonfiction? I highly recommend all of these. In fact I own all but two of these titles and plan to remedy that soon. All of these books are titles I can see multiple reasons to use over and over in a classroom. A real reason to celebrate them here.

Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet

An incredible title with layer upon layer of stories and illustrations about a beloved author for so many. This is a longer picture book biography (176 pages) perfect for both adults and students.

some Writer!

Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois written by Amy Novesky and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

Simply beautiful. I featured this book here

Cloth Lullaby

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

I look forward to sharing this fantastic biography of photographer Dorothea Lange with my students later in the year. I plan also to share these photos she took in a Japanese Internment camp.

Dorothea's Eyes

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe

The art in this book is beyond, beyond. Absolutely stunning. An incredible biography made accessible to children. I particularly appreciated the back matter here. Information on Motifs and symbolism in Basquiat’s work is something I will certainly share with students when we explore this book. Steptoe’s author’s note is very important too.

radiant-child-the-story-of-young-artist-jean-michel-basquiat

Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay written by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport

There are so many reasons to share this story with children. It is a story of hope, of change, of perseverance, of the power of music and the beauty of community. A story of transformation.

adas-violin

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. I highlighted this book here

Tooth by Tooth 1

The Polar Bear by Jenni Desmond

The ideal blend of mesmerizing art and story that informs and prompts more questions. I plan to use this title with other books on polar bears and videos about the shrinking ice in the Arctic seas.

the-polar-bear

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

I featured this book here (lots of ideas for how to use in the classroom). This book has been a huge hit in my classroom and we have gone on to become fans of Animals for Smart People videos. You will never think the same about pink again.

Blobfish

Best in Snow by April Pulley Sayre

The photographs, the lyrical language . . . absolutely captivating.

best-in-snow

Animals by the Numbers by Steve Jenkins

As always – such interesting information. All communicated via infographics? Perfect.

animals-by-the-numbers

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

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have!

An early intermediate library is such fun to build. Students are ready for longer chapter books with more complex and compelling story lines but they still adore silly and engaging stories that some early graphics and picture books might offer them. Picture books can be clever and witty and nonfiction can be managed quite independently. So many possibilities!

What twenty titles from 2016 do I think are must have books in a Grade 4 & 5 classroom library?

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

This book love is inspired by my students’ reading passions and my own reading journey as I source books for them.

Listed alphabetically by author:

Leave Me Alone by Vera Brosgol

Kids this age are beginning to understand that alone time is precious and sometimes hard to achieve. This is wonderfully humorous!

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

How a story about a robot can be so tender, I don’t know. Heavily illustrated which makes it wonderfully rich. Themes of compassion, kindness and connection.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin

Achy and real. This book will squeeze you heart. A beautiful, teary emotional ride. But full of hope, not sad. At least not too much sad. The hope wins.

Counting Thyme Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Giant Squid written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann

Such a book. I love the images, the rhythm of the text and the mystery of the still not known that is conveyed.

 Giant Squid Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

When Green Becomes Tomatoes Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Just pure poetry perfection.

When Green Becomes Tomatoes Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

Some kind of everything in this book. Fantastic, engaging, emotional, full of heart, full of adventure. This is the read aloud I am starting with in January.

Some Kind of Courage Monday Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke

This book! Ben Hatke is a super hero in my classroom. This will become the “it” book in the room. Prepare to never see it again except when a child holds it wailing, “When does the next one come out?” (Fall of 2017) Relatable and fantastical all at once.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay written by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport

There are so many reasons to share this story with children. It is a story of hope, of change, of perseverance, of the power of music and the beauty of community. A story of transformation.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Animals by the Numbers by Steve Jenkins

A book to explore endlessly. Infographics are an incredible source of information. Use this book to teach how to access this information correctly.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

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

This title features a number of “pink” creatures from around the world and shares some of the wild and wacky facts about each one. Every page also includes specific information under these headings: Name, Species name, Size, Diet, Habitat, Predators and threats. 

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

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

Learn about the different kinds of teeth you have in your mouth: incisors, canines and molars. Find out how other mammals use their teeth and why they are different sizes and shapes. How are human teeth similar and different compared to other mammals? How do the teeth of herbivores, omnivores and carnivores differ?

Tooth by Tooth Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Ida, Always written by Caron Levis and illustrated by Charles Santoso

Big emotions is a tiny book. Necessary for young readers. All about the challenging process of saying goodbye.

Ida, Always Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

Who would think that ice fishing, Irish dancing, magical elements and heroin addiction could be combined to create a story that is impossible both to put down and then impossible to keep from immediately recommending? I have much gratitude to Kate Messner for writing this book.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Readers will fall hard for this story of Peter, Pax and Vola. Beautiful, emotional and raw. This would be a fantastic read aloud or an engaging read alone.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

Oh, the kid appeal! I chuckled through this and did a lot of head shaking. There is one scene that involves a pile of dog poop that I know I never would have thought of – thankfully! This book continues to be read and reread in my room. Kids LOVE the step by step drawing pages in the back.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

CaveBoy Dave: More Scrawny than Brawny by Aaron Reynolds and Phil McAndrew

Highly appealing. A relatable underdog main character. Lots of poop. Again, the poop! Prehistoric creatures. Action. Adventure. Humour. And . . . a series! What more could kids want?

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff

Because fairy tales can be incredible. Reimagined and retold can go wrong but Shurtliff always gets it right (add Rump and Jack to your collection too!)

Red Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes by Duncan Tonatiuh

A gorgeous book – Tonatiuh gives us an interpretation of the Mexican legend how the volcanoes Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl came to be.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan

Ravi has just moved from India. Joe has been here for what seems forever. They share a few things in common – a relationship with a bully and the daily classroom and lunch room experiences of middle school. Alternately narrated by both characters, this book reminds us that it is challenging for all kids to fit in, to find your way and to be noticed for who you are.

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

The Thank You Book by Mo Willems

Willems is more than brilliant and doesn’t disappoint in any way in this last Elephant and Piggie title. Students this age have had Willems as a staple of their reading lives. This book is a must have. They will grieve that there will be no more Elephant & Piggie and then get back to celebrating all the ways Elephant & Piggie are part of who they are!

Twenty 2016 titles your Grade 4 and 5 classroom library must have! There's a Book for That

Intermediate libraries? They need a mix of everything!

Love books. Give your students lots of time to read. Let them choose books so they can read widely and obsessively. Read aloud daily. Share often. Gush and be ridiculously demonstrative with your book love!

Build your library.

Invest in your readers.

They matter.

Happy Reading!