Cover reveal: Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones

I have a huge collection of nonfiction picture books but there are particular titles I reach for again and again. Titles that engage students of various ages. Titles that intrigue adults. Titles that are at the top of the pile when I pack up nonfiction books to share with a group of educators. These books are the first books I recommend when someone asks me, “Which titles should I buy?” “What titles do your students love?” or “What would be a guaranteed hit?” These books do what kids love them to do – immediately hook the reader and pull them into the pages for an adventure in learning.

Two titles at the top of my go to pile are books written by Sara Levine and illustrated by T.S. Spookytooth: Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons (Lerner Books 2013) and Tooth by Tooth: Comparing Fangs, Tusks, and Chompers (Lerner Books 2016)

It’s not just the engaging nature of these titles – the way they ask questions – Imagine if . . . What kind of animal would you be if . . . ? What if you only had . . .? The magic is in the asking us to think of ourselves in a completely different way as we compare ourselves to animals. The questions instantly generate more questions and the trying to guess the animals is hugely exciting. As soon as we start asking the questions and revealing the illustrations which give little hints, everyone in the room is hooked.

Here is a question from each book to give you the idea.

What kind of animal would you be if you had no leg bones but kept your arm bones? All of a sudden we need to think about purposes of our legs and how we would function without them. What would our arms need to be able to do?

What would you be if your top canine teeth grew almost all the way down to your feet? Hold on – why would we need teeth like that? What could we do if we had them?  What can we do with our canine teeth right now?

When Carol Hinz, editor with Lerner Publishing, asked me if I would like to do a cover reveal for Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones (Lerner Publishing 2018) of course I said yes!

If I could involve my students 🙂

Imagine how excited my students were when they found out that they would be the first kids in the world to see the cover and interior layout of Levine and Spookytooth‘s new book.

They saw it first and here it is for all of you!

“Everybody else can be second,” one student remarked. Which is still pretty exciting!  Cover reveal: Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur SkeletonsWe read Bone by Bone and Tooth by Tooth together and I asked the students what they enjoyed about the books. They had a lot to say:

  • “The guessing makes it really fun even if your answer isn’t right.”
  • “You get to learn the names of lots of parts of your body that you didn’t know you had.” “I knew I had them, I just didn’t know the names.”
  • “The author wants us to know that we are a lot like animals but we’re also different too.”
  • “The illustrator knows how to imagine really funny things!”
  • “I think the author and illustrator really care that kids learn things.”
  • “It’s fun to learn like this.”

Have you ever thought about comparing yourself to a dinosaur?

Cover reveal: Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Skeletons

Kids sure have!  My students immediately were inspired to draw, talk and wonder.

Cover reveal: Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur SkeletonsIn some ways, we have bones very like dinosaurs (but on a very different scale when it comes to some of the especially huge ones). But we also loved the idea that some bones in dinosaurs are nothing like bones that we have in our bodies. But what if we did have bones like this . . . ? It was hard to keep track of all of the things being said. Soon the room had erupted into that wonderful noise called engagement. Debates broke out about being a herbivore or a carnivore if we were actual dinosaurs. There was stomping about. Pretending to swing tails. Students began sharing what they knew about dinosaur defences. The tub of dinosaur books was pulled from the shelf.

Cover reveal: Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Skeletons

Does anyone have a question for the author or illustrator?” I asked. Of course they did!

Author and illustrator played along and gifted us with all kinds of amazing information.

Our questions are listed below and are followed by answers from Sara Levine (in blue) and T.S. Spookytooth (in green). Some questions were for both author and illustrator and some were directed specifically to one or the other.

Are you thinking you might want to become a paleontologist? Or are you already part paleontologist? 

SL:  I’m very interested in fossils—especially fossils of animals that are no longer on earth, but no, I don’t think I’ll become a paleontologist. I studied living animals at veterinary school. Right now,I’m a college professor and a writer, and these things keep me pretty busy. But one great thing about being a teacher or a writer is that these jobs give you a chance to learn about all sorts of different things you are curious about. Paleontology is one topic I decided to learn more about so I could write a book and teach a class about dinosaurs.

What inspired you to write about dinosaur fossils? Did you want dinosaurs to not feel forgotten (even if they’re dead they might still care)?

SL: Actually, it was my editor Carol Hinz who suggested I write about dinosaurs. She has a lot of good ideas. I liked the topic especially since a lot of kids are interested in dinosaurs, but there wasn’t a book for kids showing how dinosaur bones are similar to our bones. I really appreciate the idea that I might have written this book so dinosaurs are not forgotten. I think it’s very important for us to remember animals and people who are no longer on earth. We can’t know if they care or not, but writing a book about them for this reason is a very kind thing to do.

Did you test your questions on some kids before you put them into the books?

SL: Yes, I did.

Would you want to be a carnivore or a herbivore if you were an actual dinosaur?
SL: I’d want to be a herbivore. I think having to kill animals to eat them would make me too sad.

TSSI think I would like to be a herbivore. There are pretty cool plants out there, I just worry that they don’t taste very nice. But I’m always up for trying something new.

Did you ever find bones? Or go digging for bones?

SLYes. Sometimes when I’m walking in the woods I find bones of animals. When I do, I get excited—I love trying to figure out what kind of bone I’ve found and what animal it might have been a part of. And I also like to go digging for fossils, which are bones or other parts of animals or plants that have turned to rock. You should go on a trip to do this someday, if you are interested. Sometimes I take my daughter to find fossils, and we have a lot of fun.

TSSDigging for bones wasn’t something that I did as a child, but I suppose it’s never too late to do it as an adult.

How did you draw those bones so carefully? And make them look realistic?
TSS: I visited some very good museums where they have some amazing dinosaur fossils so I was able to get them as accurate as possible. Being careful is probably my number one skill, with drawing a close second, so it came very easy to me. 

What else do you like to draw?
TSS: I really like to draw octopus and squid and anything really that looks a little odd.

Who taught you how to draw?
TSS: I had some good teachers along the way that gave me lots of encouragement, but I suppose I taught myself by just drawing every day and practising more and more.

It seems like you can work together really well. Are you going to keep making books together? Are you friends?

SLYes, T.S Spookytooth and I are friends. I just wrote another book called Eye by Eye: Comparing Animal Peepers for the two of us to work on together. I hope it will become a published book in a few years.

TSSIt would be great to keep making books. We are friends even though we live very far away from each other, but we did meet and we shook hands so in my world that confirms a friendship!

If you can’t really wait for January 2018 for the release of this book, consider this question:

What kind of reader would you be if you left a comment below or shared this post on twitter?

Possibly the lucky winner of Bone by Bone and Tooth by Tooth!

One lucky winner will be randomly selected by October 30th. Canadian and U.S. addresses only please.

You can find Sara Levine and T.S. Spookytooth on Twitter.

Put Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones on your list for January! This is one your school or classroom library needs to have!

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!

 

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

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

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

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

Kids love cheetahs. But what is the story of their endangered status and what is being done about it? That is the story that this title showcases – in particular the story of  Laurie Marker and the work she does at theCheetah Conservation Fund (CCF)‘s African headquarters in Nambia. This is a Scientist in the Field title – a series ideal for young scientists, naturalists and kids with questions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2016. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

nfpb2016logo

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Tooth by Tooth

Recently, we went to dinner at my husband’s parents. My son had just been to the orthodontist. My father in law had just had dental surgery. I had just visited the bookstore that afternoon on route to dinner and I was thrilled to see that the latest Sara Levine book I had ordered had arrived. Of course, while waiting for dinner to finish cooking, I had to read this book aloud to my family. Of course! It was a meant to be moment – a must read book about teeth while we all had teeth on the brain. Achy teeth and bruised mouths, some of us. This book was the perfect distraction.

Because don’t you just want to know answers to some questions like these:

  • What would you be if your top canine teeth grew almost all the way down to your feet?
  • What kind of animal would you be if your teeth were long enough to stick out of your mouth, even when it was closed?
  • What kind of mammal would you be if you had really tall molars?

I am not going to tell you any of these answers! Go! Get the book! Some of these questions are challenging to figure out. This title is a fantastic resource in the elementary classroom: a fun and interactive read aloud with interesting guess and find out questions/answers. My entire family from the teenagers to the over eighty crowd was completely engaged!

Tooth by Tooth: Comparing Fangs, Tusks, and Chompers written by Sara Levine and illustrated by T.S. Spookytooth (Millbrook Press (Lerner) 2016)

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Tooth by Tooth

Learn about the different kinds of teeth you have in your mouth: incisors, canines and molars. Quick, think fast – how many molars do you have? Now count them. Were you right? (Your answer should fall in the 8-20 range depending on your age) 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?

Information in the final pages includes further reading, a detailed glossary and more about mammal teeth.

Ideal for K-7 students as a read aloud (for K-3) or read alone (Grades 4-7) .

I also highly recommend bringing it along to share at dinner parties. . . even if nobody has recently been to the dentist! 🙂

Levine and Spookytooth also collaborated on Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons

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

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some beginning read alouds

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

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

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

Nest by Jorey Hurley

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

nest Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some beginning read alouds

A Bird Is a Bird by Lizzy Rockwell

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

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

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

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

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

Guess What is Growing Inside this Egg by Mia Posada

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

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

I’m Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2015. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!

#nfpb2015

Nonfiction Picture Books – grow a beginning collection

Recently I created a list of 20 picture books to be gifted to new parents/grandparents to begin growing a picture book collection of beautiful books. I purposely did not include any nonfiction titles because I had this list in mind – 20 incredible nonfiction titles that should be on the family bookshelf.

This list includes recent releases and some favourites I have had for some time. I looked for books that inspire wonder and curiosity about nature and the world. On this list are titles that cover specific concepts with rich language and stunning images. None are too lengthy or complex. The books that are more detailed are perfect for sharing in chunks with a parent/adult reader.

Shopping for gift books for a family? Think nonfiction picture books! Here are 20 beautiful titles:

Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Listed alphabetically by author

A Nest is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long

There are so many different kinds of nests for so many different creatures. This book is a treasure.

Nest Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

On A Beam of Light- A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

Wonder, curiosity and thinking outside of the box. Accessible Einstein!

 Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Gravity by Jason Chin

Visual story telling, simple text explain a complex concept so that all readers can grasp it.

 Gravity Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Just Ducks! written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino

Gentle narration infused with facts in this beautifully illustrated book about ducks!

Just Ducks Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

The Blue Whale by Jenni Desmond

Explore just how enormous a blue whale really is. Gorgeous.

The Blue Whale Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Some Bugs written by Angela Diterlizzi and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel

Will absolutely inspire some bug hunting! And maybe collecting. Break out the magnifying glasses.

 some Bugs Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? written by Rita Gray illustrated by Kenard Pak

Beautiful lyrical text. Will get everyone outside to listen to beautiful and varied bird song.

HaveYouHeard Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Eggs 1, 2, 3: Who Will the Babies Be? by Janet Halfmann, illustrated by Betsy Thompson

Counting. Guessing. Lovely repetition.

eggs123 Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

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

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

Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

My First Day by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

What happened on the first day each animal was born? Children love to wonder about animal babies.

My first day Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

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

How do mammals care for their babies? Will inspire many conversations about how young children are cared for too.

Born in the Wild Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

How Big Were Dinosaurs? by Lita Judge

Were all dinosaurs gigantic? If they were walking around today, just how big would they be?

Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Wild Ideas: Let Nature Inspire Your Thinking written by Elin Kelsey and illustrated by Soyeon Kim

Will prompt a discussion about perseverance, creativity and inspiration.

Wild Ideas Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

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

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

bone by bone Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

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

A beautiful poetic title about the water in our world.

Water Is Water- A Book About the Water Cycle Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre

Oh these photographs and this beautiful language. Walking in the rain? You will want to go.

Raindrops Roll Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Lifetime written by Lola Schaefer and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Math is all around us. Gorgeous illustrations. Fascinating animal facts.

lifetime Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

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

How do birds use their feathers? For so much more than flying . . .

feathers Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Forest Has a Song poems by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater  and illustrated by Robbin Gourley 

Beautiful poems about the forest – the perfect place to wander.

Forest has a song Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Mama Built a Little Nest written by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Poetic text showcase all of the different nests birds build for their babies.

Mama Nonfiction Picture Books - grow a beginning collection There's a Book for That

Give books.

Read books.

Share books.

Often.