Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books

I am a huge fan of nonfiction picture books in our Elementary classrooms. They are the jumping off point into deep, deep learning. But it is not just the learning that infuses these pages, it is also the beauty of the images that helps lure readers in.

Reasons for nonfiction read alouds? There are many: opportunity for rich discussion, shared learning experiences, new information conveyed, etc. But there is also the visual treat that so many titles provide. The inspiration to wonder, to marvel and to be in awe of our world.

For some students, just the lure of new knowledge is the gateway to reading fantastic nonfiction titles, others need a little nudge. Something beautiful . . .

I have a few students who resist picking up nonfiction titles without some persuasion. I try to entice them with the amazing facts that they might learn. Thinking of a few students in particular, I realize I have been approaching it all wrong. With these children, I should be starting with the images and let them work their magic. Many of our visual learners begin with the illustrations. They become lost in the pictures and then begin reading to answer the questions that start to form.

Do I have enough nonfiction picture books in my collection (or on my wish lists) for these readers?

I started a list. And then I thought I should share . . . .

Each of these titles has made me stop and stare. ¬†Here are 25 of the most gorgeous nonfiction titles out there – absolutely swoon worthy, in my opinion ūüôā

Learn more about the Natural World:

Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books: 25 beautiful titles to entice young readers with stunning illustrations From There's a Book for That

An Egg is Quiet written by Dianna Aston and illustrated by Sylvia Long

Over and Under the Snow written by the Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. (Note: This title is actually fiction but offers a beautiful invitation to begin learning more about the world under the snow)

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

Bird, Butterfly, Eel with story and paintings by James Prosek

The Long, Long Journey: The Godwit’s Amazing Migration written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Mia Posada

Nest by Jorey Hurley

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

Books about Creatures: Small to Gigantic, and all sizes in between:

Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books: 25 beautiful titles to entice young readers with stunning illustrations From There's a Book for That

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

Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth

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

Big Blue Whale written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Nick Maland

Jumping Penguins illustrated by Marije Tolman with text by Jesse Goossens

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

Information/Concept titles:

Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books: 25 beautiful titles to entice young readers with stunning illustrations From There's a Book for That

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals’ Lives  written by Lola Schaefer and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Swirl by Swirl (Spirals in Nature) written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beth Krommes

Gravity by Jason Chin

Locomotive by Brian Floca 

Biographies/Memoir:

 Biographies/Memoir Swoon Worthy Nonfiction Picture Books: 25 beautiful titles to entice young readers with stunning illustrations From There's a Book for That

The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry

Orani My Father’s Village by Claire A. Nivola

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill 

Dare the Wind written by Tracey Fern and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully 

Grandfather Gandhi written by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus and illustrated by Evan Turk

The Boy who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos written by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham 

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet

Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson

(I featured a few of these titles in this post last year: Wonder Inducing Nonfiction Read Alouds Some are clearly my favourites!)

What beautiful nonfiction picture books make you swoon? Please share them in the comments.

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 titles.

NFPB 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wish list: July 2014

Recently I shared a picture book wish list – ten titles that I would love to own (some out now and some to be released later this year). This got me thinking about nonfiction titles I might like.

And . . . surprise, surprise; another list was born!

Ten nonfiction picture books I would love to possess:

Helen’s Big World The Life of Helen Keller written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Matt Tavares (October 2012) 

I featured this title on a list of picture book biographies about inspiring women. When I had to return it to the library, I vowed to find a copy for my own collection. Such an inspiring and beautifully illustrated title.

 Helen's Big World Nonfiction Picture Book Wish list: July 2014

Jasper’s Story: Saving Moon Bears written by Jill Robinson and Marc Bekoff; illustrated by  Gijisbert van Frankenhuyzen (March 2013)

I just read this book last week and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. It is a story that I really want to share with my students and think it would be reread often as part of our classroom collection.¬†Jasper is a bear that was rescued by¬†Jill Robinson¬†(the author) and her¬†Animals Asia¬†team and brought to a sanctuary in China. Jill describes Jasper as courageous and loving; a symbol of forgiveness and hope.

Jasper's Story Nonfiction Picture Book Wish list: July 2014 There's a Book for That

Weeds Find a Way written by Cindy Jenson-Elliott and illustrated by Carolyn Fisher (February 2014)

I do not love weeds in any way. The thought of learning to love weeds is kind of like trying not to itch a bug bit – borderline excruciating. But . . . I have heard that this book is lovely. The trailer looks incredible. I think I should own this book. Then I can love the weeds in this book and still battle with those in my garden. Those weeds that seem to always be winning. They seem to find many a way . . .

 Weeds Find a Way Nonfiction Picture Book Wish list: July 2014 There's a Book for That

Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey written by Loree Griffin Burns with photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz (March 2014)

Everyone who has written about this book has raved. I have book friends with very good taste.  Just the cover image has me curious about so much. Apparently this image was captured while the photographer watched this pupa for over six hours. Intrigued? Me too.

Handle with care Nonfiction Picture Book Wish list: July 2014 There's a Book for That

The Story of Buildings: From the Pyramids to the Sydney Opera House and Beyond written by Patrick Dillon and illustrated by Stephen Biesty (March 2014) 

My students this year loved building structures (in play) and designing structures (in art). I know that this book would be adored. Images and cross sections of sixteen impressive buildings around the world.

 The Story of Buildings Nonfiction Picture Book Wish list: July 2014 There's a Book for That

Eye to Eye: How Animals See The World by Steve Jenkins (April 2014)

Steve Jenkins keeps making books that I simply must have. I have a large collection of Jenkins titles and use all of them frequently. And this cover . . . wow. Can’t wait to get this book and share it with my students.

 Eye to Eye Nonfiction Picture Book Wish list: July 2014 There's a Book for That

Dare the Wind written by Tracey Fern and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully (May 2014)

I read this book months ago and continue to think about the inspiring story of adventure and bravery. A female navigator setting world records for sailing from New York City to San Francisco around the tip of Cape Horn and its treacherous waters. What a story! I have been collecting picture book biographies and share many of them as read alouds. I am sure this one belongs in our collection.

 Nonfiction Picture Book Wish list: July 2014 There's a Book for That

The Slug by Elise Gravel (August 2014)

I own The Fly, one of the first titles published in The Disgusting Critters series. I know these will be some of the most popular nonfiction titles in the room. I need to place them in our nonfcition bins and know they will never return to their spots until year’s end as they creep from book box to book box, child to child (or slime in the case of this guy below).

the slug Nonfiction Picture Book Wish list: July 2014 There's a Book for That

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet (September 2014)

I have seen peeks of the inside of this book on a few blogs. Swoon.  Bryant and Sweet make beautiful books together. Enough said.

The Right Word Nonfiction picture book wish list July 2014 There's a Book for That

Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (October 2014)

Yes, another Jenkins. ANOTHER JENKINS!! Hurrah! One for me please.

Creature Features Nonfiction Picture Book Wish list: July 2014 There's a Book for That

 

As always, I love to hear suggestions of other titles that must be on my list. List making, after all, is free. Until you put it in your pocket . .

 

 

 

Monday May 5th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?IMWAYR

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. The best way to grow your TBR list!

I have been busy writing many blog posts to celebrate a lot of literacy related events in my classroom. Blog highlights include:

On my classroom blog Curiosity Racers, I shared about our amazing Skype experience with author Liesl Shurtliff and a photo heavy thank you to the Writers’ Exchange. On this blog, I shared the process of how we got a book full of student stories published through working with the Writers’ Exchange.

My very favourite of the picture books I read:

Ma Jiang and the Orange Ants written by Barbara Ann Porte and illustrated by Annie Cannon

Sorry for the blurry image – had trouble finding an image online (the book was published in 2000) This book is a great read aloud for listeners who can handle a longer title. Set in China many years ago we meet the Ma family who makes a living selling orange ants to the orange growers who use the ants in their orange groves to protect their fruit from insects (the ants eat the pests not the fruit). When Jiang’s father and older brothers are called to serve in the Emperor’s Army, how will the family survive? A fascinating story of ingenuity, history and family ties. My children found this story fascinating when I read it aloud to them.

#IMWAYR May 5th 2014 There's a Book for That

Max’s Magic Seeds written by Geraldine Elschner and illustrated by Jean-Pierre Corderoch¬†

This book totally speaks to me. A botanist uncle with huge bags of flower seeds. Guerilla gardening of sorts. Making joy and community happen one blossom at a time. Would be great to pair with The Curious Garden by Peter Brown.

#IMWAYR May 5th 2014 There's a Book for That

Ruby’s Wish written by Shirin Yim Bridges and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

I love this title! One little girl in a prosperous Chinese family wants an education like her brothers and male cousins, not a future that includes marriage and motherhood. Based on the life of the author’s grandmother. A beautiful example of a little girl who speaks up and the grandfather who hears her.

#IMWAYR May 5th 2014 There's a Book for That

The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems

Oh my, my, this pigeon! He is channeling all children who resist, resist, resist the bath and then, absolutely refuse to get out. My children still do this!

#IMWAYR May 5th 2014 There's a Book for That

Found by Salina Yoon

I read this at the bookstore the other day and it was all I could do to leave it in the store. Absolutely adorable. So sweet that the bear tries so hard to find the owner of the lost rabbit he finds. Can he help it if on this search, he becomes very attached? Sometimes things are just meant to be. There sure is a lot of doing the right thing in this book! ūüôā

#IMWAYR May 5th 2014 There's a Book for That

Hi, Koo! by Jon J Muth

I have only one complaint. It is absolutely impossible to pick a favourite poem. Can’t even narrow it to top three. And the illustrations . . . sigh!

#IMWAYR May 5th 2014 There's a Book for That

Dare the Wind written by Tracey Fern and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully

What a fantastic biography for our nonfiction collections. This book tells the story of Eleanor Prentiss who broke the world record for sailing from New York City to San Francisco around the tip of Cape Horn and its treacherous waters. In 1851, a female navigator was unheard of let alone one that could sail at record speeds. A fantastic story of adventure, determination and absolute bravery.

#IMWAYR May 5th 2014 There's a Book for That

Finished just one novel

All That’s Missing by Sarah Sullivan

I really enjoyed this middle grade novel about Arlo, an eleven year old boy living with his grandfather who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. With nobody else to care for him when his grandfather ends up in the hospital, Arlo searches for an estranged grandmother who might be able to help. All about finding family, making friends and creating home.

#IMWAYR May 5th 2014 There's a Book for That

What’s up next? I am just about to begin Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee.¬†

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 36/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 228/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 15/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 61/65 complete