Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A room full of nonfiction

I have written many times about how important I think it is to have students to have books in their environment – books that they can interact with, books to read, books that are read to them and books to look at from across the room and think, “Hmm, I’d really like to read that!”

Nonfiction titles are especially wonderful because they spark curiosity, are the perfect thing to enhance and inspire learning on various topics and can be picked up and put down when there are a few minutes here and there to read.

I decided to do a little bit of a nonfiction book tour of my room and sneak in a few favourite titles here and there. Nonfiction books everywhere you look!

For starters, I have a vast personal collection of titles that I read aloud, pull out when we are studying specific topics and use for reference texts to support certain students who have specific questions about their world.

 Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A room full of nonfiction There's a Book for That

There are four bins of books here like this one below ūüôā I have organized these by theme for easy access (like Ecology, Mammals, Science Concepts, Water, etc)

 Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A room full of nonfiction There's a Book for That

A few favourites that I have recently added to these bins:

Water is Water written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Jason Chin

Water Is Water- A Book About the Water Cycle Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A room full of nonfiction There's a Book for That

Wandering Whale Sharks by Susumu Shingu

Wandering Whale Sharks Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A room full of nonfiction There's a Book for That

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

 Weeds Find a Way Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A room full of nonfiction There's a Book for That

In this same area I have a bin of picture book biographies.

 Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A room full of nonfiction There's a Book for That

I love to share biographies with my class. One title I plan to read early in the year is Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah written by Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls

Emmanuel's Dream- The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah

On another book shelf I have other reference material – both nonfiction and fiction.

 Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A room full of nonfiction There's a Book for That

In the wonder/nature section are titles like these.

 Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A room full of nonfiction There's a Book for That

When we are in the full swing of things, the “recently read/booktalked nonfiction shelf” might look like this:

 Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A room full of nonfiction There's a Book for That

And always, climbing up our walls are book jackets and relevant vocabulary.

 Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A room full of nonfiction There's a Book for That

In one corner by the sinks is a bin of interesting fact and reference books that I change up every month or so. There is empty counter space here to open up the books and begin reading.

 Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A room full of nonfiction There's a Book for That

I just pulled some titles out of the nonfiction section of the library so that it reflects the reading and interest levels of the new students coming in – younger readers than last year. If I am wrong, I have some texts in bins ready to pull back out.

We have lots of nonfiction readers.

 Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A room full of nonfiction There's a Book for That

And a large collection of titles for independent and buddy reading

 Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A room full of nonfiction There's a Book for That

In some bins, dividers help students who are looking for a particular topic.

 Nonfiction in the Room There's a Book for That

Hugely popular series in these bins include:

Creepy Creatures titles by Valerie Bodden

Mites Creepy Creatures Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A room full of nonfiction There's a Book for That

The Grow with Me series

Grow with me Butterfly Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A room full of nonfiction There's a Book for That

Scholastic Discover More titles

Scholastic Discover More Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: A room full of nonfiction There's a Book for That

That was a mini tour of the nonfiction in my room. Where can nonfiction titles be found in your classroom/library?

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

Monday February 2nd, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. This week I am sharing a photo of students engaged with a variety of nonfiction texts during “Nonfiction Reading Day” – where we devote our Reading Workshop time to reading nonfiction. Of course, for many readers, nonfiction reading happens all week but this focus allows all children to read more nonfiction, more widely.

Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I was excited to share our #MockCaldecott results and reflections here. In mere hours, we will know the actual medal and honor winners. So excited!

Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

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

I realize that much of my reading this week was nonfiction picture books. Lots of variety and as usual, I learned so much. Some highlights:

The Top of the World: Climbing Mount Everest by Steve Jenkins

If you want to climb Mount Everest, what would you need to know? This book is filled with facts about history, geography and the myriad of challenges that climbers might encounter.

The Top of the World Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Animals in Flight by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

An older Jenkins title that I found in my school library. I was most interested in the history of flying creatures and the different ways various wings function.

Animals in Flight by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

A Place for Butterflies by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Higgins Bond

Focuses on a variety of butterflies and the threats to their environments. Framed with specific ideas about how to change human actions to make a difference to butterflies like planting native plants, protecting swamps and marshes and not trying to catch live butterflies for collections.

Place for Butterflies Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Mites by Valerie Bodden

Magnified things we never actually see in our day to day life are quite creepy – yet incredibly fascinating. Made me want to vacuum.

Mites Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I also read

Nine Words Max by Dan Bar-el and illustrated by David Huyck

Max is too talkative – wouldn’t it be great if he could only say nine words at a time? Ideal, think his brothers. But is it? Clever.

 Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Dolphin SOS by Roy Miki and Slavia Miki with illustrations by Julie Flett

This was one of those read alouds where at one point the silence in the room was thick – surrounding us like fog – it seemed like we could see it and feel it all at once. Such a beautifully emotional book about three dolphins off the coast of Newfoundland who became trapped in the ice in a cove. The townspeople had to listen to their cries for days before they finally intervened when government wouldn’t help. There is a moment between a dolphin and one of the rescuers that is just awe inspiring. Based on a true story.

Dolphin SOS Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Memory Tree by Britta Teckentrup

Death and grief healed by memories and community. A lovely, accessible picture book.

The Memory Tree Britta Teckentrup Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

A Gift for Mama by Linda Ravin Lodding illustrated by Alison Jay

I love Alison Jay’s illustrations and this book, set in Vienna, was an absolute visual and historical treat. A circular story about Oskar trying to find a perfect gift for his Mama for her birthday. Yet, he keeps encountering people in need of his gift and trades each of them for something new. Themes of kindness, generosity and optimism.

a gift for mama Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I also finished The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

I finished this morning. Incredible.

crossover Monday February 2nd 2015 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Up next?  My children and I continue reading The Shadowhand Covenant (Book Two of the Vengekeep Prophecies) by Brian Farrey. With my class, I have started Each Little Bird that Sings by Deborah Wiles. Oh, so very good!

I am starting The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy (one of my #MustReadin2015 titles)

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 6/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 43/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 4/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 10/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 3/50 books read

Talking spiders

To celebrate Picture Book Month I am continuing to share conversations I have with students about picture books. Sometimes, I learn a lot.

pb month logo

Today I had a visit at recess from a Grade 1 student all dressed up for photo day.

Talking spiders There's a Book for That

He checked out some Lego and told me about his outfit.

Talking spiders There's a Book for That

Then he wandered over to where I was putting away some nonfiction titles. And we started to talk about the books

Me: “What do you notice about all of these books?”

Mr. Dressed Up: “They’re all insects and stuff. They’re good because they help you breathe and make stuff. Like honey.”

Me: “Which of these books looks the most interesting?”

Mr. Dressed Up: “Hmmm. Spiders. I like them. They have 8 legs and well, they’re creepy. I like creepy stuff.”

Me: “What do you think you might find out in this book?”

Mr. Dressed Up: “Well you’ll be knowing about spiders. How they spin. Can they help you out in a haunted house?”

Me: “Interesting. What are you noticing when you look through the book?”

Mr. Dressed Up: “Well they have one eye in this picture. And 8 legs (counts to confirm) No, 11. Hold on (counts again) Maybe 10. Some of these might not be legs?”

Talking spiders There's a Book for That

Me: “Do you notice anything else?”

Mr. Dressed Up: “Well this orange part here is a big round circle. Kind of like a bum that we have. But we have two big circles.”

Indeed! ūüôā

Me: “So do you think you might like to read these books when you are in my classroom?”

Mr. Dressed Up: “Yep.”

Judging from the popularity of the Creepy Creatures series with my current Grade 3/4 students, I think he will!

Spiders by Valerie Bodden (published 2011) has information about a spider’s life, how webs are made and the parts of a spider’s body. Close up photographs are intriguing. There is a glossary in the back and new vocabulary is bolded throughout the book. My primary/early intermediate students can easily manage this series with independence.

Spiders Talking spiders There's a Book for That

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!

klf_nonfiction2014_medium

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 119/65 complete!

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Who is reading what and why?

My students are very pleased to be reacquainting themselves with the classroom library after a long summer/strike break. I have been book talking, highlighting specific bins and handing particular books to particular readers for particular reasons. We haven’t done a huge focus on nonfiction titles yet but still, many are being read around the room. I always find it so interesting to see what is popular at any given time in my Grade 3/4 classroom.

Who is reading what? And why? A few highlights:

Weird but True titles by National Geographic Kids do not stay in their assigned basket. They are hugely popular with many students who love to read all of the facts and quiz each other. They would happily do this for hours.

Weird but True 5 Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Who is reading what and why? There's a Book for That

Tigers by Valerie Bodden – part of The Amazing Animal series (published 2009) This book made its way into one child’s book box yesterday because, “I keep thinking about tigers and my book box is needing some books with information. I LOVE tigers. I am so excited!”

Tiger Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Who is reading what and why? There's a Book for That

This Disgusting Critters series (published 2014) by Elise Gravel, is adored, as I suspected it would be. We are in the middle of a little art project to make our own disgusting critter in Gravel’s style. Of course, now these titles are even more popular.

“Can I read The Slug next?”

“Is there a list? I haven’t read The Rat yet.”

“When is the next one of these coming out? Can you buy it?

 The Slug Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Who is reading what and why? There's a Book for That

A Rock is Lively written by Diana Hutts Aston and illustrated by Sylvia Long (published 2012) One of my students has discovered this beautiful book and spends a lot of her free time examining its gorgeous pages. She has made lists of her favourite rocks and is now looking at rocks in our classroom rock collection to see what she might be able to identify.

 A Rock is Lively Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Who is reading what and why? There's a Book for That

Top 50 Deadliest Creatures by Camilla De La Bdoyre (published 2012)

I don’t know what it is about this book but almost every time we have a guest to our room, one child will go off in search of this title to read aloud. A visiting student teacher got to listen to some amazing facts about ferocious creatures today. I didn’t buy this book. It came in as a donation and ever since it travels from book box to book box being read by many.

Top 50 Deadliest Creatures Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Who is reading what and why? There's a Book for That

What is popular in your nonfiction library right now?

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!

klf_nonfiction2014_medium (1)

My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 110/65 complete!

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some titles to book talk #1

It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday! 

klf_nonfiction2014_medium (1)

So often, I discover amazing nonfiction that I just can’t wait to read aloud. But it is equally exciting to find titles that will become part of our class nonfiction collection. Some Wednesdays, I’ve decided to share some titles that I will be adding to our nonfiction bins and some of the features I will highlight when I share them with the students.

I think our guiding questions and the information we point out when introducing books really helps our students have more success when reading the texts independently.

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: 95/65 complete!

The Worm by Elise Gravel (published 2014)

This Disgusting Critters series is something I am very excited to share with my students this fall. There is guaranteed kid appeal in the humour, the yucky facts and the conversational narration. Lots of bold text, speech bubbles and silly pictures. But, this is not a nonfiction title where you will find the features we often expect in a nonfiction title. There is no table of contents, glossary or index to organize facts. In fact the facts are found within the text – sometimes with bolded words and sometimes with diagrams that illustrate a point. No guarantees. A sample of the text:

“An earthworm is basically a long digestive tract with inside a muscle tube. It’s that muscle tube that’s slimy and disgusting.”

This is what I would highlight when I book talked this title:

  • Notice that some of the new vocabulary is in bold
  • Discover new facts by asking yourself at the end of the page, “Did I just learn something new?” “Was there a fact I could note on this page?”
  • Appreciate the amusing way that the author communicates new information
  • Choose another book on the same topic for further reading

 The Worm Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some titles to book talk #1

I would pair Worms (part of the Creepy Creatures series) by Valerie Bodden with this book. This series is very popular in my classroom and the ideal reading level for primary students.

Worms Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some titles to book talk #1

Wild about Bears by Jeannie Brett (published 2014)

This book highlights information about each of the eight species of bears on earth today. Can you name the specific eight? I couldn’t! There are some things that I really like about this title but a few things that might make it a little challenging for children to navigate. I would highlight each of these things in sharing this book.

  • Check out the main headings on each two page spread that introduce us to one of the eight bear species. The common name is also included and may be the name you know. For example, Moon bears (the term I was familiar with) are actually part of the Asiatic Black Bears species. The weight range of each bear is also included here.
  • Notice the habitat glossary in the back of the book that gives more information about the habitats where each bear species lives
  • Refer often to the colour coded world map in the back to see where you can find each bear species
  • Make sure you read some of the smaller text next to the diagrams for more information. Be aware though that these are not all captions – just additional information about each of the bear species. You might not see what the text is talking about in the picture.
  • How do we learn new vocabulary in nonfiction text? Often our learning is reinforced and enhanced through bolded words, a glossary and an index. Notice that these things are missing in this text so you may need to look specific words up in other sources for more information.
  • Would you have appreciated colour photographs of the bears – maybe in the back of the book to see what they looked like in the wild? Where could you go to find real life photographs of each species in their habitats?

 Wild About Bears Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Some titles to book talk #1

Monday February 10th, 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. One of the very best ways to discover what to read next!

Lots of reading this week. And some important writing:

  • I loved sharing the wonderful sentiments from my students shared in our weekly Gratitude Circle in my Celebration post this week.
  • I also wrote a post that has been brewing for a long time. Finally, I had the courage to ¬†finish it and press publish: The Part that is True. And then, I burst into tears. Sigh. Sometimes, sharing is a big risk. I have so appreciated the supportive comments and feedback.

And on to the books I have loved! My favourite picture books of the week:

Orangutan Tongs: Poems to Tangle your Tongue by Jon Agee

These tongue twister poems are hilariously ridiculous. Many are battling it out to be my favourite. I will check back soon to see which has won! Sharing the one I plan to read first to my class – just because we have been talking about the courtesy of neat writing for the sake of the reader ūüôā

Rotten Writing

Reading writing

When it’s written really rotten

Can cause your eyes and intellect to strain.

When it’s written really rotten,

Writing’s really rotten reading.

Yes, reading rotten written writing really is a pain.

Organgutan Tongs #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Scoot! by Cathryn Falwell

I adored the celebration of nature and the liveliness of the rhyming text. In the final pages, Falwell explains some of her inspiration and how she made some of the collages using found objects from nature. A sample of the text:

Hustle! Hover! Flitter! Flee! On every branch and shrub and tree!

Scoot! #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman

A picture book that invites you into its pages where much is happening after a pot of blue paint is toppled by a chicken. I love the splashing, splattering and wading through the spilled paint. And then of course, the delightfully simple problem solving at the end of the story! Would be a perfect story time book for younger students!

Blue Chicken #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite¬†written by Nick Bromley and illustrated by¬†Nicola O’Byrne

Titles that demand to be shaken, examined and rocked can’t miss! And then when there is a huge bite mark in the back cover . . . Yikes, beware! Lots of fun for an interactive story experience.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The World is Waiting for You by Barbara Kerley

Gorgeous photographs beckon you – get outside and explore something amazing! Star gaze, get your hands muddy or follow a path to anywhere. Back pages include details about some of the photographs and how the photographers managed to capture such images. Significant photos for me: Sylvia Earle swimming with dolphins, a cave of crystals (beams of selenite) in Mexico and a beautiful photograph of two children racing with a toy sailboat on the edge of a river. A National Geographic title.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I featured three amazing nonfiction books with an ocean theme on my Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday Post: Life in the Deep Blue Sea

Deep Blue Sea #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Slugs by Valerie Bodden

I picked up this title at a recent book store sale. It is the perfect level for my primary students and has been passed from child to child ever since I book talked it on Tuesday. Wonderful photographs and interesting text. And of course slug slime, slug eggs . . . Such fun! I plan to purchase more of these Creepy Creatures titles.

Slugs #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The New Girl . . . and Me written by Jacqui Robbins and illustrated by Matt Phelan

This is a must have for school library and classroom collections. Themes of friendship, kindness, being new and taking social risks. When Shakeeta shows up in Mia’s classroom, Mia sets out to discover just how she might make her feel at home even though she is not entirely sure what that means. Mia certainly doesn’t want to say anything that might make Shakeeta want to punch her in the head like she threatened to do to the boy making fun of her. Mia’s gestures are sweet, genuine and “iguana friendly.” The story ends with possible new beginnings. Lovely.

The New Girl and Me #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Miss Dorothy and her Bookmobile written by Gloria Houston and illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb

Such an inspiring story about Dorothy Thomas, an absolute book hero. Dorothy’s dreams of a fine brick building where she could be librarian never materialized. But her role in bringing books to a community was huge. True testament to how books change lives and connect community. This title is now part of my growing picture book biography collection.

Miss Dorothy #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Champion written by Marie Lu

I have read the entire Legend trilogy in the last 5 weeks (around the reading of other novels) and I must admit I am sad to leave the world of June and Day. I don’t want to give anything away so I will just make two comments. One, the ending was not a disappointment. At all. Two, I might have enjoyed this third title in the trilogy most of all. Fantastic YA fiction: lots of action, drama, and intrigue.

Champion #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? I am currently reading Far Far Away by Tom McNeal. After this, I plan to read The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. My children and I are almost finished Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo and we will be starting The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen next (a #MustReadin2014 title).

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 9/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 90/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 5/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 34/65 complete

Happy Reading everyone!