We know that a big part of the CCSS is to include more informational texts into ourstudents' reading. I quickly discovered I had a "gap" in my reading diet - the genre of informational texts! To help me fill the gap this year, I am going to participate in Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesdays! This is a great link-up hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy. Please visit this website to see other educator's link-ups. My goal is to read at least one informational text each week and post information on the blog. The more books and subjects I read, the more I can encourage (my #OLW for 2014) other teachers to use in their classroom!
A favorite new series I've come across this year is the Scientists in the Field series. While not new, I've only recently found this series and have come to really enjoy them. I am fascinated by the study of animals in their natural habitat. While I enjoy visiting zoos and appreciate them, I also feel a little twinge of sadness that the animals aren't in their natural habitat. I appreciate that this series, while doing research and gaining new information and insights of the animals they are studying, manage to do their research without taking the animal away from its home. The books are thorough and the illustrations are breathtaking.
One of the new books to the series, Park Scientists: Gila Monsters, Geysers, and Grizzly Bears in America's Own Backyard, is no exception to the thorough and breathtaking qualities I've come to expect from the series. I really appreciated that this book is not just about the animals that are found in our national parks, but also the vegetation and other natural phenomena that is found in "our backyard".
The book covers three of our main national parks - Yellowstone National Park, Saguaro National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We learn about the geysers and the grizzly bears that call Yellowstone home. There is a lot of discussion as to why the grizzly bear numbers were declining for so many years. Next we learn about the gila monster that calls the Saguaro National Park home, as well as the saguaro cacti that live there. Cacti are such interesting plants because they have completely adapted to their environment and live for so many years. Finally, traveling to the Smoky Mountains we meet some native salamanders and fireflies.
Just like the other books in the series, the research is all done on site, in natural habitats. The illustrations are beautiful and give so much information that words can't always show. Full of nonfiction features, readers can pour over each page for a long time and still not be able to absorb everything.
Pick up this book and learn more about your home, the United States!