Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 12.09.15 - Chris Barton books


I am excited to join Alyson Beecher and other friends in this weekly challenge.  Finding great nonfiction picture books isn't a challenge anymore, there are so many wonderful books to be read now!  The challenge is sharing them with as many people as possible so they can find this wealth of literature to share with our young readers.  Thanks to Aly for starting this weekly link-up and thanks to all who join in!  See all of the posts at kidlitfrenzy.

A few months ago, our friend Alyson Beecher, featured a book on her blog by Chris Barton - The Nutcracker Comes to America.  Whenever I read a book that I enjoy, I look to see what else the author has written.  To my surprise, I was familiar with many Chris Barton books.  Are you familiar with Chris Barton?  I bet you are.  And if you aren't, here's your opportunity.  Pick up these books for your classroom or library.  They are books that students will get lost in and pick up new information along the way!  What I love about Chris' books, is the way he communicates the information with his readers.  When you read one of his nonfiction books, you feel as if he is speaking to you - inviting you in to learn information about this secret new topic.  He shares his information as you are having your own private conversation.  Share some of these books with readers you know!

The Nutcracker Comes to America
Illustrated by Cathy Gendron
Published by Millbrook Press
The Nutcracker, along with the infamous music composed by Peter Ilyrich Tchailovsky, will always make me think about my childhood.  For years, my grandmother would take me, and later my sister, to see a production of The Nutcracker in downtown Chicago every Christmas.  I loved watching Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy.  I remember the Rat King being very scary, some years more so than others.  But what I didn't know is the story behind the ballet.
Three brothers from Utah are behind this Christmas tradition.  Who would have thought that three brothers had their hand in the creation of this now staple holiday tradition.
This is a wonderful nonfiction picture book to share with readers.  Use it as a mentor text to show how an author uses his voice to talk to his reader.  Use it as a reading mentor text to show how to tell an unknown story.  Use it to teach - I know I didn't know this information about this popular ballet!

Attack! Boss! Cheat Code!: A Gamer's Alphabet
Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer's Alphabet
illustrated by Joey Spiotto
published by POW!
We all have gamers in our schools.  Kids who spend hours in front of their screen, manipulating a game.  This book is for them.  This book will be like talking to a kindred spirit.  How much do they already know?  How many of the words defined did they know, but maybe didn't know it was called that?  Give it to students who are just starting to game.  This may be the vocabulary and definitions they need to help them understand more about what they are doing.  Give it to the student who doesn't game - it will be pure research for them!
My favorite page is the one defining the word "joystick".  Yup.  Know exactly what that is, even if kids today don't!
Now that I've written this post I can bring this book into school.  I don't think I'll ever see it on my shelf the rest of the school year.

The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch
The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch 
illustrated by Don Tate
published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
I read this book earlier this year and loved the story and illustrations.  I wrote about it in this post.

The Day-Glo Brothers
The Day-Glo Brothers 
illustrated by Tony Persiani
published by Charlesbridge
I think this may have been my first Chris Barton book I read.  I remember thinking now this, is fun nonfiction!  The Day-Glo Brothers won a Sibert Honor and it was on our Illinois Bluestem nominee list!

I'm looking forward to these upcoming nonfiction books by Chris:

Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions
Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions
illustrated by Don Tate
published by Charlesbridge
released May 3
Oh, the super soaker.  I may have memories of rushing out to buy this elusive toy and backing out of the garage that may or may not have been opened yet.  Not that I was driving....

88 Instruments
88 Instruments
illustrated by Louis Thomas
published by Knopf Books
released August 16

Maybe you want to try some fiction books out.  Have you read:

Shark vs. Train
Shark Vs Train
illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
published by Little, Brown and Company
Kids love the Who Would Win series.  This may be the original - because who would win, a shark or a train?  Love the predicaments Barton comes up with.  Illustrated by the very talented Tom Lichtenheld (fellow Chicagoan), kids love reading and seeing what happens to the shark and the train.

Chris has a couple of other picture books coming out this year.

Mighty Truck
illustrated by Troy Cummings
published by HarperCollins
released March 29
I was fortunate to receive an F&G of this book while at NCTE.  Love the story of Clarence the dirty truck, who is only one wash away from being... Mighty Truck!  This is going to be a favorite with young readers.  Put it on your TBR list... you'll really wheely want to :)

Product Details
That's Not Bunny!
illustrated by Colin Jack
published by Disney-Hyperion
releases Feb. 2

I had the good fortune of meeting Chris while at NCTE this November.  After running into him on numerous occasions, I can tell you I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with him.  I'm looking forward to reading and sharing all of his books with you and with my readers.
Be sure to look for these books and read and share them with readers you know!


  1. Each one sounds good, Michele. And I'm only familiar with The Nutcracker. My list is growing! Thanks for telling us to look for more Chris Barton, too.

  2. 88 Instruments looks great. It's so fun to fun an author/illustrator who you end wanting to read all their books.

  3. My husband would get a real kick out of Attack Boss Cheat Code :)

  4. Attack Boss Cheat Code is a brilliant ABC book!
    I've been really interested to see how different Barton's books are from each other. He obviously doesn't have a cookie cutter method of writing. I think it's pretty brave of an author to do books that are so different from each other that you're surprised that they're by the same person.