Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 4.16.14

NF PB 2014

We know that a big part of the CCSS is to include more informational texts into our students' 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! 

There seem to be an abundance of bird books that have been published in the past year or so.  I'm linking a bunch of them together that could be used on a science unit on adaptation.

Mama Built a Little Nest
Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward
Rhyming text that introduces a bird species and how they build a nest.  Additional information is given on each page that gives more specifics.  This book could be used to compare/contrast the nests - what features make it the best nest?  Thinking of the environment of each bird, how are the nests adaptable?

Have You Heard the Nesting Bird?
Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? by Rita Gray
After learning about nests, this would be the next logical book to read about birds.  This book details bird calls, but also the habits of particular birds when nesting.  I had many questions left unanswered by the time I finished the text, but the last pages of the book had a "Q&A" session with the nesting bird.  I liked the idea of the author "interviewing" the subject (bird)

Feathers: Not Just for Flying
Feathers Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart
When you think of birds, you often think flying and feathers.  This book does a fantastic job of explaining the many purposes of feather and connecting it to something known for the young readers of this book.  For example, when it talks about feathers being like a blanket, there is a picture of an afghan.  When it talks about feathers being used like an umbrella, there are little paper umbrellas on the page.  Perfect book to use for talking about where the bird lives and the feathers that are used for adapting to that environment.

Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual
Aviary Wonders Inc. by Kate Samworth
My Goodreads review:  Oh, this book is so so neat because of its originality! I can see how it has been taken in a couple of different directions. Most people admire the idea and illustrations and thought behind this book. Some people think it's a little creepy. I can see that. Some of the illustrations of the birds without the beaks are a little weird. I didn't love the illustrations in the back that detail how to "assemble your bird". But the rest of the book is sheer genius, in my opinion. The illustrations are amazing, detailed and very carefully planned out. I love the organization of this book. The idea of the true information part, put together with the fiction (this is a catalog) part, makes this book so fun to pour over. 
If you haven't seen the book trailer for this book, watch that first, and then take a look at this amazing book!I think this book would be an excellent conclusion to a bird adaptation unit.  In the Next Generation Science Standards, the first grade standards discuss animal adaptations - how animals use external parts to help them survive.  I think this book would be fantastic to use after learning facts about birds.  Then have groups of students use this "catalog" to put together their own bird, keeping in mind adaptation and survival.  They would need to discuss why they choose particular feathers, beaks, body types to create their bird.  This would be such a fun culmination project!!

One more book that many people reviewed this past year that would go perfectly with this unit is Look Up!: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate

Any other bird-themed books you would use for this unit?


  1. Lovely books! I am so thrilled so many bird books are being published. So glad you enjoyed Aviary Wonders Inc. I think that title has so much potential for classroom use and wonder!

  2. It's definitely the year of the birds! Next up on my list is to read Feathers Not Just for Flying.

  3. What a wonderful reading theme you have here on birds! I really have to find Aviary Wonders soon - it sounds so much like my kind of reading material. :)

  4. Funny how the more often I see a book show up in blogs, the more I want to get my hands on it! So many wonderful bird books today.