Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 5.07.14

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! 

I'm continuing my celebration of my trip to Washington D.C. last weekend.

Eliza's Cherry Trees: Japan's Gift to America

I first came across the book Eliza's Cherry Trees:  Japan's Gift to America by Andrea Zimmerman when I was helping students get ready for the practice PARCC assessment.  The biggest improvement with this new assessment that I've seen so far is the inclusion of more rich texts.  This was one of the texts that was included in the practice research task.  
I've been to Washington D.C. a few times, but this was the first time going during cherry blossom season.  Usually, the cherry blossoms have bloomed and fallen by this time of year.  However, due to the lovely winter and spring we've had, the cherry blossoms bloomed a little later this year and I was still able to see some.  They are absolutely beautiful and I'm sure quite a site to see when so many of them are in bloom.  I was happy with the ones I did see!

I remembered the book we had used in the practice, but decided to read the full text.  It is a great book and does a nice job detailing Eliza Scidmore's life.  We learn about her travels, all the things she did that women did not necessarily do in that time period, and of her big idea and how she worked tirelessly over a long period of time to make her dream come true.  
In 2013 and 2014, we've seen some great biographies about strong women.  I think this book goes into that category.  Not only was Eliza a strong woman, but I loved the big ideas of this book.  I think the first line said it so well, "Sometimes a person with a good idea can make a big difference."  The idea of perseverance is brought up again on a later page, "But Eliza knew that sometimes when you have a good idea, you have to keep trying."
I'm glad I finally read this book and learned more about the history of our capital.  Makes my trip even more meaningful!


  1. How neat that PARCC practice, a book, and your trip all came together to help you appreciate the story of the cherry trees. I remember when I first saw them several years ago on a trip to DC with my daughters. I was just so amazed at how beautiful they were!

  2. What a lovely book, and a lovely way to practice for PARCC. We lived in DC for a few years, and Cherry Blossom season around the basin was always my favorite time of year.

  3. It sounds wonderful, Michele. There are those determined women (and men) who have left such long-standing gifts for us. I'm glad to hear about her story.

  4. That might go well with The Tree Lady and/or Wangari's Trees. I am always happy to hear about good biographies about women since we still need to get more of those in our library to even it out a bit.

  5. Sounds like a great book, and the blossoms are gorgeous. I have never been to DC, but hope to go this fall. Thanks Michele!

  6. That's a great photograph and it does sound like a really wonderful book. Will be on the lookout for this one.