Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 7.02.14

NF PB 2014

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! 

I'm reading what you're reading!  Part 1:  Read alouds

I love this weekly post because it has added to my nonfiction reading.  But sometimes it takes me seeing a book a couple of times in a post before I pick it up.  All of the books I'm spotlighting originally were reviewed on someone else's blog or their Goodreads post.  I'm showing them again because maybe for you, seeing it here will be what gets you to read the book!  Thank you fellow readers for these book titles!

This week I will be showing books that could be read aloud in one sitting.  Books can always be revisited, but these are "shorter" books.  Next week I will spotlight some longer books.

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family's Fight for Desegregation
Separate is Never Equal:  Sylvia Mendez & Her Family's Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
Fantastic story about Sylvia Mendez's family and their fight to have the schools in California desegregated.  So much is known about Brown vs. Board of Education and what that did to desegregate schools for African Americans, but actually the family Mendez's fight in California helped pay the way for Brown.  Great endpapers and information at the end of the book.

What Do You Do When Something Wants To Eat You?
What Do You Do When Something Wants to Eat You? by Steve Jenkins
What?  It's written by Steve Jenkins?  Oh, automatically a great book!  The front side of the page shows the name and illustration (a la Jenkins) of the animal and the back side of the page gives information to the reader about how the animal defends itself from being eaten by a predator.  Last page, Jenkins asks the question, "What would you do if something wanted to eat you?"

Under the Freedom Tree
Under the Freedom Tree by Susan Van Hecke
Beautiful story during the Civil War about three men who escaped a Confederate camp and rowed to the "other side" of a river to the Union side.  These men were called "contraband" of war and while not being paid and still having to work without reimbursement of any kind, these men felt freedom for the first time.  Thousands more followed them.
Their camp was made "under the freedom tree".  Explained in the note at the end, this tree is still there today and is located on a predominant black university.
The story is told in verse and has beautiful vocabulary that tells the story and the history well.

Coral Reefs
Coral Reefs by Jason Chin
Jason Chin is a master storyteller.  In this story he drops many facts about coral reefs and the sea life that make its home nearby.  The facts themselves are interesting, but could be a little dry for some readers.  So what does Mr. Chin do?  Make it interesting by adding a fiction story within the illustrations.  A young girl is reading about coral reefs from a book and before you know it, she is in a sea seeing exactly what the book is telling her about.  Now, it's an interesting story for young readers!

Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature
Mysterious Patterns:  Finding Fractals in Nature by Sarah C. Campbell
This book is perfect for math teachers to use to show how math is all around us.   Math teachers find this book!!!  Great photographs and easy to understand math vocabulary (important for someone like me who does not get math).
Anyone else feel the need to sing "Let It Go"?? 
"My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around."

Plant a Pocket of Prairie
Plant a Pocket of Prairie by Phyllis Root
I wanted to read this book since living in Illinois, we do have prairies all around us.  Not the size prairies this book shows from long ago, but very small pockets.  This book would be perfect for midwesterners to use to show students the cause and effects of prairies.  

Grandfather Gandhi
Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus
If you haven't heard of this book by now, be sure to find it after today!  It's a beautiful tribute to the teaching of Gandhi.  But what I love about this book is that it's told from the perspective of his grandson, Arun, when Arun was a young boy.  The topic of finding your inner peace is so relevant in today's time.  What a wonderful class discussion this book will evoke.


  1. Wow! What a great bunch of books. Like you, sometimes I have to see a title several times before I finally pick it up, so I am glad to see some again. I keep seeing Plant a Pocket of Prairie. I will need to get that one soon and the one about fractals. Thanks!!

  2. I have been looking for the first two on your list. I requested that the library order the first one. Thanks for sharing your great list.

  3. I am also looking for that first title. It looks fantastic. Love Grandfather Gandhi - this was one I had to own and I look forward to sharing it with my students. And, always, I love everything Jason Chin!

  4. What a great list of nonfiction titles. I don't think we have Grandgather Gandhi yet in our library, hopefully we get it before year ends. :)