Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 4.29.15


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!

This week I am celebrating some books that can be used in Social Studies units.

The Founding Fathers!: Those Horse-Ridin', Fiddle-Playin', Book-Readin', Gun-Totin' Gentlemen Who Started America
The Founding Fathers! by Jonah Winter

I was very excited to find this book as it will be a great addition to many 4th-8th grade classrooms studying US History.  Quick information given in a reference-style format, this book provides a small biography of 14 men we refer to as "Founding Fathers".  The book begins with some background information on the Founding Fathers and their ability to get along when making big decisions.  Each of the Founding Fathers are featured on their own page.  A brief background is given about each man, detailing his thoughts and feelings about the war against Britain, as well as his contribution to the formation of our country.  Quick reference information is provided too:  quotes, political party, years served in various armies, education, position on slavery, religious views and achievements.  There is also fun information like height, weight, hobbies and, with inflation, their wealth.
The back notes give more background information about some events and terms that are mentioned - Boston Tea Party, taxes, slavery, religion, The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
I particularly liked the endpages - on one side it shows the "Varsity Squad", including Washington, Jefferson and Hamilton.  The other side shows the "Jr. Varsity Squad", spotlighting Sam Adams, Hancock and Henry, among others.  Humorous.
This would have been a great resource when my students were doing presidential biographies.  Not that this book is comprehensive, but is wonderful for a few extra facts.

28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World
28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed The World
By Charles R. Smith, Jr.
Illustrated by Shane W. Evans

It took me awhile to get my hands on this book, but wow, it was worth the wait.  
The book is organized by celebrating people, events, and laws that have made an impact on Black History in the United States.  Each page covers a day to celebrate the 28 days in February, usually the month that we celebrate Black History Month.  There is one extra page for not only Leap Years, but to remind us that every day can be a day to do something great.
I like that the author included a variety of events and people, and not just the ones you would expect.  I learned new things about people or events I might not have known about before.  I also like that the author included relatively new information - first African Americans in space, Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama.
I can see using this book during the month of February as a Quick Write activity.  I'd like to read a page a day and have students reflect upon the accomplishments and what they and the people mean to us and our country.


  1. I've read Founding Fathers, enjoyed it thoroughly, but 28 Days is new to me. It too sounds like one to enjoy and have, Michele. Thanks!

  2. Both of these are just wonderful books. Thanks for your reviews about them so others will enjoy them too.

  3. I enjoyed Founding Fathers, too, but I haven't read 28 Days. I'll need to put it on my TBR list!

  4. Seems like a lovely pairing of informational texts. I will have to find both books as they are both unfamiliar to me. Thanks for sharing, Michele! :)

  5. Founding Fathers was an interesting format. I enjoyed the information and the humor of it. And I hadn't thought about using 28 Days for quick writes. Love that idea.