Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 5.20.15


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!

I've had many conversations and I've written here and there about the importance of using picture books in the upper elementary classrooms.  I've heard many people tell students they need to read books that are their "appropriate level" and they should be reading a chapter book.  I understand that when students are older, chapter books increase their reading stamina and allows them to experience more rigorous concepts and story lines.  But by using picture books as mentor texts, teachers can show how to think deeply about a story, dig into the message of the story, and explore how an author crafted the story.

I've recently come across two picture books that are perfect for upper elementary grades.  They go more into depth with the details and information, and are long enough to require the reader to hold onto thoughts over the course of the story.

The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch
The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch by Chris Barton

Chris Barton is the author that gave us the Sibert Honor book The Day-Glo Brothers a few years ago.  He's back, this time writing about John Roy Lynch, the man who went from slave to U.S. Congressman during a time of political unrest - right after the Emancipation of slaves.  Wonderful narrative and great backmatter in author's notes and timeline.  I love how the title is "The Amazing Age"... it really says a lot since the time period is extremely important to this story.

Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France
Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery That Baffled All of France
by Mara Rockliff

Absolutely love this book.  Use it as a mentor text to show the scientific process in action.  Use it to show how a narrative text tells a story through words and pictures and how they come together to give the reader the most amount of information.  Use it to show how a biography can depict a moment in time instead of the entire life of the subject.
This book was a beautiful marriage between the author and illustrator.  Mara Rockliff tells a fascinating story but Iacopo Bruno's illustrations are gorgeous and one you want to go back and take another look at.  This is a book I definitely want to own.


  1. Both look and sound great, Michele, and I will try to find both, hopefully at my library! I've brought in a stack of marvelous picture books for my "old" students & they are loving them. Picture books work for everyone!

  2. As you know Michele I love both of these books. I am thrilled authors and illustrators are making such wonderful nonfiction titles for readers of all ages.