Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 6.24.15


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!  See all of the posts at kidlitfrenzy.

Sometimes I come across nonfiction texts that are just wonderful reads.  I don't necessarily teach the topic, but it's a book that should be shared.  That's when I can look at the text structure of a book - read it like an author.  How did the author construct this text?  What made it stand out?  Why did the author put it together in this manner?

This week I found 2 books that are written in a narrative nonfiction format.  The language of the text is written so it flows, sometimes like a poem, but the words are chosen in a specific way so that it teaches us something.

Trapped! A Whale's Rescue

In Trapped! A Whale's Rescue by Robert Burleigh spins the story of a whale that has been trapped in a crab's net.  Instead of giving us a lengthy and wordy text, Burleigh uses specific words that sharply define the events of the story.  Some lines that stuck to me include "she spanks the cold blue with her powerful tail."  And this gives me the chills, "she spirals sideways as spidery lines tighten around her."  Paired with Wendell Minor's beautiful paintings, this book will grip students into its tale (or tail)!  The author's notes give more facts about the story and additional facts about whale rescues.  What a beautiful text to use when looking at the environment and what we can do about protecting the earth's creatures.  But if you aren't currently studying that, then bring it out to show how an author uses powerful words to create images in a narrative nonfiction text.

Water Is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle

Water Is Water by Miranda Paul is another beautifully written narrative nonfiction text.  This time, the topic is the water cycle, but instead of being explained in dry, boring text, Paul uses a poetic form that describes the different forms of matter and how it changes.  Just as gripping as the words are Jason Chin's illustrations.  After reading the lilting narrative rhythm, readers are given additional water facts in the end notes.  Did you know kids are about 65% water, but that a baby is about 78% water?  Or that a garter snake is about 74% water?  Paul continues to explain how important water is and the types of water found on Earth.  While this book reads like a fiction text, show students how an author can use beautiful poetic language in a nonfiction read!

Narrative nonfiction is a great text structure to use when showing students how nonfiction can sound like a more familiar fiction text.  Reel those readers in!


  1. We can't wait to read Water is Water - So good to hear that their is a narrative book about the water cycle.

  2. So excited to see these titles here. Both are favourites for me! I read Trapped to my class recently and we loved it.

  3. I love both of these titles Michele. They are excellent examples of outstanding nonfiction. I enjoyed your insights on how to use them in the classroom.