Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 7.29.15


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!  See all of the posts at kidlitfrenzy.

Poetry has always been kind of iffy for me.  Some poems really stick to me.  I tend to like those that are short, simple in description, that make me feel something.  I like books - novels and picture books - that are in free verse, but I need to be pulled in right away or I won't stick to them.

Luckily, there is a wealth of poetry books, both new and old, that make me want to keep trying this genre.  Here are a few new books I've found.

Changes: A Child's First Poetry Collection
Changes: A Child's First Poetry Collection by Charlotte Zolotow
Organized by season, these poems are sure to capture the young reader and make them want to read!  The late Charlotte Zolotow had such a way with words, and this collection is a stand-out.
The illustrations by Tiphanie Beeke will appeal to a child, as the bright colors and child-like characters seem so innocent.  I spent as much time looking at the illustrations as I did reading the poems.
The introduction is by Crescent Dragonwagon, Charlotte's daughter.  I loved the way she introduced the book and gave us a little bit of Charlotte to think about as we read.
This is a perfect collection to have in a Kg-3rd grade class or library.  I think 4th grade students will enjoy the simplicity of the poems, as well.

The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects
The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects selected by Paul B. Janeczko
Another poetry anthology, this one different in that they are written by different poets, as well as written in different time periods.  The commonality is that they are all about objects. Janeczko selected each of the 50 poems and organized them by time periods:  Early Middle Ages, High Middle Ages, The Renaissance, The Enlightenment, Romantic Period, Victorian Period, Modern Period, Postmodern Period and Contemporary.  In the introduction, Janeczko talks about finding a balance of male and female poets, but also finding them in equal parts of the world (East and West).  Each poem is illustrated by Chris Raschka, done in his trademark watercolors and inks.  

Shape Me a Rhyme: Nature's Forms in Poetry
Shape Me A Rhyme by Jane Yolen
Yolen collaborates with her photographer son, Jason Stemple, in this gorgeous concept book.  Stemple take photographs from nature, showing a shape and Yolen writes beautiful, yet simple poetry about the shape in the photograph.  Such an easy concept that Yolen and Stemple take to another level.  They have two other concept books created in this fashion, Color Me a Rhyme and Count Me a Rhyme.  

You Are Stardust
You Are Stardust by Elin Kelsey
This book, told in poetic verse, is deceiving.  The lovely language and amazing artwork is breathtaking and takes you to a place you did not see coming.  Hidden in this book is a science lesson.  Kelsey shows us how we are all connected to different parts of life.  
Make sure when you read this book with students, read the author's note at the end.  I think many ideas in this book can be a bit foreign to young students, but the idea that they connect with nature is pretty cool.

Wild Ideas: Let Nature Inspire Your Thinking
Wild Ideas: Let Nature Inspire Your Thinking by Elin Kelsey
The newest book that is collaborated by Kelsey and artist Soyeon Kim has just blown me away.  I loved the illustrations in You Are Stardust and thought the concept interesting, but just a bit abstract for young kids.
This book - the possibilities are amazing!  Kelsey shows, again in poetic verse, how animals are constantly adapting to their environment.  They learn new things from their parents and other animals.  They have problems, and they try solutions until one fits.  By using this analogy, teachers can talk about what to do when students have problems.  How can they make it work?  Do they have to try again?  How can animals in nature inspire them?
Kim's artwork again, blows me away.  Each page is actually created by a diorama.  See, dioramas do have a place in children's literature!  Simply gorgeous.
This book is a must-have and must-read at the beginning of the year.
If you're doing a unit on animal adaptations, this book would pair wonderfully with Tooling Around by Ellen Jackson.

What new poetry books have inspired you?  Share titles in the comments below!


  1. Nonfiction picture books told in verse sounds very intriguing, although I did get the Charlotte Zolotow out of the library already and loved it. I think I might look for Wild Things next. Thanks for sharing these.

  2. Changes and Death of a Hat are great! Excellent resources for poetry.

  3. The Death of the Hat, You Are Stardust and Wild Ideas are three favorite books. The artwork in all of them is amazing.

  4. I have some of these, but don't know Changes, Michele. It sounds great, too. I do think Wild Ideas is one of those recent 'must-haves'. Thanks for sharing poetry today.

  5. Wild Ideas and You are Stardust are just gorgeous titles. I think they are books that can be read again and again - so many jumping off points.

  6. We can't wait to read You are Stardust and Wild Ideas - They look incredible!