Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday I'm Reading What You're Reading part 3 7.20.16

Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog is to give educational professionals
new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

Welcome to this version of I'm Reading What You're Reading.  This week it's the biographies edition.  I find picture book biographies fascinating.  Some tell me about people I never heard about before, but love reading their stories.  Others tell me about someone I might have heard about, but maybe it concentrates on a specific moment in time.  But they all give me new information and more to think about!
Thanks to Wednesdays, I get great nonfiction reading in.  You've inspired me to read so many great books. I know often with the sheer volume of books I check out and order and buy, I'm bound to miss a book or two (or three or four or...).  When books pop up on multiple blogs, it helps remind me there is a book I want to read that I've forgotten about.  That's what inspires this post.  Maybe you've missed one of these books.  By bringing it up again, maybe it's this time that you'll go check it out!
Here's what you've been reading that I want to talk about:

Aaron and Alexander: The Most Famous Duel in American History
Aaron and Alexander by Don Brown
I've seen many of you read this one, but quite honestly it wasn't until my recent Hamilton obsession did I want to read it!  I was pleased to see that the information in this book was the same as the information I have gotten from the lyrics from the musical.  I've heard about Lin-Manual Miranda's research into the musical, but it's nice to see that the things I'm picking up from it go hand in hand with the salient points in a nonfiction picture book!  I've heard that the musical is teaching more about history than most of us got out of our textbooks!  I can't wait to see the musical when it comes through Chicago!

Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay
Ada's Violin by Susan Hood
I had skimmed through this book when I purchased it, but really sat down and absorbed it's story and beauty recently.  
I am not going to go into detail about this book because so many of you have read and/or written about it.  If you are one of the few who have not read it yet, I implore you to find a copy soon!  It needs to be shared with students.  What a great message to discuss and explore - what you can do when you put your mind to something, creating something beautiful.  I also think in our day and age, exploring the kindness of Favio Chávez who worked with kids who had other not as good options to explore in life, how he devoted his time and energy to help these kids and show them the arts, is something worth discussing.
Be sure to check out the great youtube videos about Ada and the recycled orchestra.
This is a book that may be included in Mock Sibert and Mock Caldecott lists.

The Hole Story of the Doughnut by Pat Miller
The Hole Story of the Doughnut by Pat Miller
This is a book you know kids will read just because of the topic - doughnuts!  While I'm not a fan of them (I know, strange, right?) they are usually well received by kids!  Why not show them a little history while they eat their sugar filled treat!  
I think the history behind the doughnut hole is interesting, but I got a little bit confused with the writing, having to stop and look back to answer some confusing parts.  It would be interesting to see how some of the big name doughnut companies got their start and how it connects with Hanson Gregory's story.
Great back matter and sources included.

A couple of weeks ago I posted by Mock Sibert long list.  Melissa Stewart tweeted that it was interesting that so many books on my list so far were biographies.  I have found that as well, the nonfiction picture books I tend to purchase and enjoy the most are biographies.  I would love to see more and more nonfiction picture books be published that have inviting and engaging text but go along with more and more of the topics covered in the new science standards.  I know more are being published everyday, but whether it's a topic that publishers/reviews maybe aren't as interested in, or for some other reason, I don't see them as frequently.  Would love to see this change in the future.  But in the meantime, I'll still enjoy the great biographies that are being published!


  1. Awesome titles! I hadn't heard about Aaron & Alexander yet. My kids are Broadway babies and while they can't see, or even listen to, Hamilton yet, I think my older daughter would love the story. I'll add that to my pile!

  2. You're right, many of us have read these, & it's where I get most of my ideas, too, plus seeing what my library is featuring. I can't even pick a favorite, loved learning each of these stories. Ada's Violin, however, is truly an inspiration. Thanks, Michele!

  3. I love all three of these--just read The Hole Story of the Doughnut this week.
    Melissa Stewart is so eloquent about the need for different types of nonfiction that I have sometimes felt a little guilt that my favorite nonfiction picture books are biographies. I finally decided, though, that personal taste matters in reading. So as long as I'm willing to try other types of nonfiction picture books, too, I'm going to be fine with loving the books I love.

  4. Such a wonderful collection of stories - I love picture book biographies, though funnily enough I never read adult biographies - I think I've been spoiled by all the fantastic illustrations! :)

  5. I get so many great recs from the #imwayr and #nfpb communities!