Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 11.30.16

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.

Steve Jenkins is a master of nonfiction.  He has an amazing way of capturing facts and making them cool.  Whether it's his writing that pulls readers into learning new and interesting information, or his paper collage artwork that is found in his books and other authors' (he often collaborates with his wife, Robin Page), Steve Jenkins is a nonfiction author and illustrator, whose work I never miss.

Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Infographics
Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Infographics
by Steve Jenkins
published by HMH Books for Young Readers

This may be my favorite Jenkins book yet.  How he found a way to incorporate both science and math and make it the coolest book, makes it a must-have for any primary, elementary and middle grade classroom.  As I read through the book, I found myself constantly in awe of the information that was given.

Here's the Goodreads summary of the book:
How many species are there across the globe?    How much do all of the insects in the world collectively weigh?   How far can animals travel?           Steve Jenkins answers these questions and many more with numbers, images, innovation, and authoritative science in his latest work of illustrated nonfictionJenkins layers his signature cut-paper illustrations alongside computer graphics and a text that is teeming with fresh, unexpected, and accurate zoological information ready for readers to easily devour. The level of scientific research paired with Jenkins’ creativity and accessible infographics is unmatched and sure to wow fans old and new.

Why do you need this book in your collection?
  • This book is such an important mentor text to have for your class: engaging writing, use of text features, text organization, cross-curricular uses
  • Teach students how to read graphics within a text and use that information along with the text to see how the information goes together.
  • Compare and contrast the information that is presented - easy to do on a layout spread, but can also be done across the text.
  • Note the cross curricular ties Jenkins uses throughout the book.  How does he use science and math to present the information?  How can that be done in other curricula?
  • Note the way Jenkins uses bold font to make certain parts of the text stand out.  How does this help the reader?
  • Note the headings - how does this help organize the information for the reader?
  • How does the use of infographics help the reader understand the information that is presented?  How did you use them to further understand the information?  Note all of the different kinds of infographics:  comparisons, flow charts, maps, charts, graphs (many different kinds) and more.
  • If you didn't want to read the book from cover to cover, how could you use the table of contents to help you?
Be sure to find this book and take time to go through the layers and layers of information.  It's one you'll return to time and time again.

* It's Mock Sibert Time *
Ever since I started paying attention to the different awards given at the ALA Midwinter meeting, I started paying attention to the Sibert Award.  Here is the criteria for this prestigious award:

  • Excellent, engaging, and distinctive use of language.
  • Excellent, engaging, and distinctive visual presentation.
  • Appropriate organization and documentation.
  • Clear, accurate, and stimulating presentation of facts, concepts, and ideas.
  • Appropriate style of presentation for subject and for intended audience.
  • Supportive features (index, table of contents, maps, timelines, etc).
  • Respectful and of interest to children.

Like many of you, with the adoption of the Common Core, I started paying attention to how much nonfiction I was reading.  What I noticed was how wonderful the quality of nonfiction writing that was being published.  Gone are the dry texts, that were so disengaging.  Here is literature that makes students WANT to read nonfiction!

We often hear about classrooms and libraries who are running Mock Newbery and Mock Caldecott programs, but have you ever thought about a Mock Sibert?  Alyson Beecher of kidlitfrenzy and I would love to help you along.  Over the months of December and January we'll be talking about this award and sharing books we think may end up on the award list.  In January, I'll be sharing ideas of how you could add a Mock Sibert to your class time.  Visit our blogs on Wednesdays over the next two months and we'll make sure there is plenty of nonfiction in your reading stacks!  Be sure to visit Alyson's post here to learn more about this award and how you can be thinking about including it with your students this year!


  1. I am awash with the Cybil's Poetry, will try to add in some posts as I can, Michele. Thanks for sharing this new Steve Jenkins' book. He is a wonder!

  2. Jenkins' books are always great. I haven't read this one yet. Thanks, Michele!

  3. I was just looking at Lifetime, another animals-by-the-numbers book. It would make a nice pair with this title.

  4. Infographics! I love infographics, I'm definitely a visual learner, and I know that a lot of kids are too. It's so great that different learning styles are being embraced and recognised. And of course, anything by Jenkins is sure to be a winner in my book.