Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - animal books! 8.22.18

Artwork by Sarah S. Brannen ©2017
Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

Animal books are always a hit with readers.  Here are some new ones you'll want for your collection!

Fur, Feather, Fin—All of Us Are Kin by Diane Lang
Fur, Feather, Fin: All of Us Are Kin
written by Diane Lang
illustrated by Stephanie Laberis
I have long heard that this is a book I need to read, and everyone is right!  Love how the author explains the differences between different animal groups and does so in rhyme.  I also love how she does not shy away from vocabulary that is important to name - from the species to naming specific animal habits.  Definitely a book to own!

A House in the Sky by Steve Jenkins
A House in the Sky: And Other Uncommon Animal Homes
written by Steve Jenkins
illustrated by Robbin Gourley
Focusing in on some of the unique homes of animals, readers will find some familiar homes and some new homes.  Jenkins scaffolds the text with a brief description written in larger font, and additional information in a smaller font and longer sentences for each animal home.

Animal Antipodes: Global Opposites
Animal Antipodes: Global Opposites
by Carly Allen-Fletcher
This animal book is so cool - the author explores two different animals on each layout that live on opposite sides of the globe.  With a quick description that usually has something to do with why it lives in that location, this book is perfect to use when discussing animal adaptations.  In the center of each page there is a picture of the globe (although it is one sided and it's often difficult to understand what location it is pointing at) so you can see how the animals really do live on opposite ends of the globe.
Thank you to Marissa Moss at Creston Books for giving me a copy of this book at ALA!

The Squirrels' Busy Year by Martin Jenkins
The Squirrels' Busy Year
written by Martin Jenkins
illustrated by Richard Jones
I'm excited to add this book to our school library - as a problem based learning project, our students explore the woodland behind our school and have been responsible for creating a space that allows for natural plants and wildlife to grow and bloom.  Squirrels are absolutely a creature that lives in this area so this book will be used by students to help them understand squirrel adaptations.  It looks specifically at the routines and habits of squirrels throughout the four seasons.  

Meet My Family! by Laura Purdie Salas
Meet My Family! Animal Babies and Their Families
written by Laura Purdie Salas
illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman
I've been waiting to read this one for a long time!  I loved seeing the different animals and the way their family is made up.  There is just a brief description on each page so this book is more of a quick introduction - I can see some readers wanting to know more information after reading!
What seems to be an animal book is also really a celebration of the diversity of families.  Even in the animal kingdom, animals grow up in different types of families - those with only one parent or two moms or two dads or an animal that is different from their species taking care of them!  
I did find it somewhat confusing because each animal baby uses a different name for their parent.  I think that was again to reflect diversity, but because it wasn't always obvious what area that particular animal was from, I didn't always understand the word.

Hawk Rising by Maria Gianferrari
Hawk Rising
written by Maria Gianferrari
illustrated by Brian Floca
I am a huge fan of Maria's Coyote Moon and this book reminds me a lot of it.  With different illustrations, fans of Coyote Moon will recognize the narrative of an animal, this time a hawk, trying to find prey - often unsuccessfully - to feed their young.  I love the way Maria uses specific vocabulary that teaches so much about her subject while reading a narrative nonfiction story.  I will definitely be sharing this book very early in the year!

What Do They Do with All That Poo? by Jane Kurtz
What Do They Do With All That Poo?
written by Jane Kurtz
illustrated by Allison Black
A book that has the word "poo" in its title and its on every single page?  The majority of kids in classrooms everywhere will love this book!  Perhaps this book isn't for everyone, but those who find the word hilarious will love learning something different about animal... poo... on every page! Yes, equal parts fascinating and disgusting will make this a fun and gross read aloud!  

I know these animal books will be well loved by readers this year.  I'm definitely adding them to my collection! 


  1. I loved Hawk Rising too, & Laura's book, Meet My Family. I have House in The Sky, always like what Steve Jenkins does. Will look for Fur, Feather, Fin and Animal Antipodes, Michele. What a wonderful look at some great animal books available. Thanks!

  2. A book written by Steve Jenkins, but without his art? Definitely one I need to look at!

  3. Hooray for animal books and thanks for including Hawk Rising here, Michele!! I just got Fur, Feathers, Fins & the Steve Jenkins book today. Can't wait to read them. It will be interesting to see a book that he's only written, not illustrated.