Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - celebrating cultures 8.29.18

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.

Two new books that celebrate cultures from around the world!

Every Month Is a New Year by Marilyn Singer
Every Month is a New Year
written by Marilyn Singer
illustrated by Susan L. Roth
A deceptively clever book - there is so much more to this picture book than the first glance gives you.  It's one you'll reread several times over and catch new information every time!
This book shares the celebrations different cultures have to celebrate the New Year!  Different traditions, different months, but always celebrations!
One way it is unique is the way you hold the book - instead of holding it like a regular picture book, you'll turn it so it opens like a wall calendar hangs.  The illustrations look like a calendar with the main part depicting a different culture and their tradition for celebrating the New Year.  Singer shows readers how New Year's is not always celebrated on January 1st.  And how the celebration looks, feels, sounds and smells is different!
Next, readers will want to pour over the information that is included in the backmatter.  I'm really glad Singer includes additional information about each holiday, because sometimes there wasn't enough information in the poem that is on the monthly layout.  Singer lists out the variety of sources she used to gain the information for the book.  There is also a pronunciation guide and glossary and a list of ways to say "Happy New Year"!

Día de los Muertos by Hannah Eliot
Día de los Muertos
written by Hannah Eliot
illustrated by Jorge Gutierrez
The second book in the "Celebrate the World" series from Little Simon publishers (the first book being Ramadan) takes a look at the Day of the Dead celebration.  This series gives a very basic description of the holiday (they are being published as board books) and an introduction to the vocabulary that is associated with the holiday.  
I love the bright illustrations and I'm glad that an illustrator who has done previous work around Mexican pop and folk culture did the pictures for this book.
I really like this series and there looks to be more coming.  I wonder why they chose the board book format?  It is short (22 pages) but I think they could have been stretched out to add more information and put them in a paper book format - books that are more rectangular in shape, printed as a paperback, not hardcover.  I don't see too many board books in classrooms, so I'm not sure how widely they will be used.  And there is enough information in the book that might not hold a toddler's interest.  Still worth taking a look at though!


  1. Both look very well done. My school held a celebrations of light festival each December, sometimes centered on religious holidays, but often on welcoming the new year too. We would have loved having the new Every Month Is A New Year. And we also celebrated Dia de los Muertos, another book to find! Thanks, Michele!

  2. I love the idea that Every Month is a New Year plays with the connection between books and calendars in its formatting. Brilliant!

  3. I've enjoyed both these books. I love hearing about other cultures' celebrations.