Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday My Stacks - What I'm reading, what is coming! 9.12.18

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.

Time for a What's in My Nonfiction Picture Books Stack post!

No Truth Without Ruth: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
No Truth Without Ruth: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
written by Kathleen Krull
illustrated by Nancy Zhang
One of my favorite books on the current IL Bluestem list is I Dissent, another picture book biography about this amazing woman.  I like this one just as much and appreciate that there is common information between the two books and while they are written in a similar style (longer narrative, repeating phrases), there is also some new information for the reader.

Look at Me!: How to Attract Attention in the Animal World
Look at Me! How to Attract Attention in the Animal World
by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
This team never disappoints - their books about the animal world are always fascinating and the illustrations by Jenkins are always a standout.  
This book focuses on the animal adaptations it has in order to either attract a mate or defend itself against predators.  Perfect book to use when discussing animal adaptations.  

Cute as an Axolotl by Jess Keating
Cute as an Axolotl: Discovering the World's Most Adorable Animals
written by Jess Keating
illustrated by David DeGrand
Another addition to "The World of Weird Animals" series and this time Jess is focusing on all the little adorable animals out there!  I love that two of the animals are featured in our intervention series - kids love seeing connections in books!  
A little part at the end I really like - Jess challenges readers to make their own adorable animal, but then name what traits make them so cute.  I like the idea of naming the traits, I think that could have some great classroom extensions!

Who Eats Orange?
Who Eats Orange?
written by Dianne White
illustrated by Robin Page
Following the format of repeating a pattern over several pages and then throwing in something that doesn't belong, young readers will enjoy getting a chance to agree or disagree with the information the author puts in front of them.  A color concept book that is taken farther by showing colors of foods different animals eat. My only complaint is sometimes the food is unknown and in order to figure out what it is, you have to look up in the backmatter by the habitat the animal lives in to find the information and the food it is eating.  Can be a bit time consuming for a younger reader to wait for that info.

Someday Is Now by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Someday is Now: Clara Luper and the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-Ins
written by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
illustrated by Jade Johnson
The story of Clara Luper, a teacher in Oklahoma City who inspired her students to take action against unfair segregation laws in the south.  
A book that makes you want to stand up and take action, this book will inspire young readers to think about what they can do NOW to make change in their communities.
Additional information in the backmatter including an author's note, steps to nonviolent resistance and a glossary.

Here are some upcoming September releases you may want to be on the lookout for - they all publish later this month.

She Made a Monster by Lynn Fulton
She Made a Monster: How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein
written by Lynn Fulton
illustrated by Felicita Sala
You probably already know the story Frankenstein, but do you know the story of how it came to be?

Lovely Beasts by Kate Gardner
Lovely Beasts: The Surprising Truth
written by Kate Gardner
illustrated by Heidi Smith
One of my new favorite animal books - on a double layout is a gorgeous charcoal pencil drawing of a very fierce looking animal and on the opposite side an adjective that corresponds with the animal.  For example "fierce" is next to the drawing of a gorilla.  But turn that page and you read the word "papa" and it goes on to explain ways gorillas take care of their young in very gentle ways.  

Through the Window by Barb Rosenstock
Through the Window: Views of Marc Chagall's Life and Art
written by Barb Rosenstock 
illustrated by Mary Grandpré
This author-illustrator team is back again sharing about another artist's life, this time Marc Chagall.  I appreciated the text even more after reading the author notes.

I've also read some books that are more historical fiction than nonfiction.  But they are all based on actual events/people and have some great stories to tell.

Stalebread Charlie and the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band by Michael James Mahin
Stalebread Charlie and the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band
written by Michael Mahin
illustrated by Don Tate
I had never heard of this kind of music or this band made up of mostly homeless children.  Taking place in 1895 New Orleans, Mahin tells the story of Stalebread Charlie, a homeless orphan who is doing his best to earn some money on the streets of New Orleans.  Jazz music is just beginning and Stalebread Charlie picks up pieces of it with other music.  He made his own instruments from things they found in the street and with other orphans, played their music around New Orleans. 
Not much is known for sure about Stalebread Charlie and his gang, so much of this story is put together by the author and what he imagined had happened.  Don't miss reading the author's note to students so they understand what is known and what is fictionalized.
Interesting story!

Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop by Alice Faye Duncan
Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968
written by Alice Faye Duncan
illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
I was so fortunate to hear both the author and the illustrator talk about this book this summer at a tea in New Orleans for ALA, hosted by the publisher, Boyds Mill Press.  There is always something magical hearing the author read words from their book.
This story gives us a look at the Sanitation Strike in Memphis in 1968 from the eyes of a child.  Reading about the events that lead up to Martin Luther King's assassination is both heartbreaking and powerful.  Hearing it from a child's perspective is important for our young readers.  Definitely an important read to have when doing any kind of civil rights discussions.


  1. Wow, Michele, thanks for those new to me, like Through The Window and Lovely Beasts. I know of some, am looking forward to reading each one.

  2. Great list! I'm especially excited to get my hands on Jenkins new book. Always a visual treat.

  3. I'm so excited for Through the Window!! I love Marc Chagall & am a fan of Barb Rosenstock's books. And I just put the Mary Shelley bio on request. Felicita Sala's art is magnificent!!