Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - nonfiction to look for! 1.30.19

Wednesdays 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.

Last week I shared some thoughts about books in a nonfiction collection of a classroom library.  You can find the post here.  Over the next few weeks I'll be sharing some new to me books you may want to find!

My First Book of Lacrosse: A Rookie Book: Mostly Everything Explained About the Game
Sports Illustrated Kids: My First Book of Lacrosse
written by Beth Bugler and Sam Page
illustrations by Bill Hinds
I love this series and this book was the first one that really taught me a lot about the sport - the others I had a good amount of background knowledge about.  
If you're unfamiliar with the series, each contains photographs of actual teams (professional or in this case, collegiate level) and then little illustrated characters.  The illustrated characters always provide some comic relief.  The books are not long in sentence length and if the reader has some background knowledge of the sport, it will assist in some of the vocabulary.  Each book has a basic breakdown of the rules and how the game is played.
I hope this series continues to grow.  This book will be added to my collection that already features a book about football, hockey, baseball and basketball.

No Small Potatoes: Junius G. Groves and His Kingdom in Kansas
No Small Potatoes: Junius G. Groves and His Kingdom in Kansas
written by Tonya Bolden
illustrated by Don Tate
This is my favorite kind of biography - one about a regular person in American that did something really special that I may never have known about.  Usually, these people have made a lasting impact that resonates more than things celebrities are well known for these days.  
Junius G. Groves was born into slavery in Kentucky, but with the abolishment of slavery, it meant he was free to leave and find new land.  It was in the great state of Kansas that Junius G. decided to lay down roots, and roots he did - by slowly saving and working hard for every penny earned, he was able to buy hundreds of acres of land and grow, amongst other things, potatoes!
A great story about hard word and dedication, it's a fascinating read that is peppered with writing you'll want to use as a mentor text.  Bolden fills her lines with alliteration that sticks to your mind and makes this book a really fun read aloud. There are many pages that contain actual quotes from Junius G. which is important instead of made-up dialogue.  With the careful details in his illustrations, Tate helps bring alive a story that is very memorable.
Extensive endnotes in the backmatter give you even more information or places to research this interesting man.  Source notes for the quotes used in the book are also noted.

The Truth About Elephants by Maxwell Eaton III
The Truth About Elephants
by Maxwell Eaton III
Next up are some newer books about elephants.  I find these creatures amazing so I love reading more about them.  While Katherine Roy's 2017 book How to be an Elephant gave us a lot of information using some unique comparisons, this particular book hooks the reader by adding some voice to the facts - specifically humor!  
The fourth book in the series follows the same format - information about the animal with some comedy thrown in on the side - and will be sure to gain even more readers with this one.  I continue to learn more about these fascinating creatures in every book I've read - did you know elephants can make a sound that sounds like a very large cat purring??

The Elephant
The Elephant
by Jenni Desmond
I think this is my favorite picture book about these amazing creatures.  This is a book I cannot wait to use as a read aloud because the information is absolutely fascinating.  So many times I stopped and said "wow" and just pondered about amazing animals!  While Desmond weaves in some fiction elements in her series of large animals (if you haven't already, be sure to check out The Blue Whale and The Polar Bear) - a child character is seen in scenes, oftentimes reading the book we are currently reading!
The biggest complaint I have about this book is there is zero backmatter.  In this day and age, I really feel it is important to include backmatter, if anything else for source notes.

Be sure to check back in the upcoming weeks for more new nonfiction!


  1. I have read that last one, The Elephant, & it is terrific, I agree. Thanks for sharing the book about Junius Groves. I also love stories about people we would never know without the bios. It sounds good!

  2. I'm really interested that Jenni Desmond's books work well in your class. Melissa Stewart just rounded up an interesting set of observations about mixing fiction and nonfiction and what the limits are ( ). I think Desmond does it brilliantly, and I love knowing her books work in classrooms.