Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - the world around us, part 1 - 5.01.19

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.

Oh my, my nonfiction stacks have gotten OUT OF CONTROL!  I really need to read and post.  I'm hoping to have a month worth of new(er) nonfiction to share with you in the upcoming weeks.  Be sure to check back on Wednesdays, here's what's coming:
1.  books for little foodies

2.  picture book biographies featuring men
3.  picture book biographies featuring women, part 1
4.  picture book biographies featuring women, part 2
5.  celebrating baseball - Yogi Berra blog tour
6.  animal nonfiction books, part 1
7.  animal nonfiction books, part 2
8.  the world around us, part 1
9.  the world around us, part 2

Today I've got some new nonfiction picture books that talk about the world around us!

The Roots of Rap by Carole Boston Weatherford
The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop
written by Carole Boston Weatherford
illustrated by Frank Morrison
I think this is some of Morrison's finest work, if he isn't recognized it in 2020 that will be a huge mistake!  
I've never been big on rap or hip-hop, but I can recognize it for its influence in music.  This book is uniquely crafted - written in lyrical verse with just a line or two on each page, you have to dig deep to catch the names and vocabulary that is relevant to this genre.  However, had it been written in straight up prose, I don't think it would have been true to the roots of rap.  
Giving props to the giants of rap and hip-hop who paved the way and celebrating the artists who are masters of this genre today, readers will be exposed to names and faces (because if you know Frank Morrison's work, you know the illustrations are going to look realistic) that will want them learning more.
Vocabulary and a glossary of names is included in the backmatter along with an author's and illustrator's note.  

I really enjoyed watching this video about the book:

You Are Never Alone
You Are Never Alone
written by Elin Kelsey
artwork by Soyeon Kim
If you are not familiar with the work by these two, you need to check it out.  This latest collaboration explores the connections between us and the environment around us.  It's perfect to read this month!

What's the Difference? by Emma Strack
What's the Difference? 40+ Pairs of the Seemingly Similar
written by Emma Strack
illustrations by Guillaume Plantevin
I've had this book in my piles for way too long.  So glad I finally was able to get to it.  I thought it was going to just be about animal pairs, but it has many other categories - food and drink, geography, fashion, human body and city.  I think your readers who enjoy books where they can read the information in a variety of ways (your World Record, Almanac readers) will really enjoy this book.

The Night Flower by Lara Hawthorne
The Night Flower
by Lara Hawthorne
I love the Arizona Sonoran desert.  The mountains, the vegetations, the smells.  It's just beautiful.  I've always founds the saguaro cacti fascinating - growing up in the midwest you get used to how trees get water, how animals make their homes in trees, and the seasonal cycle.  A saguaro has its own cycle and as different as it is, there are also a lot of similarities.  But this book dives into something even I didn't know about them.  When the cactus has a blooming flower on it, that flower blooms for one night and then turns into the fruit that contain the seeds for more cacti.  I've seen blooms, but I've never seen the actual flower.  Kind of makes you want to have a desert sleepover!
I love the illustrations and colors in this book.  The rhyming narrative text make it an enjoyable read aloud.  Add it to your biome studies!

Seashells by Melissa Stewart
Seashells: More Than a Home
written by Melissa Stewart
illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen
One of the first nonfiction picture books I read when I had just started tweeting and blogging was Feathers: Not Just For Flying and I loved how this nonfiction text came alive.  Here we are years later and the duo is back with a new nonfiction picture book.  It comes full circle because as Melissa tells us in her author's note, the idea for this book came from an illustration in Feathers.  Instead of the sky, we're looking in the ocean in this book to see the wonders of shells.  While most young readers will know a shell is a home for an animal, they might not know other details about the different types of shells - how they move, how they provide protection, even how they remove waste!  
Whether you're using this book in science to study animals and adaptations or in language arts looking at text structure and text features or how the illustrations and text work together, or you're reading it for the pure enjoyment of learning something new, this is a book you'll want to add to your collection!

Happy nonfiction reading!


  1. I loved The Roots of Rap & Melissa's Seashells, have You Are Never Alone on my list, Michelle. Thanks for the other two, will look for them. I've loved when I've been to the Sonoran Desert, too, a magical place. Yes, the nf books out are many! Thanks!

  2. The Roots of Rap had such a fascinating structure. Begging to be read (chanted? sung?) aloud!

  3. Just read & enjoyed Seashells. I must get The Night Flower! I have a manuscript on Saguaro Cacti! Thanks for the rec!!

    You are Never Alone looks like my kind of book--will request it right away.

    I love Carole Boston Weatherford's books--The Roots of Rap is in my library queue :)