Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - what's in my stack? 12.04.19

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.

Wow, the amazing nonfiction picture books keep coming this year!  What an amazing time for nonfiction reading!  You won't want to miss these!

Red Rover: Curiosity on Mars
Red Rover Curiosity on Mars
written by Richard Ho
illustrated by Katherine Roy
Wow, this book blew me away.  I've been waiting for a book like this about the Mars rover, Curiosity.  I have a few other books about this informative rover, but they have never been perfect read aloud length books.  Now we have one and not only will it be great to use as a read aloud, the illustrations are also outstanding!  This is one I'm considering for my Mock Caldecott list.  Roy, a Caldecott Honoree, has really outdone herself with her barren landscapes in shades of Mars reds.  Don't miss this one!

It Began with a Page by Kyo Maclear
It Began With a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way
written by Kyo Maclear
illustrated by Julie Morstad
When I first saw this book was going to publish I was so excited.  Gyo Fujikawa wrote and illustrated some of my very favorite childhood books.  There was something about her illustrations that spoke to me as a child.  I remember pouring over her picture books, noting the style in which she drew and the way her colors worked together.  When I think back on my childhood and the illustrators that inspired me it was absolutely Fujikawa, as well as fellow Disney artist, Mary Blair.  I'm so glad there are picture book biographies about these two ladies!
This book was fascinating because I knew nothing about Fujikawa's life before reading this book.  Although Fujikawa and her works are from decades ago, the arguments she had with publishers are still relevant today.  She wanted to show a diverse representation of babies in her book, but at that time (1960s) publishers were very hesitant to put any illustrations with characters of color in books.  Fujikawa fought it and wouldn't publish her book until they allowed all of her beautiful babies!  
I wish Fujikawa's books were still in print.  My favorite book by her was Oh, What a Busy Day.  Would love to have a copy of it in my library!  Morstad's illustrations beautifully capture Fujikawa's drawings and I am enjoying getting a second peek at them!

Prairie Boy by Barb Rosenstock
Prairie Boy: Frank Lloyd Wright Turns the Heartland Into a Home
written by Barb Rosenstock
illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
Everytime I read a biography about someone's life I've already read about, I look for the new information.  The thread I did not know about before.  In Rosenstock's biography about Frank Lloyd Wright I learned more about his childhood and fascination with shapes.
I loved Neal's illustrations and interpretation of Wright's shapes and thinking.

I Am Farmer by Miranda  Paul
I Am Farmer: Growing an Environmental Movement in Cameroon
written by Baptiste and Miranda Paul
illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
Turning the spotlight on an impoverished area in Africa - Cameroon - and what one man has done to improve clean, drinking water and growing foods in this area.  Farmer Tantoh followed his passion of learning about the environment, even when it was something that brought him ridicule by classmates and other people in the community.  
A powerful story about following your dreams and thinking creatively.

As always, happy nonfiction reading!


  1. Enjoyed I Am Farmer & am a big fan of all of Kyo Maclear's books!!

  2. Missed this yesterday, Michele. I have the first two, looking forward to reading them! Will look for the next two, have heard of I Am Farmer! Thanks!