Monday, February 10, 2020

Welcome to #nf10for10 with Books for the Zoo

Welcome to Nonfiction 10 for 10 for 2019!  We are so excited to have you stop by today and explore nonfiction books with other book lovers.   The three of us; @mandyrobek@cathymere, and @jacbalen can't wait to connect with everyone and we are grateful to learn from each of you stopping by today.  Please share the link to your post in the comments at Cathy's blog - Reflect and Refine and use the hashtag #nf10for10 on social media platforms.       

A year ago I started volunteering at our local zoo.  It's very fun and last month I had a thought.  The zoo would be a fabulous place to spark and promote nonfiction reading.  I began wondering how the zoo could do that and envision an informational board with maybe five book titles per animal or one book title with a QR code for more.  I wonder if the public library could partner with curating these list or maybe it's something offered on the zoo website for families.  Here's ten books I'd start placing on lists for families.

ABC: Zooborns!

ABC ZooBorns! by Andrew Bleiman - is an alphabet book highlighting baby animals with a close up photo.  After each animal is identified there's one sentence with a little fact easy for beginning readers to understand.

ZooBorns!: Zoo Babies from Around the World

ZooBorns! zoo babies from around the world by Andrew Bleiman grabbed my attention right away when Beco a baby elephant from our zoo was the first animal shared.  Each baby animal has full page photo spread.  We learn the "personable" name of the baby animal and a fact or two that makes sense with the photo.  Did you know animals at the zoo have names like Rosie?

Snow Leopard: Ghost of the Mountains

Snow Leopard Ghost of the Mountain by Justin Anderson was my sneak peak a couple of weeks ago.  Readers will find this narrative story filled with language that is descriptive and informative.  In reading about a snow leopard's paws; "They are huge - it's as if she is wearing shoes that are much too big!  They help her to spread her weight and travel across the deepest snow without sinking."

The Bat Book

The Bat Book by Charlotte Milner helped me understand more about the exhibit I least enjoy.  We have some very large bats and how they hang upside down creeps me out AND I learned they have to do this because they can't take flight from the ground as birds do.  The layout is warm, inviting, and easy to follow.  I also learned some really interesting ways bats are helpful to our ecosystem.

If Polar Bears Disappeared (If Animals Disappeared)

If Polar Bears Disappeared by Lily Williams is a favorite in our classroom with the recent birth of our baby polar bear.  This book helps support the idea of conservation and how losing polar bears would have a ripple effect to other species.

If Elephants Disappeared (If Animals Disappeared)

If Elephants Disappeared by Lily Williams follows the same idea as polar bears and could also help rally some activists for this beloved creature. 

Giraffes (African Animals)

I might be sneaking in more than ten here with this title, don't tell Cathy Mere.  Pebble Plus by Capstone Press has a collection of beautiful books for early readers on one specific animal in each.  Photographs capture the animals in their natural habitat and the text compliments each photo with just the right amount of information.

Manatee Winter: A Smithsonian Oceanic Collection Book

Manatee Winter by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld is an older book and a gem.  It follows a mother and her calf and shows readers how manatees can be harmed by boats.  Our zoo is a rehabilitation center for manatees and releases most of  of our visitors back to the wild with updates about their successful reentry.

All About Alligators (All About Series)

Another older book I enjoy is All About Alligators by Jim Arnosky.  Right away he addresses and distinguishes the difference between an alligator and crocodile.  These older books help students see informational text can have hand drawn images and still share information.  We discovered this year a big misconception that photographs automatically meant it was nonfiction.

Hippos Are Huge! (Read and Wonder)

HIPPOS ARE HUGE by Jonathan London is a book I wish we could use at our zoo.  We don't have hippos and this book brings hippos to life for the reader.  The illustrations are big and focused with fascinating facts in larger print with more detailed facts in a smaller print.  Did you know the hippo is the second largest animal to the elephant?




Wednesday, January 29, 2020

#nf10for10 Sneak Peak {Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge}

January has been rolling right along here in the midwest without any snow days and time just got away from me.  I woke up this week and realized Cathy Mere and I were a bit late in sharing we are to host another year of Nonfiction Picture Book 10 for 10.  A fun day of readers sharing their 10 must have nonfiction picture books.  We'd love to have you join us on February 10, 2020.  Details to come about how to join us.


Snow Leopard Ghost of the Mountain by Justin Anderson is a sneak peak for my Nonfiction 10 for 10  list.  I can't wait for Cathy to see my little hint here...I bet she's still thinking about her collection of books to share.  

This book is illustrated with soft warm tones that I found quite enjoyable to spend time.  They made me pause my day and slow down my reading.  The story takes place in the Himalyan mountains as a zoologist searches for the snow leopard.  Readers will find this narrative story filled with language that is descriptive and informative.  In reading about a snow leopard's paws; "They are huge - it's as if she is wearing shoes that are much too big!  They help her to spread her weight and travel across the deepest snow without sinking."  I can really visualize the snow leopard staying on top of the snow.

Most pages have a blurb of more direct informational text to inform readers.  It's in a smaller font and often at the bottom.  I love that it's set aside and this book could be read with just the narrative, just the informational and both.  There's more information for readers about conservation for these creatures and an index with internet links to learn more and help with their conservation.

Thank you Alyson at Kid Lit Frenzy for helping us enjoy and celebrate nonfiction books all year.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Follow A Question {Poetry Friday}

I've jotted questions in my notebook and I've encouraged students to collect questions.  This week I learned about taking a questioning hike...it reminds me of the girls when they were younger and asked questions everywhere we went.  This week I'm reminded, "When we ask questions and write, we figure out what we think."



Will it snow
or just stay cold?

When it snows
the sun shines bright
turning gray to white.

White glistens
White sparkles

White brightens me inside and out.

© Mandy E Robek, 2020



This is the third idea in Poems are Teachers - How Studying Poetry Strengthens Writing in All Genres by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater.

Thank you Catherine at Reading to the Core for hosting Poetry Friday.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

The Boy and the Bear (Sneak Peak)

The Boy and the Bear is written by Tracey Corderoy and illustrated by Sarah Massini is a delightful story about friendship.  Boy wears a knit red cap and wants to play except he's alone.   Until, a paper boat floats across the water with the word Boo! written on it.  Messages are exchanged via paper boats which I found to be a charming idea.  Boy discovers the notes are from bear, a tall blue bear who isn't very good a little boy games.  He tries without much success.  Together they build a treehouse and spend a lot of time there until the first snowflake comes.  The frozen pond has a paper boat that says Must Go.  I'm sure you can predict the ending with spring arriving.  Sarah Massini did a delightful job of color selection and the placement of these with a bright white background.

                 Thank you Candlewick Press for the advance reader copy.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Let Art Inspire (Poetry Friday)

I learned about ekphrastic poetry this week.  Ekphrastic poetry is written in response to art.  It was great fun to look and note my observations within the piece of art.  Then Irene Latham encourages us to step outside the art; asking what happened before or after.  I scrolled through my camera roll and found some photos from a trip I had at The Baltimore Museum of Art after NCTE in November.




mother and child
nestled together

warm shades of color
frame the two

moment 
of 
comforting

offering 
a moment to notice
what feels just right

© Mandy E Robek, 2020



This painting is titled, Mother and Child by Pablo Picasso from 1922.  This is the second idea in Poems are Teachers - How Studying Poetry Strengthens Writing in All Genres by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater.

Thank you Sally Murphy for hosting Poetry Friday.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Astro Girl by Ken Wilson-Max {Sneak Peak}

Astro Girl by Ken Wilson-Max is a great new narrative fostering science interest and inquiry for young girls.  The story is a conversation between Astrid and her father.  She shares she wants to be an astronaut and he questions her about the different things she would have to do as an astronaut.  My favorite two page spread is their conversation about having to do science experiments and they are making cookies in the shape of rocket ships.  Baking is science!  Then the conversation stops and you these two characters are leaving to get Mama.  At this point, I did stop and then wonder where was her Mama.  I was surprised and didn't predict where he had been.  I want you to have the same experience.

The last two pages of the book have short space facts that are interesting, simple, and perfect nudges to explore this topic further.  Who knew a dog named Laika was the first animal to go into orbit.   Five female astronauts are highlighted with a short simple fact.  

Thank you Candlewick Press for the advance reader copy - it was enjoyed by my young neighbor girls for a couple of months and I just got it back.


Friday, January 3, 2020

Jot from a Photograph {Poetry Friday}

One thing I love about writing is you can begin again . I had a plan to read and try each poetry writing idea myself from Poems are Teachers by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater and did it for a few weeks when the book first came out.  Today, I'm restarting this plan and am excited to use this to help my new notebook grow.

Two things I found helpful from Amy to ponder and consider using with students.

1.  "Photos are windows through which we see into different times, cultures, and lives."
2.  "To "stay open is an important - and sometimes challenging - skill for a writer."

As I looked at my photo I gathered thoughts on a graphic organizer Amy suggested using.  I captured thoughts about what I saw, feel, think, wonder and know.  I found myself using some of these ideas and adding some new ideas as I wrote.




biking along
neighbor and kids
clumped together
watching something

stop 
visit
discover

neighborhood
pond turtle
laying eggs

legs shift
body shakes
plop
round and white
golf ball size
gathering hole

repeat

fascinating!



©Mandy E Robek, 2019


Thank you to Carol at Carol's Corner for hosting Poetry Friday.