Thursday, February 19, 2015

Nonfiction 10 for 10 is HERE!

Happy Nonfiction 10 for 10 Day!  Thank you for joining us.  Cathy and I are thrilled to have you stop by and read our favorite nonfiction books right now, today at this very moment.  

Please leave a comment on a few blogs to foster community and dialogue around nonfiction books and/or share your own list of books for others to enjoy and gather ideas from.  

Here's how to share your own list.


Here are the official details to participate and it's really easy, 
we hope to see you there.

Teaching second grade this year has been an exciting daily adventure in reading and selecting books to use with and for my students.  I've rediscovered my own childhood favorite genre - biographies!  I loved reading about people in history when I was in elementary school. They make history come alive and provide so much information about how our life today came to be.  The world of biographies has certainly changed since the late 70s and here are my top 10 favorites as of today at this very moment, in no particular order.

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin.  Combining snow, passion, and photography is a winning combination in my book.  Wilson Bentley was a pioneer in studying snowflakes and preserved when others didn't see value in his work.

I am Amelia Earhart by Brad Meltzer is about one of my childhood idols.  I had never been on a plane until I was married and 24 years old but the idea of a girl taking adventures and flying far distances to set records was inspirational then and I find her still intriguing how.  I love the adventure stories Brad collected to tell within this biography and how following your dreams is possible.

A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln by David A Adler was not available in the late 70s but David Adler is a classic in biography writing.  I enjoy this book and his other biographies for the traditional biography format and characteristics.  He starts with Abe's childhood, it's told chronologically, and his contribution is presented clearly for students.

Marvelous Mattie How Margaret E Knight Became an inventor by Emily Arnold McCully was an average girl who dreamed and sketched ideas.  Eventually her idea came true as she drafted and created a machine to make durable paper shopping bags.  Mattie lived during the Industrial Revolution when woman were supposed to take care of things around the house.  Inspiring how important sketches are.

Star Stuff Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson is a story embracing imagination and wonders.  His inquisitive nature led him to create mechanical explorers that were sent to space including Voyager spacecrafts that captured information to help us understand what is beyond Earth.

Wangari's Trees of Peace A True Story of Africa by Jeanette Winter tells the story of Wangari Maathai, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and her quest to rebuild forests near Mount Kenya.  Her project began by replanting 9 baby trees and sharing her idea with other woman who started planting baby seedlings too.

Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet is about puppeteer Tony Sarg who was creative and willing to try new ideas.  I grew up watching Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade each year and now my girls and I watch it as we prepare for Thanksgiving.  I never thought to wonder about how it all started.  I never thought about there being a time when there wasn't enormous balloons that were walked by lots of people.  I am still in awe of the beginning of something I have taken for granted for so many years.  It's important to learn about how things came to be.

Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell is about Dr. Jane Goodall and really captures her young childhood in a simple direct story like format.  Jane follows her dreams and makes discoveries to share with others.  I find this a great book to peak interest in reading biographies for students who are not nonfiction fans.  For those students who are fact finding hounds they will enjoy the more indepth information in the back of the book.

Mr. Ferris and His Wheel by Kathryn Gibbs Davis is the story about George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. and how he created the ferris wheel for the World's Fair to out shine the year before when France built the Eiffel Tower.  George made observations of a water wheel and wanted to enhance the concept of a circle spinning and added the idea of creating a ride.  The project had some set backs and George kept persevering until the end.

Sarah Gives Thanks by Mike Allegra is one story I did not know and am happy I discovered this tidbit of knowledge related to Thanksgiving.  Sarah Josepha Hale was a writer who shared stories that focused on women since most writers at this time were men.  She went on to be the editor for a ladies magazine and found her opinion mattered to others.  Sarah started a movement to make Thanksgiving a national holiday and convinced President Abraham to agree.  

So there we have it.  Five biographies about women and five biographies about men to equal ten nonfiction picture books on February 19 ( aka 1 + 9 = 10).  Happy Reading and Sharing!


  1. Great titles! My friend and colleague recommended Sarah Gives Thanks to me this year and I read it to my students. They loved it! I wrote down the titles of all these books to add to my collection. Thank you for creating this community around books! So excited to be here.

  2. Thanks for hosting this wonderful event. It is so nice to read all of the posts and learn about so many new titles. We can't wait to read Balloons over Broadway and Star Stuff.

  3. Thanks for organizing this community for us to come together and share! I wrote down Sarah Gives Thanks.
    Me Jane is one of my favorite ways to start first grade. After this year, I've learned I need to focus on my biography bin in first grade!

  4. I'm embarrassed to say I still haven't read the Mr. Ferris bio-will find it soon. I've read some of these & will add the others, too, Mandy. I own Me...Jane, think it's just great & love hearing about Goodall's early life. Thanks also for hosting this #nfpb10for10-terrific to see everyone's choices!

  5. I know many of these but some are new to me. And going on the list! Thanks for hosting this community. I love seeing how other educators are using nonfiction in their classrooms and hearing their thoughts on nonfiction books. Also so pleased to see Snowflake Bentley here. Such a great title.

  6. I have several but always enjoy learning about the new titles. Thanks for organizing this fun event.

  7. I'm a fan of Meltzer's biographies. I'm glad you included the one on Amelia Earhart in this collection of books.

    There have been so many great biographies in the past few years. We're lucky to have so many to choose from when working with kids.

  8. I know many of these, but I just heard about Mr. Ferris.and his wheel. I am dying to read that. Also I need to revisit Snowflake Bentley. Great reminder.

  9. More math from you! LOL.

    I feel like the problem really went something like this. Mandy had 27 biographies to choose from for the event. She could only have 10 titles. How many titles did she have to remove from her pile?

    Loved your titles. A few on my list were recommended by you during our book store adventures.

    Thanks for staying with me during the madness again. Less than six months to prepare your next list. (I think there might be a math problem here too.)


  10. Wangari's Trees of Peace is new to me, but I will definitely have to add it to my wishlist - I'm always looking for books about inspiring women.

  11. So many of my favorites are on your list Mandy. Biographies can be so inspirational.

  12. Mandy - first of all, thanks to you for hosting!! What a great event; I've seen so many wonderful informational text titles!
    The two I need to get from your list are Mr. Ferris and His Wheel and Star Stuff. Can't wait to read them!
    Thanks for some great biography titles!

  13. Argh- as a biography lover myself, I only own one from your list- Star Stuff. I look forward to reading the ones that were new to me. Wangasari's Tree of Peace might be especially relevant to my class.

  14. Mandy,
    You have so many books that are new to me in your list! I love the idea of biographies! They sure are more interesting than they used to be. I'm glad authors are breaking out of the old mold and telling these stories in new and interesting ways along with beautiful illustrations!
    Thanks for hosting!

  15. Mandy,
    Most of the books on your list are new to me! Love the newer style of these books that tell the stories in interesting ways along with beautiful illustrations!
    Thank you for hosting!