Tuesday, February 19, 2013

It's Here - Nonfiction 10 for 10!

I'm so excited today is the day for sharing nonfiction titles with my friends via the web.  This morning I saw some posts in my google reader thread and I didn't look at them and I haven't looked at any links or post as of yet.  It's 6:41pm on this special day and I am just writing my post.  To say life is busy might be an understatement but I knew that when I agreed to co-host a great idea.  I thought I would start my post last night but knew I needed to check my bookshelves at school before I made my final decisions and boy am I glad I did.   In no particular order -

The Art Box by Gail Gibbons
You can't go wrong with anything by Gail Gibbons so I tried to pick a title you might not know about.  This book shares a collection of tools an artist would need.  Each item is labeled.  Each tool or group of tools has a definition.  For examples, "Erasers can remove what you don't want."  She really covers a variety of tools and mediums.  I also love the message that art is a form of expression and shows imagination.

Flowers by Vijaya Khisty Bodach
Again, you can't go wrong with any published by Pebble Plus which is part of Capstone Press.  It's a perfect traditional nonfiction format for emerging and early readers.  A full size photograph on the right is accompanied by two lines of text on the left.  The font is crisp and clean for early readers.  There's a glossary and an index for those looking for nonfiction features.

Pumpkin Circle by George Levenson
This book has been an all time favorite since I started teaching.  Again, I'm attracted to large photographs with simple text.  I love the language the reader discovers in this text, "Twisty tendrils grasp hands stretching out to cling."  To quote the text - "It's a circle without end.  It's pumpkin seeds to pumpkins to pumpkin seeds again!"

As the Crow Flies A First Book of Maps by Gail Hartman
Another long time favorite is a mentor text for scale.  Different animals take the reader on a journey discovering a route they might travel. Three pages follow an animal on their journey and you see their path as the animal would, each ends with a map for that animal.  I love this book starts with an eagle because map reading is all about a bird's eye view.

Building a House by Byron Barton
Before illustrative nonfiction was coming the rage Byron Barton wrote and illustrated this book.  Building a house is quite the process.  My grandfather and grandmother owned a lumber yard.  He built his own house and then I watched my dad build a majority of our house with help from friends and neighbors as much as they could.  I think it's hard to understand all the little steps to such a big process.  Byron Barton uses short and explicit text with success.

Egg to Chicken by Camilla de la Bedoyere
Again, I love any QED publishing books from the UK for our emerging and early readers.  This is a busier nonfiction book with lots of nonfiction features.  The photographs of brillant.  Each two page spread is a "chapter" with a different focus.  I might be partial, hatching chicks each spring is one of my favorite things to do.

Wonderful Worms by Linda Glaser
Is another book in an illustrative format.  The drawings in this book have an interesting point of view.  Since we are reading about worms, the reader can see a few inches above the ground and the majority of the page is underground.  Can you imagine this page?  "Worms feel sounds with their whole bodies.  They feel thunder when I walk."  Have you ever thought about this?  It's really a shift in perspective.

I Pledge of Allegiance by Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson
I'm always amazed when someone doesn't know of this title.  Chris Raschka illustrated it using ink and torn paper.  Torn paper is a favorite medium I like to see and use.  It's very forgiving.  This book breaks the Pledge of Allegiance down into small phrases to help define it's meaning.  A commentary in narrative form provides definitions that are easier for children to understand.

Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet
Was a book I heard lots about,is fairly new and didn't get around to reading it until last month.  I was so happy to have finally read it.  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.

Mrs. Harkness and the Panda  by Alicia Potter
Was also illustrated by Melissa Sweet.  This the newest book on my list and my only biography.  While illustrated Melissa Sweet included many nonfiction features to help tell the journey of Mrs. Harkness.  Mrs. Harkness decides to carry out her husbands dream by traveling to China and bringing back a panda.  This happens in a time when women don't travel on their own and explore the jungle.

Remember we are sharing our post in one spot this year over at Reflect and Refine Learning: Building a Learning Community.  Thank you for joining us and sharing your favorite nonfiction books in an effort to help us all with our teaching journey.


  1. Mandy,
    Thanks for sharing your list! As I read, I was thinking about kids in my class who'd like these titles. I want to share the artbox with some of my boys who love to draw and Ballons over Broadway I want to read to my whole class!

  2. New follower here - can't wait to read your posts! While reading fiction has always been what keeps me up way past my bedtime, I'm also a scientist and lover of learning. I read with my two year old every day, and I hope that I can teach her to wonder at the world around her as well as develop an excellent imagination. Thanks for posting such great nonfiction ideas! I adore Gail Gibbons (I wish I had my own personal Gail Gibbons library of everything she has every written!) and we just read "Wonderful Worms" a week ago; She loves feeding our worms in our compost bin, and she LOVED this book!

    I've just started up a blog about the books I read with my little one. I'd love your input!

    The Adventurous Mind

  3. Some really fantastic titles here. I am particularly interested in As the Crow Flies. Wonderful for a mapping unit. Melissa Sweet is sure on many lists. I am also a big fan of her books. Looking forward to checking out Mrs. Harkness and the Panda which I haven't yet read.

  4. A great list! I Pledge Allegiance sounds like a must have. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Amy, I love you thought about boys to share the Art Box with!

    Carrie, As the Crow Flies is perfect for mapping. I hope you love it as much as I do when sharing it with children.

    Christy, I can't wait to stop by and see your blog. It sounds wonderful.

    Tara, The Pledge of Allegiance is a must if we want to help children understand it's importance.

    thanks for stopping by ladies.

  6. Love the possibility of Building A House & As The Crow Flies. A good list for the little ones!

  7. Mandy,
    Thanks for joining the madness yet again. I always enjoy taking a peek at the shelves of your classroom. That's how this all got started, you know. This list was no exception. You have many great titles. I'm going to have to check out Flowers and The Art Box. I saw Mrs. Harkness and the Panda on my last visit to Cover-to-Cover....beautiful.


  8. Mandy~
    Another great post! As I read your post I found myself screaming, "Oh, I have that book, I didn't even think about it being nf!"
    I find I am drawn more to the animal nf books and I don't want my kids to have this narrow view of nf. I am working to grow my topic variety in this genre and your post was PERFECT for that!
    Added many titles to my nf listmania!


  9. Great list Mandy. I have added five of your titles to my list of must order including The Art Box, Pumpkin Circle, and Wonderful Worms (which will pair nicely with Yucky Worms by Vivian French).

    Thanks for sharing.