Summer Reading – Day 30! Nonfiction Picture Books!

Well… due to my busy week starting back to school and unpacking boxes of books into our new library, I have missed  Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday by several days.  But I have read a lot of nonfiction in the past few weeks that I would like to share anyways!

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My friend, Carrie Gelson  (There’s A Book for That) posted a wonderful collection in her 10 for 10 post a few weeks ago that focused around the theme of connections across the generations.  I came across this book Grand by  Marla Stewart Konrad in one of my book tubs the other day and thought about how it would be a great book to add to Carrie’s list!  It’s one of several books published by World Vision and celebrates grandparents around the world.  The amazing photographs and simple text  remind me of Barbara Kerley’s books and introduce younger children to themes that show how much we share in common, no matter where we live in the world.  Great for making connections!  The other books in this collection includes Play, Mom and Me and Getting There. 

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Another focus this week, linked to my exploration of different text structures, has led me to a new interest in “Guidebooks” or “Handbooks”.  I think this is a wonderful way of incorporating Social Studies content while teaching different forms of writing.  These “How to” guide books, published by Crabtree, are written in second person and definitely read as “instructions”  but with an almost humorous undertone.  In the Treasure Hunter’s Handbook, readers will learn everything they need to become a pirate – from a pirate wardrobe  to winning a pirate battle,  rules to follow on a pirate ship and how to avoid walking the plank!  The books are filled with great text features and simple text for beginning readers. Similar books include A Roman Soldier’s Handbook,  Knight Survival Guide, Go Greek and Coastal Treasure Hunter.  Intermediate or middle school teachers could use these books as inspiration for having their students create handbooks for any study on ancient civilizations.

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Meghan McCarthy’s Astronaut Handbook is another great example of writing that follows a procedural structure.  Written in second person, this simple book takes the reader through a rigorous training program in astronaut school.  Everything from deciding what kind of astronaut you want to taking a ride on the “Vomit Comit”  where you will learn how to float are included. The illustrations are great and I appreciated the “Fascinating Space Facts” that are included in the back. This book would be a great compliment to a Science unit on Space.  I’m already thinking of ideas for my students to create a “Pioneer Handbook” to end our study of early settlers.  Pages might include: how to dress like a pioneer, tips on building a log house, pioneer food and wagon-ride tips.

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When I was in elementary school, I remember doing a research project on houses around the world.  I remember making a poster for my presentation and researching and drawing examples of different houses.  Ever since then, I’ve been fascinated by the subject.  So when I came across If You Lived Here: Houses Around the World by Giles LaRoche in the library, I was immediately drawn to it.  I only wish I had had this book when I was  doing my project!   It is not only interesting, but the layered paper illustrations, reminiscent of Barbara Reid and Steve Jenkins are amazing.  From a village in South Africa to the mountains of Spain, this book will show children not only the different structures of homes, but the reasons behind why they were constructed that way.  I learned a lot of fascinating information about homes around the world and can’t wait to share this book with my students!

And finally, here is a book dedicated to those of us who leave our pumpkins out on their porches a few too many days after Halloween!   Rotten Pumpkin: A Rotten Tale in 15 Voices by David H. Schwartz is part story-part fact exploration in the stages of decomposition of a pumpkin left outside to rot.  Watch as a jack-o-lantern transforms from a happy holiday porch decoration into a slimy, moldy flattened puddle in 32 pages!  (Makes me wonder why we don’t carve our pumpkins on October 1st and then let them rot for a month.  They’d certainly be a lot more creepy by Halloween!)  A warning that this book is pretty disgusting – and the close-up photographs of the moldy decomposing pumpkin flesh do not leave anything to the imagination!  High on the scale for “gross factor”, I can hear the “Ewwwwww!!!!!!!’s” already!  A great link to science.

So what nonfiction books have you been reading lately?

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Filed under Connect, New Books, Nonfiction, Picture Book, Science, Social Studies

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