Tag Archives: Dianne White

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Favorite Nonfiction Picture Books of 2018

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It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

Nonfiction picture books are invaluable read-aloud experiences and provide so many opportunities to link to content learning and inspire deep questions and rich discussions with your students! With 2018 coming to a close, I thought I would highlight my favorite Nonfiction picture books of the past year.  From animals, to insects, health, mapping, land and water, seasonal changes, ecosystems and biographies, there is sure to be a book on this list you can share with your students next term!

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Who Eats Orange? – Dianne White

Lots to love about this colorful, interactive concept book that introduces young children (Pre K- K) to different colors, animals and foods.  Engaging read-aloud filled with guessing-game pattern and rhyming text that students will enjoy, not to mention the stunning illustrations.  Lots of extra information at the back about what exactly the different animals eat and the biome they live in.

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What Do They Do With All That Poo? – Jane Kurtz

You can’t really go wrong with a book about poop in a primary class.  This one is perfect for reading aloud and practicing “The Knew-New” connection activity.  (“I knew this, but this is new to me”) Great information in this book (I learned a lot) and I like the question-answer format:  Why is hyena’s poop white? Do lions hide their poo like domestic cats? What animal has square poo? And of course, what do zoo’s do with all that poo? Sure to be a hit in your classroom!

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Lovely Beasts: The Surprising Truth – Kate Gardner

This beautiful book which breaks down myths of “scary beasts” with gentle tenderness.  Gorgeous illustrations include subtle shift from black and white depictions of our negative first impressions to full color when we learn the importance about each animal.  Just enough facts for younger students and I love the use of the “one word” activity in this book!

Terrific Tongues! – Maria Gianferari

Who knew that world of animal tongues was so  full of fascinating facts?   Tongues can be like a sword, like a straw, like a mop, and more. The story is carried by a cute monkey who investigates the mechanics of his animal friends’ tongues.  The guessing game format makes this a great read aloud and hard to resist a book that encourages kids to  stick out their tongues in a positive way?!  Love!

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Beavers: The Superpower Field Guide  – Rachel Poliquin

An engaging, entertaining graphic novel nonfiction book for middle grade students.  Love this unique format packed with amazing information as well as great illustrations and text features.  Hilarious and fast paced and I love the “guide book” size.  I look forward to more Superpower Field Guides!  (“Moles” is being released in June!)

Bugs Don’t Hug: Six-Legged Parents and Their Kids – Heather L. Montgomery

How do insect mama’s and papa’s take care of their babies?  Believe it or not, they have more in common to us than you would ever expect!  Such a fun read filled with so many amazing  and surprising insect facts.  Large format and humorous scenes will make this a very popular read-aloud!

Water Land:  Land and Water Forms Around the World – Christy Hale

Creative, clever cut-outs help readers learn about different land and water formations.  Simple, spare text even younger readers will understand.  This would be an excellent anchor book for introducing geographical terms and includes information at the back.  An excellent concept book!  LOVE this one!

The Squirrel’s Busy Year: A First Science Storybook – Martin Jenkins

Readers follow two squirrels as they travel through the changes of the seasons.  This is a simple concept book and would be a good one for teaching changing weather, plants, and animal patterns. There are teaching tips in the front and back of the story and a small index.

Stretch to the Sun: From a Tiny Sprout to the Tallest Tree on Earth – Carrie A. Pearson

There is much to love about this picture book which introduces readers to a a 600 year old Redwood – the tallest known tree on earth.  Through stunning, detailed illustrations and beautifully written sparse text (lots of triple scoop words!) this book takes us on a journey through an old growth forest ecosystem and all inter-conectedness of nature.

See How We Move – Scot Ritchie

I am a fan of Scot Ritchie books so was excited to see his new book about health and well-being.  (His other books on Community BuildingMapping Skills, and Buildings and Structures are well worth having in your library!)  Set within a story of five young multicultural friends who are competing together at a local swim meet, this book introduces young readers to a wealth of healthy habits:  importance of safety equipment (goggles, bike helmets), importance of exercise for your body, warming up before exercising, teamwork, practicing skills, enjoying the exercise, handwashing to stop spread of germs, proper nutrition, interaction of the brain and the body, and visualization.  Several games that kids can play to keep moving are included at the back.  Another MUST HAVE for your classroom or school library!

Mapping Sam – Joyce Hesselberth

Excellent blend of fiction and nonfiction in this one.  Readers follow an adventurous cat named Sam as he journeys and maps his way through the neighbourhood at night.   This would be a great way to introduce different types of maps to young students.  More details about each type of map can be found in the back of the book.

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House of Dreams: The Life of L.M. Montgomery – Liz Rosenberg

“Anne with an E” is one of my favorite characters from my childhood!   I so enjoyed reading and learning about the fascinating life of the author and creator of the beloved Ann of Green Gables books in this very readable biography.  I learned so much about Maud’s fascinating life, her relationships, her mental illness and her battle to overcome it.  Recommended for older students and I recommend teachers pre-read it for appropriateness if planning to read it out loud.

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Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement – Stephanie Roth Sisson

For those who may not have read Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring (first published in 1962), it was the groundbreaking book which introduced and exposed the impact of pesticides and herbicides on the life cycles of plants and animals. This picture book biography tells the true story of this inspirational environmentalist, leader, activist, scientist, and author Rachel Carson, highlighting and recounting her incredible accomplishments and contributions to science that changed the way the world thinks about our environment.  Timely and a great anchor to any unit on the environment.  Pay close attention to the amazingly detailed illustrations in this one!

The True Tale of a Giantess

The True Tale of a Giantess: The Story of Anna Swan – Anna Renaud

This is a fascinating picture book about one of the “exhibits of curiosities” of P.T. Barnum.  Anna Swan was born in the 1800s in Nova Scotia, and grew up to be extraordinarily tall.  As people whispered and pointed at her, she decided to make the most of her situation.   Well written, simple language, told from the point of view of Anna.  The author does an excellent job of comparing her size to plants and animals.  There are additional facts and real photographs at the back.  I plan to add this title to my “Reading and Thinking Across Canada” unit.

Shaking Things Up – 14 Young Women Who Changed The World – Susan Hood

Amazing collection of tributes to 14 extraordinary rebel girls and women who changed the world.  Written in verse, each poem is paired up with an amazing illustrator.  Uplifting, powerful and inspirational and would certainly lead to further reading.  Reading one per day to a middle grade class would stimulate great discussions, questions, connections and inferences!   (in other words…. a little Reading Power!)

Thanks for stopping by and hope you found a title or two that caught your eye!

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Filed under 2018 releases, Animals, Biography, Ecosystems, environment, Favorite Books of the Year, Health, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Mapping, New Books, Nonfiction, Nonfiction Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are Your Reading? New Books for Spring!

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It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers.

Is it really March?  Well, the blossoms are blooming and so are the new books!  In the midst of report card writing, I have been taking breaks to read some amazing new books.  So here are some of the latest releases that have taken my breath away, made me laugh, cry, smile and sigh…

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If You Plant A Seed – Kadir Nelson

If you plant a carrot, a carrot will grow; if you plant a seed, a flower will grow. But if you plant kindness – what happens? If you plant selfishness – what happens? Thank you to Leslie Buffam at Vancouver Kidsbooks for introducing me to this new book by acclaimed author Kadir Nelson.  This book has simple, sparse text, breathtaking illustrations and a gentle message (with a splash of humour) about ways we can all make kindness grow. Excellent introduction to the concepts of “selfish” and “generous” and a perfect spring read-aloud for your primary class.

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The Queen’s Shadow: A Story of How Animals See – Cybele Young

I’m sort of at a loss for words when it comes to this oh-so-clever book by Canadian writer/illustrator Cybele Young (Ten Birds).  It is part nonfiction, part “who-done-it” mystery, part imaginary and a whole lot of WOW!  During the Queen’s Ball, attended by animals, a major crime occurs – the Queen’s shadow is stolen!  The Royal Detective, the Mantis Shrimp, begins interrogating all the animals in the hopes of finding the guilty party.  Each creature provides the detective with their version of the scene of the crime based on their own unique eyesight.  Sidebars provide factual information about how the eyesight of each animal works.  As each animal gives their testimony, more clues are revealed.  There is SO much to love about this book – you really have to experience it for yourself to appreciate just how amazing it is!  The exquisite illustrations are detailed and textured.  Sophisticated humour, engaging story and layers upon layers of unique story-telling. This is a smorgasbord for your eyes, an extravaganza for the mind and the most unique book I have seen in a long time. LOVE!

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Smick! – Doreen Cronin

Smile.  Author of the Click! Clack! books has created a delightful character Smick – a loveable dog who loves catching sticks and befriends a little chick!  Simple, rhyming text and bright simple illustrations.  Lots of repetition and rhyme and clever word combining (as in “stick” + “chick” = SMICK!)  would make this a great read-aloud and wonderful anchor for teaching rhyming words.

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 Sidewalk Flowers – JoArno Lawson

Sigh.  This moving, wordless picture book teaches us to notice the beauty around you and the impact of small acts of kindness.  A young girl walks through the park with her dad.  He is not paying attention because he’s on his cell phone; she notices the wildflowers and begins picking them and giving them away.  Stunning black and white illustrations that slowly introduce color as the story unfolds.  This book is tender, gentle, poignant, beautiful, transforming. 

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                                                                                   A Boy and a Jaguar – Alan Rabinowitz
This book came out last year and I can’t believe it took me so long to read it! WOW – so many things to love about this book. It tells the true story of young Alan, who struggles with a stutter. The only place he finds comfort is at the zoo, where he discovers that his stutter disappears when he talks to the animals.  “Animals can’t get words out, just as I can’t get he words out. So people ignore or misunderstand or hurt them, the same way people ignore or misunderstand or hurt me. I make a promise to my pets. I promise that if I can ever find my voice, I will be their voice and keep them from harm.”    Alan keeps his promise and grows up to become one of the world’s premier protectors of wild jaguars. Powerful, inspiring, gorgeous illustrations – this book is a gem!

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                                                                                         Blue on Blue – Dianne White
Beautiful folk art illustrations and simple, lyrical rhyming text – this is a perfect book for sharing out loud. The story takes you through a family’s experience on a farm during an unexpected rainstorm. I would definitely use this book for visualizing and sequencing a sudden storm. Beautiful detailed illustrations by Caldecott winner Beth Crommes (The House in the Night, Swirl by Swirl) would also inspire great storm art! 22747806

                                                                                                    Home – Carson Ellis

What is home? Is it a place? A space? A sanctuary? A sense of belonging? In this debut picture book, author/illustrator Carson Ellis gives readers a “transforming” perception of “home”. I loved the folk-art illustrations and the way she presents both real and non-traditional homes such as sea homes and hollow-tree homes. Simple, engaging text and a wonderful book to inspire students to create their own imaginary “homes”. Whimsical, imaginative and a loving look at the many places we call home. Love this book!

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                                                                                        All Four Stars – Tara Dairman
Attention foodies and fans of cooking shows! In this charming novel we meet 11 yr. old Gladys Gatsby who lives with a fast food, mircro-waving family. She, on the other hand, loves to cook! But when a Crème Brule disaster (small kitchen fire!) causes her to be banned from the kitchen, she ends up entering a writing contest at school. She writes about food, of course, and ends up being offered a job as a food critic! (They don’t know she is a kid!) This would make a fun read-aloud. I loved Gladys – she is an adorable character that you will be cheering for. Warning – don’t read this book when you are hungry! The food descriptions are mouth-watering!

Thanks for stopping by!  Which book caught your eye?  Write me a message to let me know!

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Filed under It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Picture Book, wordless