It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday!
As I continue working on the draft of my book, I am finding many new anchor books which model particular nonfiction text structures. Today I’d like to share some of my new discoveries that focus on the structure of compare and contrast. Compare and contrast, as with all nonfiction text structures, has its own unique set of language features that students need to become familiar with. So it’s important to immerse them in books that include this language. Here is a list of some of my new favorite finds!
The Who Would Win? series by Jerry Pallotta is a head to head comparison of two similar animals. (I had flashes of TV show “The Deadliest Warrior” ). There are seven books in this series and I think you can order them as a set from Amazon. Reading level is about grade 3 and these would certainly be perfect for as read-alouds. Lots of interesting facts leaving the reader to decide for themselves – who would win?
In another similar series by Isabel Thomas, pairs of similar animals are put up in a head to head battle. What makes these books appealing is the point system that is included. Animals receive points for survival skills such as strength, size, hunting ability, and camouflage. At the end of the book, the points are added up to discover the overall winner. Lots of great predictions could be made and kids could award their own points for animal skills.
If you prefer to have shorter compare and contrast passages to read and only one book to buy – then you will love What’s the Difference by Judy Diehl. In it, she compares and contrast 10 animal look-alikes including: crow and raven, alligator and crocodile, wasp and bee, rabbit and hare, donkey and horse. I like the simplicity of the shorter passages and have used this book many times with children when teaching how to create a Venn diagram.
While comparing and contrasting animals is great way to introduce the text structure to students, there are many different topics we can use for comparisons. In Julie Cummin’s book Country Kid, City Kid, she compares the daily life of two children who live in different communities. And while this book may not be classified as nonfiction, I would certainly use it as an anchor book for the compare and contrast text structure. I like how she begins with the obvious differences but then begins to infer how many similarities these two children actually have.
In a similar way, Same, Same but Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw compares the life of a boy living in America with a boy living in India. These two boys are pen pals and the story is presented through their post cards and letters to each other. I really liked how this book compares these boys daily lives through their letters, leaving readers an opportunity to infer. I also think it would be an excellent anchor book to launch a pen pal project!
Saving the best for last, The Sun, the Wind and the Rain by Lisa Westburg Peters is one of those lost treasures. I debated whether to include this book as I do believe it is out of print, but a visit to your local library or used book store might just be the answer. I LOVE this book! The cover and title are relatively deceiving but it is one of those books that I want to hug because within the cover, you have so many different teaching opportunities.
This book is a basic introduction to geology and how mountains are formed. Elizabeth, a small girl, is imitating nature by building a mountain with sand on the beach. It is simple and beautiful in its description of the evolution of a mountain in comparison to a simple activity on a beach. I can see this book being used to teach land formation, erosion, evolution and how weather combines to create force to change the earth. In terms of my purpose, it is an excellent example of compare and contrast and in my search for anchor books – I believe I have discovered a hidden treasure!
I hope you found some new treasures to add to your nonfiction collection! Please let me know if you have come across any great compare and contrast anchor books that I can add to my list! Happy Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday, everyone! For more great lists, check out Kid Lit Frenzy.