Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Nonfiction Wednesday

Thanks to Kid Lit Frenzy, I made a goal to read more children's nonfiction this year which I will be featuring on my blog every Wednesday.
Here are the nonfiction books I read this week:
The Goose Man: The Story of Konrad Lorenz
Konrad Lorenz loved animals, especially geese. He became a doctor, but what he really wanted to do was become a scientist and study animal behavior, so he devoted his time to studying geese. His wife, Gretl, had to be pretty tolerant of his pet goose, Martina, who slept in their room at night and flew out of the window in the morning! Lorenz founded a science of animal behavior called ethology, discovered instinctual behaviors of geese, and won the Nobel Prize in 1973. This book could be read along with Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell, The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life With the Chimps by Jeanette Winter, and The Elephant Scientist by Caitlin O'Connell.
When I tweeted about this as a #bookaday, look who I heard from:
I love Twitter!
The Salem Witch Trials: An Unsolved Mystery from History
The Salem Witch Trials: An Unsolved Mystery from History by Jane Yolen and Heidi Elisabet Yolen Stemple, illustrated by Roger Roth
I've always loved reading about the Salem Witch Trials. My family and I visited Salem several years ago, and I loved hearing the stories and seeing the sites. The town still has a sense of mystery and tragedy. This story is told from the point of view of a girl who wants to be a detective and is trying to solve the mysteries of the trials. She invites the reader to make his/her own conclusion after the facts and theories have been presented. Kids would really enjoy this book. It could be part of a bigger unit on unsolved mysteries of the past.

Who Stole Mona Lisa?
Who Stole Mona Lisa? by Ruthie Knapp, illustrated by Jill McElmurry
This is a biography of the Mona Lisa told from her point of view. One of the things I like about it is that kids can discuss whether it's nonfiction or fiction. Is it nonfiction because it's a true story about how Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa and then she was stolen, or is it fiction because the Mona Lisa, an inanimate object, tells the true story from her point of view?  I'm going to call it creative nonfiction. Interesting details about who the Mona Lisa was, the theft by Vincenzo Perugia, and a little about her and da Vinci's history make this an interesting read for kids. There is a good Author's Note in the back. The illustrations are bright and energetic.  Pair this up with Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett.

What nonfiction are YOU reading this week?


  1. The book about the Salem Witch Trials sounds interesting. Probably not a selection or my second graders though. But now I want to visit Salem!

    1. It may be a little old for 2nd graders, but there's nothing really graphic in the Yolen book. Kids always find the Salem Witch Trials fascinating!

  2. Hi Holly -- I'm interested in reading "Who Stole Mona Lisa?" and exploring its possibilities for introducing a non-fiction genre study. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hi Holly,
    The Good Man looks like an interesting read. DD is very fond of animals and this is sure to pique her curiosity. Also, one day DD brought back this exact same book about Mona Lisa. "Who stole Mona Lisa" soon became our favorite and I had to insist that on her returning it back :) Thanks for sharing the excellent reviews. looking forward to reading more of your Non fiction finds!