Wednesday, December 18, 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. 

I'm continuing to read the Nerdy finalists so I know how to vote by this weekend! Here are the nonfiction books I read this week:
The Great American Dust Bowl
This graphic novel format captures the devastation of the Dust Bowl perfectly. The sepia tones, hunched shoulders and furrowed brows of the people, and descriptions of the landscape and grit of the plains and its inhabitants convey the hardships of the "Dirty Thirties" in a way that intermediate and middle school kids can fully understand. Pair it up with Karen Hesse's novel in verse, Out of the Dust. Another interesting unit would be to read books about people who rebuild homes in the same places where devastating disasters frequently occur. It reminds me of Pearl S. Buck's The Big Wave. It amazes me that people have the resiliency to start over again and again in the places they call home.
The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever
I didn't know anything about Kate Sessions, so this book about the woman who was responsible for one in four trees growing in San Diego by the early 1900s was fascinating. I enjoyed the art by Jill McElmurry a lot - the cover is awesome. I just recently read Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate, and I am a tree geek about as much as I am a bird geek, so I'd love to pair these two books together.

I think my students will be fascinated by the stories of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas and how their lives intertwined with each other, primates, and Louis Leakey. My students are also crazy about graphic novels, so the fact that we have complex nonfiction available in this format is awesome! Some subtleties like Leakey's infidelity might go over younger children's heads, and the point of view switches are challenging and may require some support for younger grades, but young adults and middle grade children will both learn a lot!

 What nonfiction have YOU read this week?

1 comment:

  1. Terrific books, Holly. I bought the Dust Bowl one for my grandson for Christmas-so happy to hear you think it's good. Really want to read that Tree Lady book-looks good! Thanks!