Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Nonfiction Wednesday and the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award

I'm excited that Alyson Beecher, at Kid Lit Frenzy, is continuing her Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge for the third year in a row.
Because of the ALA Youth Media Awards yesterday, my nonfiction book this week is The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius because it was the only Sibert award winner I hadn't read.  I ran to the library after school Monday to get it.  I'm so glad it was there!
The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius
  George E. Ohr was indeed an eccentric genius. I love how he held on to his imaginative artistic ideals even in the face of the Industrial Revolution. The photographs throughout of him and his handlebar mustache and his beautiful pottery are wonderful. This is an excellent addition to a classroom library. I'm also going to lend it out to my potter friend, Karan Witham-Walsh!
Nonfiction at the 2014 ALA Youth Media Awards
     Because of Alyson Beecher and her nonfiction challenges and link ups, I've read a lot more nonfiction than I used to.  It makes watching the Youth Media Awards even more fun!  Now I've read all the Sibert Award winners!  Here are the winners with my original Goodreads comments.
Parrots Over Puerto Rico
The unique design of this book (written to be read vertically instead of horizontally), the parallel stories of the history of Puerto Rico and the plight of the Puerto Rican parrots, and its paper-and-fabric collage illustrations make this a must-read and great addition to the classroom library!
Oooh, this one could definitely be a Caldecott contender (I was so right!). I love the illustrations and sepia tones with pops of blue and red, the creative text styles, word play, and the story of how the transcontinental railroad changed the country. I'm definitely buying Locomotive for my classroom library (and I did)!
A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin
I knew nothing about Horace Pippin, so I thought his story was fascinating. Melissa Sweet, as usual, makes the biography come alive with creative and whimsical illustrations. Pippin is the personification of passion and determination. I loved the real photograph of him at the end. (I had won this book, signed by both Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet - yay!)

Look Up!: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard
I LOVED this book! I am a bird geek, and I spent many hours as a child drawing birds (why did I stop?) and raising chickens and ducks. I still love watching birds come to the feeders, especially on a snowy day like today. This book reminded me about why I love them so much! It's a very "busy" book - lots of information, drawing tips, even comics and humor. It wouldn't necessarily make a good read aloud (at least not the WHOLE thing - maybe a little at a time projected on a screen), but I can see my students pouring over it again and again. I'm definitely purchasing it for my classroom, and maybe it will inspire me to get my colored pencils out again (and it did - my daughter gave me a set of pencils and blank journals for my birthday because of this book).
It's good to know I gave all of them 5 stars when I originally wrote about them on Goodreads. :-)
Congratulations to all the wonderful writers and illustrators of these amazing books!


  1. Hi, I need to read this list too. These books look so good. Thanks for sharing.

    My nonfiction picture book post for the week.

    1. They're all wonderful! The committee made great choices!

  2. Hi Holly, I did not read Locomotive or The Mad Potter (I keep wanting to call it the mad hatter). I will certainly need to read them both now. Wasn't it fun to watch the awards. I was sick on Monday and some people accused me of playing hookie so I could watch the ALA awards.

    1. Ha - I hope you're feeling better! The awards are always one of the highlights of the year!

  3. I think it's cool how many of these books were highlighted by the Nerdy Book Club! We rock! I still need to read most of these.... I ended up focusing more on reading the middle grade chapter books.

  4. Hi Holly! It was my first live ALA awards :) So fun! I just need to get to the Parrots book, and then I think I have most of the Sibert books covered! It's always interesting to see what picks come out on top. It was fun to see the videos of your classes!

  5. I also appreciate Alyson's nonfiction challenge - I read so many more nonfiction titles now and love sharing them with my class. I have yet to read Locomotive. Yikes. Need to remedy this!

    1. You will enjoy Locomotive. It's a beautiful book! I bought it earlier in the year because I had a sneaking suspicion....;-) I was right!