Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Creative Nonfiction Wednesday

I'm excited that Alyson Beecher, at Kid Lit Frenzy, is continuing her Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge for the third year in a row.

I listed this book already on my #IMWAYR, but just in case you missed it, I'm re-posting.  My class and I had a discussion about the genre of this book.  We thought it was definitely nonfiction, but we also recognized the poetic qualities throughout:  text style and shape, stanzas, some rhyme, figurative language, imagery, etc.  I love that I can talk about nonfiction poetry during this National Poetry Month!  I used the book to not only celebrate the Reds' Opening Day on Monday (we lost), but also to initiate discussions about creative nonfiction.  I love that genre is blurred in some of the nonfiction coming out.  When we have to ask, "Is this nonfiction?", it challenges us.  I love longer works by Steve Sheinkin and Jim Murphy, too, who write in a way that make you feel like you're reading a novel.  We are going to try our hands at writing creative nonfiction this month, so we'll be exploring some picture books that show us how it's done.

Baseball Is . . .

      Take me out to the ball game! I'm not even a baseball fan, and I loved this book. With beautiful imagery and vivid sensory details, this book takes you inside the experience of baseball with joy and excitement. With tributes to baseball greats, the atmosphere of the ball park, and baseball's rituals, Borden creates a love letter to the great American game. The illustrations are beautiful, the word choice and design perfect.
     A little fun fact - we came home from our vacation Sunday, after connecting through the Miami International Airport.  Unfortunately, our luggage did not follow us.  While we were waiting in line to report the missing luggage, Ed spotted Dave Concepcion, who also lost his luggage.  Ed was a HUGE Reds fan when they were The Big Red Machine.  He's told me stories of when he was 10 years old, listening to the games on a transistor radio in his bed when he wasn't allowed to stay up to watch them.  He had all the Reds' baseball cards, Concepcion's being one of them.  I wanted him to go up and introduce himself, but he wouldn't - he didn't want to bother him.  He did talk to his driver, however, who told Ed he was in town to throw the first pitch.  Louise is a Cincinnatian and a friend, and she loves baseball.  It certainly comes through in this beautiful love letter to the great American pastime.
Other creative nonfiction I'll be sharing:
Snow School
When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders
Nic Bishop Snakes
A Leaf Can Be... (Millbrook Picture Books) Water Can Be . . .
UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings
A Rock Is LivelyA Butterfly Is Patient
A Strange Place to Call Home: The World's Most Dangerous Habitats & the Animals That Call Them Home

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives

Over and Under the Snow

The Great American Dust Bowl

Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas

Weeds Find a Way
Thanks, Tammy and Clare, for reminding me of this one!

I'd love to hear more ideas on what you categorize as creative nonfiction, and any more suggestions you have that are must-reads.


  1. I just noticed that Baseball Is... is a popular selection this week!
    The Bee book you have is a new one. Will have to check it out.
    I just got Water Can Be... this week. Love it! Great for the month of April!

  2. Baseball is huge. I did a whole post on it last year because there were so many new releases. You shared so many books that I love and have in my collection. I shared several of them with teachers on Monday during my PD presentation.

  3. Lots of the books you listed are on my NFPB reading list. I'm glad there are so many interesting NF books out there!

  4. Wonderful books, Holly! I want to find Baseball Is... and Snow School-both have been getting lots of talk! I've read almost all the others-love Lifetime and Laura Salas' books, new and old. Don't forget any of Doug Florian's poetry books, and another one I would add is The Noisy Paint Box, about Kandinsky. Terrific books available!

  5. Love this idea of what might be creative nonfiction - I like to think widely about what nonfiction might be - books I've read lately in this category - Sophie Scott Goes South and Aviary Wonders Inc. I love Lifetime!