Wednesday, May 14, 2014

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.

This was a good week for nonfiction!

Have You Heard the Nesting Bird?

Beautiful illustrations in warm, earthy colors accompany the sounds of favorite birds like the woodpecker, cardinal, and chickadee.  But the robin nesting in the tree is silent.  Why?  Read the interview with her at the end!

Jubilee!: One Man's Big, Bold, and Very, Very Loud Celebration of Peace

This story of Irish-born Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore shows us what one can accomplish with passion and big dreams.  I didn't know about the National Peace Jubilee and Gilmore's influence on American music.  As usual, I love Tavares's illustrations!

Under the Freedom Tree

This narrative poem tells the true story of three slaves who escaped a Confederate camp in 1861 and rowed across the harbor to the Union Line.  With the philosophy that whatever they would find was "better forward than back" they met Union General Benjamin Butler who claimed them as contraband of war since Virginia seceded from the United States and couldn't claim the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.  Were they better off as contraband than slaves?  It seemed so.  The American Missionary Association came to the Grand Contraband Camp and began teaching classes under a giant oak tree, and eventually the Emancipation Proclamation was read there: "We're free!  We're free!"  Lives changed forever under the Freedom Tree.  Beautiful illustrations accompany this fascinating tale of hope and courage.

The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life

I got this from the library, but I'm definitely going to buy it for my classroom.  I loved this book!  Ehlert inspires everyone to be more creative and to pay attention in this memoir of her creative process in making art and books. It is so full of color, energy, and passion.  I loved sharing Ehlert's books with my own daughters when they were young.  My husband and I can still chant Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and our girls are 18 and 21!  Getting a glimpse into Lois's childhood, sketches, collections, and studio is quite a treat.  This is a must-have for any language arts or art classroom!

Some Bugs

I love the colorful, amazing illustrations of bugs in their environment and the strong verbs throughout this book.  Kids will really enjoy this tribute to insects.

Seeds, Bees, Butterflies, and More!: Poems for Two Voices

This is just a happy book.  The vibrant colors, the poems for two voices, the facts about seeds, bees, and butterflies all add up to make a spring book bursting with joy.

In the Sea

In the Sea by David Elliott, illustrated by Holly Meade

This book of poetry about creatures of the sea would be the perfect way to stretch students to use unique and bold similes and metaphors.  I love the energetic, vibrant illustrations.

What nonfiction have YOU read this week?


  1. I love In The Sea by David Elliott-poems and illustrations. You've shared so many great books here, Holly. I know of a couple, but Under The Freedom Tree looks wonderful, as does the Jubilee book. And-so many sweet bird books are lately out-they're great too. Thank you!

  2. Those look like great books and I love the variety in grade levels. I have 1st grade teachers using Some Bugs right now. Such simple words but little ones can learn so much! The Scraps Book is so enjoyable! Thanks for the other titles!

  3. Wow, you certainly did have a great nonfiction reading week! I am impressed! We just bought Some Bugs for our library - I need to get my hands on it!

  4. I think I'll be reading Jubilee soon. I haven't really read Lois Ehlert's books but maybe I should. I've seen The Scraps Book at our store a few times.

  5. Oh Wow, Holly, I echo everyone else's sentiments - you have wodnerful titles here. I am particularly interested with the picturebook biographies - I would most definitely be pinning them in my Pinterest board so that I can start hunting these titles down for my upcoming conference presentation. Thank you dear Holly for a nonfiction feast this week.

  6. All new books to me!
    In the Sea looks phenomenal. That one is definitely going on my soon TBR.
    Thank you for sharing!