Wednesday, May 28, 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.

I only read one nonfiction picture book this week, and it's not new, but it is a wonderful one!

The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain
I'm going to the Czech Republic this summer, so I wanted to learn more about its history. I started looking through my classroom books, and realized I had this Peter Sis memoir and had only skimmed it when I purchased it. Wow! It's an amazing history of Prague through the eyes of Sis, who has always been an artist. He chronicles what it was like being born in the beginning of the Cold War in Communist Czechoslovakia. During the most restrictive of times, he still tried to express himself through his drawings, but it was difficult. Through his beautiful art, captions, and journal entries, the reader gets a thorough picture of what it was like to grow up in such tumultuous times. I was especially amazed by how artists can be catalysts of change and freedom. I will be sharing this with my fellow travelers.
Another children's nonfiction book I read this week was not a picture book.  I already wrote about it Monday, but it's worth putting here, too, for those who missed my post.
The Boy on the Wooden Box 
This is a phenomenal audio book. I had to get the hard copy, too, so I could see the pictures. I plan on reading it again in hard copy form. Leon Leyson's story of being one of the boys on Schindler's list is horrifying, inspiring, and hopeful. Every student should read it. It will definitely be part of my 6th grade curriculum from now on. I'm planning a global awareness literacy contract for the fall, and this will be one of the nonfiction choices.
These two books would definitely fit beautifully together in a human rights or global awareness unit, exploring what liberty means and what happens when a government denies it.


  1. The Boy on the Wooden Box got on my list when I saw your blog on Monday. Wow! Sounds like a wonderful dream-come-true trip is in your future. Definitely on my bucket list.

  2. Both look good! And great perspectives from both authors. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. The Boy on the Wooden Box is a new title for me. I'll be adding it to my TBR pile for the summer. What a wonderful trip you have planned...enjoy every minute.

  4. I found The Wall so interesting. Where are you going in the Czech Republic? I taught for two years in Slovakia when it was still part of Czechoslovakia. A beautiful area of the world. I think Prague is my favourite European city.

  5. I bought a copy of this book while I was in Prague around three years back. I didn't even know about Peter Sis then, so I'm glad I bought two of his picturebooks at the time. I haven't had a chance to really read through it yet, but I'm excited to feature it for our War and Poetry theme. I fell in love with Prague, will you be going there?