Wednesday, November 19, 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 finished this book for the #SharpSchu November Book Club, and wow! It's so full of amazing information and incredible art. The beginning opens up with suspense and tension as a shark approaches unsuspecting prey. It culminates in a shocking and wild two-page illustration of the shark getting the seal. What follows is lots of information and fascinating facts on sharks. I loved the diagram of the shark looking like an airplane as Roy explains how he has a perfect body for hunting. Great Author's Note in the back. This book is sure to be a hit with your students!  It will be great to use with our literary nonfiction unit since the beginning is a suspenseful narrative.  Be sure to check out the SharpSchu recap - we had a great time discussing this picture book along with two others.

Harlem Hellfighters
The Men of Bronze, the Black Rattlers, the Harlem Hellfighters - J. Patrick Lewis tells us about the first all-black U.S. combat unit to be shipped overseas during WWI. Not only were they touted as tenacious by the Germans because in 191 days of duty at the front they never had any men captured nor ground taken, but the 369th Infantry's regimental band, conducted by James Reese Europe, was credited with introducing American jazz to France and the rest of Europe. I love Patrick's description of their music: "Europe's big band 'jazz spasm,' riffing to ten pianos, turned listeners' bones to liquid - cymbal-cornet-clarinet clash coursing in the blood." Gary Kelley's illustrations are emotionally raw, with dark tones accented with patriotic red, white, and blue. This book packs a powerful punch.  I'll be featuring it again in a NYT Best Illustrated Books of 2014 post soon.

Off to read what nonfiction YOU'RE reading!



  1. I'm not familiar with the shark book, but I just finished Harlem Hellfighters and loved it, both the poetry and the incredible illustrations. What a great pair J. Patrick Lewis and Gary Kelley make.

  2. Thank you Holly! Delighted that you and your students enjoy Neighborhood Sharks so much!

  3. Seeing these videos, I really want to get my hands on this title about Sharks! WOW! Although I do admit that sharks really freak me out. A LOT.

  4. Just loved the Shark book! Kids have poured over it!

  5. Harlem Hellfighters looks beautiful! Will definitely check that one out soonest. :)