Wednesday, December 24, 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 loved little Melba and her passion for music! This is a perfect example of why picture book biographies are wonderful - I had never heard of her and now I want to know more. Melba grew up to be a premiere jazz musician and toured with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Billie Holiday. Wonderful illustrations capture the energy and vitality of jazz music.
Shackleton's Journey

 My first reaction when I closed this book after reading about Shackleton's travels to Antarctica was that explorers were crazy! This is a fantastic account of the grit it took to explore the frozen oceans of the Southernmost hemisphere. Kids will learn all kinds of travel vocabulary and understand how amazing it was that men took the risks they did to discover unknown territory. Fantastic!
Digging a Hole to Heaven: Coal Miner Boys
This one is hard to categorize because an historical fiction narrative runs alongside sidebars filled with informational text. I choose to call it creative/literary nonfiction. Back pages are filled with more information, a glossary, a bibliography, and timeline. The story is about twelve-year-old Conall and his working mule, Angel, who both work in a Pennsylvania coal mine. The story follows the perils of working (and in Angel's case, living) underground. The sidebars give information about child labor laws, mules and mule drivers, coal cars and spraggers, tunnels, coal breakers, coal companies and communities, deaths related to mining, the Gilded Age and robber barons, and more. Fascinating. This book would work well in our social injustice unit. 
Rags Hero Dog of Wwi: A True Story


Rags, a WWI mascot dog to United States Army soldier, Private James Donovan, will steal your heart. I'm reading Duke by Kirby Larson to my 5th graders now during my fear/courage unit, and this would be a wonderful companion.
 This is my last regular Nonfiction Wednesday of the year!  Stop by next week for a recap of my favorites in 2014.



  1. Thanks Holly for participating. Hope you decided to join in next year too. I am still looking for Little Melba and didn't know about the SD Nelson book.

  2. Whoa! Look at that cover for Little Melba. I am hooked. My daughter just did a project on Billie Holiday. I think she would love to read this title. The jazz bug is in her genes. I grew up on jazz music thanks to my Dad. Shackleton's Journey was a favourite of the year for me. So much fun participating in this challenge with you all year!

  3. Little Melba and Shackleton's Journey are two that I've had on my radar for a while. Thanks for the reminder.