Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Top 10 Juvenile Non-Fiction Books

1.) You Choose Interactive History Adventures by Capstone Press: Do you remember choose your own adventure book as kids? Well, this brilliant series (over 22 titles) takes that format but in true history scenarios instead. Each book gives you three characters to be (real people during that time) and you get to see what would happen if you played out that characters role in history. An example would be: for the Underground Railroad you could be a runaway slave, a slave catcher, or someone who lived in a railroad stop and helped slaves. There is great text features to help keep it engaging. The books cover wars, immigrants, pirates, Titanic, Westward Expansion, Gold Rush, and Exploration. Once I got students to read them (a lot of book talking) I couldn't keep them on the shelf.

2.) A Street Through Time by Dr. Anne Millard: I don't know if some of your questions from little ones begin "In the old times did..."? This book looks at one street over the course 12,000 years. It is really helpful for children to see the changes in a localized way. Each page highlights the scene, and ask children to look for some of the details.

3.) How to Clean a Hippopotamus by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page: As a general rule anything these two is brilliant. I am a HUGE Steve Jenkins fan. This is my most current favorite of theirs (of which there is many). It is a book about the symbiotic relationships between animals. For you Nemo fans there is some really interesting facts about clown fish and sea anemone that blew me away!

4.) The Bill Martin Jr. Big Book of Poetry: This is my favorite children's anthology of poetry on the market right now. The 200 poems are arranged by themes of season, school, humor, animals, feelings and more. There are some old standbys but new poems to, and the illustrations are vibrant and inviting.

5.) A Seed is Sleepy and An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Huts Aston: These books are so beautiful written it is hard to describe. If you teach writing I would recommend these for lesson plans. Each book takes one thing from the natural word and finds one simple sentence to see that item in a new, creative light. Often times the page will have a piece of beautiful prose and then true facts as well. She just put out a new book about butterflies that I can't wait to get my hands on.

6.) Forest Explorer by Nic Bishop. Nic Bishop is a photographic genius. He takes life-size photos of animals, insects, spiders and other things you would find in the forest. Then he makes a photo collage of a scene. He follows up each photo landscape with field notes about what he as captured. His book Backyard Detective follows the same format and is worth checking out. The pictures in both are colorful and detailed and children can't stop staring!

7.) A Life Like Mine by UNICEF. This is my favorite from a group of books that look at children and compare their lives from all over the world. In A Life Like Mine it declares that all children should have the right to play, get an education, have shelter and food, not fight in wars, and other things we in America take for granted. The text features and photographs are amazing and I find children find the text accessible and not boring. Due to content I would wait until children are in 3rd grade for some pages (like war) but others are okay to share (play). Either way expect great discussions.

8.) If The World Were A Village by David Smith. This book looks at if you took all the people in the world and made them 100 people in a village what would that look like. It talks about how many people would be each nationality, what religion they would practice, what language they would speak, how much food, water, and money would they have. This is a great lesson plan to teach percentages and make pie charts to see the difference. Also brings up discussion about if we shared food we would all have enough, but we don't. Due to the math and content I don't know if primary age children would understand or even be interested. He has also made one about America that would be interesting.

9.) Wooden Teeth and Jelly Beans: The Tubberman Files edited by Ray Nelson. This is a funny book that looks at facts and tidbits of the Presidents of the United States of America. This book is simply for entertainment with facts strewn in and I wouldn't use to get all your Presidential facts but it definitely intrigues children (3rd-5th grade most likely). It was here that I learned that George Washington's teeth weren't made of wood, something I still here teachers say. Note to reader I think it ends with the first Bush or Clinton.

10.) Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival by Kirby Larson. This is about a cat and dog that were left behind in the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. The two animals meet and save each other's life, forming an impenetrable bond. Follow their inspirational story that has a happy ending, so even the youngest readers are inspired by the story.

1 comment:

  1. My first visit!!!
    What a beautiful post of amazing books!!
    As a (self-published) author-illustrator I rely on librarians and book lovers to share my work to a wider audience. So I thank you on behalf of these authors and illustrators.

    My post today was on how to arrange a successful author visit to a school.

    I popped by from WeTeach. Nice to meet!!