Nonfiction Monday is here

posted in: 2. Illustrators and Authors | 20

Today I’m happy to be hosting the Nonfiction Monday roundup. Every Monday bloggers across the kidlitosphere celebrate the best of nonfiction books for kids by writing about this sometimes overlooked category of books. If you’ve a recent post about a nonfiction book for children please leave a link to it in the comments and as the day progresses I’ll update this post to include all your reviews, comments and insights 🙂

I have to offer my apologies as I don’t have a nonfiction review for you today. It’s the first day of the new school year where I am and last minute revelling in the summer holidays meant I didn’t get any book reviews done in the last few days.

However, I would be most grateful if the collection nonfiction-reviewing brain could help me out. I’m looking for 3 nonfiction books for a project I’m helping with at my daughters’ school:

  • A nonfiction book on the theme of “me and my family” appropriate for 3 and 4 year olds
  • A nonfiction book on the theme of “the 5 senses” appropriate for 5 year olds
  • A nonfiction book on the theme of “the seas and oceans” for 6 year olds

  • What’s crucial is that these nonfiction books are great classroom readalouds. If you could make any suggestions I’d be most grateful. The topics can be interpreted liberally 🙂

    Myra at Gathering Books is first up with a review, sharing the Caldecott Honor book and Coretta Scott King Awardee picture book Duke Ellington by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by the multi-awardwinning Brian Pinkney. As soon as I’ve updated this post, I’ll be putting on some Ellington to dance to – I can’t resist, having read Myra’s review!

    Jeff at NC Teacher Stuff has a review for an iPad app from the History Channel, The Civil War Today. To coincide with the 150th anniversary of the (American) Civil War, since April this app has been revealing events daily as they happened in the war, accompanied by first hand sources such as photos and newspaper clippings. I love the idea of releasing a little more content each day – I can imagine this is a good way to keep students interested.

    Jennie at Biblio File shares with us a review of Peter Lourie’s On the Texas Trail of Cabeza de Vaca. Although the story told is no doubt interesting interesting, this books is more about the process of researching the epic journey undertaken by the conquistador in the title.

    Over at All About the Books with Janet Squires there’s a timely review of The 2001 World Trade Center attack by Jacqueline Dembar Greene. Janet writes “Written at a third grade level with reluctant or struggling readers in mind, this book provides a straight forward approach that is accessible to young readers.”

    The Nonfiction Detectives review America Is Under Attack: The Day the Towers Fell on their blog today. They write, “America is Under Attack fits the needs of many grade 3-6 libraries and classrooms. The book will educate a new generation of readers about September 11th without exploiting a tragedy that is still raw for many adults“.

    The very same book is also reviewed over at Shelf-employed; do read both reviews and see how both bloggers reacted to the same book. Shelf-employed goes on to add two more books about 9/11 for different age groups in her post.

    Robert at Wrapped in Foil has shared “a couple of books that may not be strictly nonfiction, but they are the “pick of the crop” from the Junior Master Gardener’s Growing Good Kids ™ book awards in 2011.” Having just taken on an allotment I was thrilled to find out about these books for kids with a gardening theme.

    Hope on over to the Jean Little Library to read Jennifer’s review of Meadowlands by Thomas Yezerski. Jennifer concludes, “This is a fascinating story and would make a good read-aloud or independent reading for 1st grade and up.”

    The Worst-Case Scenario Survive-o-pedia is highlighted by Heidi (sorry Heidi, I couldn’t resist that combination of words) over at Geo Librarian. In this book you can read about seventy different kinds of dangerous situations you might conceivably find yourself in with suggestions (often based on common sense) about how to survive in such circumstances.

    A Zeal of Zebras: An Alphabet of Collective Nouns is Amanda’s book of choice today over at A Patchwork of Books. It sounds like a book I’d really enjoy.

    Ms. Yingling has two nonfiction reviews for us, Digging for Troy: From Homer to Hisarlik by Jill Rubalcaba and Eric H. Cline, and The Story of Guns: How They Changed the World by Katherine Mclean Brevard. One of these I’d love to have had in my school library, the other, I have to admit, I’d no doubt initially be shocked to see on school shelves. That said, Ms. Yingling writes “This is a nicely balanced account; while it gives damning statistics about gun deaths in the US, it also explains that gun rights are important to many Americans as well. This is a topic that many boys are interested in, and since this is very historically based, I don’t mind having it in the library.”

    At Lori Calabrese Writes, there’s a review of 87 Ways to Throw a Killer Party by Melissa Daly. Lori says, “The ideas in this book are endless and if you can’t find the right party to hold, you’re definitely not in party mode.” I’m up for a party Lori 🙂

    I’m not a dog person, but I am a great believer that a book can always help, and when Melanie recently got a dog for the family she turned to a trio of nonfiction books to help her family “comprehend the reality of looking after a dog“. You can find her reviews at her blog, Library Mice.

    Over at Charlotte’s Library (which has just been shortlisted in the Best Kidlit category as part of Book Blogger Appreciation Week) you’ll find a review of Hatch! by Roxie Munro.

    Over at the Wild About Nature blog there’s an interview with Mammoths on the Move author, Lisa Wheeler.

    Amy from Delightful Children’s Books has shared her Read Around the World: Highlights post to wrap-up this summer’s Read Around the World event. In this post, she highlight her family’s very favorite nonfiction and picture books set in countries around the world with lots of additional resources.

    It seems that no Nonfiction Monday post is complete without a Steve Jenkins book and so it’s quite appropriate that 100 Scope Notes brings us a review of Time to Eat by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. Head on over and learn about the crucifix toad, just not whilst you are having lunch!

    20 Responses

    1. Jennifer Wharton

      I don’t know if it’s available in the UK, but I have used Steve Jenkins’ “Down Down Down A Journey to the bottom of the sea” very successfully with ages 3 and up. It’s not exactly a book that you read straight through, it’s more one you talk through, asking the kids what kind of animals they think are in the pictures and talking about where they live in the oceans, etc.

      • Zoe

        Thanks Jennifer and Jeff for your suggestions. The Jenkins books is available and looks like a great choice, I’ve added it to my reservations list! Unfortunately the poetry volume isn’t available – I’d have to order from the States 🙁

    2. Jeff

      Thank you for hosting today! Ocean Soup: Tidal Pool Poems is a good ocean book to check out. At NC Teacher Stuff, I have posted a review of The Civil War Today which is an iPad app.

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