Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Elementary Non-fiction love

One of my goals for this school year is to up-date our nonfiction selections.  This will be a challenge for me as I prefer fiction.  I need to get over this though as I read great reviews and found lots of cool nonfiction on the shelves of the public library, where I go for all my hands-on research. Nonfiction has so much more pizazz than it used to; my general feeling of NF is droll pages of way too much information with not enough pictures. Not so with nonfiction of today; it is bright, lively, and perfect for a read aloud.

No monkeys, no chocolate by Melissa Stewart, Allen Young and Nicole Wong (2013);  Told in a backwards format I learned how the rainforest eco-system helps cocoa beans thrive and grow. Students will love knowing that maggots, lizards, and aphids all help the cocoa bean tree grow. Luckily we have a special store downtown that sells truly good rainforest fair trade chocolate because this book made me hungry for good quality chocolate not that waxy stuff that will fill Halloween buckets next week.  This wonderful nonfiction is a must order for my new library and if you have curious ones at home this would make a perfect purchase. Excellent Melissa Stewart website.

S is for Sea Glass; a beach alphabet by Richard Michelson and Doris Ettlinger (2014);  This is an alphabet book filled with wonderful poetry and lovely illustrations.  A wide variety of poetry styles are featured and this book will be loved by both students and teachers.  My favorite poem:

Q is for Quiet

The sun as it's rising 
The drift of a cloud
Spiders spinning webs
Crabs scuttling
Across the ocean floor
The swimming of fishes
The wishing of wishes
The opening of a door
The thoughts in my head

These are things I can hear
When it's quiet 
As I lie here in bed.

My second favorite is from a dog's point of view as he runs along the beach.  What joy!  This book pulls me back to our family beach vacations and makes me feel happy.  We definitely need this one for our poetry collection; it holds a mini vacation between the cover.

Animal Teachers by Janet Halfmann and Katy Hudson (2014); This book is exactly why I take my research seriously. This is an amazingly fresh look on animal behavior.  The illustrations are gorgeous!  Who knew I could find such joy over a nonfiction title.   Groovy Girl loved the cover and came near to read this one with me.  Each animal has something unique it learns from its parent and then Ms. Halfmann asks the reader to put it in their terms.  For example the chicken teaches the chick to peck for seeds specifically and then the question is posed "who taught you what's good to eat?" "Did you ever try to bite your toes?"  Other animals included are otters, dolphins, kangaroos, beavers, elephants, and cheetahs; just to name a few!  A huge list in the back of the book provides even more unusual facts for us to marvel over.  We were astounded that "beavers have a set of see-through eyelids that work like goggles underwater."  Yes, yes I will order this one as well and can't wait to hand it off to a teacher when animal books are requested.  After years of doing animal research with students this one motivated me!

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