Friday, February 19, 2016

Nonfiction Picture Books 10 for 10

This morning I was alerted to the fact that today is the "10 for 10 Nonfiction Picture Book Event"#nf10for10, sponsored by Cathy Mere on her blog "Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community".

I perused my collection of picture books for some favorites. The following are 10 picture books that  I have used  in my teaching career for lessons across the curriculum, including science, math and social studies, as well as to teach the 6 Traits and specific author craft moves.

1.   Amazing Impossible Erie Canal by Cheryl Harness

As a forth grade teacher in Western New York, this book was always a part of our Social Studies curriculum.  As I revisited this favorite text, the wonderful word choice stands out in the author's description of the "tantalizing West" as "Settlers' wagons jolted miserably down roads that had once been Indian trails."
2. Liberty by Lynn Curlee

This narrative nonfiction text is the story of the Statue of Liberty.  It includes illustrations and diagrams that show how Lady Liberty was built.  The "Specifications" chart is sure to interest readers.  (Did you know the size of her fingernail is 13 x 10 inches?) There is also a time line at the end of the book, from 1865 when the idea for the great statue is born to when its restoration is complete in 1986.

3. Everything Weather by Kathy Furgang with National Geographic Explorer Tim Samaras

4.  Whiteout! A book About Blizzards by Rick Thomas

These three books were used as mentors in a  Nonfiction Research Reading Unit of Study with fourth graders, based on the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Units of Study.  We focused on books about extreme weather, which fascinated the kids!  I used the two books on blizzards to model the work the students would do as they researched tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, droughts, and tsunamis.  Why blizzards, you may ask?  We are in Western New York, of course! Also, I was only 6 years old but I do remember the Blizzard of '77!

6.  Satchel Paige by Lesa Cline-Ransome
This biography of baseball legend Satchel Paige is sure to inspire students.  The first paragraph is a fantastic example of a strong lead.

7.  Biggest, Strongest, Fastest by Steve Jenkins
The main text is simple, therefore inviting to novice readers and writers. More experienced readers and writers are also fascinated by the amazing facts and the details given in the captions.  Student writers can use this as a mentor for presenting information on several examples of a main topic.  For example, students may use this same format to present their research on a Social Studies topic such as "tools of the Iroquois."

8.  Twizzlers Percentages Book by Jerry Pallotta
Strong voice in a book about a difficult math concept!  What's not to love?

9. How to Hide a Meadow Frog and Other Amphibians by Ruth Heller

I love the lyrical  verse of this book.  It is full of interesting facts that engage readers of all ages!  A great resource for both Science lessons as well as any lesson on adding voice to nonfiction writing.
A great lesson is to contrast this with an encyclopedia article so students can hear the difference and gain a better understanding of the trait of voice.
It is also a great example for teaching the trait of sentence fluency.

10.  Many Luscious Lollipops by Ruth Heller

The beautiful illustrations and playful rhymes of Ruth Heller's books about the parts of speech are a great way to launch any grammar lesson!

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