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Friday, February 17, 2012

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge - Bring On The Birds



I'm really enjoying the books coming out of Peachtree Publishers. For a long time they seemed to only publish regional titles, but they've broadened their list.  This is a great title for young birders!  Susan Stockdale's illustrations are engaging and bright, while her sparse, rhyming text is simple enough for first readers and perfect for a read-aloud!   Her additional back matter furthers the text for interested readers.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Galileo Galilei!


This was my Galileo.  He had the most beautiful celestial blue eyes.  But his knowledge of the universe didn't go very far.  Oh, I still believe he was an old soul, but get him talking and what came out wasn't about the heavens.

The birthday we celebrate today isn't his, it's another Galileo's.  One less warm and fuzzy, but perhaps a little more worldly.

Galileo Galilei was one our our greatest astronomers.  

From Leap Into Space:
Galileo Galilei spent a good deal of his life questioning the accepted scientific beliefs of his time that were not proven by experiment.  Galileo heard about the new Dutch instruments built to see the heavens and built one himself…
He found evidence that the Earth was not at its center, just as astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus had theorized. 

His theories caused him to be tried and convicted by the Catholic Church for heresy, but unlike common belief, he was never tortured or excommunicated.  He remained a loyal Catholic throughout his life.

Let's celebrate Galileo's 448th birthday with some of these titles:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge - Coral Reefs



Jason Chin has done it again. He's created another great title to add to your nonfiction bookshelf.   This time he's taken us from the redwood forest to under the sea in his latest book, Coral Reefs.  Again, Chin offers readers informative text and beautiful, imaginative illustrations.  In Coral Reefs, a young girl enters the New York Public Library, pulls a book about coral reefs off the shelf and finds herself in the undersea world she's reading about.  The text is straight nonfiction, while the illustrations offer the reader a healthy dose of magical realism.  I love the idea of text coming alive for readers and Chin has done a beautiful job of capturing the beauty of the reefs. His text, however, is not as creative as his illustrations.  Nonetheless, this title is an example of how creative nonfiction can be, while still providing readers with great information!

Friday, February 3, 2012

So if it isn't fiction, it must be nonfiction...

Nonfiction author, Melissa Stewart, blogged this week about the term "nonfiction".   I can remember sitting in a conference of science writers years ago debating the same problem. Today the debate continues.   Nonfiction is not simply something other than fiction  - it is its own entity and as such warrants a more definitive name.  The science writers I met spoke about the term verity, meaning "something that is true; especially: a fundamental and inevitably true value".  Should nonfiction books reflect a derivation of the term verity?  As Melissa stated, many librarians now refer to these titles as informational.   Perhaps this is something the Library of Congress should examine, or the ALA.

Thanks, Melissa, for bringing this up again.  I agree - we need to keep the conversation going!