Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2012 Week 5- Winter Titles

Even if winter never really arrives and we don't end up with some real snow cover, these two books are the perfect titles to share with kids this season! Both are so wonderful I just couldn't choose between them.   Kate Messner and Melissa Stewart present a world little seen in these well-done picture books.  Both are lyrically told and informative.  Each beautiful picture book would compliment an elementary science curriculum.

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2012 Week 4- The Watcher

Jeanette Winter's book The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps joined Me...Jane on the bookshelves last year.  Both of these books were well received with star reviews.  Where Me...Jane focuses more on Goodall's childhood, The Watcher focuses on Goodall's early days in the field with her chimps. Beautifully illustrated and well-researched, The Watcher is a wonderful celebration of Goodall's tireless efforts in chimpanzee conservation.  Both titles are a must for a classroom collection!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Informational Fiction or Nonfiction????

I've been becoming increasingly concerned about the state of nonfiction.  Up until now I was quite positive about the growth in creativity and opportunities in children's nonfiction titles, but I'm feeling a little differently this month.  You see I've started reading numerous nonfiction titles each week as part of the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge.  I've seen some terribly creative titles, but some of those titles seem to be fiction masquerading as nonfiction.

One of the titles clearly states on the cover that it is a mix of fact and fiction.  It includes a wonderfully imaginative journal and even a note on how the journal survived the tragedy the book speaks about, but it's imagined  ------not true.  And yet the book is classified as nonfiction by the publisher. Why hasn't the Library of Congress balked at this classification?  How can a reader distinguish fact from fiction?

In another title, also published by a traditional, well respected publisher, I found the following quotation:

"Then a cavewoman sprouts yellow hair. Why? The men have started to hunt for meat. The dangers of going after reindeer, mammoths, and horses are killing too many cavemen. Cavewomen have to compete for the few men left. Instead of beating each other up, they evolve ways to be more special. Being blond seems to help."

Can this be a true statement?  But it's nonfiction.  It must be.

Authors must put their foot down if a publisher misclassifies their work.  Our readers deserve better!  I hope I don't find many more of these titles during my challenge.  There are so many fine nonfiction authors out there who are careful about their work that I have faith these inconsistencies will be the exception.

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2012 Week 3- Fun Facts About Pets

Seymour Simon never disappoints.  I enjoyed this one on my Nook.  Fun facts!  Nice layout and love the READ TO ME feature.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Photo of the Day - SNOW!!!

It's blizzarding!!!  (The first real snow of winter calls for a new word - don't you think?)

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2012 - Tails

Robin Page and Steve Jenkin's What Do You Do With A Tail Like This?  bring tails to the forefront.  Hehe. Sorry.  I couldn't resist.

This team has an unbeatable way of bringing nonfiction to kids, with titles featuring lyrical text  and their signature illustrations.

Another title focusing on tails is Beth Fielding's Animal Tails.  With beautiful color photographs, Animal Tails is informative and fun.

Ever wonder why humongous elephants have skinnier tails than tiny squirrels?  You won't after reading Fielding's book!

Both titles are great additions to your nonfiction library.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Inside Hurricanes by Mary Kay Carson

Sterling has published some great nonfiction titles - this being one of them.  Their INSIDE series is fantastic.  They are chock full of great facts and the fold-out page design creates an interactive experience for middle school readers.  Inside Hurricanes includes first-person experiences as well as pithy hurricane statistics.  The use of diagrams, charts, and photos is so effective, even adults will find this appealing.  

Friday, January 6, 2012

Photo of the Day

The personal challenge of taking a photo every day of 2012 is helping me make the time to "see" things. Stepping away from the computer every so often is important, whether for a photo or to read a picture book.  Gatsby loves the plan and hopes that most of my photos involve him!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Review - NF Picture Book Challenge, Week #1 - Thunder Birds by Jim Arnosky

Jim Arnosky is a pro at wildlife illustration and this book is no disappointment.  In Thunder Birds, Arnosky has chosen to highlight the biggest and strongest of birds.  He mixes his wonderful personal narrative with fold-out  life size illustrations that will thoroughly engage readers, both young and old.  This book will definitely inspire readers to grab a pair of binoculars and search out their own "thunder birds".

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Photo of the Day - Stone Wall

"Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast." ~ Robert Frost, Mending Wall

My mom loves Frost's poems, which is probably why I have a fascination for stone walls to this day.  I have been photographing them in the Hudson Valley since I was a teenager.  This one does not separate a farmer's fields, but probably framed an early garden.

You build a wall one stone at a time, just like book.  Stone by stone.  Word by word.  Sometimes those words even seem as heavy.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2012

Announcing: The Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2012
I'm excited to announce the
2012 Nonfiction Reading Challenge
The goal is to encourage everyone to read more nonfiction picture books this year.
Take the challenge by setting a goal for yourself.
Maybe you want to read one nonfiction picture book each week or each month.
Visit both the Kid Lit Frenzy and The Nonfiction Detectives blogs
throughout the year for nonfiction reviews and giveaways!
Tweet about the challenge using the hashtag #nfpb2012.

Photo of the Day

First snow of the new year.

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