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Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

If you haven’t noticed, nonfiction texts have really been stepping up their game recently! Some of my favorites from from Animal Planet and Time, Inc., so I wanted to share some new series that are coming from them. 

Animal Planet Chapter Books

Book #1: Sharks
Book #2: Dinosaurs
Book #3: Bugs
Book #4: Snakes

Summary: Engaging narrative nonfiction is paired with tried-and-true kid-friendly subjects in a popular chapter book series from Animal Planet and Time Inc. Books. All books in the series feature plentiful full-color photographs, illustrations, and a kid-friendly design. Sidebars such as “Meet the Scientists,” “In Your News Feed,” and “Fact File” pages highlight interesting aspects of each creature profiled and keep readers up to date on the most current research. Packed with information for thrill seekers and animal lovers alike, these are the perfect books for new readers who are ready to take a deeper dive into their favorite subject.

A companion fiction series, Animal Planet Adventures, is also available.

Animal Planet Adventures

Book #1: Dolphin Rescue by Catherine Nichols
Book #2: Farm Friends Escape! by Gail Herman

Summary: Animal Planet Adventure chapter books present fiction and nonfiction within a familiar narrative format to bring the best of the animal world to young readers. Perfect for reluctant, challenged, and newly fluent readers, the new series combines fun animal mysteries with cool nonfiction sidebars that relate directly to the stories. Each book contains 100 full-color illustrations and photographs.

Animal Planet Adventures Curriculum Guide

Animal Planet Animal Bites

Animals on the Move
Baby Animals
*Newest titles!*

Farm Animals
Wild Animals
*Reviewed October 5th, 2016*

Ocean Animals
Polar Animals
*Reviewed April 27th, 2016*

Summary: The Animal Bites series provides emerging readers with the perfect bite-sized guide to the animal world. Each book contains more than 200 striking photographs, easy-to-understand graphics, and maps. Fun “Just Like Me” call-outs show the ways in which animals are similar to young readers–sharks rely on their senses of sight and scent to learn about their world, for example, just like kids do. “Info bits” boxes highlight quick facts about a species’ home, size, and classification. Each book contains a glossary, a page of resource where kids can go to learn more about animals, and a great list of activities to try, from making a bird feeder to moving like a baby rabbit or tern chick.

A portion of proceeds from the sale of books in the Animal Bites series benefits the principal partners of Reach Out. Act. Respond. (R.O.A.R.), Animals Planet’s initiative dedicated to improving the lives of animals in our communities and in the wild.

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Busy Builders Construction Site
Author: Katherine Sully
Illustrator: Carles Ballesteros
Published December 20, 2016 by Silver Dolphin

Summary: Dig in and get ready to work in Busy Builders: Construction Site. This three-dimensional interactive kit will bring young children to a busy building site, where they will meet the construction crew at work on a new school. The fact book introduces kids to the people and machines at a construction site, using colorful illustrations and simple text. Plus, the box folds out to form a school under construction, complete with model pieces for the building, vehicles, and construction workers.

Review and Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book/kit was such a joy. I saved it for a gathering of kids at a lake house. Six kids (a 9 mo, 2 yo, 2.5 yo, 3.5 yo, 5 yo, and 7 yo) worked together to read the book and build the construction site. The two oldest kids were the best at putting the pieces together, and the parents helped. The directions were very easy to follow, and the construction vehicles swivel and move!

I didn’t remember to take pictures of the group effort in action, but I did take a few pictures of my two sons reading the book and playing with the kit the next day (see below). It was so fun to read about all of the construction workers and to have the figures in hand to place them on the construction site. This book would make a wonderful gift and would be great for a learning station in a class. My son is 3.5 years old, and I built most of the vehicles, but he helped with the smaller figures. Early elementary school students would be able to build this kit together with assistance, and the picture book is clear and easy to follow. For a learning stations, the kit can easily be disassembled between groups, or each group of students can build a different vehicle.

We are very excited to assemble the airport and fire station kits next!

Discussion Questions: Where do all of the crew members work? How do they work together to build the school?; How do you think the author and illustrator worked together to craft this book?

Fun Moments: 

An Hour Later (No Lie):

Read This If You Love: Building Models, Vehicles, Interactive Play, Engaging Reading Activities

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Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

Can an Aardvark Bark?
Author: Melissa Stewart
Illustrator: Steve Jenkins
Published June 13th, 2017 by Beach Lane Books

Summary: From award-winning author Melissa Stewart and Caldecott honoree Steve Jenkins comes a noisy nonfiction exploration of the many sounds animals make.

Can an aardvark bark? No, but it can grunt. Lots of other animals grunt too…

Barks, grunts, squeals—animals make all kinds of sounds to communicate and express themselves. With a growling salamander and a whining porcupine, bellowing giraffes and laughing gorillas, this boisterous book is chock-full of fun and interesting facts and is sure to be a favorite of even the youngest animal enthusiasts.

Review: This book came at a perfect time for my family! Trent had a doctor appointment last week and he was in the jungle room. While in the room, he started saying the noises for each animal and asking me what the ones he didn’t know make. I promptly found an app for that, and we’ve been exploring the app ever since listening to the sounds of all sorts of animals from chimpanzees to ibex to anteaters that live in the jungle to the farm to the mountains. And then we received Can an Aardvark Bark? in the mail, and it was such a happy coincidence! The book is a perfect addition to my new animal sound obsessed kid.

But in addition to my personal story of why we’re excited about this book the text is also filled with animal facts, fun to read, and illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, Steve Jenkins.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: In an elementary classroom, Melissa Stewart’s work  is such a wonderful way to bring science into reading time and reading into science time. This one is no exception. The book includes a wide variety of animals and interesting information about each one. It also has a fun rhythmic and rhyming text that lends itself to read alouds. The book could also be a jumping off point for an animal inquiry project focused around either an animal in the book or a new animal.

Discussion Questions: What are different ways animals communicate?; What animal makes a sound that surprised you?; How did the author structure the book?; What are some animals not in the book? What sound do they make? Where would they fit in in the text structure? Or would they be in their own category?; What can animal sounds tell you about the animal?

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Read This If You Love: Nonfiction picture books about animals, Melissa Stewart’s work or Steve Jenkins’s work

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nfpb2017

Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive!
Author: Ammi-Joan Paquette & Laurie Ann Thompson
Published June 27th, 2017 by Walden Pond Press

Summary: Two Truths and a Lie is the first book in a fascinating new series that presents some of the most crazy-but-true stories about the living world as well as a handful of stories that are too crazy to be true—and asks readers to separate facts from the fakes!

Did you know that there is a fungus that can control the mind of an ant and make it do its bidding? Would you believe there is such a thing as a corpse flower—a ten-foot-tall plant with a blossom that smells like a zombie? How about a species of octopus that doesn’t live in water but rather lurks in trees in the Pacific Northwest?

Every story in this book is strange and astounding. But not all of them are real. Just like the old game in this book’s title, two out of every three stories are completely true and one is an outright lie. Can you guess which? It’s not going to be easy. Some false stories are based on truth, and some of the true stories are just plain unbelievable. And they’re all accompanied by dozens of photos, maps, and illustrations. Amaze yourself and trick your friends as you sort out the fakes from the facts!

Acclaimed authors Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson have teamed up to create a series of sneaky stories about the natural world designed to amaze, disgust, and occasionally bamboozle you.

About the Authors:

 

Ammi-Joan Paquette has traveled to twenty-four countries, has the ability to wake herself up at a given time without an alarm clock, and once climbed Mt. Everest. (Not all of these are true!) Joan is the author of the novels Rules for Ghosting, Paradox, and Nowhere Girl, as well as the picture books Petey and Pru and the Hullabaloo, Ghost in the House, The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Mermaids, and The Tiptoes Guide to Tracking Fairies. She lives outside Boston, Massachusetts, where she balances her own writing and her day job as a literary agent. You can visit her online at www.ajpaquette.com.

Laurie Ann Thompson has ridden a pig, gotten stuck in an elevator overnight, and jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. (One of these facts is not true; can you guess which?) She is the author of Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters, My Dog Is the Best, and Emmanuel’s Dream, a picture book biography about Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, which was the recipient of the Schneider Family Book Award and was named an ALA Notable Book, a CCBC Choice, and a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year, among dozens of other accolades. She lives outside Seattle with her family. You can visit her online at www.lauriethompson.com.

Review: Walden Pond, as far as I know, hasn’t published a nonfiction text other than the Guys Read: True Stories, and I can definitely see why this is one they chose to add to their publication catalog. One of the greatest educational obstacles right now is that students have access to such a wide variety of information, some that is anything but reliable and valid, so it is up to parents and educators to show how to filter through all of the information and check the validity of what they find. Paquette and Thompson’s Two Truths and a Lie take that to a fun level giving the reader three stories, all the seem as crazy yet possible, but it gives kids the opportunity to use the internet to research each story to determine what is the truth and what is the lie. But the book doesn’t seem like it is for teaching, though it would work perfectly in the classroom, because the stories are just so crazy and fun to read from zombie-making fungi to an unlikely chicken, the stories are just all so unbelievable!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Like I shared above, these stories would be a perfect way to practice digital literacy and learn about reliable and valid sources.

Discussion Questions: Which is a lie? Why do you think so? Where could you check to find out? Which of the true stories do you want to learn more about?

Flagged Passages: “Part 1: Preposterous Plans and Fungi–Crazy, Creepy, Cool

Ah, nature. A green meadow. Wind rustling through the leaves.
Mushrooms growing on the side of a fallen log. What could be more peaceful, more predictable, more ordinary?
To that we say: ha! The plants and fungus we spotlight in this section are full of surprises. They completely defy those common stereotypes and misconceptions
Intrigued? We hope so! Because once you’ve read these, going green will never mean quite the same thing…

A. Underground Miracle Root
B. Pandomonium
C. The Secret Lives of Plants.” Chapter 1, Part 1

Read This If You Love: Learning interesting and new facts about nature

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Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

Behind the Legend Series
The Loch Ness Monster
Big Food
Author: Erin Peabody
Illustrator: Victor Rivas
Published May 2nd, 2017 by little bee books

Series Summary: little bee books is thrilled to announce their brand-new nonfiction middle grade series! Behind the Legend is designed for readers ages 8-10 and asks that to decide what is fact and what is fiction. Each book analyzes legendary creatures throughout history using scientific problem solving. Readers evaluate the evidence of sightings, debunk hoaxes with scientific experiments, and read from sources to decide if the monster is made of myth, legend, or fact. Packed with interesting anecdotes, photos, sidebars, and illustrations, each title is a page-turning adventure that readers won’t want to put down.

Learn all about creatures and monsters throughout history and discover if they’re real or not in this new nonfiction series! Behind the Legend looks at creatures and monsters throughout history and analyzes them through a scientific, mythbusting lens, debating whether or not the sightings and evidence provided are adequate proof of their existence.

More books coming soon! Zombies and Werewolves coming in Summer 2017 and Unicorns and Dragons in Spring 2018.

The Loch Ness Monster Summary: In The Loch Ness Monster, readers learn about all the sightings and proof of it, from the famous photograph to the huge “footprints” found by the Loch. It also discusses other history about the monster, such as how Nessie became a major figure in popular culture, and other mythical beings that came from Scotland. Complete with engaging anecdotes, interesting sidebars, and fantastic illustrations, kids won’t want to put this book down!

Big Foot Summary: In Bigfoot, readers learn about all the sightings and proof of it, from the famous photograph and video to footprints and other evidence. It also discusses additional history about the monster, such as how Bigfoot became a major figure in popular culture, and how other versions of the creature (such as the Yeti) have been seen around the world. Complete with engaging anecdotes, interesting sidebars, and fantastic illustrations, kids won’t want to put this book down!

Review: On one of our recent Top Ten Tuesday posts, I shared that I am always looking for nonfiction books to keep my middle grade students reading nonfiction because it is so hard to talk them into reading it unless it really catches their interest. I think part of the reason is because there aren’t many transitional nonfiction books from picture books and shorter informational nonfiction books to longer works like books by Jim Murphy, Deborah Heiligman, and Candance Fleming (which are phenomenal, but many readers just don’t have the nonfiction stamina). I think the Behind the Legend series fits this need perfectly! They are slightly longer than the traditional children’s nonfiction book and the words outnumber the pictures though there are still many illustrations, big font, lots of white space, and short chapters.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: The Behind the Legend series’ texts will be perfect for not only reading aloud and discussing the truly interesting information within the book, I think the texts would be perfect mentor texts for writing an informational nonfiction text of the students’ own. The books do a wonderful job at looking at many different aspects of the legend and remaining unbiased.

Discussion Questions: Based on the information shared in the text, do you believe the legends are fact or fiction? Support your answer with evidence form the text.; How do legends such as the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot become such cultural phenomenons?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Who Was? series, Legends

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**Thank you little bee books for providing copies for review!**

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Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

You Can Be a Paleontologist!: Discovering Dinosaurs with Dr. Scott
Author: Scott D. Sampson, Ph.D.
Illustrator: Franco Tempesta
Published April 4th, 2017 by National Geographic Kids

Summary: Ever wondered how to find a dinosaur? Paleontologist Dr. Scott Sampson, host of Dinosaur Train on PBS Kids, tells kids how! How do paleontologists find dinosaur bones? How do they know what dinosaurs ate or looked like? And what is paleontology, anyway? Dr. Scott tackles all these questions and more while inspiring kids to go out and make the next big dino discovery!

About the Author: Scott Sampson is a dinosaur paleontologist, science communicator, and passionate advocate for connecting people with nature. He currently serves as president and CEO of Science World British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C., where much of his work focuses on rethinking 21st Century cities as places where people and nature thrive. Nevertheless, he’s perhaps best known as “Dr. Scott,” host and science advisor of the Emmy-nominated PBS KIDS series Dinosaur Train, produced by the Jim Henson Company. Dinosaur Train is currently viewed daily by millions of children and parents in more than 100 countries. Sampson also served as the on-air host and science advisor for the four-part Discovery Channel series Dinosaur Planet (2003). He has given hundreds of media interviews for radio (e.g., NPR), newspapers (e.g., New York Times), multimedia newswire services (e.g., Reuters), television (e.g., The Today Show, Good Morning America), and periodicals (e.g., Time Magazine, National Geographic). He has been featured in more than a dozen documentaries, including Nova, Paleoworld, and Nature Kids. Sampson is a widely sought public speaker, presenting on topics ranging from dinosaurs and education to children, nature, and sustainability. Sampson is author of Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life (University of California Press, 2009), as well as a new general audience book—How to Raise a Wild Child—aimed at helping parents, teachers and others foster a deep connection with nature in children (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015). He lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife Toni and daughter Jade.

Review: Kids love Dr. Scott on Dinosaur Train on PBS, and there is a reason why: HE LOVES HIS JOB! And that love just flows through this book. His descriptions of everything from where to find fossils, where they are stored, and why dinos looked so weird are so animated, lively, and interesting and the text is so kid friendly! It is set up in a way that is easy to follow if you want to read it sequentially or the reader can jump around to get answers to their questions. The information isn’t dumbed down for kids, which is something I really try to watch out for because it is a huge pet peeve of mine!, but it is definitely written in a way that most readers will be able to understand. As for hard tier 3 academic words, there is a glossary!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Do you know that student you have who has read every dinosaur book in your library but just wants to know more and more? This book is for them. This shows them that they can take their passion and make a living out of it! The text would also find a very nice home in classrooms to discuss how science is used in the real world. I hope there are more books in this series because it would be definitely a wonderful asset to elementary classrooms to have books written by scientists for kids about being a scientist.

Discussion Questions: What do you have to do to become a paleontologist?; What would your job consist of if you become a paleontologist?; What interesting information about dinosaurs have paleontologists discovered?; What other questions do you have about being a paleontologist?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Dinosaurs, Sharing scientists with kids

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**Thank you Karen at Media Masters Publicity for providing a copy for review!**

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nfpb2017

Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

Happy (almost) Earth Day!

Care For Our World
Author: Karen Robbins
Illustrator: Alexandra Ball
Originally Published: July 15th, 2012 by Compendium Publishing and Communications
App Release: March 1st, 2017 by Sunbreak Games, LLC

Book Summary: Get ready to meet some truly wonderful wild animals from every continent on Earth. As children turn the pages of this book, they’ll encounter dozens of playful creatures in their natural habitats and will learn about the importance of caring for all the plants, animals, and people that call planet Earth their home. A timely reminder of the responsibility every generation shares: to nurture and respect life in all its many forms.

App Information: Take an interactive journey around the world, discovering diverse environments and the animals that call them home, in this animated adaptation of the award-winning children’s book, Care for Our World. Additional creative activities are included, like Coloring Book pages, Creating custom habitats, and even Learning facts, sounds, and photo galleries in the Animal Encyclopedia.

“Care for our world, for you and for me, for all living things from mountain to sea.”

Author Karen Robbins’ delightful words and illustrator Alexandra Ball’s captivating images combine to inspire children to care for the earth they call home: a timely reminder of the responsibility every generation shares to nurture and respect life in all its many forms.

Features: 

• Listen to the animated story, with narration, music, and sounds.

• Touch characters to see and hear them react, and practice their words.

• Color select pages from the book
• Create custom habitats with select animals and backgrounds.
• Save images of your creations to the Gallery.

• Learn more with facts, sounds, and photos in the Animal Encyclopedia.

Recommended for ages 3-8

Review and Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: I’m so impressed with so many of the book apps that are becoming available! As a 21st century mom and teacher, technology is just inevitable in our lives, so I want to make sure that whatever my son and my students interact with is the best out there and isn’t just a tech babysitter. Care For Our World fits this definition and is definitely an app that I am going to recommend to my mom friends and my elementary teacher friends.

The story by itself is a wonderful read aloud and discussion starter. It takes the two main characters around the world to visit different habitats and the animals that live there. The author’s theme is quite clear throughout: this is OUR world and we need to take care of it because we share it with some amazing animals. This theme makes it a perfect read aloud for Earth Day and many animal and Earth-centered activities and inquiry projects could stem from the story.

The app takes the book to a whole new level. Everything wonderful about the book is still there, but now the story is interactive! First, it reads to you. On each page, you can also click on the plants and animals and the narrator will tell you what they are. You can also click on each word, and it’ll read it to you. This is perfect for kids learning to read! The viewer, when finished with the book, can now go explore more about some of the animals in the story by going to the Animal Encyclopedia where you can hear the sounds the animals make, learn about their behaviors, and see photos of them. Lastly, kids will have a blast coloring different scenes from the book or creating their own habitat (all artwork can be saved in a gallery to view later). The app is fun and informative–a perfect mix for the type of app I’m always trying to find for my son.

Trailer: 

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