Archive for Nonfiction

Garbage Trucks by Cari Meister

Garbage TrucksBullfrog Books Machines at Work is an easy non-fiction series for the youngest transportation lovers. Titles include Airplanes, Fire Trucks, Garbage Trucks, Helicopters, Ships, Tractors, and Trains. Currently, Garbage Trucks is the favorite in our house, but there is something to appeal to everyone in this series. The books include real photos and short text. In Garbage Trucks, children are introduced to front loaders, rear loaders and side loaders and how they work. In the back of each book, there is a page that highlights different part of the vehicle and a picture glossary. It’s a great way to introduce some new vocabulary.

Posted by: Liz

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Get Real! A Non-Fiction Video Book Review

This month, Kelly shares a great book for winter, Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill. Let’s hope that our winters are a little easier than his!

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Common Core Review: Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World by Steve Jenkins

Eye to Eye: How Animals See the WorldHave you ever thought much about the different kinds of eyes that exist in the animal world? What about the evolution of the eye? Did you know that some animals use their eyes for more than just vision? In his book Eye to Eye, author and illustrator Steve Jenkins takes a closer look at the eyes of a variety of animals. Beginning with an overview of the four basic kinds of eyes (eyespot, pinhole, compound and camera), Jenkins provides specific examples of different animal eyes and what makes them unique. For instance, the bullfrog uses its eyes to push food down its throat and the stalk-eyed fly relies on the length of its eye stalks to attract a mate. Some creatures, like the blue mountain swallowtail butterfly, can see high-frequency colors that are invisible to the human eye; while others, like the sea slug, have only eyespots which can detect the presence of light, but cannot perceive solid images or colors. Using his trademark cut paper illustrations, Jenkins has put together yet another concise, informative, and visually engaging exploration of the animal world. Full of interesting facts and bright, colorful illustrations, Eye to Eye is sure to entertain and inform readers of all ages.

Virtually any Steve Jenkins book lends itself nicely to fulfilling the informational text requirements of the Common Core Standards. His work is well researched, focused, and engaging and his artistic style provides the opportunity for cross-curricular collaboration with the arts. Here are some possible connections to make using Eye to Eye:

• Once students have a better idea of how various types of eyes work and look, they can choose an animal and recreate a cut or torn paper collage image of that animal’s eye along with a brief description of what kind of eye it is and any special functions or features.
o CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.7
Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

• Common Core Standards for writing can be met by asking students to compare and contrast the different features of two animals’ eyes and write up two scenarios – one in which each animal would thrive while the other might struggle.
o CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.7
Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

• Try pairing Eye to Eye with Beth Fielding’s Animal Eyes (2011) for some more information about other animal eyes and ask students to compare and contrast the information and authors’ styles.
o CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.9
Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
o CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.8
Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
o CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.9
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

All standards are from the Common Core State Standards Initiative website

Posted by: Staci

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Get Real! A Non-Fiction Video Book Review

This month, Sarah shares the book Feathers: Not Just for Flying, by Melissa Stewart.

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Get Real! A Non-Fiction Video Book Review

This month, Kelly shares Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth, a fascinating, picture book-length history of both Puerto Rico, and the parrots that live there.

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A Smart Girl’s Guide to Knowing What to Say: Finding the Words to Fit Any Situation By Patti Kelley Criswell

A Smart Girl’s Guide to Knowing What to Say: Finding the Words to Fit Any SituationKnowing what to say in any given situation can be tough. You may be in a difficult situation and need to speak with care so as to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. You may be dealing with a bully and you need to stand up for yourself. You may need to respectfully negotiate a compromise with a friend or parent. And sometimes you hurt someone and need to apologize. A Smart Girl’s Guide to Knowing What to Say covers all types of situations and offers real-life examples of healthy ways to express what you mean effectively and with respect for yourself and others. This is a great book for girls to explore on their own or with their parents or friends. It would make a great starting point for discussion or a guide to role playing between daughters and their parents, so as to practice handling different situations. The information in this book is well organized and the design is colorful and appealing. It is part of the American Girl series, which many girls may already be familiar with. The book was made for girls, but it is sound advice for boys as well!

A Smart Girl’s Guide to Knowing What to Say was first recommended to me by the organization A Mighty Girl – check out their website or follow them on Facebook for great book, toy, and movie recommendations for girls, as well as interesting information about women throughout history.

Posted by: Parry

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Common Core Review: Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey by Loree Griffin Burns and Ellen Harasimowicz

Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly JourneyChildren and adults alike are fascinated by butterflies. Their beautiful delicate wings attract attention where ever they fly, and their seemingly magical metamorphosis has inspired countless stories. Handle with Care tells the story of El Bosque Nuevo, a butterfly farm in Costa Rica, where a variety of butterflies are raised and then sold to various museums around the world. The benefits of this arrangement are twofold: 1. people everywhere can have the opportunity to observe and learn from butterflies from distant parts of the world and 2. the profits from the sales of the butterflies go to help preserve the rain forest surrounding the farm.

Author Loree Griffin Burns meticulously researched this topic and even spent time living in Costa Rica and working at El Bosque Nuevo. Her hands on research and genuine passion for the subject matter are evident throughout this book. Burns chooses her words carefully so as to make the material accessible to a younger audience while still being interesting and informative enough for older, more independent learners. In addition, Ellen Harasimowicz’s vibrant and gorgeous photographs bring the reader into the butterfly farm and allow for a stunningly up close view of the butterflies as they make their remarkable transformations. However, this book is more than just an informational text about butterflies. It is about the journey these amazing creatures take in an effort to inform, enlighten, and educate people around the world about butterflies while also raising money and awareness to save the rainforests. Handle with Care takes the familiar (butterflies) and connects it to the exotic (Costa Rican rainforests) and, in doing so, readers can make a connection to the very real plight that is the deforestation of the rainforests.

Common Core Connections
Because Handle with Care has so many layers, it lends itself to a variety of educational opportunities. Younger students will benefit from a pairing with any number of traditional butterfly stories such as Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Lois Ehlert’s Waiting for Wings. In addition to studying the life cycle of a butterfly, older students can also go on to explore the environmental issues raised by the book. Students could be encouraged to communicate with the butterfly farmers at El Bosque Nuevo and perhaps even raise awareness and funds for the butterfly farm in their own communities. Field trips to butterfly gardens are a natural extension for any age as well.

For more information on the work of El Bosque Nuevo and more ideas on how to share this information with students, visit the following websites:
El Bosque Nuevo
Loree Griffin Burns’ Handle with Care page

Posted by: Staci

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