Archive for Nonfiction

Get Real! A Non-Fiction Video Book Review

This month, Sarah shares a book that ties in with Paws to Read, our summer reading club: Mice Mischief: Math Facts in Action, by Caroline Stills.

Leave a comment »

Gravity by Jason Chin

Gravity by Jason ChinOver the past few years, I’ve noticed more and more very young children–almost toddlers–asking for books about science. There have always been tiny kids interested in dinosaurs and outer space, but it seems like they’re becoming savvier (and more interested in a variety of topics) at a younger age than ever before.

Thank heavens for Jason Chin. His books–Redwood, Coral Reefs, Island, and now Gravity–are perfect for this set. Each one is a beautifully drawn, engaging story that will teach a reader more than expected about the topic (also helpful for the adult reader who might feel slightly behind when it comes to the child’s knowledge base!) As well as being intellectually stimulating and lovely to look at, Chin’s book is also subtly funny, in way reminiscent of David Wiesner. What better way to reinforce what gravity does than to show us what would happen without gravity? And what better way to drive that point home than to show us the reassertion of that gravity after its absence? Understated, but hilarious.

Gravity also sports a double-page spread at the end of the story, explaining the subject in greater detail–and with smaller, but still extremely helpful illustrations. A keen-eyed reader will also notice that there is a small bibliography on the copyright page. Probably not for toddlers, these books, but definitely helpful for anyone who would like to learn more on the fascinating subject.

Posted by: Sarah

Leave a comment »

Get Real! A Non-Fiction Video Book Review

This month, to help us kick off our summer reading clubs — Paw Pals and Pawsome Readers — Kelly shares The Animal Book by Steve Jenkins.

Leave a comment »

Common Core Review: Volcano Rising by Elizabeth Rusch

volcano risingWhen you hear the word “volcano” what comes to mind? Do you picture forceful explosions of liquid hot magma? Perhaps you think of the ancient city of Pompeii and its ash-covered inhabitants preserved for centuries in various stages of panic. Volcanoes typically conjure up visions of destruction and disaster, but Elizabeth Rusch’s Volcano Rising tells a very different story of volcanic activity – a story of creation, not destruction. Volcano Rising is a beautifully illustrated, engaging, and informative description of creative eruptions which are forming new mountains and islands all over the world.

Additionally, Rusch’s use of two levels of text makes this book accessible for a wide age range. The bold, succinct text is peppered with delicious onomatopoeia. Add to the mix Susan Swan’s beautiful collage illustrations and you have an informational text that is just begging to be read aloud to younger audiences. Further down on the page, the smaller text provides more in depth details and fascinating accounts of real volcanic activity that will grip older readers and keep them turning the pages to learn more. Helpful pronunciations are included throughout the text, and a glossary, selected bibliography, and suggested resources for further learning can be found at the end.

Common Core Connections:
As a first-rate informational text, Volcano Rising certainly fulfills all 10 of the ELA standards for Reading Informational Texts for grades 1 through 3. However, this book goes beyond the basics of meeting the standards and lends itself to the promotion of reading across the curriculum. Volcano Rising is a text that can be shared in Science, Social studies, ELA, and Art classes. Consider a cross-curricular unit focusing on the scientific aspects of volcanic formations in a variety of geographical locations (including under water and beneath glaciers). Students can then enrich their experiences by creating collages to represent what they have learned and perhaps writing a poem or brief description using any number of writing conventions from the onomatopoeia that they saw in Volcano Rising to alliteration or personification.

Consider pairing with either of Lisa Westberg Peters’ poetry collections about volcanoes and geology:
Earthshake: Poems From the Ground Up (2003)
Volcano Wakes Up! (2010)

Some Strong Connections:
1. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.5
Know and use various text features (e.g., headings, tables of contents, glossaries, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text.
2. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.6
Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in a text.
3. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.7
Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
4. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.6
Distinguish their own point of view from that of the author of a text.

Posted by: Staci

Leave a comment »

Get Real! A Non-Fiction Video Book Review

This month, Sarah shares the fascinating book Buried Beneath Us by Anthony F. Aveni.

Leave a comment »

Common Core Review: No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart

NoMonkeysNoChocolate_300
It can be difficult to comprehend events that take place in other parts of the world, so when an opportunity comes along to make a connection between life as we know it and another culture or part of nature it can provide a great opportunity. No Monkeys, No Chocolate provides just such a connection. In this delightfully illustrated nonfiction book, authors Melissa Stewart and Allen Young explore where chocolate comes from on an ecological level. From pods to beans and back again, Stewart and Young explain the various stages of the lifecycle of the cocoa tree and the various organisms that help along the way. Readers will learn the importance of midges, maggots, lizards, fungi, and of course monkeys in the production of chocolate. Without all of those living organisms we would have no cocoa trees. Without cocoa trees we would have no chocolate. And where would we be without chocolate? The book concludes with a concise explanation of the connection between cocoa trees and rainforest preservation and some tips to teach young readers how they can do their parts to help the rainforests as well.
In addition to the wealth of information found within the pages of this book, Melissa Stewart offers more resources on her website including a timeline of her writing process for No Monkeys, No Chocolate as well a list of other great books about ecosystems and how living organisms work together. For teachers or librarians looking for book extension activities Stewart has also created a Reader’s Theater script for No Monkeys, No Chocolate and a few other fun activities on her website.
When it comes to Common Core State Standards, this book hits the jackpot. It is a great resource for teaching informational texts in a science setting, and provides a great opportunity to meet the third RI ELA-Literacy standard for Key Ideas & Details for grades 3 through 5. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3) For even more ideas on teaching with this book, take a look at Melissa Stewart’s curriculum guide.

Just a Few of the Correlations to Common Core State Standards:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.3
Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.9
Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3
Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.5
Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.8
Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.9
Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3
Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.6
Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.9
Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

Posted by: Staci

Leave a comment »

Get Real! A Non-Fiction Video Book Review

This month, Kelly shares a great new book, Locomotive, by Brian Floca. We swear we made the video before it won all the awards!

Leave a comment »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,341 other followers