Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Nonfiction Top Ten: #nf10for10

Thank you Cathy at Reflect and Refine, Julie at Write at the Edge and Mandy Enjoy and Embrace Learning for organizing this nonfiction picture book event.  Below are some of my favorite nonfiction picture books and Wonders from Wonderopolis to go along with each book.

Me... Jane 
by Patrick McDonnell
This book is an inspiring story.  It describes Jane Goodall's life as a child exploring and wondering with her stuffed chimpanzee.  I love everything about this book!  Wonder #566 Why Is It So Fun To Monkey Around? shares a bit of information about Jane Goodall's work with chimpanzees.

Just Kids Pictures, Poems and Other Silly Animal Stuff Just for Kids 
complied by Bonnie Louise Kuchler
I'm not sure if this is truly considered nonfiction as each page features an animal, poem and text about the animal.  One of the animals featured in the book is an owl and goes perfectly with Wonder #816 Who Is the Wisest Bird?.

Hunters of the Night 
by Elaine Landau
This book follows raccoons, big cats, owls, bats, snakes, alligators and crocodiles through their life at night, what they eat, their predators and 'fun facts'.  Kids love look at the real photographs and reading about them.  This book would could easily be paired with Wonder #305 Why Would You Hike At Night?.

A Rainbow of Animals
by Melissa Stewart
This book is organized by color and animals that are that color.  After each section, there is a map that shows where each animal of that color is located.  The text is very simple, so this is a great book to get students thinking and wondering about animals and their colors.  One of the animals featured in the orange section of the book is the panther chameleon.  While many of the featured animals could go along with a Wonder, I would use Wonder #651 Why Do Chameleons Change Their Colors?.  This Wonder helps explain in more detail how and why chameleons change colors.

What is a reptile? and What is an amphibian?
by Feana Tu'akoi

This is a 'flip me over book' that kids love to look at the photographs and read over and over again.  The book helps children to understand what amphibians and reptiles are and how they are classified.  For example it says, "If it has webbed feet, it is an amphibian.  Not always...."  Then goes on share how ducks, pelicans and otters have webbed feet, but are not amphibians.  After your students learn what a reptile is, be sure to visit Wonder #365 How Do Fangs Work?.  My students loved reading this Wonder.

Now & Ben The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin
by Gene Barretta
I love how this book is organized and would be a great mentor text in showing students different ways to organize their own writing.  Each of Benjamin Franklin's inventions are first introduced as the 'now' and how we currently use them and as 'then' showing exactly what he invented.  After reading about Benjamin Franklin's inventions use Wonder #99 What Is a Patent? to help students learn about this process.

Animals Nobody Loves
by Seymour Simon
I had a hard time choosing just one Seymour Simon books.  I chose this book because kids enjoy learning about the animals they love, but adults don't seem to love.  The real photographs in this book help capture why adults don't love these creatures and draw students in.  One animal Seymour Simon features is the bat.  Learn more about this creature and how they use sound waves with Wonder #378 Do Bats Need Maps?

by Nic Bishop
Like Seymour Simon, I had a hard time choosing one favorite Nic Bishop book.  His books combine interesting topics with fabulous photographs which makes any child want to read.  If you are having a hard time engaging students with nonfiction books, trying introducing them to Nic Bishop.  Like Wonder #188 Are Frogs and Toads the Same? this book discusses the difference between frogs and today.

Looking at Lincoln
by Maira Kalman
I've shared this book several times on this blog.  I enjoy the way this book is organized and the information shared.  It is also written in a child friendly manner.  The information the author shares are the things students are interested in.  Wonder #132 Where Was Abraham Lincoln Born? is a great addition to this book.


  1. Great choices! I haven't seen A Rainbow of Animals, but I'm adding it to my list! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Love the look of Hunters of the Night & Now and Ben-plus your patent link. Thanks!

  3. Barbara ~
    Thanks for sharing your great list AND matching wonders! I have been looking for ways to use Wonderopolis with my first grader and this is a great time and connection! I am looking forward to wandering and wondering with my curious little first graders!


  4. Barbara,
    Many of the books on your list are new to me. I can't wait to check them out! I know my class would be interested in Hunters of the Night and Animals Nobody Loves among others on your list. I'm thinking Seymour Simon must be the second most mentioned author on our lists. Steve Jenkins may be the first.

    Thanks for joining the conversation,

  5. Your book choices are great, but the connections to the Wonders is even better! Such a fabulous organizational framework for this event, and a new way to support student's thinking about making connections across mediums. The wheels are turning....I have to share this post with teachers. Thank you.


  6. Looking at Lincoln is such a fabulous book...love Maira Kalman!