Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Non-Fiction Top Ten

Thanks to Cathy and Mandy for hosting today's Top Ten Non-Fiction Picture Books!  I will be honest and say that I was scrambling after school today trying to figure out which books kids have been loving and sometimes hoarding in their book bins. I came up with a simple list of animal favorites.

 I love, love, love this book : My First Day by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. I don't think you can go wrong with Steve Jenkins!! This sweet book tells about the first movements and experiences of animals just entering the world.   I think my favorite page is about Darwin's frog and reads: On my first day I hopped out of my father's mouth. The kids just oo and ah and want to know more about the special pouch the frog has in his throat to keep his tadpoles safe. 
What Happens Next?: I bought this book because I love pattern books and flap books and  young kids often have success with these.  I also love Nicola Davies and her non-fiction books are some of my favorites.  I will tell you this book was in the preschool section but I think it serves primary readers well and also gives them a structure to mimic if they were to try writing similar book on their own.  

My students this year seem to be obsessed with sharks.  The boys especially have collected just about every shark book and have created their own basket of non-fiction books they are using for writing their own books or posting on the blog.  Here are two that they are loving to read and learn from...
Amazing Sharks and Animal Lives: Sharks.

If You Were A Penguin: This book seems to be one of the most versatile non-fiction texts because it has pattern, descriptive language and non-fiction information embedded in it.  I use it during our pattern book study to help kids see how and why authors use repetitive language and then later in in our non-fiction study to see how an author can teach the reader information poetically. 

Farm: This series by scholastic has been a big hit in my classroom and I feature this book about the farm because it becomes a favorite as we go and visit a local farm in the spring.  I can preview some of the things they will explore at Stratford and also help them notice features of non-fiction that a more traditional non-fiction text uses.  

Who's Looking At You: This book is lots of fun because each of the flaps inside the book is a close up of an animal's eye. When the flap is lifted, there is information that you can read and another picture of the entire animal. It is playful and informative and always in someone's book bin.
The Life Size Series is VERY popular with the kids. Life Size Zoo just invites kids to love non-fiction. They love to read the small cartoons that feature more information about the animal.  They also love to read about each animal's name. It seems to bring them closer to understanding and appreciating the type of animal they are learning about.

Each year I have kids who fall in love with Zoo Borns. They love the animals names and to find out which zoo is home to each sweet small animal. The animals narrate each page and you feel like you know them. This year I picked up ABC ZooBorns to add to our room. There is also a website we visit for videos.

So the last picture book is the exception to the top ten non-fiction books about animals. But, See A Heart Share a Heart is about how Eric Telchin is finding a little love around his world.  I checked this book out from the library because I loved the cover and Eric's story. He quite simply finds hearts in his everyday life and photographs what he sees. Eric has a blog featuring his heart sightings. 
  I shared it on Valentine's Day with my kids. If we could all be focused on finding and seeing the best in others wouldn't our days be filled with more love than hate and jealousy. It seems like such a simple yet complicated quest as humans. This book brought me closer to helping young kids begin to think about it.


Catherine said...

Love your list! Steve Jenkins is one of my favorites, and See a Heart looks great! Thanks for sharing!

Carrie Gelson said...

Great top ten. I am currently sharing My first Day with my Grade 2/3 class and they are loving it. I also love the Scholastic series that Farm is a part of. It is very popular in my room for buddy reading. We have four of the titles. Thanks for such a fun list!

Mandy said...

Thanks for joining us. I know life is so busy. I too just got the heart book and shared it with my class. I think I will have to get My First Day. Sounds perfect.