Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Non-Fiction Older and Newer



              I continue to be grateful to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at Kidlit Frenzy.  I have learned much from her and those who link up to share fabulous non-fiction picture books.  

        Happy Reading! The ALA award have happened. 
     Although I've enjoyed many this year,  Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet is still my favorite, and it was not honored. 
        The following books received the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children:

“March: Book Three,” written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, is the Sibert Award winner

Four Sibert Honor Books were named:
“Giant Squid,” written by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann

“Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story,” written by Caren Stelson 
“Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II,” written by Albert Marrin“We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler,” written by Russell Freedman 



          It’s wonderful when someone takes a small piece of someone’s life and makes it bigger than life, probably because of who the person became later. This is a story by Jabari Asim, that many have praised because it shows the seeds of the best traits of John Lewis.  There was hard work to be done on his farm in South Carolina, and John was in charge of the chickens, all sixty! He appears to be their ally, sharing advice to praise the day, saving one from a fall in a well, telling others about the lessons of the Bible. He wanted to be a preacher like the one he listened to every Sunday, and he practiced with those chickens. He shared the Beatitudes with them to help them live better: “Blessed are the peacemakers” he’d say when they fought over their meal. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied”  were the words for a hen who would not share. John grew up with lessons to tell others, and lessons to live by. And it started with his thoughts when caring for his flock, this time of chickens. E.B. White helps infuse the love and kindness in this story with his gorgeous paintings. My favorite line when John argued with a trader so he could keep his hens: “John learned to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves.”

       I'm not surprised that I enjoyed this book thoroughly. I've loved Woodpecker Wham! and Eat Like A Bear from April Pulley Sayre and Steve Jenkins in the past, and now find this book wonderful to see, and to learn from. The rhymes are simple but give good information: "Tail umbrella./Tail as flag./Tail as balance,/zig and zag!" Jenkins' collage pictures amaze with their detail. Because trees play such an important part in squirrels' lives, I loved that he included so many kinds of trees in the illustrations. The leaf shapes themselves could be used for an identification lesson. There is great back matter telling about the different kinds of squirrels, what habitats they prefer and how they live in them. There's even a part of what people can do to help squirrels, plant trees! A bibliography is included. 

8 comments:

  1. Preaching to the Chickens has a special place in my heart. When I was a child attending Catholic school, I got into a disagreement with a teacher regarding my choice of confirmation name - we all had to choose the name of a saint, which would be our confirmation name. I chose Francis, but was told I couldn't choose a man's name. Well, I stuck to my guns, because I didn't care too much about religion, but I knew that St. Francis had preached to the animals, and as an animal lover that was something I could definitely admire! ;-)

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    1. It's a wonderful story, Jane. I love St. Francis, too. Preaching To The Chickens certainly shows that love. Thanks for telling me!

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  2. I showed my 3rd grade students who did the Sibert Smackdown the YMAs today and they were so disappointed. I shared in that disappointment. When I was watching, I almost wrote Some Writer down before the winner was announced because I was positive it was going to win. Not sure if you read Melissa Stewart's blog today but she was talking about how some of the books even run more YA. I certainly thought there were other standout picture books that could have been honored.

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    1. I don't follow Melissa Sweet, but will look for her post, Michele. I was disappointed, and actually shocked. Wish we understood why! I imagine your students were sad, too.

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  3. I read Preaching to the Chickens to my students this week, along with talking to them about who John Lewis is now and showing a video of him speaking about the Selma march. I'm thinking of posting about this on Saturday. There was so much to love about this book!

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    1. I'm always happy to hear from you all who are teaching and sharing these wonderful book, Margaret. I did love it, too. I helped with chickens at a grandmother's when growing up and learned to identify them and know each one's personality too. I'll look for your post!

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  4. I should read Giant Squid. Glad when NFPB's get recognized in other categories!

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    1. Giant Squid is quite wonderful, Earl, poetic science!

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