Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Non-Fiction Poetry Beauty



              I continue to be grateful to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at Kidlit Frenzy.  There are still books from the past I want to read and share,  but it's also time to read new ones coming too. 

             

It's coming Friday, the #nf10for10. You can find all about it here at Cathy Mere's blog, Reflect & Refine, hosted by Cathy & Mandy Robek.

               I received an advance copy of Laura Purdie Salas' new poetry book coming out March 1st. It's If You Were The Moon,  illustrated by Jaime Kim. I adore it, not least because it's about one of my favorite topics, the moon! I've done moon journaling with students before, observed it, wrote about it, created art and wrote poetry inspired by it. Oh, how I wish I'd had this book to enhance our learning!

Laura's moon observations poetically call upon factual observations in moon-colored, orange lettering that swirl across the pages and the facts from those observations are given in brief paragraphs enclosed by {curly brackets}. 


If you were the moon, you would "spin like a twilight ballerina."  Or, you would "hide in the shadows." It's difficult to choose a favorite, but among all the pages, I smiled a lot when I turned the page to "Catch and throw. Catch and throw." This creative line explains how the moon takes light from the sun and reflects it back to earth. Facts are interpreted in clever ways, with an ending that will satisfy everyone no matter how old. Even the front and back cover is "moon-filled".  

It may be a challenge illustrating these moon "facts". After all, the moon mostly is something we watch when it is dark. Jaime Kim's illustrations fill the dark pages with gorgeous night skies and nighttime scenes: stars and comets, an owl and tree silhouettes and the earth. Yet on every page, that gorgeous moon is the true star. Aside from the 'science' of the moon, other cultural aspects are also included, like the art inspired by it through history. A glossary and a section on further reading are added at the back.

All non-fiction books are "teaching" books in some way, but when non-fiction facts are shown in poetry and gorgeous drawings, it widens ideas of how to look at our world. Laura has written a lovely book about the moon, useful for a wide range of ages. I certainly would have used this with my middle schoolers while teaching the importance of knowing factual information when writing in a variety of genres.



I will add that if you are unfamiliar with Laura's books, you should explore them. She's written for a variety of topics, but these pictures above are ones similar in tone, and through poetry explore three other topics: rocks, water, and leaves. 

15 comments:

  1. I was wondering why the name was so familiar but was so lazy to Google it. Seeing her other books helped. We definitely have lots of customers who love Moon books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's another great one to add to their collection! I'm glad you remember Laura's books. Each one is clever and a good nf book about the topic. Thanks, Earl.

      Delete
  2. I don't write book reviews very often. I think today was my first ever post on nonfiction picture books. I need to practice more often. I love how your review is so detailed. Thanks for being a mentor not only about books, but also about writing book reviews.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Margaret, but your review added other things that I didn't, like the Clair de lune piece. Each one is unique, and simply a celebration of a new wonderful book.

      Delete
  3. I was so excited when I read this book - the format opens up so many possibilities of using this book..... in writing, in science, in reading. So wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it is marvelous. You can see I agree! Glad to hear from you about it, Michele.

      Delete
  4. I love the sneak peek into the language of this book. I had to stop and think just in your post so I can only imagine the actual book will make me think more. I found your thinking about Catch and Throw, very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Mandy. I hope you'll like it when you read it!

      Delete
  5. Second blog today to share this beautiful book! I definitely need to read it, and I think it'll be a great poetry book to read with Trent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it will be good for Trent and the science can be explained in words that he can understand. Enjoy!

      Delete
  6. This looks lovely. I can't wait to read it. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Cathy. I'll see you tomorrow with #nf10for10!

      Delete
  7. Oh, thank you, Linda, for your lovely review! I, too, was worried about illustrations being too dark, until my editor sent me to Jaime Kim's website and said, "This is who we want to do the book." Her portfolio featured many gorgeous, luminous works with the moon and/or night sky prominent. Didn't she make magic?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, and yes, Jaime did make magic. She had wonderful words to work with, too!

      Delete
  8. I have been making a list of books that I want to get for my granddaughters--and Laura's book is at the top. I can't wait to read it!

    ReplyDelete

Having a conversation is a good thing!