Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Non-Fiction Picture Books - Loving Nature


       Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From Alyson and others, you will discover wonderful non-fiction books!

    “Time in nature is not leisure time; it's an essential investment in our children's health (and also, by the way, in our own).” 
― Richard LouvLast Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

     It's so important to me that we all learn to love our earth, and that we share that love with our children, those we raise and those we teach. 
      Here are two books about two men who love the earth and show how wonderful it can be.


      
        It’s an inspiring story by Jacqueline Briggs Martin (Snowflake Bentley, Farmer Will Allen and The Growing Table, among others) of a man named Mike who moves to some land and discovers that where he wanted to restore a corn field back to a prairie, he was told there had been a creek. Through years of work, he searched and found it, and Brook Creek is born again. Gorgeous scratchboard and painted illustrations by Claudia McGehee show the journey, the ripples and new life returning to the creek restored. First came the big machines that dug and dug until the trickle began to fill the stream bed. Grasses were planted and in a few years, more rocks were placed. Insects returned to leave their eggs, birds returned to nest, and finally, a few fish called ‘sculpin’ swam into the creek. The book explains that these fish indicate clean water, the same kind of water where brook trout survive. The journey continued when Mike and his friends added small “finger-sized” fish, trout! The language is poetic, like this: “Perhaps Brook Creek laughed, too--tickled by trout.”

        Along some pages lie small-print explanations of certain actions, like how the sculpin ended up in this new Brook Creek. They are helpful to the story and subtly placed within the illustrations.  There is also author’s and illustrator’s notes and a small piece about the Mike in the story.




       I spent a wonderful couple of days on Walden Pond with my students. We had read his words, and now we were ready to walk in his woods and watch the pond for a glimpse of what Thoreau may have seen too. Here in this book, Robert Burleigh shares a fictional story of a young boy who “might” spend a day with Thoreau. You might visit his home and observe the spare belongings, watch him record in his journal. You might wade in Sandy Pond and see that Henry records the sighting of a hawk in the journal, too. You might follow a fox and sit by Walden Pond to watch the clouds. Wendell Minor’s paintings give us the realistic feel of a day in this special place and with this famous man. At the back, well-known words by Thoreau are also shared. “Heaven is under out feet as well as over our heads.”  And there is a short piece that shares more about Henry David Thoreau and the Thoreau Society. This book will make a good introduction to Thoreau for younger children.

6 comments:

  1. CREEKFINDING is a new title for me, I'll have to keep an eye out for it. Looks beautiful.

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    1. It is gorgeous, Michele, a 'find' at my library!

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  2. Lucky kids to spend the days at Walden Pond! Creekfinding is now on my tbr list--I love Martin's writing.

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    1. I was glad to discover this book, Annette. I love her books, too, and after posting on FB, also discovered that a friend is Claudia's editor. Fun!

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  3. Both books look fascinating. Walden is on my Must Read list and I love finding picture books about the authors I read.

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    1. Terrific! This picture book is a good one to find. Thanks, Earl.

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