Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Non-Fiction Rocks-2015 Begins

        I haven’t posted in a few weeks, but am ready to start the challenge of Alyson Beecher at Kid-Lit Frenzy, to read and share non-fiction picture books that are not only beautiful, but filled with good information in text and illustrations. It’s easy to fall in love with these books, and easy to learn something from each one. Here are the first books I want to share in 2015.
Come visit all the others who link at Alyson's blog! Tweet at #NFPB2015

No Monkeys, No Chocolate – written by Melissa Stewart & Allen Young, illustrated by Nicole
            With a couple of cartoon bookworms adding humorous asides in the lower corner of the book, Stewart & Young tell the terrific story of the inter-relations of all those animals that help us get chocolate. They tell the story backwards, from the cocoa bean itself, to the midges that pollinate the flower, the leaf-cutter ants that are stopped from destroying the tree’s leaves by female coffin flies’ eggs, which turn into maggots that eat the ants’ brains. I hope you’re getting this picture, because eventually this complex path ends with monkeys! Remember, “no monkeys, no chocolate”.  The authors tell the story, helped along with detailed and interesting illustrations by Nicole Wong.  This would make a wonderful mentor text for students who are studying “how things grow” and “what they need”.

Something About A Bear - written and illustrated by Jackie Morris
           It’s another wonderful bear book! This time, it’s about eight real bears, shown in their habitat in beautiful paintings, and the text tells quite a bit about each, although spare. The surprise is at the end, the best bear of all… What a cover!

On The Wing – poems written by David Elliott and illustrated by Becca Stadtlander

           I adore books/poetry about birds, and this by David Elliott, displaying the look beautifully by Becca Stadtlander is a wonderful anthology of avian word play.  Think crows: “caw-caw-phony” or hummingbirds, “always in a tizzy…busy, busy, busy”. And there’s more. The variety and cleverness of each bird featured delights, touches on either the look or the behavior of each bird. It’s a good book to add to the nature collection.

Neighborhood Sharks – written and illustrated by Katherine Roy
            I love to open books and be surprised, and this one really surprised me. I thought it was a basic picture book that told about Great White Sharks, but it is that, and more. Roy uses such beautiful images, sometimes violent images, that show what a white shark does, hunt for food. And that food is primarily, in this book, pinnipeds. These are seals and sea lions and means “fin-footed”. So she begins with artistic paintings shwing the real hunt and the kill, but in between are numerous pages that discuss unique charactistics of sharks. There is a good page of back matter too. It’s a great book.

Everyone Prays: Celebrating Faith Around The World – written by
Alexis York Lumbard, and illustrated by Alireza Sadeghian

               My book-loving colleague shared this with me and I wanted to share with you. With so much strife and heartache in our world that seems to be about religious differences, I wonder why everyone doesn’t know that there are such connections among all the religions. This book is for young children, with simple text and gorgeously detailed illustrations, it’s a beginning look (and conversation) about where we are alike in our spiritual lives, praying. Although in slightly different ways, the author shows that all faiths use prayer for their own comfort and for celebration. I would have liked if more information had been included in the story itself. There is more in the backmatter, but it seems very basic, and doesn’t include some religions that might have been.



  1. No Monkeys, and Neighborhood Sharks are two books that I really loved. Those illustrations in the shark book are fantastic! I also read Everyone Prays. My main quibble with that book was actually the title. I get what they meant, but really, not everyone does.

  2. Neighborhood Sharks was one of my favorite nonfiction PB this year! I loved the youtube video of Katherine creating one of the spreads while you hear the noise from the boat in the background!
    The Bear book looks great, I'm going to check that one out from the library!

  3. Something About a Bear looks beautiful indeed. And I may end up reading Everyone Prays as well.

  4. As someone who is crazy about chocolates, I should definitely find No Monkeys! :) Will also be on the lookout for Something About A Bear. :)

  5. Neighbourhood Sharks surprised me too! What a book. No Monkeys No Chocolate is one of my all time favourites from the land of NF!

  6. Thanks everyone! I'm glad to hear from you that you found another book to add to your lists, or that one of these was a favorite. What a pleasure these books are! Happy Reading!

  7. Thanks Linda. All of these books are new to us and they look amazing. These will be great books to begin our nonfiction reading for 2015. Happy New Year!

  8. Dear Linda,
    Non-fiction books always stop me in my tracks, but these kick the year off in high order. I am especially pulled this week of the Paris events to Everyone Prays, because all cultures have deep faith systems and reverence for birth, babies and life & as the author & you say, they all pray. This is a lovely post.


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