Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Non-Fiction Picture Books Tell Stories

Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  Thanks to her hosting and sharing and those who add their posts, you can discover and celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books!  I always learn from these books, am happy that they are more and more available today for children, for everyone!
         These following books show the human persistence to learn more in order to answer questions about the world.

       Sophia Gholz tells that on one island home, Jadav Payeng was upset when he saw snakes who had died because their habitat was destroyed. He spoke with relatives who, according to this story, gave him a way to start, twenty bamboo shoots. He began, he devised a way to keep them watered, and they grew. That was not the end. He did not give up when more water was needed. He realized that the land needed feeding and he carried "cow dung, earthworms, termites, and angry red ants that bit him on his journey to their new home." It made a difference to nurture the land. More seeds were planted and more grew.
        Over the years his few bamboo plants grew into a 1300 acre forest, an inspiring story of what one person can accomplish, one step, one seed, and later, animals, one at a time. Gorgeous paintings by Kayla Harren help tell Jadav's story, from youth to adulthood, from barren land to lush forest.
        The back matter shares that it wasn't until 2008 that the forest was discovered by a group of local authorities tracking elephants. Since then, he's been recognized worldwide. Added is an author's note and directions "To Plant A Forest of Your Own."

         A brown-skinned girl, whose name we aren't told, with a polka-dotted backpack as she asks questions about the stars and visits a space museum, where she watches exoplanets careen overhead in a planetarium. Her parents with a younger child stay in the background. In both realistic and imaginative illustrations, Lanan captures the child’s curiosity and seeming amazement at the vastness of the universe. Manley gives factual descriptions  that I learned quite a lot from, and poetic observations in this story showing the connection to the child's story, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. There is an explanation of the different naming of found planets far away and the continuing innovations of powerful telescopes showing more and more. The story ends with the family at home, using their own new telescope to watch the sky.
        Lanan explains in the back matter that during the three years' writing, text had to be revised because of new discoveries. The endpapers, both front and back, include a wonderful timeline of astronomical discoveries, plus added information is in the backmatter.


  1. I've got Goldilocks to share in a few weeks. Sounds interesting!
    I'll be on the lookout for the other one you mentioned, too!

    1. Thanks, Michele. I enjoyed both of these very much.


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