Wednesday, October 23, 2019

non-fiction Wednesday - Those Picture Book Stories Based on Truth!

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!
           On this day, Alyson has written a terrific post for those who wish to participate in a Mock Sibert group, the award for the most distinguished informational book published in the United States.

       I found this on my library's shelf, grabbed it because it is by Maira Kalman. It came out in 2005, a brief and poignant story of the many that have come from that day we won't forget, September 11th, 2001. 
         The John J. Harvey fireboat was the largest, fastest, shiniest fireboat of its time, beginning in 1931 when Babe Ruth set records, the George Washington Bridge was finished, and Snickers candy bars came out.  By 1995, the city retired Harvey, determining fireboats no longer needed. A group of friends decided to save it from the scrap heap, paid to fix it up for fun. When 9/11 happened, firemen realized that water pipes were broken and a desperate call came from the fire department, asking if the Harvey could help. At first, they thought it might only rescue people, but without the water, they attached hoses to Harvey and it pumped water for four days and nights!  Maira Kalman's clear words and signature emotional art brings this story to us in an inspirational story you will want to read!  

            When I read this story of William Carlos Williams's famous poem, I am reminded of Mary Oliver's quote: "Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." In the story, Lisa Rogers shows Dr. Williams going about his practice, in between "paying attention" to all that surrounds him. In his town, he sometimes saw patients in his office, but often went to them for treatment, but also watched out his windows. This time Rogers imagines him seeing his neighbor, Mr. Thaddeus Marshall, tending his garden, filling his red wheelbarrow with the vegetables that he sold to neighbors while he walked it through the town. Yes, there are chickens, too! Chuck Groenink's illustrations are soft, rather dreamy full pages of this small-town doctor's story, a doctor who wrote what he saw in a new way. In an author's note, Rogers shares that he may not have meant the poem (of 16 words) to be about his neighbor, but she imagines it may be. There is also a selected bibliography. If doing a poetry exploration, this will make a lovely beginning conversation about writing and the "meanings" of poems. 


  1. From time to time I really enjoy reading non-fiction books. I love that there are picture books based on real stories. I think a lot of the students in my class would enjoy those..

    Nina@Adventurous reader

  2. Thanks for sharing these books that stand out to me, Linda.

  3. I love Fireboat! Requesting 16 Words Now. You grow my holds shelf with every post, Linda.


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