Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Non-Fiction Picture Books - What Can Be & What is

     Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy -- hashtag #nfpb2020! 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!

            I wanted to share two books that I've had for a while and somehow have not yet shared. They are from 2019 and are ones that can inspire students in different ways. One book shares that a small idea can grow into something wonderful that helps people all over the world. The other shows how creatures thought to be abhorrent adds to the diversity of living creatures in many, but thought-to-be gross, ways. It too will inspire students and everyone to learn that 'first opinions' aren't necessarily the best ones.

          I got this book at my fall Highlights workshop, read it, then put it away to share. I don't have a Little Free Library and wish I did, but this story of one small idea started by Todd Bol, the founder of this movement is so inspiring, perhaps especially for booklovers everywhere. Miranda Paul narrates it from start to the worldwide success, showing young Todd supported by his mom after a hurtful comment at school. After her death, he wanted to share her love of reading with others, hammered together a box that looked like a schoolhouse, put books inside, and waited. No one came. At a later rummage sale, people began to notice, and as many say, the rest is history! John Parra's illustrations illustrate the colorful story, including the diversity that embraces these libraries in our world. The endpapers are lined with books, too. The back matter adds more information, including the sadness that Todd Bol died from cancer just as the book was coming out. We will remember him, won't we, as we travel our town's streets and see those Little Free Libraries everywhere!

           Here is the link to the Little Free Library site. 

          I love Jess Keating's books, like Pink is for Blobfish, Cute As An Axolotl, and Shark Lady these past few years! I also love that she creates picture books about creatures we may know something about or may think "EW" when we see them or hear their names and makes us (ME) want to know more and revel that such interesting creatures are out there in our world. 
           This time, double-page spreads with a brief intro, one large photo of the 'real' creature with David DeGrand's fun cartoons showing one aspect of that animal's life, and a column of facts on the right take enough time for the reader to think (or say outloud) "Wow"! and "I didn't know that!" or (to the reader sitting next to me: "Listen to this!"  That column shares common and scientific names, size, diet, habitat, and predators and threats. Imagine a book that focuses on slime, snot, mucus, poop, pee, and barf! Kids will love it, and really, adults will too. 
           I'm fascinated by the way evolutionary traits create a creature that contributes to an ecosystem, wishing kids who study such creatures with the help of authors like Keating will be inspired to go further. They might learn more about one of these, or discover their own to learn about. It's a terrific book!
             A glossary of terms has been added at the back.


  1. What was your fall Highlights workshop? I've heard such good things about Highlights!

    1. It's a fabulous place, Annette. I've been several times, these past years to the poetry workshop with Georgia Heard & Rebecca Kai Dotlich. Do check it out!

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed both of these books. We are so fortunate to have them published. Jess Keating's series is amazing.

    1. Yes, I do agree, Margie. Both books are wonderful! I'm glad you enjoyed them, too. Thanks!


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