Posted in Intermediate, Non-Fiction, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Feed your brain with picture book nonfiction!

There is so much good nonfiction out for younger readers this Fall!

Refugees & Migrants (Children in Our World), by Ceri Roberts/Illustrated by Hanane Kai
(August 2017, Barron’s Educational Series), $9.99, ISBN: 9781438050201
Recommended for readers 6-10

A hot-button topic today, Refugees & Migrants answers the tough questions that children ask: “Why would people leave their homes?” “What is a migrant – or a refugee?” Illustrations and concise text offer explanations that seek to foster empathy and empower kids to make a difference in the world around them. Barron’s Children in Our World series addresses difficulties that too many children in our world face today, and sensitively explain these issues to readers while giving them the power to make changes. Additional titles look at Poverty & Hunger, Racism & Intolerance (2018), and Global Conflict (2018). These books are a strong addition to elementary nonfiction shelves and provide a great opportunity to talk to your kids about what they see on the news, how they feel about it, and what we can all do, together, to make the world a better place.


Where’s Your Hat, Abe Lincoln? (Young Historians), by Misti Kenison,
(Sept. 2017, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky), $9.99, ISBN: 9781492652502
Recommended for readers 2-5

Poor Abe Lincoln can’t find his hat, and he needs it in time to read the Gettysburg Address! Harriet Tubman is leading slaves to freedom, and Frederick Douglass is writing a book. Can any of his friends help him? This is the second in Misti Kenison’s Young Historians board book series (the first, being Cheer Up, Ben Franklin!). Each book features historical figures from periods in American History, with cartoony expressions and simple, one-sentence character actions that lay the groundwork for future learning. Everything ends on a happy note, and the end of the book includes historical figure profiles and a timeline. Fun for every historian’s library, no matter what your age.


Dangerous Jane, by Suzanne Slade/Illustrated by Alice Ratterree,
(Sept. 2017, Peachtree Publishers), $17.95, ISBN: 978-1-56145-913-1
Recommended for readers 4-8

Jane Addams was an activist for the poor and for peace. She founded Hull House, a settlement house in Chicago, where she took care of her neighbors by providing food, childcare, English lessons – anything anyone needed to live their lives with dignity. When World War I broke out in Europe, Jane organized the Women’s Peace Party, and led the International Congress of Women, to talk about ways to bring the war and suffering to an end. She endured angry press from those who would call her a traitor; that she cared more for people overseas than in her own home – she was even named The Most Dangerous Woman in America by the FBI! Ultimately, Dangerous Jane was the first American woman to receive the Nobel peace prize. Through all the press, good and bad, Jane maintained her dignity and continued caring for others until the end of her life. Dangerous Jane is an inspiring story rendered in washed-out watercolors that communicate quiet strength, like the book’s subject. Jane stands out in her green dresses and skirts, against the bleak landscape of war and poverty. A biography, timeline, and selected bibliography completes this book.


Baby Animals Playing, by Suzi Eszterhas
(Oct. 2017, OwlKids Books), $14.95, ISBN: 9781771472975
Recommended for readers 0-6

Wildlife photographer and advocate Suzi Eszterhaus put together one of the cutest books ever. It’s all right in the title: Baby. Animals. Playing. Who wouldn’t squeal at just the expectation of what’s to come? Full-color photos of baby animals (and their parents) at play will make anyone fall in love, instantly. Brief nonfiction text gives some background information on how Momma bears teach their cubs to fish for salmon, or how jackal pups fight over who gets to play with a ball of elephant poop. Which will, doubtless, be most kids’ favorite part of this book (it was for my 5 year-old). Eszterhas invites readers to connect with animals and nature by looking at photos, reading books, and going outside and immersing themselves in nature, just like baby animals do; it’s a nice call to get the kids outside and away from TV and electronics.


Bugs From Head to Tail, by Stacey Roderick/Illustrated by Kwanchai Moriya,
(Oct. 2017, Kids Can Press), $18.99, ISBN: 9781771387293
Recommended for readers 3-7

The third book in the “From Head to Tail” series gives readers an up-close look at bugs. We get rhinoceros beetle horns and luna moth antennae; tarantula hair (eeeek) and millipede legs, and a trick question! There are more facts to discover (tarantulas flick hair from their bellies at attackers… I know it would make me run screaming), with cute, wide-eyed bugs to attract readers. Kwanchai Moriya’s paper collage art continues to be visually exciting, popping off the pages. Additional bugs profiled at the end, plus a note about arthropods – the bugs profiled in this book – make this a great addition to bug books in primary collections. And if you have a kid like this young lady, whose love of bugs got her published in a scientific journal at 8 years old, you definitely want this book around to foster them!


Animals at Night, by Anne Jankéliowitch/Illustrated by Delphine Chedru
(Oct. 2017,Sourcebooks Jabberwocky), $19.99, ISBN: 9781492653196
Recommended for readers 6-10

This is a fun look at nocturnal animals in 12 different habitats, from the forest to more urban settings. You know when you see a museum display, with information about each animal in the display? That’s how nocturnals are presented here; each spread shows animals interacting in their environment, with a descriptive paragraph about each creature in the margins. Glow in the dark adds some more fun to the mix: a question is presented in each spread, answerable when readers turn off the lights to reveal the answers (answers are also at the back of the book, for any party poopers). With bright, bold animals that stand out against their night time backgrounds and glow in the dark challenges to find answers, it’s a fun addition to nonfiction collections for intermediate readers. Originally published in French in 2016. Pair this one with Tracey Hecht’s Nocturnals books for a nice fiction/nonfiction display.



Posted in Early Reader, Non-Fiction, Preschool Reads

Ocean Animals from Head to Tail is SO MUCH FUN!

ocean animalsOcean Animals from Head to Tail, by Stacey Roderick/Illustrated by Kwanchai Moriya, (Sept. 2016, Kids Can Press), $16.95, ISBN: 9781771383455

Recommended for ages 3-7

Does anyone love Steve Jenkins’ Actual Size and Prehistoric Actual Size as much as I do? They are the perfect non-fiction read-aloud for elementary school class visits; the kids go berserk when they see a life-sized Goliath beetle, or watch me put a dinosaur’s claw to the back of my head to illustrate how it could pick me up like a grape. Less terrifying, but just as amazing for the younger set – especially those Octonauts fans out there! – is Ocean Animals from Head to Tail, by Stacey Roderick and illustrated by Kwanchai Moriya.

Ocean Animals introduces readers to eight different ocean animals, focusing on a unique body part. First, we see a close-up of the animals in question – the scalloped head of a hammerhead shark, a colossal squid’s eye, a blue whale’s mouth with a focus on its baleen – and a question: What ocean animal has a head like this? What ocean animal has eyes like this? What ocean animal has a mouth like this? The body part in question is highlighted with a gray font to call attention to it, and the following spread answers the question, zooms out to illustrate the animal in its natural environment, and provides interesting and quick facts about the animal. We learn that the squid’s soccer ball-sized eyes are the largest of any animal, and help the squid see in areas where there’s very little light. The blue whale’s baleen act as a huge sieve to catch the tasty krill it loves to eat. A spread at the end introduces kids to eight more ocean animals.

Not featured in actual size, but still in huge detail, the kids will LOVE this book. Kwanchai Moriya’s paper collage art is bright and interesting, popping off the page and adding depth to the spreads. My three year-old loves this book (as well as the Actual Size books) and has me read this to him constantly. (It came in handy at the doctor’s office today!) With shows like Octonauts and Wild Kratts generating interest in animals, nature, and conservation, this is a great book to have on home, school, and library shelves. It’s a great storytime book, too: pair it with a Rainbow Fish story, Shark in the Dark, Mr. Seahorse – any underwater theme will do! Show an episode of Octonauts that stars one of the featured animals, and let the kids color some pictures of underwater animals that appear in the book.

This is the second in the Head to Tail series: Dinosaurs from Head to Tail was published in 2015, and Bugs From Head to Tail will be coming in 2017.

Great book for easy nonfiction collections.