Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Nonfiction Top Ten: #nf10for10

Those of you who follow this blog know that August is our big picture book event.  During #pb10for10, blogs join us in celebrating 10 picture books they just can't live without.  The result is always a great resource full of must-read books.  Last August, Julie Balen (Write at the Edge) suggested it might be fun to do the same thing with nonfiction.  Mandy Robek (Enjoy and Embrace Learning), my co-conspirator in #pb10for10, and I thought it was a great idea so Julie, Mandy and I worked to create a plan.

Today is our first nonfiction event, #nf10for10.  I'm looking forward to reading everyone's posts.  We're hoping you'll join us today!

Ways to participate:
  • Write a post with your 10 favorite nonfiction books and link it here today.  In the coming days, I will create a jog of all the posts.
  • Leave a comment with your favorite nonfiction book(s) here 
  • Stop by Enjoy and Embrace Learning or Write at the Edge to comment
  • Tweet your favorites using the hashtag #nf10for10 
Nonfiction for the Classroom
Since planning the event, I've been considering my list of ten nonfiction books I can't live without in my classroom.  Honestly, the task seemed a little overwhelming.  To me, the line between fiction and nonfiction is sometimes gray as nonfiction comes in many structures and sub-genres.  When a book task seems daunting, I head to my favorite bookstore to get some inspiration.  There's nothing like a few hours over good books to clarify one's thinking.  I felt better after some time with books and an interesting nonfiction conversation with Salli Oddi at Cover-to-Cover bookstore.  I think you'll find a few of my new finds on this list.  

So this is my disclaimer:  I do not know, or claim to know, too much about the true lines of nonfiction. This post considers nonfiction as I see it and does not necessarily represent the thinking of nonfiction gurus.  :o)  

To get myself out of this dilemma, I created a little plan to make up my own ways to divide nonfiction.  Since I teach first grade and enjoy counting by 2s, I decided to divide my list by characteristics I consider when choosing nonfiction for the classroom.

Clearly Nonfiction:  These are the books I like to use for whole group discussions about nonfiction.  These books often have the features we commonly associate with nonfiction.  They make strong exemplars for getting the conversation about nonfiction started with children.

How Things Work in the House (2012) by Lisa Campbell Ernst:  How does a crayon work?  How does a toilet work?  How does a cat work?  You can find out in this book about how things work in the house.  Each double page spread is a new question about something in the house.  The author uses labels, small snippets of text placed around the item, and drawings of the items to tell more about them.  This book is a great mentor text for short pieces of writing in a matter unit of study.

Time to Eat (2011) by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page:  Katie Dicesare of Creative Literacy first introduced this collection of titles to me.  In addition to Eat, Jenkins and Page have Time to Sleep and Time for a Bath.  Young readers are interested in the unusual facts about organisms and their eating habits.  Each page is a new organism and information about what they eat.  Each page has an illustration of the organism and a funny comment beside it.  The final pages share more information about each of the organisms discussed in the book.  This makes an excellent mentor text for young nonfiction writers.  The book's focus on one topic across animals requires a different viewpoint and more synthesis of a deeper subject than typical animal information books.  The structure of the book with one animal and information only on its eating habits is a structure easily understood and utilized by young writers.  

Literary Nonfiction:  Yes, I know there is a debate about whether this more narrative version of nonfiction is even really nonfiction.  However, this is a quickly growing genre in children's literature.  There are many books that use the narrative structure to help readers learn more about a subject.  These books make great conversation starters for, "Is this nonfiction?".  These books also make wonderful read alouds to share and demonstrate to young writers how facts can be turned into story.

Miracle Mudd (2013) by David A. Kelly:  This is the story of Lena Blackburne who was a baseball player and coach, but is perhaps most known for his special mud that took the shine off the baseballs so they are easier for players to see and better for pitchers to grip.  The book is the story of Blackburne's brief career that soon led him to the discovery of this special mud.  The back of the book has a short biography of his life and this secret mud.  I know this book will be a hit - actually a home run - in my classroom.


How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum (2011) by Jessie Hartland:  This book is a fun read aloud for young children.  It goes through the steps of locating the fossils of the dinosaurs, bringing them to the museum to sort, and recreating the dinosaur for people to view.  In this cumulative story the author tells important information in the process and then repeats the previous in rhythmic phrases.  The vocabulary in this book is challenging, but fun.  Kids are fascinated by dinosaurs, and will love joining in during the repetitive read aloud.    

Want more literary nonfiction?  Stop by to see my Listmania of literary nonfiction.  

Nonfiction Poetry:  This is another growing genre.  In nonfiction poetry, poets use careful observation and/or study of information to write a poem about a topic.  


An Egret's Day (2010) by Jane Yolen:  
I must admit that personal interest likely plays a large part in putting this book here.  I'm fascinated with egrets (and herons).  This poetry book has an interesting structure in which Jane Yolen shares a poem with a fact on the opposite page throughout the book.  My favorite poem from this egret collection is Egret in Flight.  Yolen has many other published poetry books that follow this format.

A Full Moon is Rising (2011) by Marilyn Singer:  This book begins by sharing information about the phases of the moon.  It then shares poems about the moon set in places around the world.  The poems speak of the moon's role around the world.  In the back of the book there is more information about the moon across many countries.

Want more nonfiction poetry?  Stop by to see my Listmania of Nonfiction Poetry.  


Book Apps:  I felt in today's digital world I needed to give some thought to the nonfiction book apps currently available for young readers.

Penguin's Family by Kathleen M. Hollenbeck:  This app has beautiful illustrations that help support the story of this penguin learning to live on his own.  Readers learn about penguins as they listen to this literary tale of penguin learning about his world.  This app will read to the reader as it highlights words.  The reading is nearly fluent.  The end of the app shares facts about the humboldt penguin.


Bats!  Furry Fliers of the Night by Mary Kay Carson:  I'm going to have to be honest here.  This apps amazing 3D pictures caught my attention.  The app has read aloud capabilities.  There's just something amazing about watching the bats swoop and seeing the dense forest ahead.  This app is organized into seven chapters about bats.  Readers will enjoy the animation and the information in this engaging app.

Want more iBooks and book apps?  Stop by to see my Pinterest Nonfiction iBook and App Board.  

Accessible Nonfiction:  We're so fortunate to have a growing number of nonfiction books for young readers.  I can't help but read nonfiction with an eye toward my primary students.  These titles are books that students can often read independently and find engaging.

True or False Amphibians by Melvin and Gilda Berger:  The readers in my classroom spend hours with this book every year.  On one page readers are given a statement such as, "Toads jump like frogs do.  True or false?"  Then when the page is turned the answer awaits with more information.  I know you want to know if toads jump like frogs, but I'm afraid you'll want to find a copy of this book to find this answer and many more.

Why Do Cats Meow?  by Joan Holub:  I wish you could see the copy sitting on my lap right now.  It's been read and reread.  It's been taped and retaped.  The pages are worn and the book is well loved.  This book, and the other "why do" titles, are a big hit every year in my classroom.  This year's group INSISTED we have a "why do" basket.  They're obsessed with these titles.  There is a lot of text on each page, but my young readers pour through to find out more.


Want more accessible nonfiction?  Stop by to see my Listmania of Nonfiction for Kids to Read.

Remember to leave a link to your post in the comments below.  You'll want to stop by the other blogs to find more nonfiction titles for your classroom.  In the coming week, I will bring the posts together into a  jog which will be a smart resource for nonfiction.  

50 comments:

  1. Hi Cathy,
    Here is my link to the #nf10for10:
    http://theamyrudder.blogspot.com/2013/02/letters-from-sky.html
    Thanks for hosting!
    Amy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amy,
      Love your snow list. So glad you joined the conversation.

      Cathy

      Delete
  2. I foresee some serious money being spent as a result of today...

    That said, here's my 10 for 10 nonfiction: http://emdffi.blogspot.com/2013/02/10-for-10-nonfiction.html

    Thanks for organizing this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jen,
      Glad you posted for the event. Loved your titles. I see we both have included a Jenkins title. An Egg is Quiet is one of the books I had in my pile when I began to narrow. It was hard to not include it.

      Cathy

      Delete
  3. Thanks for hosting this event and putting Nonfiction at the forefront!

    I have posted my Top 10 at:

    http://thinkingstems.blogspot.com/2013/02/10-for-10-nonfiction-picture-books.html

    PS...Miracle Mud has caught my attention since our third grade is currently in a biography unit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tracy,
      I really enjoyed Miracle Mud. I had a hard time not including Harlem's Little Blackbird in my list --- another good biography.

      Cathy

      Delete
  4. Thanks for hosting this event, ladies! I'm excited to read all of the posts that come out of today's event to build my nonfiction collection. Cathy, already, there are quite a few books on your post that I don't know! I'll definitely be exploring them. I also share your "what nonfiction means to me" thoughts; I'm not sure what I consider nonfiction is truly the textbook definition. ;)

    My post is up on Our Camp Read-A-Lot at http://www.ourcampreadalot.com/2013/02/nf10for10.html.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laura,
      Defining nonfiction is a conversation that carries across many of these posts. Thanks for taking the time to share your favorites.

      Cathy

      Delete
  5. Thank you so much for hosting this event! I definitely need to check out "How Things Work in My House" - I don't know that one! I also need to check out the book app, "Penguin Family" - love to hear about new apps!

    Here is my post for the event:
    http://tworeflectiveteachers.blogspot.com/2013/02/10-of-my-favorite-nonfiction-books-for.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melanie,
      Including apps was a new push for me. I'm trying to get my ahead around the digital possibilities for young readers. It's overwhelming.

      Cathy

      Delete
  6. I did it! My nonfiction represents reads for the "older crowd" (mostly upper elementary and up). I hope that's okay!

    http://www.mariaselke.com/2013/02/nonfiction-top-ten.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maria,
      I'm so glad you joined the event. I'm also glad you tailored your list to share the books you find important for the older crowd. I'm sure many readers will be glad you took the time to share your favorites.

      Cathy

      Delete
  7. These look like fantastic picks, Cathy! They're all new to me so I'll look forward to exploring them more. (I liked your classifications too.)

    Here's the link to my nf10for10: http://raisealithuman.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/nf10for10-2013/.

    Looking forward to the "jog."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stacey,
      I'm so glad you took the time to join this conversation. I'll let everyone know as soon as I have the jog complete.

      Cathy

      Delete
  8. Can't wait to read and discover everyone's favorite nonfiction texts! http://lcinmo.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/nonfiction-titles/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elsie,
      I always enjoy reading your slices and was thrilled to see you joining the nonfiction conversation.

      Cathy

      Delete
  9. Here is my link Cathy. We are off to a good start. Thanks for taking care of collecting the posts. Learning to use Jog the Web is on my list of things to learn.

    http://juliebalen.weebly.com/3/post/2013/02/how-creative-is-your-non-fiction.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Julie,
      This event was a great idea!

      Cathy

      Delete
  10. Hi, Cathy,
    Here is the link to my list: http://readingtothecore.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/10-for-10-nonfiction-books/
    I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone's list. Thank you so much for organizing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I enjoyed the way you wove your titles around curiosity. Interesting!

      Cathy

      Delete
  11. What a great list Cathy! We are not yet using tablets in the classroom (we are getting there slowly), so I will have to come back for your app suggestions. I love how we both identified the struggle with non-fiction, especially at the early primary level, in its purest form. That was a great exercise in and of itself. I am definitely adding How Things Work to my list. Books that encourage kids to question their world are a big priority for me right now.

    And I HAVE to remember about your Listmania. What a great resource. Thanks for sharing.

    Julie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Julie,
      We're not yet using tablets either, but I have many parents requesting suggestions. I'm trying to get to know apps and iBooks a bit so I can help. Still learning....

      Cathy

      Delete
  12. Thanks much for doing this, Cathy! I almost included A Full Moon Is Rising too! What a gorgeous book. Thanks fro including apps, too. I don't have any & should for my granddaughter at least. Here's my link! http://teacherdance.blogspot.com/2013/02/10-for-10-non-fiction-picture-books-my.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda,
      I'm so glad you found time to join us. There were so many book possibilities it was tough to narrow the choices.

      Cathy

      Delete
  13. Here is my post: http://thereisabookforthat.com/2013/02/19/nonfiction-10-for-10-list-for-2013/

    Thanks for hosting this! Such a great idea. I am very excited to read all of the lists. I just recently read How the Dinosaur got to the Museum - a great title. I'd love to find Egret's Day - love Yolen and birds! Looks wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carrie,
      I enjoyed the links to posts where you had used the book in the classroom --- a nice addition to your titles.

      Cathy

      Delete
  14. A wonderful list, Cathy, especially that Jane Yolen book, which I must have missed. And thank you for hosting this event. Here is my list, geared towards the upper grades:
    http://tmsteach.blogspot.com/2013/02/10-for-10-nonfiction-books-i-could-not.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lots of great titles on your list.

      Thanks,
      Cathy

      Delete
  15. Hi Cathy - I will have to return later to dive into all your titles! Here is the link to my nonfiction list:
    http://www.readingamidthechaos.blogspot.com/2013/02/my-top-9-1-nonfiction-picture-book-picks.html
    Thanks!
    Chris

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay, Chris! I always love to read your posts in the conversations we have across blogs. So many beautiful books!!

      Delete
  16. Whew! Such hard work narrowing down the choices. I think I must have had some of the same dilemmas as you about the dividing line between fiction and nonfiction and how I use it. So, here's my list.
    http://applewithmanyseedsdoucette.blogspot.ca/2013/02/top-10-nonfiction-picture-books-join-jog.html
    Thanks so much for pulling this together. I find the summertime event to be immensely interesting and helpful finding new titles for the Doucette Library (student-teacher preparation program). I'm looking forward to seeing what this event brings.
    Thanks again.
    Tammy
    Apples with Many Seeds

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tammy,
      Many new titles that were new to me on your list. Thanks for joining the conversation.

      Cathy

      Delete
  17. Hi Cathy, Mandy, and Julie,
    I'm looking forward to reading everyone's list. I couldn't narrow it down to my 10 favorites, so instead, wrote about 10 new nf books in my classroom this year. (Although, that list could have been much longer too). Here's the link to my blog: http://www.raisingreadersandwriters.com/2013/02/favorite-nonfiction-in-room-114.html
    I guess I'll be adding more books to my wish list. :)
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Julie,
      Thanks for sharing so many new titles.

      Cathy

      Delete
  18. I'm finally here with my post. Nothing like a co-host bringing up the rear.

    http://enjoy-embracelearning.blogspot.com/2013/02/its-here-nonfiction-10-for-10.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mandy,
      I enjoyed reading your list. I love the way you always include the best of the best. Thanks for joining the fun.

      Cathy

      Delete
  19. I don't think this one was linked here, I got it via twitter.

    http://readingamidthechaos.blogspot.com/2013/02/my-top-9-1-nonfiction-picture-book-picks.html?spref=tw

    ReplyDelete
  20. Better a little late than never, I am posting before bed on this what feels like l-o-n-g Tuesday:)
    http://creativeliteracy.blogspot.com/2013/02/non-fiction-top-ten.html

    Loved your post Cathy!!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks for organizing, Cathy. Can't wait until the weekend to read all of the posts. http://wonderingthrough2012.blogspot.com/2013/02/nonfiction-top-ten-nf10for10.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barbara,
      Wonder-ful list! I like the way you combined a book titles with a wonder from Wonderopolis.

      Cathy

      Delete
  22. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who thinks the line between fiction and nonfiction is blurry! Thanks for letting us play! http://catchingreaders.com/2013/02/19/10for10-nonfiction-picture-book/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Katie,
      I'm so glad you and Pat were able to join us by sharing your picks.

      Cathy

      Delete
  23. How is it, I knew none of the books on your list? I enjoyed your spin and grouping of books for nonfiction. This is a great event, thanks for co-hosting with me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mandy,
      I've been amazed how many books I have learned about as I've read each post. So many books....so little time.

      Cathy

      Delete
  24. Hi Cathy,
    It is still February 19th in my time zone! Thank you for the inspiration to chat with my students about their favorite non-fiction books. We had an awesome experience exploring the non-fiction section of our classroom library. Here are our picks:
    http://kidblog.org/classof2020-2/madeleinefirstgrade/nf10for10/

    ReplyDelete
  25. Cathy~
    Thanks for hosting this event! I can't wait to read all the post and discover new titles and ways of looking at nonfiction. Your post has really offered a new perspective on nonfiction and Barbara's post has me wondering about Wonderopolis and nonfiction! Can't wait to see what's next!

    Here's my #nf10for10 post http://deb-frazier.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deb,
      I enjoyed your post. I can't wait to come across the hall to borrow your titles.

      Cathy

      Delete
  26. I thought I posted here already! I love your list. The Egret one looks wonderful. There are so many I don't know. My Amazon cart is looking insane. What is Listmania? I am so intrigued and will be researching that. Thanks for everything. You keep me empowered to learn more and be more.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Oh my goodness! I think I need to take a day off just to check out all these books! Here is my list of nf for our kids that are writers. It's a list of books to create a independent reading bin for those writers who want to be inspired. http://theliteratemind.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete