Thursday, September 11, 2014

MORE non fiction?

When I talk with other elementary school librarians, they are often concerned about the amount of non fiction their students are reading.  The Common Core puts more emphasis on reading non fiction, which is what most adults read (like newspapers and professional documents) so it's important that kids learn to read non fiction as well.  The funny thing is, at my school, which is a public Montessori school, my shelf of books that needs to be put away is ALWAYS heavy on non fiction.  I like to think it's because the Montessori method encourages the teachers to teach from scientific concepts and tends to minimize fantasy, it's probably because it's more complicated to put the non fiction books away and with the amount of time I have to shelve books (the five minutes between classes doesn't allow for a lot of contemplation!)

Anyway, I've been reading some really great non-fiction as advanced readers copies through a group called Netgalley.  It's been an awesome opportunity to read some of the newest books!  I read one today called "Arctic Thaw" by Stephanie Sammartino McPherson.  This one is scheduled to come out October 1.  It's all about what's happening in the Arctic.  Did you know that countries are basically jockeying for position in the Arctic?  That some countries are staking claims to the Arctic, even though there's really no political precedent for that sort of thing?  That because of global climate change, the Arctic is changing faster than any other place on the planet?  That small communities in Alaska are being wiped off the map because of erosion?  It was fascinating and the information was in small enough bites that elementary teachers could easily use this as a read aloud or a mentor text and some elementary school students will find this very interesting.

When Whales Cross the Sea by Sharon Katz Cooper is a beautiful book about whale migration.  The text is very accessible to even fairly small kids but the pictures are what will bring the kids back over and over again.  The pictures have really interesting points of view and allow the viewer to get into places that photographers probably couldn't get.  I can't wait to put this one in our library.

The last one is called " The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats: A Scientific Mystery" by Sandra Markle.  These little brown bats are dying off and scientists aren't really sure why.  The book gives background information on why bats are important as well as describing the process the scientists used to try to figure out why the bats are dying off.  I think the kids will really like this one.  The photographs let you see those adorable little bat faces as well as the places where bats live (like caves) and the scientists that are trying to find out about what's killing them.  I thought it was great.  The text is in small enough chunks to make it easy to use as a read aloud.

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