The first one is a title I've been trying to get a hold of for quite some time. It comes up often on lists of great non fiction books this year. It's called "Pink is for Blowfish" by Jess Keating. This is an informational picture book about different animals. They were chosen for the book because of their color-pink. Each animal has a full page picture and the facing page has a text box with facts like their scientific name, diet, habitat and predators. The facing page also has a cartoony picture of the animal along with a couple of facts about the animal. The book is very brightly colored and because there isn't a lot of text, it's very accessible. Some of the animals are pretty homely and some of the them are adorable and several of them will be the kind that kids show each other to say "ewwww". It also has a glossary as well as a list of jobs you might want to have if you enjoy certain kinds of animals (love that part) and a list of web resources. I can't wait to get this one into my library.
Here is the book trailer!
The second one is called "First Step: How one girl put segregation on trial" by Susan E. Goodman. This picture book is mostly about a girl named Sarah Roberts. Sarah started school as a four year old in Boston in 1847. It doesn't tell how long she attended there before the police came and removed her from the school because it was an all white school. As an African American, Sarah was expected to attend an African American school that was much further away and had many fewer resources. Sarah's family filed suit and two attorneys, Robert Morris (an African American) and Charles Sumner (a Caucasian), tried the case before the Massachusetts Supreme Court and lost. It then skips ahead a hundred years to a similar case in Kansas, where a girl named Linda Brown and 200 other families sued the Topeka, Kansas school board and won, paving the way for desegregation throughout the nation. The pictures in this one are lovely and there is a timeline of segregation in the back along with a bibliography that includes videos that I think kids might find interesting. I think this book will make an excellent teaching tool in many classrooms.
The last one is called "Giant Squid" by Candace Fleming. It's all about giant squid and I didn't think I really wanted to find out about a giant squid, until I started reading. The language in this one is really big-the words are specific and wonderful. The way the words are placed on the page make it look like poetry. The book tells that giant squids are reclusive animals and so much of what is known about them comes from inference or from finding parts of them. The pictures in this one are also amazing. They give you hints of the giant squid which only keeps you turning the pages to see what part you'll find next and how will Eric Rohmann (the illustrator) show the next thing. This book invites repeated readings to make sure you saw all the parts of the pictures and understood every little piece of the text. I loved this one and I think the kids are really going to like it too. In case you are interested, here's a link from the author's page that has a teaching guide for the book.