Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Non-fiction picture books

I've been lucky enough to get my hands on some really terrific non-fiction lately, thanks to CYBILS and Netgalley!   My students really love non-fiction so it's great to get some new things for my library!

The first one is called "Tortuga Squad: Kids Saving Sea Turtles in Costa Rica" by Cathleen Turnham.  It's about a group of kids who live on a small island just off the coast of Costa Rica.  It's a fairly poor island, but the kids and some of the adults are trying to help save the native animals.  It gives a really nice description of the strategies they use-protecting the eggs and the babies as well as advocating to the fishermen to try to change their nets to help keep turtles from drowning.  The text is fairly simple (it feels like it's aimed at 6-9 year olds) and has a somewhat narrative format.  There are some terrific diagrams that will help the reader understand some of the ways that people can keep fishing but still help turtles.  There is also a list of resources in the back to start any other budding naturalists along the way.  The photographs are bright and engaging-there are several of the kids from the island, which will help engage lots of readers, when they see the kids helping animals look just like them.  I thought this was a really great one-I KNOW my students are going to love it.

The second one is meant for  little kids.  It's called "Plants Can't Sit Still" by Rebecca Hirsch.  This book describes all the ways a plant can move.  It includes information about the way plants move (like phototropism) but it also includes things like how seeds move as well as carnivorous plants.  The text is almost poetic, with some terrific, interesting verbs to describe how plants move.  Even though this is clearly aimed at the younger kids, teachers will appreciate the specific vocabulary.  The pictures are collage and they are so filled movement, it feels like you could actually reach in and touch them.  I think kids will find this one fascinating.  

The last one is not a new one.  In fact, it won the Caldecott award last year.  It's called "Finding Winnie" by Lindsay Mattick.  It's the true story of Harry Colebourn, a Canadian veterinarian who served in World War 1.  In 1914, as he was being deployed, he came across a little bear cub and thought he would rescue it from the person who had it.  It wasn't a really great time to adopt a bear (being sent to war and all) but somehow he couldn't pass this little cub by.  He takes the cub to training and then on the transport ship to England.  When his group got ready to go to the front line, it was clear he couldn't keep the growing cub any more, so he took it to the London Zoo, where it turns out an author named A. A. Milne would bring his little boy, Christopher.  Part of what makes the story so great is the soft watercolor pictures that accompany the text as well as the family photos of Lindsay's grandfather and A. A. Milne in the back.  The kids really loved hearing about the true origin of one of their favorite storybook characters.  

Here's the book trailer and you can see Lindsay Mattick talking about her book!

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