Recently, I shared a couple of blog posts on teachers as readers of fiction and nonfiction books for children. One of the challenges preventing teachers from including more nonfiction in classroom read alouds tends to be general readability of a book (or the perception of nonfiction readability), which is why many teachers stick with more narrative style nonfiction books like biographies or historical nonfiction (or historical fiction) dealing with important events in history.
However, expository nonfiction when done well, can inform as well as reach out and pull-in readers as effectively as narrative prose. The titles below are excellent examples of books that will have students asking for teachers to read them again or asking to borrow them.
Creating a list of books for anything always makes me a bit nervous. If you asked me tomorrow, what I would recommend, it could be a completely different list. The list would change depending on the parameters given and what teacher or parent or librarian asked for a list. As a result, I have a few parameters that I worked with for this list. I limited myself to science-themed picture books by authors who have multiple titles for teachers and librarians to explore and they needed to be published since 2010. There is also a range in grade levels for the books included. When thinking about this list, think about it as a place to start.
Finally, I needed to play around a bit with favorite titles. I might have wanted to include a book by an author and then realized it was older than 2010, which resulted in swapping out another title of an equally beloved book.
Here are some of my favorite science-themed picture books to engage readers during a read aloud time:
Behold the Beautiful Dung Beetle by Cheryl Bardoe; Illustrated by Alan Marks (Charlesbridge, 2014)
Born in the Wild: Baby Mammals and Their Parents by Lita Judge (Roaring Brook Press, 2014)
The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs: A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle (Millbrook, 2011)
Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page (HMH Books for Young Children, 2014)
Handle With Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey by Loree Griffin Burns (Millbrook, 2014)
Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes by Nicola Davies; Emily Sutton (Candlewick Press, 2014)
I, Fly: The Buzz About Flies and How Awesome They Are by Bridget Heos; Illustrated by Jennifer Plecas (Henry Holt & Co, 2015)
The Most Amazing Creatures in the Sea by Brenda Z. Guiberson; Illustrated by Gennady Spirin (Henry Holt & Co, 2015)
No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart and Allen Young; Illustrated by Nicole Wong (Charlesbridge, 2013)
When Lunch Fights Back: Wickedly Clever Animal Defenses by Rebecca L. Johnson (Millbrook, 2014)
Yucky Worms by Vivian French; Illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg (Candlewick Press, 2010)
Longer than your average picture book:
Every Last Drop: Bringing Clean Water Home by Michelle Mulder (Orca Publishers, 2014)
Next Wave: The Quest to Harness the Power of the Oceans (Scientist in the Field Series) by Elizabeth Rusch (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2014)
Exception to the rules - authors who at the time of this list do not have more than one book:
A Black Hole is Not a Hole by Carolyn Cinami Decristofano; Illustrated by Michael Carroll (Charlesbridge, 2012)
Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons by Sara Levine; Illustrated by T. S. Spookytooth (Millbrook, 2013)
Note: Future blog posts will look at various ways of approaching nonfiction books as read alouds.
Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews: