Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: My 2019 Mock Sibert Thoughts - So Far

On Monday, January 28, 2019, the American Library Association (ALA) will announce their annual Youth Media Awards (YMA). As part of the YMA's, the winners of the Robert F. Sibert Award for the most distinguished informational books for children will be announced. For the past several years, several of us have participated in Mock Sibert Award predictions. Last week, Michele Knott posted her Mock Sibert list-so far. You can read it here.

This prompted me to start thinking about what would make my early list. I do need to say that I still have a stack of nonfiction picture books that I am working through so it is possible that these choices will change. I, also, decided to limit books to those that have already been released.  With all that in mind, here are several titles that have risen to the top. 

In no particular order, here are four picture books....


Hawk Rising by Maria Gianferrari; Illustrated by Brian Floca (Roaring Brook Press)


A Seed is the Start by Melissa Stewart (National Geographic Kids)


A House in the Sky And Other Uncommon Animal Homes by Steve Jenkins; Illustrated by Robbin Gourley (Charlesbridge) 


Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed The World by Susan Hood; Illustrators - Various (HarperCollins) 

And one pick for older readers...


Boots on the Ground: America's War in Vietnam by Elizabeth Partridge (Viking) 

What favorites have been rising to the top of your lists? 

 Artwork by Sarah S. Brannen ©2017

Artwork by Sarah S. Brannen ©2017

Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews...

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: Podcasts for Kids

When I got my new car, I was finally able to sync my smartphone to my car's speakers. This opened up a new world of being able to listen to podcasts while driving around in the car. Since I have been enjoying podcasts, I got curious as to what was out there for children. 

Here are 3 of the ones recommended in NPR's Best Podcasts for Kids & Families...


BUT WHY: A Podcast for Curious Kids - But Why is a show led by you, kids! You ask the questions and we find the answers. It's a big interesting world out there.On But Why, we tackle topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world.Have a question? Send it to us! Adults, use your smartphone's memo function or an audio app to record your kid's question (get up nice and close so we can hear). Be sure to include: your child's first name, age and town. And then email the audio file to

Quick thoughts on BUT WHY: The concept of BUT WHY is great. Have a child ask a question and then provide the answer. Each episode is broken up with recorded questions from children followed by the response. The questions are typically from young children (ages 4 to 7); however, the format of the information is presented in a more formal manner that seems like it would be better for 9 to 11 year olds. Could be an interesting discussion starter if listened to with an adult.

Episodes are approximately 25 minutes in length and new episodes are currently being produced. 


Brains On! Brains On! is an award-winning audio show for kids and families. Each week, a different kid co-host joins Molly Bloom to find answers to fascinating questions about the world.  Our mission is to encourage kids’ natural curiosity and wonder using science and history…but there’s no age limit on curiosity, and episodes of Brains On can be enjoyed by anyone.

Quick thoughts on Brains On!: Each podcast is approximately 30 minutes and is broken up into several smaller segments on the same topic. There is a balance between humor and reporting of facts. Pacing varies to keep things moving. Will probably appeal the most to children ages 8 to 12. 

Episodes are approximately 30 minutes in length and new episodes are currently being produced. 


The Radio Adventures of Eleanor AmplifiedBuckle up! Your car is headed for... adventure! Eleanor Amplified is a radio adventure series for the whole family. Listen together as world-famous radio reporter Eleanor foils devious plots, outwits crafty villains, and goes after The Big Story. Eleanor's pursuit of truth takes her into orbit, out to sea, through a scary jungle and even to the halls of Congress!Like all the public media shows you love, Eleanor Amplified is entertaining and informative. Eleanor defends the very values you expect from high-quality journalism. The importance of access to information. Being inclusive of different points of view. Telling the truth, and more. Eleanor will spark laughter and conversation the whole family will enjoy, while preparing kids to appreciate journalism and make smart media choices in the future.

Quick thoughts on Eleanor Amplified - Out of the three podcasts being shared today, Eleanor is the most dramatic in production style with music and sound effects and character voices. Episodes are short and entertaining. Facts are mixed in naturally with the focus of the episode. Each episode references the previous episodes and though you can listen to an episode as a stand alone, you might want to start at the beginning. Eleanor Amplified will appeal to a broad age range (6 to 11 year olds). 

Episodes are approximately 12 to 15 minutes in length and new episodes are still being produced. 

I would love to hear about any podcasts that you have listened to with kids and what they liked or didn't like. 


Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews....

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: Recent and Upcoming Releases

While at the ALA Annual Conference, I took a number of pictures of books that were recent releases or upcoming releases. Unfortunately many of the pictures weren't clear enough to use in the post. I am always amazed at how I have missed titles in past months and glad to have an opportunity to put books on everyone's radar.  Hope you find lots of new titles to celebrate. 

Check out the previous posts: January | February | March | April

Here are a number of recent releases:


In the Past: From Trilobites to Dinosaurs to Mammoths in More Than 500 Million Years by David Elliott; Illustrated by Matthew Trueman (Candlewick Press, March 2018) 


Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night by Rob Laidlaw (Pajama Press, March 2018)


A House in the Sky And Other Uncommon Animal Homes by Steve Jenkins, Robbin Gourley (Charlesbridge Publishing, May 2018)


Flying Deep: Climb Inside Deep-Sea Submersible Alvin by Michelle Cusolito; Illustrated by Nicole Wong (Charlesbridge Publishing, May 2018)


In-Between Things by Priscilla Tey (Candlewick Press, May 2018)


A Frog's Life by Irene Kelly; Illustrated by Margherita Borin (Holiday House, May 2018)


Step by Step by Loreen Leedy (Holiday House, May 2018)


Science Comics: Rockets: Defying Gravity by Anne Drozd; Illustrated by Jersey Drozd (First Second, June 2018)


Hawk Rising by Maria Gianferrari; Illustrated by Brian Floca (Roaring Brook Press, May 2018)


Water Land: Land and Water Forms Around the World by Christy Hale (Roaring Brook Press, May 2018)


Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak; Illustrated by Julian Frost (Roaring Brook Press, June 2018)


Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 by Helaine Becker; Illustrated by Dow Phumiruk (Henry Holt & Co, June 2018)


Look at Me! How to Attract Attention in the Animal World by Robin Page, Steve Jenkins (HMH Books for Young Readers, June 2018)


Saving Fiona: The Story of the World's Most Famous Baby Hippo by Thayne Maynard (HMH Books for Young Readers, June 2018)


Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere by Barb Rosenstock; Illustrated by Katherine Roy (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, June 2018)


Up & Down: The Adventures of John Jefferies, First American to Fly by Don Brown (Charlesbridge Publishing, June 2018)


Red Alert! Endangered Animals Around the World by Catherine Barr; Illustrated by Anne Barr (Charlesbridge Publishing, July 3, 2018)

And mark your calendar for these up coming releases:


Pass Go and Collect $200: The Real Story of How Monopoly Was Invented by Tanya Lee Stone; Illustrated by Steve Salerno (Henry Holt & Co, July 17, 2018)


Vivid: Poems & Notes About Color by Julie Paschkis (Henry Holt & Co., July 31, 2018)


The Orca Scientist (Scientist in the Field) by Kim Perez Valice; Photographs by Andy Comins (HMH Books for Young Readers, July 24, 2018)


How to Build a Hug: Temple Grandin and Her Amazing Squeeze Machine by Amy Guglielmo, Jacqueline Tourville; Illustrated by Giselle Potter (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, August 28, 2018)


Howard and the Mummy: Howard Carter and the Search for King Tut's Tomb by Tracy Fern; Illustrated by Boris Kulikov (Margaret Ferguson Books / Farrar Strauss Giroux, August 7, 2018)


The Sinking of the Vasa: A Shipwreck of Titantic Proportions by Russell Freedman; Illustrated by William Low (Henry Holt & Co., August 14, 2018)


Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement by Stephanie Roth Sisson (Roaring Brook Press, August 14, 2018)


Just Like Us: Plants by Bridget Heos; Illustrated by David Clark (HMH Books for Young Readers, August 21, 2018)


Just Like Us! Fish by Bridget Heos;  Illustrated by David Clark (HMH Books for Young Readers, August 21, 2018)

Look for all of these titles in your local indie bookstore or community library. 


Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews....