Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: January New Releases

Recently, I started looking for nonfiction titles that will be released in 2019. I have been scrolling through publisher catalogs, online book review sites, and searching for favorite nonfiction authors to see when their next books are being released. I currently have shelved 116 titles to read. Each month, I will attempt to share those new titles with you.

Here are eleven new titles that were recently released. Unfortunately, at this point, I haven’t gotten my hands on them to check for quality but after I have a chance to read them, I will share my favorites.


What If I Had a T. Rex Teeth? And Other Dinosaur Parts by Sandra Markle, Illustrated by Howard McWilliam (Scholastic, December 26, 2018)


Hair! Animal Fur, Wool, and More by Marilyn Singer, Illustrations by Julie Colombet (Millbrook Press, January 2019)


Little Monsters of the Ocean: Metamorphosis Under the Waves by Heather L. Montgomery (Millbrook Press, January 2010)


The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip Hop by Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Frank Morrison (Little Bee Books, January 2019)


A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks by Alice Faye Duncan (Sterling Children’s Books, January 2019)


Superheroes are Everywhere by Kamala Harris, Illustrated by Mechal Renee Roe (Philomel Books, January 2018)


Baby Elephant Joins the Herd by American Museum of Natural History (Sterling, January 2019)


Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins by Michelle Meadows, Illustrated by Ebony Glenn (Henry Holt & Co., January 2019)


Grandpa Stops a War: A Paul Robeson Story by Susan Robeson, Illustrated by Rod Brown (Triangle Square, January 2019)


Fearless Mary: Mary Fields, American Stage Coach Driver by Tami Charles, Illustrated by Claire Almon (Albert Whitman & Co, January 2019)

Look for these and other titles at your local indie bookstore or public library.


Don’t forget to link up your nonfiction reviews below…

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: More End of the Year Favorites

Today is the last Wednesday of 2018, and part of me is wondering if time is speeding up. I am feeling like I need more days or more hours in the day to complete everything. Last week, I shared 6 nonfiction picture book biographies that I really loved this past year. In this post, I am sharing a few more titles that have inspired me to teach.

Do you ever read a book and immediately want to start planning out a unit with the book playing a central role in the unit? I do realize that this is a very subjective list. Every year, I read 100+ nonfiction new releases and though I love many, there are only a few that jump out and shake me and say create a lesson or unit. Well, each of these books have inspired that enthusiasm within me. I have wanted to partner with other teachers and to start planning the unit and see how the implementation of the lesson(s) work with students.

Please remember that I may have loved many books this year, I have limited this book to five titles. Leaving out titles didn’t mean that they aren’t inspiring or important.


Bugs Don’t Hug: Six-Legged Parents And Their Kids by Heather L. Montgomery, Illustrated by Stephen Stone (Charlesbridge Publishing) - This book made me want to time travel back to student teaching and re-do my insect unit. I have decided to use it for a unit I am working on creating for this summer.


Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs by Melissa Stewart, Illustrated by Stephanie Laberis (Peachtree Publishers) - This book has so many layers to it and I have wanted to use it as a part of a mini-unit with students and also show teachers how to work with the various layers.


Cute As an Axolotl: Discovering the Worlds Most Adorable Animals by Jess Keating, Illustrated by David DeGrand (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers) - I have been wanting to do a lesson or series of lessons using Keating’s The World of Weird Animals series. I love it as a mentor text but I am eager to dive in and do some planning.


Stretch to the Sun: From a Tiny Sprout to the Tallest Tree on Earth by Carrie A. Pearson, Illustrated by Susan Swan (Charlesbridge) - I have decided to play around with this book along with some others to create a unit to look at environments and habitats for a unit in March. I will report back.


Terrific Tongues by Maria Gianferrari, Illustrated by Jia Liu (Boyds Mills Press) - I simply love this book and excited to see the way young kids will respond to the book. Similar to Pipsqueaks, I am looking to use this book in a mini-unit.

What books inspired you to go the next level and do something fantastic? Look for these books and others at your local indie bookstore or community library.


Don’t forget to link up your nonfiction reviews…

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: Favorite Nonfiction Picture Books of 2018 Part I

As I think about this post, I wonder if this is more a reflection of the nonfiction books I read in 2018 than a best of list. So rather than just one best of list, I decided I would do several posts between now and the end of 2018 sharing and highlighting some of my favorite nonfiction books.

Maybe because I am feeling particular sensitive lately, and a bit frustrated that there are many, many women that I am just learning about in 2018, I decided to start with my top picture book biographies of women. The following six books touched something deep within me. Whether it was a politician from Texas that I knew little about, or a slave from Massachusetts/New York, whom I thought I knew but saw in a new light, I was inspired by their strength and indomitable personalities as I read these books. Along with two women who knew how to use their voice for change, I was also struck by all the women who ventured into jobs that were traditionally only done by men. Studying math and math applications, pursuing a passion in studying lizards, being the first woman film director should have made these women better known way before now, but I am thankful for the authors who penned these books and the illustrators who sought to bring them to the forefront of our attention. Finally, I truly appreciate the collaborative compilation of multiple women and the women who brought their stories alive through text and illustrations.

Here are my six favorite picture book biographies of women published in 2018. Please remember that if you don’t see a book on this list, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t powerful or meaningful. These six just stood out a little brighter for me.


What Do You Do With a Voice Like That? The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan by Chris Barton, Illustrated by Ekua Holmes (Beach Lane Books)


Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles by Patricia Valdez, Illustrated by Felicita Sala (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers)


Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain by Cheryl Bardoe, Illustrated by Barbara McClintock (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)


So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom by Gary D. Schmidt, Illustrated by Daniel Minter (Roaring Brook Press)


Lights! Camera! Alice! The Thrilling True Adventures of the First Woman Filmmaker by Marla Rockliff, Illustrated by Simona Ciraola (Chronicle Books)


Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World by Susan Hood, Illustrated by Various Women Illustrators (Harper Collins).

What books inspired you this past year? Check in over the next few days as I share more of my favorite nonfiction titles from 2018.

Finally, congratulations to each of the finalists of the 2019 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award. Here is a link to the announcement for the award.


Look for all of these books at your local indie bookstore or at your community library.

Illustrations by Sarah S. Brannen ©2017

Illustrations by Sarah S. Brannen ©2017

Don’t forget to link up your nonfiction reviews below…

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: The Race to the End of 2018

Sometimes, as the year end nears, I feel like I am in a race with time to read as many nonfiction books that were released in the current calendar year. I am still scrambling around to track down several more titles.

Here are the titles that I most recently read….


Hubots: Real-World Robots Inspired by Humans by Helaine Becker, Illustrated by Alex Ries (Kids Can Press, September 2018)


Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli by Kyo Maclear, Illustrated by Julie Morstad (HarperCollins, February 2018)


Lovely Beasts: The Surprising Truth by Kate Gardner, Illustrated by Heidi Smith (Balzer & Bray, September 2018)


Birds From Head to Tail by Stacey Roderick, Illustrated by Kwanchai Moriya (Kids Can Press, October 2018)


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


Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover by Markus Motum (Candlewick, March 2018)

Look for these at your local indie bookstore or community library. And hope you have found many wonderful books this year.


Don’t forget to link up your nonfiction reviews…