Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - What are you reading?

Thank you everyone for signing up for the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2014.  It is going to be an amazing year of sharing nonfiction books with one another.

For the past 32 days, I participated in the Slice of Life March Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers. It was a fabulous experience but one that resulted in some of my other routines getting shifted around.  Since I missed a number of What are you reading? posts, I thought I would feature a special edition one that focuses on my nonfiction picture books.

Next week's post will include new releases for April and May.

Here is what I have been reading and enjoying lately...

The Animal Book by Steve Jenkins (HMH Books for Young Readers, October 2013) - Why did it take me so long to find this book and read it? I think this is one of Jenkins best yet.  If you can only buy one of his books, make it this one. Amazing!

How to Make a Planet: A Step-By-Step Guide to Building the Earth by Scott Forbes, Illustrated by Jean Camden (Kids Can Press, March 1, 2014) - There is a lot of fun packed into this slim volume. Humor, and facts and directions for building planet earth. I shared this with a bunch of teachers recently and they loved it too.

Creep and Flutter: The Secret World of Insects and Spiders by Jim Arnosky (Sterling Children's Books, April 2012) - I saw this book over on a post that The Nonfiction Detectives did and wondered why I hadn't read it?!  I quickly corrected that oversight and I love this one, especially the pull out pages.

On Kiki's Reef by Carol Malnor; Illustrated by Trina L. Hunner (Dawn Publication, March 1, 2014) - A narrative story on the life of a sea turtle from hatchling to adult. The illustrations are beautiful and I also enjoyed the facts throughout the book and the end notes and resources.

Aviary Wonders Inc., Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual by Kate Samworth (Clarion Books, March 4, 2014) - Okay, this is technically not nonfiction, but there is some good information in this one. Thanks Carrie Gelson for tipping me off to this book. I simply love it.

Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart; Illustrated by Sarah S. Brannon (Charlesbridge, February 2014) - I am a huge Melissa Stewart fan and love the way she is writing and creating her books. Text and design work beautifully in this one.

As a result of some of these books, I now want to read:

Sea Turtle Scientist by Stephen R Swinburne (HMH Books for Young Readers, January 2014)

The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs by Sandra Markle (Millbrook Press, 2011)

The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees by Sandra Markle (Millbrook Press, 2013)

I know when I begin checking out all of your links there will be dozens more to read as well. Don't forget to link up so that we can see your reviews too.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Women's History Month Part II

Thank you everyone for signing up for the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2014.  It is going to be an amazing year of sharing nonfiction books with one another.

Last week I mentioned that I was having difficulty finding 2014 nonfiction picture books that celebrated women.  This messed up my plans for my March posts. Oh well! Last week, I featured 5 of my favorite picture book biographies of women.  This week I am sharing nonfiction books that still have quite a few illustrations or photographs but are geared for a slightly older audience, and still celebrate women and their contributions and honor the intent of Women's History Month.

For Part II, I  feature 5 of my favorite longer length biographies of women:

Cleopatra Rules! The Amazing Life of the Original Teen Queen by Vicky Alvear Shecter (Boyd Mills Press, 2010) - If you have not read this book, find it and read immediately. Written in a way that will pull in even the most reluctant nonfiction reader, the book is filled with great facts and just the right amount of humor.

Zora!: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston by Dennis Brindell Fradin; Judith Bloom Fradin (Clarion Books 2012) - I was so sad that I discovered this after I did my Literacy Café on the Harlem Renaissance. A very accessible biography on Zora Neale Hurston for ages 10 and up.

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone (Candlewick Press, 2009) - I am a huge fan of Tanya Lee Stone and this was the book that began my journey to learn about what was new in children's nonfiction and eventually led me to begin my nonfiction picture book challenge.

Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way) by Sue Macy (National Geographic Children's Books, 2011) - Sue Macy is another author that I enjoy reading. However, I would have picked this one up just based on the title alone. I learned so much in reading this one. I had never thought about how a bicycle would provide women with a certain amount of mobility which would then lead to freedom.

Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O'Keefe by Susan Goldman Rubin (Chronicle Books, 2011) - Whether you are a fan of the artist, Georgia O'Keefe, or just interested in women's biographies, this is an interesting read about the early influences over O'Keefe's art and development into the artist she would become.

And my bonus pick...I sat on the fence with this one...however, it was such an amazing book that I needed to include it.

Witches: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem by Rosalyn Schanzer (National Geographic Children's Books, 2011) - When I read this book, I remember thinking that I knew about the Salem Witch Trials.  However, there was a lot that I did not know and I could not put this down. 

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

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Women's History Month Part I

Thank you everyone for signing up for the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2014.  It is going to be an amazing year of sharing nonfiction books with one another.

To celebrate Women's History Month, I wanted to share a variety of new nonfiction picture books about the amazing women who made significant contributions to history.  As I scrolled through my 2014 nonfiction picture book releases, I realized that there was a minimal number of books featuring women. How could that be when I had counted quite a few that were released in 2013.  So I needed to change my post plans.  Instead, I am going to honor several that have come out in the past couple of years.

In Part I, I will feature 5 of my favorite picture book biographies of women:

Eleanor, Quiet No More by Doreen Rappaport; Illustrated by Gary Kelley (Disney-Hyperion 2009) - A wonderful picture book biography on the amazing Eleanor Roosevelt. 

The Tree Lady: The Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever by H. Joseph Hopkins; Illustrated by Jim McElmurry (Beach Lane Books, September 2013) - A strong biography on Katherine Sessions and how she wanted to plant trees in the San Diego Area in it's early years.

Here Comes the Girl Scouts!: The Amazing All-True Story Juliette 'Daisy' Gordon Low and Her Great Adventure by Shana Corey; Illustrated by Hadley Hooper (Scholastic, January 2012) - This was a great story about Juliette 'Daisy' Gordon Low and what she had to do to create the Girl Scouts.

Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, April 2011) - A very young picture book biography on Jane Goodell.

Women Explorers by Julie Cummins; Illustrated by Cheryl Harness (Dial, February 2012) - The story of ten women who went out and lived life not worrying about what others were thinking.

Stop by next week to find out 5 more favorites.

Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews:

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Women's History Month - Celebrating Florence Nightingale & Eleanor Prentiss

Thank you everyone for signing up for the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2014.  It is going to be an amazing year of sharing nonfiction books with one another.

To celebrate Women's History Month, I will be sharing different books about women over the next several Wednesdays.  In today's post, I look at Florence Nightingale and Eleanor Prentiss.  Though they were contemporaries of one another, their paths would not have crossed.  Florence lived in England and traveled primarily in Europe.  Eleanor grew up in Massachusetts and spent years learning to navigate a schooner, which eventually led her to sail from New York City to San Francisco in record-breaking time.

Both of these women are remarkable in their dogged-pursuit of the things they loved, which at the time were careers that women did not typically pursue, especially for Eleanor. As for Florence, yes, there were female nurses in her time, but her skill and knowledge led her to develop systems and practices that would influence nursing and patient care for years.

If you are looking for picture book biographies on these amazing women to be used in classroom or school libraries, I would definitely recommend the following books.

Florence Nightingale by Demi (Henry Holt & Co, February 4, 2014) - I have not read or seen many picture book biographies on Florence Nightingale so I was curious about this one. Demi has created a biography on Florence Nightingale and her early years and what influenced her to pursue nursing and the conditions of hospitals and patient care as a career and life-long mission.  Despite suffering from ill-health for much of her adult life, Nightingale never allowed it to detour her mission and focus.  Her influence was so great that it is felt today with the work of the International Red Cross.  

One of my favorite lines in this book is at the end...
We remember Florence Nightingale today as the driving force behind improvements in nursing during her time and as a woman of extraordinary vision, who believed that no problem, however big it seemed, was ever too big for her to solve.

Dare the Wind: The Record-breaking Voyage of  Eleanor Prentiss and the Flying Cloud by Tracey Fern; Illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, February 18, 2014) - Tracey Fern brings to life both Eleanor Prentiss and her love of the sea.  As I read through this picture book biography on Prentiss, I was caught up in the race she undertook from New York City around Cape Horn to San Francisco.  When her schooner ran into trouble, I was amazed at how she was able to navigate out of it. 

Two of my favorite lines in the book were...
Then Ellen remembered what her papa had taught her long ago: a true navigator must have the caution to read the sea, as well as the courage to dare the wind. 

There is no glory in second place, Ellen thought.  Now is the time for courage.

Look for both of these picture book biographies at your local independent bookstore or public library.

Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews below:

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednseday - March and April New Releases

Thank you everyone for all of the great posts each week for the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2014.  At the beginning of each month, I like to try to do a post to spread the word about recent releases or upcoming nonfiction/informational titles.  It is not comprehensive, but I do try to include a variety of titles that might be of interest to readers.  Some of them I have read and some I have yet to read.  Often I include reviews in later posts.  Here are some titles that I missed last month, and some additional titles that will be arriving in March and April.

Missed February Releases (for more February Releases, check here)
February 25, 2014

Alaska's Dog Heroes: True Stories of Remarkable Canines by Shelley Gill; Illustrated by Robin James (Little Bigfoot)

Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart; Illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen (Charlesbridge)

Light is All Around Us by Wendy Pfeffer; Illustrated by Paul Meisel (HarperCollins)

Upcoming March Release (please check back to this post for more titles)
March 1, 2014

A Trip into Space: An Adventure to the International Space Station by Lorie Haskins Houran; Illustrated by Francesca Marquez (Albert Whitman & Co.)

Cold, Crunchy, Colorful: Using our Senses by Jane Brocket (Millbrook Press)

How to Make a Planet: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building the Earth by Scott Forbes; Illustrated by Jean Camden (Kids Can Press)

On Kiki's Reef by Carol L. Malnor; Illustrated by Trina L. Hunner (Dawn Publications)

The Swamp Where Gators Hide by Marianne Berkes; Illustrated by Roberta Baird (Dawn Publications)

Sea Slime: It's Eeuwy, Gooey And Under the Sea by Ellen Prager; Illustrated by Shennan Bersani (Sylvan Dell Publishing)

Upcoming April Releases:
April 1, 2014

Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa's Fastest Cats by Sy Montgomery; Photographs by Nic Bishop (HMH Books for Young Readers)

Water Can Be... by Laurie Purdie Salas; Illustrations by Violeta Dabija  (Millbrook Press)

Plastic Ahoy!: Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by Patricia Newman; Photographs by Annie Crawley (Millbrook Press)

Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews below and stop by and comment on others: