Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: Let's Talk Nonfiction for a Minute

Dear Booksellers, Librarians and Teachers - We need to have a little chat. Recently, I attended a book talk. The focus was supposed to be on nonfiction. Given my passion for children’s nonfiction, I was excited to see what amazing books would be shared with the audience. And then imagine my disappointment, when there were more apologies than books shared.

If you read my blog regularly, then I know you are familiar with the excellent nonfiction titles that are coming out monthly. However, we have a lot of work to do. There are still booksellers, librarians and teachers that are not familiar with current titles and may not recognize their own reading gap. This is where your support is needed.

So, if you use your community library to check out new titles, when you return the books, share your favorites with the library staff on duty. I know that many of my branch libraries do not have the skilled children’s librarians that you can find at the main branch. Placing books on their radar will help expand their awareness of quality titles. I often plant seeds as to how I would use the book in the classroom. Even if they don’t remember all of the suggestions, I hope they will remember that I am a resource that they can reach out to and ask for recommendations.

For those of you who pick up nonfiction titles at your local bookstore, especially at independent bookstores, there may be a solid collection of nonfiction but striking up conversations about what you are reading and what books you are excited about can also help store staff expand their awareness of the nonfiction on their shelves. Many of them are more aware of and have read the fiction titles, but could use some help in learning about nonfiction titles that you are eager to read (or have read) rather than just what their local sales reps have share with them. Since a lot of nonfiction comes from small publishing houses that may not have publishing reps visiting the store’s buyer, your requests and feedback can help to expand the nonfiction titles that are available for children and teachers.

And to celebrate nonfiction, here are a few books that jumped out of the stack this week…


Did You Burp?: How to Ask Questions...or Not! by April Pulley Sayre, Illustrated by Leeza Hernandez (Charlesbridge Publishers, August 6, 2019)


I am a fan of April Pulley Sayre and enjoy the variety in her books. This one makes for an excellent mentor text and book to discuss “questions”.


Prairie Boy: Frank Lloyd Wright Turns the Heartland into a Home by Barb Rosenstock, Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal ( Calkins Creek, September 10, 2019)


Barb Rosenstock is one of my favorite picture book biography writers. I am always happy to get my hands on a new biography from her.


Bloom Boom! by April Pulley Sayre (Beach Lane Books, February 5, 2019)


Young readers love this and the other three books (Raindrops Roll, Best in Snow, and Full of Fall) in collection. The beautiful photographs and simple text draw in readers.


Look! I Wrote a Book! (and You Can Too!) by Sally Lloyd-Jones, Illustrated by Neal Layton (Schwartz & Wade, July 23, 2019)


I often get asked about “how-to” books that teachers can use as a mentor text. Lloyd-Jones’ new book can provide a jumping off place for a discussion about how-to write a book.


Don’t forget to link up your nonfiction reviews…