Friday, February 10, 2017

#nf10for10: Nonfiction Picture Books

from Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family's Journey. Art by Syrian artist, Nizar Ali Badr.

Today is Non-Fiction Picture Book Sharing, #nf10for10, hosted by Cathy Mere, Reflect and Refine: Building A Learning Community and Mandy Robek, Enjoy and Embrace LearningBelow find ten nonfiction picture books I can't live without. These brought me comfort in a year where comfort was most needed. Amazing art work throughout each and informative as well.

From Circle
Baker, Jeannie. (2016). Circle. Sommerville, MA: Candlewick.

In this text with amazing signature styled collages Jeannie Baker is know for, we learn about the extraordinary journey of the godwit who flies annually from the Arctic to Australia and New Zealand. 

Detailed and lovely. 

I purchase every book Baker creates and I am never disappointed.

Campoy, Isabel & Theresa Howell. (2016). Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood. Illustrated by Rafael López. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

This is the true story of a neighborhood that was transformed by the work of muralist, Rafael López. The telling is narrative. I would pair this with images and information from the actual internet site of the artist that explains the project. 

From Polar Bear.
From Polar Bear

Desmond, Jenni. (2016). Polar Bear. Brooklyn, NY: Enchanted Lions Books.

This is the second in a series of books about endangered animals.  The first, The Blue Whale, caught my eye, as did Polar Bear. 

Desmond's mixed media art work does justice in conveying the size, might, and beauty of the polar bear while her words lets us know why this animal is endangered.

from The Blue Whale.

Garland, Michael. (2017). Birds Make Nests. New York: Holiday House.

Ever since I first read Michael Garland's Dinner at Magritte's to Devon when he was just a small boy, I have enjoyed Garland's books. His attention to detail, coupled with his digital artwork always makes for fine books to read and view.  Birds Make Nest is an example of a simple, yet detailed, informational text worth reading and viewing. For me this would be a staple in every primary classrooms.

Image result for i dissent ruth bader ginsburg leaves her mark
from I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark

Levy, Deby. (2016). I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark. Illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

This picture book biography about Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg just seems to gain such importance given the recent election in the United States that ushered in Donald Trump and his coterie of advisors.  Understanding the power of dissent feels so critical.

from Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family's Journey 
Nizar Ali Badr
Ruurs, Magriet. (2016). Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family's Journey (Arabic and English Edition). Art work by Nizar Badr. Translated by Falah Raheem. Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers.

Perhaps my favorite text of the group. Ruurs retells the journey of one refugee family fleeing for their lives from Syria to Europe. A stirring account. What makes this book so special, beyond the story, is the artwork. 

Nizar Ali Badr, a Syrian artist from the port city of Latakia, arranges stones to convey the journey. I could study the images he makes for years. 

The text is bilingual (English and Arabic).

from Because of an Acorn

Schaefer, Lola M. & Adam Schaefer. (2016). Because of an AcornIllustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.

An informational text like so many of Lola Schaefer's books, uses simple and clearly written text to convey complicated scientific matters. In this text, Schaefer demonstrates causal relationships in nature. Children love her books.

from Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Steptoe, Javaka. (2016). Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. New York: Little Brown.

Winner of the 2017 Randolph Caldecott Medal
Winner of the 2017 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award

Such a difficult story to tell, given the hard life Basquiat lived, and Steptoe does so deftly and beautifully. 

I read and reread this one. 
The art extends, not merely mimics, Basquait's style. Bravo.
Image result for the legendary miss horne
from The Legendary Miss Lena Horne.

Weatherford, Carole Boston. (2017). The Legendary Miss Lena Horne. Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers. 

Lyrical biography of Lena Horne, the jazz singer and civil rights activist by poet Carole Boston Weatherford. There's great depth here--moving beyond the fabulous voice of Horne's to also embrace the activist.

The collage work by Elizabeth Zunon complements and extends the written text. I also enjoyed and would recommend Weatherford's biography of Fanie Lou Hamer, Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer (mixed media artwork by Ekua Holmes

from The Secret Project
Winter, Jonah and Jeanette Winter. (2017). The Secret ProjectNew York: Beach Lane Books.

Mother and son work together to create a retelling of the Manhattan Project--the making of the first atomic bomb. The written text is unadorned and straight forward. Jeannette Winter's illustrations extend meaning, such as the panel that shows us one artist who is also out in the desert, but making art not bombs (Georgia O'Keeffe). 

A dozen picture books I am anticipating...ordered by release date. (Note: these books are fiction and nonfiction)

from Grand Canyon

from My Beautiful Birds

from Bee and Me


  1. Stepping Stone is my new all-time favorite. My students and I haven't stopped talking about it.

    1. It is a terrific book. So glad you are able to share it with children.

  2. Books do bring us comfort and I love you put those together in a list. All new books for me to check out. Thank you for joining us.

    1. My pleasure Mandy. Yes, I love the pleasure of books. Glad some of the titles are new to you.

  3. Oh wow this list! I can't keep Stepping Stones in my classroom. Constantly lending it out - such a gorgeous title. I can't wait to purchase some of these other titles you have featured to be released later this year. We have similar tastes. I have shared many of the already released titles with my students and they have been very powerful.

    1. We do have similar taste! So glad you keep sharing Stepping Stones. We are the better for it.

  4. Beautiful list! I've read and enjoyed sharing several of these books.

    1. I noticed as I looked through the other lists lots of common titles. That feels good, somehow.

  5. You're right, we did share some similar books, Mary Ann. I'll look for Circle. What a gorgeous looking book. Thanks for the peek at upcoming books, too. I know some, and will note others. You're created a beautiful post!

  6. Thanks for joining us, Mary Ann. You have many few titles in your 2016 collection that are new to me. I enjoy the work of Jeannie Baker and Lola Schaefer, but haven't seen either of these titles. You've also reminded us there is much to look forward to in 2017.

    1. Glad to be able to introduce you to a few new titles Cathy. The Lola Schaefer book was a hit with kindergarteners (and their teachers) especially.


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