It’s Monday – What Are You Reading? October 26, 2015

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? was initiated by Sheila at Book Journey, and adapted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with a children’s/YA focus – perfect for a children’s librarian like me. This weekly roundup is a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers, share recommended (or not so recommended….) titles, and add to your ever-growing to-read list.

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Since we’re just days away from Halloween, I thought I’d continue to share a few Halloween favourites, but this time I’m going to take a look at nonfiction. Nonfiction is often woefully neglected when it comes to book talking (if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know I’m a bit of a nonfiction nerd), so let’s change that! Here are a few Halloween-appropriate nonfiction titles to share with kids at your school/library this week.

Title: Mummies: Dried, Tanned, Sealed, Drained, Frozen, Embalmed, Stuffed, Wrapped and Smokes…and We’re Dead Serious
Author: Christopher Sloan
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books
Publication Date: 2010
Genre/Format: Nonfiction
Publisher’s Summary: Investigate mysteries from the grave in this vividly illustrated book, a creepy-fun compendium of the world’s most fascinating mummies. National Geographic’s unparalleled photographs bring kids up close and personal with ancient remains, while Chris Sloan’s mesmerizing text reveals what the experts have discovered about each mummy’s life and death. Kids will clamor to read this book in the classroom or at home—and they’ll absorb science, ancient cultures, geography, and more, as freaky photos and intriguing stories keep them glued to every page.

My Two CentsPublished in 2010, Mummies is a bit of an “oldie but goodie”. The real star of this nonfiction guide to mummies is of course National Geographic’s stunning photography. This is a veritable feast for the eyes, be that a slightly disgusting feast – just look at the face on that cover! Talk about grabbing kids’ attention. Make no mistake, though, this book’s no lightweight in the information department – kids will be fascinated and pleasantly disgusted by the images, but they’ll also be exposed to a variety of carefully researched facts and figures. Everything’s delivered with a bit of a sense of humour (as evidenced in the title) to balance out any potentially disturbing or frightening information or images. This is nonfiction the way it should be – engaging, exciting and visually appealing.

Title: 100 Most Feared Creatures on the Planet
Author: Anna Claybourne
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: 2013
Genre/Format: Nonfiction
Publisher’s Summary: The next book in the successful 100 MOST series, 100 Most Feared Creatures features the scariest beasts in the animal kingdom!
This book will explore the world’s most ferocious creatures and reveal the deadliest facts about these terrifying animals. Who fights off predators by spraying blood from its eyes? How does the slender, deep-sea gulper swallow prey twice its size? Who sucks out body fluids with its short, sharp mouthparts? Readers will learn everything they ever wanted to know about some of the scariest creatures on the planet.

My Two CentsLeeches and sharkes and spiders, oh my! Facts and figures presented in an engaging manner and interspersed with eye-catching illustrates – this is fodder for “reluctant readers” at its best. Books about the darker side of the natural world are a great way of hooking kids who are drawn to scary books, proving that the animal kingdom can be just as spooky as anything a writer can imagine.

Title: Bones
Author: Steve Jenkins
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: 2010
Genre/Format: Nonfiction
Publisher’s Summary: This book is far from skinny! It’s the definitive nonfiction titles about human and animal bones, delivered with in-your-face accuracy and intrigue. In this visually driven volume, prepared with cut-paper illustrations, kids come face-to-face with some head-to-toe bony comparisons, many of them shown at actual size. Here you’ll find the differences between a man’s hand and that of an elephant’s leg paired with the feather-light femur of a stork; and rib-tickling info about snakes and sloths. How many bones in the whole human body? Kids find out when they open one of the three giant gatefold spreads that reveal the hard (yet enjoyable) truths about the bony insides of Earth’s many creatures.

My Two CentsLove love love. I love Steve Jenkins, so it’s no surprising that I had to share this book – what could be more Halloween-appropriate than a book about skeletons? As usual, Jenkins delights with his signature cut-paper illustrations, bringing inanimate objects brilliantly to life. The giant spreads are awesome, and are sure to catch the attention of young readers. Fresh, fascinating, and fun, this is an engrossing introduction to anatomy, and would be an excellent addition to any Halloween display or a unit on biology or anatomy. Highly recommended!

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Title: National Geographic Readers
Author: Various
Publisher: National Geographic
Publication Date: Varies
Genre/Format: Nonfiction / Early Readers
Publisher’s Summary: National Geographic Science Readers is a high-interest, science inquiry series in an exciting and easy-to-read format. Each book falls into one of five reading levels and is labeled by level on its front cover. The simple, fun text with pull-quotes is only the beginning: National Geographic photography and kid-friendly diagrams draw kids in and get them reading about their favorite subjects.

Developed by National Geographic in close consultation with literacy education experts, this new series is one teachers, librarians, parents, and grandparents know they can trust to nurture every child’s love of reading.

My Two Cents: I love nonfiction early readers! I’m in the process of planning an Early Readers Book Club, so I’ve been digging through a LOT of readers, and I’m really enjoying the variety of nonfiction titles available. These are a great alternative to the never-ending superhero/Star Wars/Lego readers that crowd library shelves, and the variety of subjects makes it easier to find something to excite just about anyone. There are a couple of really great Halloween-appropriate subjects, including snakes, spiders, sharks, mummies, and deadliest animals, with the kind of incredible photography you’d expect from National Geographic. Scary stuff! 

The possibilities for Halloween-appropriate nonfiction titles for book talking are nearly endless – just think of all the scary subjects you can pick from! Snakes, vampires, mummies, ghosts, bats, spiders, witches, and more. I hope this helped spark your imagination!

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12 thoughts on “It’s Monday – What Are You Reading? October 26, 2015

  1. Each of the National Geographic books must be great, & I haven’t seen them. I know my six year old granddaughter would love the mummy book. She knows about mummies & is fascinated, not scared at all! I know the Jenkins’ Bones book-just marvelous. Thanks for the good reviews, Jane, & have a wonderfully ‘spooky’ week!

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