Nonfiction Wednesday – January 6, 2016

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2016 is a weekly celebration of imaginative children’s nonfiction materials hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy.

This week I’ve got two very different titles, one commercial and one a bit more artsy, but both winners in their own way.

angrybirds

Title: Angry Birds Animal Showdown: 50 Wild and Crazy Animal Face-Offs
Author: Mel White
Publisher: National Geographic
Publication Date: 2014
Genre/Format: Nonfiction

My Two Cents: This eye-catching animal nonfiction title is a colourful example of the old bait-and-switch technique. Children are drawn in by the cartoony Angry Birds characters and text, but are then treated to some surprisingly engaging and informative animal facts. There’s enough Angry Birds information and illustrations to keep fans happy, but there’s also plenty of the gorgeous full-colour illustrations for which National Geographic is famed. The subject matter is definitely kid-friendly  – examples of animals large and small duking it out in the natural world. Some are predator-prey relationships, others are quarrels for territory or dominance, but all are presented with clear, exciting information in small, bite-size morsels, perfect for reluctant readers. Yes, it’s extremely commercialized, but hey, if it gets books that are actually highly educational into the hands of kids and keeps them there, that’s good enough for me!

same

Title: At the Same Moment Around the World
Author/Illustrator: Clotilde Perrin 
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: 2014
Genre/Format: Nonfiction

My Two CentsWhat a strange and beautiful book. Author/illustrator Perrin takes readers on a trip around the world and into the lives of people in different countries. Each page takes place in a different time zone, starting at six o’clock in the morning, with young Keita helping his father in Dakar, Senegal, and going all the way around the clock and the world to the middle of the Atlantic ocean, with little Chloe on a ship at 5 o’clock in the morning.

same1

This is a beautifully diverse book, with people from around the world shown living their every day lives in their very different environments, and the illustrations have a striking, almost eery, dream-like quality to them. The book ends with a detailed introduction to time zones and the history of time keeping, and includes a fold-out world map. This would be a great addition to a unit on time keeping or geography – on its own it doesn’t fully explain how time zones work or what they represent, but it would certainly be an engaging addition to a unit or discussion.

So, welcome to 2016! What nonfiction titles have you discovered recently?

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10 thoughts on “Nonfiction Wednesday – January 6, 2016

  1. The “angry birds” books sounds great. There is so much to learn when I read a National Geographic book. I own the 2nd one, & several teachers used it with their students, having them do their own research “around the world” & finding more scenes to add. What a gorgeous book it is! Happy Reading, Jane!

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    • I always love National Geographic books, the photography is almost guaranteed to be stunning, and although the gimmicky Angry Birds content is there to catch the kids, I think it’s really these amazingly cool photos that will keep them hooked! I love the idea of using At The Same Moment in the classroom, it offers a lot of opportunities for research and discovery. I used to be a bit of an atlas nerd as a kid, looking at far away places and dreaming of what they would be like, so this would have definitely appealed to me! 🙂

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    • Such a valuable post! I really try not to be a book snob, and to remember that if adults can read Harlequin romances, why can’t children read Geronimo Stilton? The last thing I want to do is turn a child off reading by denying them books that interest them. And if I can sneak some books I love in to their hands from time to time, all the better. 🙂

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    • I love the artwork – at first, to be honest, I was a bit put off by the dark colours and the somewhat strange figures, but I quickly grew to appreciate the quirky style. I appreciate artists who aren’t afraid to think outside the box when it comes to illustrating works for children, and who don’t by into the notion that all children’s books must be hyper-animated and eye-searingly colourful (though of course there’s a place for those that are, too!) 🙂

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