Science units on watershed

The Frog Scientist

Last month I had an email exchange with Molly Bang who wanted to know whether any teachers were using Pamela Turner’s excellent book The Frog Scientist to explore the herbicide atrazine and watershed issues. Everyone who knows Molly’s recent books is aware that she is concerned about environmental issues. I love that this concern goes […]

The real superheroes

j_toys

Shared reading has made my child a Frog and Toad and George and Martha  fan. Preschool has made him a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan. (Remember them, ’80s kids? They’re back.) In the absence of action figures, he uses his Lego animals as Ninja Turtles. The other day he was playing superheroes: “Here’s Donatello, and […]

Moving moment No. 6

Jake

Ooh, who remembers this one? In 1982, the library systems of Chicago, Milwaukee, and San Francisco banned Margot Zemach’s Jake and Honeybunch Go to Heaven from their collections (Chicago, from where I followed the whole story avidly, did include it in its two regional research libraries). Unlike the headlines, still popular today, that too-loosely use […]

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

depaola_patrick the patron saint

Erin go bragh! Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with nonfiction about Ireland and its history, fiction starring Irish and Irish American protagonists, and a little bit of pure blarney, all recommended by The Horn Book Magazine.   Picture books In Eve Bunting’s Ballywhinney Girl, Maeve’s grandpa unearths a mummy — common in Ireland, where (a note […]

Talking about information books

informationbooks

In next week’s class, we’ll be talking about information books. Things sure have changed since I was in elementary school. Instead of providing every fact known — or at least everything needed to write a report — information books nowadays aim to be as engaging as possible in order to get children interested in their […]

Actual Size

Actual Size

We are reading four information books for our next class, all picture books but for various ages. Steve Jenkins’s Actual Size could be read with very young children or with older ones depending on how you choose to  share it. There is basic information in large type and details for older children in smaller type. The […]

Me…Jane

me jane

As picture book biographies go, this is one of the more irreverent ones. What did you make of it? What about the visual mix: McDonnell’s cartoon-style art, vintage stamps, Goodall’s childhood drawings, and photos? The year this was published, we had lots of discussion pro and con about the final photograph and the book’s editor […]

Look Up!

cate_look up

Here’s an information book created by an enthusiast rather than an expert. Cate doesn’t claim to know everything about birds, but she does hope that her enthusiasm is catching. In fact, she uses every last bit of space in this book, endpaper to endpaper, to give advice in a lighthearted and nonthreatening way. What do […]

Dave the Potter

Dave the Potter

Here’s a biography of someone we really know very little about. What do you make of Hill’s poem? Do you want to learn more? Do Collier’s illustrations fill in some gaps? The information at the end tells us more, but in fact we are still left with a mystery. Do Collier’s collages match the tone […]

Three articles about Dave the Potter

Bryan Collier

In addition to the four information books we’re reading this week, there are also three articles from the July/August 2011 Horn Book Magazine related to Dave the Potter: Bryan Collier’s Coretta Scott King Award acceptance speech Profile of Bryan Collier by Marcia Wernick “Dave the Potter and Stevie the Reader” by Megan Lambert Personally, I […]