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 […]

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 […]

Boys’ life

herrndorf_why we took the car

A heartrending and hilarious junior-high road-trip novel; a story about stepping up in dire straits; an exploration of grief, false exteriors, and hope; and a riveting depiction of a boy feigning manhood. These new novels featuring teenage boys offer coming-of-age drama with real heart. Two teens abandon their lackluster lives and hit the Autobahn in […]

Flora and friends

viorst_lulu's mysterious mission

Kate DiCamillo’s Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures (illustrated by K. G. Campbell; Candlewick, 6–9 years) — that warmly told and illustrated story of a comics-loving girl, a superheroic squirrel, and their friendship — took home the 2014 Newbery Medal. The following primary and early intermediate novels also star smart, spirited girls on adventures big […]

Things that stop and go

barton_my bus

Need a break from that perennial favorite Cars and Trucks and Things That Go? These four new transportation-themed picture books for preschoolers combine well-paced texts, dynamic illustrations, and entertaining stories — the perfect companion for daytime journeys and journeys into night. Byron Barton‘s My Bus (companion to My Car; Greenwillow, 2–4 years) takes readers along […]