Warning! This list may be somewhat expensive as you read about some fantastic Nonfiction books which are treasures of information and art. You may be enticed to add titles to your shopping cart after reading about these picture book gems.
THE UNDEFEATED by Kwame Alexander; illus.A Kadir Nelson
A stirring poem that is a love letter to Black American artists, athletes and activists by Kwame Alexander with striking illustrations by Kadir Nelson. A staggering book. An important book underlining ‘the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present.’ (from book jacket). This one will will awards. Please!
THE STUFF OF STARS by Marion Dane Bauer; illus. Ekua Holmes
A time before space existed, a time when stars exploded, planets emerged, Earth was born. And so were animals. And so were we. Lushly illustrated stuff-of-stars journey told in poetic language (“Again and again/ stardust/gave birth to startdust.”)
MARTIN & ANNE: The Kindred Spirits of Dr. Marthin Luther King Jr. and Anne Frank by Nancy Churnin; illus. Yevgenia Nayburg
Anne Frank and Martin Luther King Jr. were both born in the same year (1929). Each faced racial hatred. Each reacted to hate with words of love. The connections and comparisons are made between these two iconic figures, spread by spread. A gem of a book, inspiring hope.
THE HONEYBEE by Kirsten Hall; illus. Isabelle Arsenault
Facts! Facts! Facts! and more facts about the life and behaviour of bees. The arrangement of verbal text and visuals and the choice of words, make this a remarkably striking picture book. Ideas are presented in a variety of text formats (question and answer, speech bubbles, rhyming, repeated text.) This one deserves an award!
Cuddle now, rest.
Join our nest.
Huddle and cuddle,
The winter’s our text.
A HISTORY OF PICTURES: For children by David Hockney and Martin Gayford; illus. Rose Blake
Bologna Book Fair (2019): Winner of the New Horizons book award given for innovative books that introduce readers to new horizons.
I am a fan of the artist David Hockney and was thrilled to purchase this beautiful book that the artist and the art critic Martin Gayford take readers on a journey through art history. The authors offer their personal insights into a range of significant art pieces and explain their creation and the significance of these pieces. The art plates along with the illustrations to accompany the text help to make this a WOW! of a book, certainly one that is more engaging than the art history books we were assigned to read in high school.
THE DIAMOND AND THE BOY: The creation of diamonds and the Life of H. Tracy Hall by Hannah Holt; illus. Jay Fleck
The very best of a nonfiction picture book creation, full of information about diamonds, organized under topic headings (e.g., Heat; Pressure; An Eruption; The Change). Narrative and facts are cleverly presented in a unique dual narrative format following the stories of the diamonds from rock to gem, and Tracy Hall, inventor of diamond-making machines. This jewel of book sparkles and shines, like a diamond!
A BUNCH OF PUNCTUATION Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins; illus. Serge Bloch
A hybrid of poetry and information writing in a collection of poems that pay tribute to the range of punctuation. (e..g, Forgotten: A Colon’s Complaint; Stubby the Hyphen; Apostrophe).
THEY SHE HE ME: Free to be! by Maya and Matthew
The words of the title are repeated throughout this book to provide very young children with awareness of gender differences… and the use of different pronouns.
28 DAYS: Moment in Black History That Changed the World by Charles R. Smith, Jr; illus. Shane W. Evans
Brilliantly using a variety of poetry formats and succinct informational text, the author present twenty-eight extraordinary events that changed the course of black history. The perfect vehicle for Black History Month – and of course any of the other 11 months – to have students consider the importance of people places and events that can change the world. This book is both powerful and essential.
EMMANUEL’S DREAM: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson; illus. Sean Qualls.
The inspiring true story of Abelism about a young boy who, with only one strong leg, cycled four hundred miles across Ghana, West Africa.
SEPARATE IS NEVER EQUAL: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
Young Sylvia Mendez demands to understand why were the children of Mexican families forced to attend separate schools? The Mendez family took matters into their own hands and organized a lawsuit that brought an end to segregated schooling in California in 1947.
ALL ABOUT ANNE
by Meno Metselaar and Piet Ledden / Anne Frank House
This is a very informative resource produced by the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam (available in Canada through Second Story Press). The book is divided into 6 chapters that provide a chronology of events of Anne Frank’s life and death before during and after being hidden in the Secret Annex. Special text features include numerous photographs, illustrations, information organized under questions and answers. Very insightful and clear expectations of the iconic historical figure and the events of World War II when Jews were persecuted. Teaching resource guide available through Second Story Press.
Five Canadian NonfictionTitles, 2018
GO SHOW THE WORLD: A Celebration of Indigenous Heroes by Wab Kinew; illus. Joe Morse
EARTHRISE: Apollo 8 and the photo that changed the world by James Gladstone; illus Christy Lundy
TURTLE POND by James Gladstone; illus Karen Reczuch
WALKING IN THE CITY WITH JANE: A story of Jane Jacobs by Susan Hughes, illus. Valerie Boivin
THE TRIUMPHANT TALE OF THE HOUSE SPARROW by Jan Thornhill