Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: 2-15-17

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy.
I noticed years back that my classroom library was heavy on fiction. Since noticing the imbalance of fiction to nonfiction, I've remained on the lookout for engaging and diverse nonfiction titles. Here are some recent finds!

Preaching to the Chickens: The story of young John Lewis by Jabari Asim, illustrated by E. B. Lewis
Nancy Paulsen Books, 2016
32 pages
Recommended for grades 3+

A sweet telling of the early years of John Lewis' life, during which he finds his voice as a preacher among a feathery congregation.
Lewis grew into a leader of civil rights in American history, becoming a member of the Freedom Riders, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and was the youngest member of the "Big Six."
After reading Lewis' memoire Asim became interested and drawn to Lewis, leading eventually to the creation of this story. I love introducing students to people, places, concepts and times through accessible picture books that both feed the mind and delight the eye. 
Certainly one to read aloud!

Crow Smarts: Inside the brain of the world's brightest birds by Pamela S. Turner
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016
73 pages
Recommended for grades 3+

I'm lucky enough to teach fourth graders, an age when learning and discovery is a desire in most students. I read sections of this one aloud to my class, and found the writing to be engaging enough to sustain their attention (nonfiction can feel heavy at times). 
I want to share some major spoilers, my favorite take aways from this book, but I feel like I should leave them nestled in the pages for you to discover. There is no doubt that crows are clever, but these New Caledonian crows are pushing boundaries that excite scientist daily. 
Visit Crow Smarts for videos and additional and up-to-date information on these crafty problem solvers.

Clara: The (Mostly) True Story of the Rhinoceros Who Dazzled Kings, Inspired Artist, and Won the Hearts of Everyone...While She Ate Her Way Up and Down a Continent! by Emily Arnold McCully
Schwartz & Wade, 2016
Recommended for grades 2+

Imagine a 3-ton rhinoceros being carted around Europe in the 1700s?! Clara was adopted by a merchant marine, Van de Meer, who dreamed of striking it rich by parading Clara around (rhinos were considered mythical beasts at the time, and people would surely pay up to see her). Turns out that the amount of money it took to move and feed Clara often meant that Van de Meer himself went hungry, but the strength of their bond and the love of the lifestyle was worth it to him.
What a fun and fascinating piece of history. A quick google search will uncover pictures of this famous rhino that was an unknown to me until now!

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I loved Preaching to the Chickens, a wonderful introduction to John Lewis' life. And I know about Clara and Crow Smarts, but still haven't read them. Crows are fascinating creatures, and I enjoy watching them. It's a great threesome!

  2. Oh "Clara" is a new one to me, and it looks delightful!

  3. Preaching to the Chickens is on my list to check out. I finally got my hands on March and am so fascinated by John Lewis' history.

  4. I want to read everything there is about John Lewis. He is a hero. Truly.

  5. I loved Preaching to the Chickens too. This is the first I've heard of Clara. Now I'm excited to read it!

  6. Great job incorporating more nonfiction into your library! Keep it up! I've been telling people it's the year of nonfiction picture books!

  7. Clara is a new one for me! Loved Preaching to the Chickens :)

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