Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 4-12-17

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!

Caroline's Comet: A True Story
By Emily Arnold McCully
Holiday House, 2017
32 pages
Recommended for grades 2+

I enjoyed this biography of a young female scientist breaking ground in her day. It certainly left me curious as to what her life was really like. Forging ahead and crossing gender boundaries was surely not an easy task, and it seemed that there must be so much more to learn about this woman. I also couldn't help but think about how incredibly lucky I am to have been born generations after pioneers like Caroline Herschel.

Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness
Written by Donna Janell Bowman, 
Illustrated by Daniel Minter
Lee & Low Books, 2016

I love block print illustrations. The illustrations give a sense of power and strength even when depicting scenes of vulnerability. I am sure I have heard of this amazing horse before (Jim Key), but I certainly didn't fully know the story of how Doc raised and trained Jim. 
As the title suggests, Doc and Jim spread a message of how to treat animals with kindness, but the real takeaway for me is sort of one of disbelief. How is it possible that Jim Key was able to read, write, and compute, or to answer questions, like he did? Scholars from Harvard conducted a study in hopes of determining whether there was some sort of cheating taking place. I worried when I found myself going to that place too. Why do I jump to the conclusion that it just can't be so? That a horse simply can't do what Jim supposedly did? That's the adult in me getting the best of me. I think young people will latch on to this remarkable story and see it for how amazing it was at that time, and is even still today.
(Also, Maine illustrator!)

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Ah! I hadn't thought about the power of those block print illustrations in Step Right Up, but you're absolutely right that they are a big part of making the book work.

    I bet your class would love Shark Lady paired with Neighborhood Sharks--female scientist and a little gore.

    1. I LOVE Neighborhood Sharks! Now I need to read Shark Lady! Thanks :)

  2. Caroline's Comet is on my list of books I need to check out. Love those strong women who forged ahead for all of us!

  3. The National Council of Social Studies just awarded Step Right Up a Carter G. Woodson Honor, for a book that sensitively and accurately depicts the lived experience of an ethnic or racial minority. Quite an honor!


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