Monday, October 9, 2017

5 Faves: Expository Nonfiction Recommended by Cynthia Alaniz

The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest, and Most Surprising Animals on Earth by Steve Jenkins (Houghton Mifflin, Harcourt, 2013)
This volume is a treasure trove of information! The paragraphs are engaging tidbits of facts, and the accompanying torn and cut-paper illustrations are mesmerizing. I especially love the illustrations in actual size (Siberian tiger face, squid eye). Backmatter provides even more animal facts and a special section on making a book. 

Katherine Roy's picture book about the great white shark is a fascinating mix of expository and narrative nonfiction. It explains how these sharks catch their prey and has vibrant artwork that brings readers right into the water. Page turns are especially effective and the double page spreads are breathtaking! I come back to this one often. I especially appreciate the labeled diagrams!

Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart, illus. by Sarah S. Brannen (Charlesbridge, 2014)
I love the scrapbook style of this book! Readers find a general statement on the top of the page, and underneath it, a paragraph that provides an example: this format is effective! I love sharing this one with teachers! 

Plants Can't Sit Still by Rebecca E. Hirsch, illus. by Mia Posada (Millbrook, 2016)
Do plants move? This poetic book answers this question with a fun use of verbs highlighted in colorful text! The colorful illustrations fill the pages with energy. Backmatter provides more facts on each flower pictured. 

Droughts by Melissa Stewart, illus. by André Ceolin
This is a very informative picture book about droughts! Ceolin's lively illustrations pair perfectly with the text. Reading this book helps readers understand a concept and will inspire further learning -- something we want nonfiction books to do! I especially appreciated the sidebars and backmatter. 

Cynthia Alaniz is an elementary school librarian in Texas. She is a children's literature enthusiast and blogs at Librarian in Cute Shoes. Follow her on Twitter at @utalaniz.

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