Monday, November 13, 2017

5 Faves: Expository Nonfiction Recommended by Stacey Shubitz

I recently discovered five new expository nonfiction texts that teach young readers while delighting their ears with carefully-crafted words and dazzling their eyes with stunning illustrations.

Can an aardvark BARK? by Melissa Stewart and Steve Jenkins (Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster, 2017)
I’ve come to appreciate the question and answer text structure for nonfiction books. Can an aardvark BARK? goes beyond the simple Q&A structure in that it poses a question and answers it on one page spread, then devotes a second page spread to providing additional information. This means any child who is interested in animal communication will learn a lot about the ways animals use sounds to get their message across from this text.

Hidden Dangers: Seek and Find 13 of the World’s Deadliest Animals by Lola M. Schaefer and Tymn Armstrong (Chronicle, 2017)
As a mom, I’ve come to put the phrase, “it’s more afraid of you than you are of it,” toward the top of my vocabulary. However, I’ve never really explored why animals pose a certain danger with my daughter. This book gives young readers a sense of why animals may rattle their quills, raise their tails, or charge at humans. There’s a wonderful spread in the back matter called “Be Prepared,” which helps young explorers understand what they need to bring with them when they’re exploring in nature.

If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams (Roaring Brook/Macmillan, 2017)
I have a longtime fear of sharks, but have newfound respect for this animal because of Williams’ text. It’s an informative look at the significance of sharks in our world and lets readers think about the consequences of sharks disappearing. Despite my fear of sharks, this book helped me appreciate these predators.

Lesser SpottedAnimals: The Coolest Creatures You’ve Never Heard Of by Martin Brown (Dave Fickling Books/Scholastic, 2017)
I’m one of those people who enjoys discovering new animals anytime I go to a zoo or aquarium, or take a hike, which is probably why this book appealed to me. Brown teaches readers a bit about some obscure animals, shares interesting facts, a detailed illustration, and basic stats (e.g., size, what they eat, where they live, and status) on each page spread.

Rivers of Sunlight: How the Sun Moves Water around the Earth by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm (Blue Sky Press/Scholastic, 2017)
This post would’ve been all about animals if it weren’t for my recent discovery of Bang’s newest science book on one of our most precious resources—water! For any reader who has wondered how water makes it into their glass or why some areas have more rain than others, this book is a must-read.

Stacey Shubitz is an independent literacy consultant, an adjunct professor, and a former elementary school teacher. She’s the author Craft Moves: Lesson Sets for Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts and the co-author of Day by Day: Refining Writing Workshop Through 180 Days of Reflective Practice. She blogs at Two Writing Teachers and can be found on Twitter @sshubitz.

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