Monday, March 12, 2018

5 Faves: Expository Nonfiction Recommended by Kim Keith

It’s a Butterfly’s Life by Irene Kelly (Holiday House, 2007)
This book introduces the younger grades to the scientific details about butterflies. Each picture highlights a species and describes its common behaviors. My first grade classes use this book as they hatch butterflies every spring. The simple informative text is easy for the students to understand.

No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart (Charlesbridge, 2013)
From the moment I read the title to my third graders, they were fascinated with this book. I even had a classroom teacher stay to hear it read aloud. At first glance, monkeys and chocolate seem to have nothing to do with one another. Once the text starts, the students are enthralled to find out about the ecosystem and the life cycle of the tree. After reading this book, we researched the rain forest and chocolate and then created a circle story that was illustrated with both the ecosystem and the cocoa beans. The story of the original development of the book, the rainforest preservation in the back matter, and the book worms throughout the book make this a favorite read aloud for my students.

Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep by April Pulley Sayre (Holt 2016)
There are four kinds of squirrels introduced in this book—the gray squirrel, the fox squirrel, the red squirrel, and the flying squirrel. My kindergarteners love the lyrical text. I paired it with Nuts to You by Lois Ehlert and did a fiction/nonfiction lesson. We recorded the squirrel facts in categories: what they eat, where they live, and how they contribute to the ecosystem. Steve Jenkins artwork, as always, is brilliant!

What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003)
When I did a Steve Jenkins author/illustrator study with my first graders, this was their favorite book. They were fascinated by his cut paper illustrations. As we read, we made a chart with facts about the animals in the book. One group was assigned tails, one had noses, one had ears, and the last had eyes. When the chart was complete, they illustrated the animals themselves. The back matter has more in depth facts about animal adaptations for students who are still curious.  

Whose Baby Is This? by Julie Murphy (Capstone. 2012)
This is a book about baby animals. Some babies look like their parents, and some need time to grow. Fun clues and multiple choice photographs make my students want to know more. I pair this with Born in the Wild by Lita Judge and My First Day by Steve Jenkins to start my kindergartners’ baby animal research project in the spring.

Kim Keith (@capecodlibrary) is a K-3 library media specialist in the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She is starting her fifth year at M. E. Small Elementary.

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