Welcome teachers, librarians, homeschoolers and nonfiction writers! This blog offers innovative resources for teaching science and tips for writing nonfiction.
Monday, March 26, 2018
5 Faves: Expository Nonfiction Recommended by Donna Miller
These five books are often used as
whole class read alouds prior to the students starting a unit of study or a
research project. I often do animal research in the younger grades and a
variety of projects with the older grades. The topics vary depending on the
timing of the projects and what the output is going to be.
Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Infographics by Steve Jenkins (Houghton Mifflin
Harcourt, 2016) This is a great book that I have in digital and
print form. I project it and read parts of it aloud to my second grade prior to
them choosing an animal book for their research project. It is a great way to
introduce diverse animals and diverse ways of looking at and comparing animals.
I try to get the students to look at details other than physical
characteristics and habitat when they are writing their reports. The final
project is a newsletter introducing the animal, and this book helps them think
of “headlines” to use for their paper.
No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart and Nicole Wong (Charlesbridge, 2013) This book is great for introducing cause and
effect as well as introducing the rain forest. I use it with second graders
before they start a unit on rain forest animals, and I also use it with older
students before we do a project for Earth Day.
Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin by Gene Barretta (Holt, 2013) This text is great for making comparisons and
having students think about what we use every day and how life would be without
it. I do a short project with fifth graders involving inventions, and this text
makes a good starting point. I also read this to third grade before they do
their biography reports. It opens their eyes to ways of talking about a person
without just the usual “when they were born, where they lived, what they died”
format. I also pair this text with I is for Idea: An Inventions Alphabet by Marcia Schonberg (Sleeping
Bear, 2006). Although
I don’t read it aloud, it is there for students to use as a resource.
We’ve Got Your Number by Mukul Patel (Kingfisher, 2013) This text is not used as a read aloud per say,
instead I use it for introducing a variety of topics throughout the year. Patel
has included two-page spreads on a wide variety of topics that all have
something to do with numbers. It is also available for staff who are looking
for a good STEM or makerspace introduction. The section on “keeping secrets” is
a great introduction to creating your own code.
Night Light: A Book about the Moonby Dana Meachen Rau (Picture Window Books, 2006) This is a great book to introduce the moon to
younger students. It is short and to the point. There are large illustrations
and a “Fun Fact” on each topic. It can also be used to reinforce or introduce
vocabulary before starting a moon unit.
Donna Miller is a K-5 library
teacher in Norwood, MA. She shares her love of books with students and staff in
three buildings. When Donna isn’t teaching, she can be found tweeting
@DonnaMiller44 and at various EdCamps and NerdCamps in the area.
Melissa Stewart is the award-winning author of more than 180 nonfiction books for children. Her lifelong fascination with the natural world led her to earn a B.S.
in biology and M.A. in science journalism. When Melissa isn’t writing or speaking to children or educators, she’s usually exploring natural places near her home or around the world.
• AAAS/Subaru Prizes for Excellence in Science Books • ALA Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award • CRA Eureka! Nonfiction Children’s Book Award • Cook Prize for STEM Picture Book • Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices List • Cybils Nonfiction Awards • NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People • NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children • NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 • YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfictionfor Young Adults