Monday, May 21, 2018

5 Faves: Expository Nonfiction Recommended by Catherine Flynn

The nonfiction available for kids today is as diverse as the world itself. Well-written texts with full-color photographs and illustrations bring the world into our homes and classrooms, sparking and satisfying curiosity in children of all ages. Choosing just five books with an expository writing style was quite a challenge! For every book on this list, there are three more just as worthy. Sharing any of these books is sure to give everyone a better understanding and a deeper appreciation of the world around us.

The Bee Book, by Charlotte Milner, DK Publishing, 2018
Charlotte Milner's The Bee Book is chock-full of "the buzz about bees." Want to know how many bee species there are or where honey comes from? This book has the answer to these questions and many more. Clear, colorful illustrations show stages in bee development, how they gather pollen and pollinate plants that produce food we eat, and more. The book ends with simple activities that families can engage in to help protect bees.

Bird Talk: What Birds are Saying and Why, Lita Judge, Roaring Brook Press, 2012
Who hasn't wondered what all those chirps, coos, and screeches we hear each day really mean? In clear, child-friendly language, Lita Judge explains the many different meanings of bird calls. She also explains how birds communicate through movement. Colorful illustrations and back matter that includes a brief description of each bird in the book make this a perfect book for any classroom. There is also an author's note, glossary, and a brief list of references.

Living Color, by Steve Jenkins, Houghton Mifflin, 2007
What list of favorite expository nonfiction would be complete without a title by Steve Jenkins? A master of combining fascinating facts with incredibly detailed collage illustrations, Jenkins's books engage and fascinate readers of all ages. Living Color is one of my favorites. Organized by color, each double-page spread explains how animals use color to camouflage themselves and communicate with other animals. The book ends with a brief description of each animal's size, diet, and habitat.

Birds: Nature's Magnificent Flying Machines, by Caroline Arnold, illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne; Charlesbridge, 2003
It took people almost all of human history to solve the mystery of how to take to the air, but most bird species are airborne before they're two months old. Birds: Nature's Magnificent Flying Machines provides detailed descriptions of how every part of a bird's anatomy makes this possible. From their hollow bones to the shape of their wings and feathers, birds' bodies are made for flight. Arnold includes fascinating details about how birds take off and land as well as the different types of flight in understandable, concise paragraphs. Colorful illustrations include a cross-section of a bird's body as well as close-ups of the inside of bird bones and feather structure. This amazing book, which includes a brief glossary and recommended bird guides, deserves a spot on every classroom's nonfiction shelf.

Tiny Creatures:The World of Microbes, by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Emily Sutton; Candlewick Press, 2014
Kids are fascinated by superlatives. They love impressing their friends with amazing facts about the biggest, the most, the heaviest. Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes turns the tables and describes the unimaginably small organisms we call microbes. Davies's words and Emily Sutton's illustrations work together seamlessly to help kids visualize and get a sense of the vast quantities of microbes found throughout the world. The essential work of microbes is explained, and readers are reassured that there are only a "few kinds of microbes" that make us sick.

Catherine Flynn is a literacy specialist from Connecticut who is passionate about sparking a love of learning in children. When she's not teaching, reading, or writing, Catherine likes to knit hats, scarves, and blankets for her friends and family. When the weather cooperates, she can be found in her garden or walking her dog, Lucy.

1 comment:

  1. The flying machines book on birds looks great--will have to check it out!! :)

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