Monday, November 11, 2013

It's Monday! What are You Reading? Nonfiction Books

Jen Vincent and Kellee Moye cohost It's Monday! What Are You Reading weekly on their blogs.   To see what others are reading and recommending each Monday, or to participate, be sure to check out their blogs Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers

We are currently at the beginning of our nonfiction unit in reading workshop so I read a few new nonfiction books this weekend and loved them all! 

I think elephants are fascinating animals so I naturally gravitate toward books about elephants in bookstores/libraries.  I heard about Elephants by Steve Bloom at a TCRWP workshop last school year, but it was out of print at the time and completely forgot about it until this weekend when I saw it on the shelf at the library. It is back to being available to buy so I will have to add this to my personal collection soon! This is now my all time favorite nonfiction book about elephants and I can't wait to share it with my students this week. 

The photographs in this book are gorgeous and I love how the book begins with a nonfiction poem about elephants! This book is also a great example to use when teaching students text structure because it has various structures throughout it. For example, one double- page spread compares the African and Asian elephant to one another and has photos to help show the differences between the two.  Other double-page spreads focus on describing one part of the elephants body such as trunks, tusks, ears, feet, etc. I will definitely be using this book to help teach various forms of note-taking by using the text structures. 

I also love how the author talks to the reader throughout the book and gives us real life examples so we can understand the facts such as looking at a pint of milk to understand and visualize that a baby elephant drinks about 20 of those a day! Or by saying that an adult male eats about 700 pounds of food a day, which is equivalent to eating 2,000 apples or 700 loaves of bread. Also kids will laugh at this fact - elephants make about 80 pounds of dung a day which is about as high as a pile of 240 apples! I love these comparisons for kids! Definitely get your hands on this nonfiction book and enjoy! 

I love Melissa Stewart's series Which Animal is Which? and used Shark or Dolphin? in my classroom a lot last year during our nonfiction unit.  So I was very excited when one of my colleagues shared this new Lightning Bolt series by Buffy Silverman, which also compares animals - thank you Tamara! I think ostriches are interesting so I was happy to see Can You Tell an Ostrich from an Emu as one of the books in the series.  This series includes books on various animals so definitely check out Buffy Silverman's website to see which animals she compares in this series, along with her many other nonfiction books! Enjoy!

I think sharks are fascinating, and so do the majority of students each year, so I have a collection of nonfiction shark books in my classroom library and am always looking for new titles.  At my local library this weekend, I came across this Shark Fact Files series by Sara Green and each book in the series focuses on a different type of shark.  I read three of them this weekend and one of my favorites was The Mako Shark.  I like how the author engages the reader right away by putting them into the moment with the shark in the water.  The details, photos, labels, and boxed information throughout the book help teach the reader important information about the type of shark.  At the back of each book, there is a "To Learn More" page that lists other book titles about the type of shark as well as steps to search online using to learn more about sharks as well as other animals.  I will definitely be sharing this series and online resource with my students this week!

Enjoy reading this week! :)


  1. Thanks for posting the nonfiction suggestions. I'm always on the look out for good nonfiction books.

  2. All these look so good, Melanie. I'll pass your post on to our librarian. We have lots of non-fiction in the library for student research. Your reviews are so detailed too-will be helpful! Thanks!

  3. Hi there Melanie, these are wonderful nonfiction titles! You should share this as well to the kidlitosphere's Nonfiction Monday meme which I occasionally join alongside Monday reading.