Friday, December 28, 2012

Nerdy Awards for Nonfiction Picture Books

I was so delighted to write today's post at the Nerdy Book blog and announce the nonfiction picture books that won the 2012 Nerdies Awards.  If you haven't already seen the post, stop over and check out these 7 amazing books!!!!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? - Dec. 3

 I have been so glad to make time to actually get some reading done this past week, and so I decided to dive into some of my ARCs from #ncte12.  I will be quite the hero when I show up with some of these books this week.  In addition, I have been doing even more reading in order to finish all the nominated books in my Cybils category of nonfiction picture books.

With no further ado, I'll start with the Cybils nominees (some of which are also on the Nerdies nominee list as well):

Minette's Feast: The Story of Julia Child and her Cat -- What a lovely story about a famous cook and her cat.  Yet another great nominee for the Cybils nonfiction picture book category.

Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman -- I reread this Cybils NFPB nominee yesterday.  Given how visually oriented my students are this year, both in their own reading and writing, I think this will be a wonderful book to which they will relate.  Add the Skype visit we had with Stephen McCranie of Mal and Chad fame, and they will bring a lot of background knowledge to reading this biography.  They love graphic novels, so getting the inside story on how the Batman comics began will be great for them.  I expect kids to be indignant that it took so long for Bill to get the credit for Batman he so richly deserved.

Words Set Me Free -- One of our 5th grade history standards includes understanding the reality of the slavery situation.  Words Set Me Free would be a wonderful addition to this social studies instruction.  It's the type of biography that young readers will really enjoy.  But the message throughout the story of how it was truly words that set Frederick Douglass free is incredibly powerful.
This is also a Cybils nonfiction picture book nominee this year.

The Camping Trip That Changed America -- This is a great book that does a nice job explaining how the national park system came to be under the guidance of Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir.


My Life as a Cartoonist -- I met Janet Tshjian last year at NCTE at a Macmillan publisher dinner. When I ran into her again in the exhibit hall this year, I was delighted to see her and even more happy that she remembered me. The icing on the cake - the 3rd book in the My Life as a Book series was out in ARC format and I got a signed copy. Life is good! I so enjoy this series, and have many students, especially boys, reading it this year. They gravitate to the illustrations, either because they just enjoy them or it provides them enough support to make sense of the story. Which is great, considering Janet's son, Jake, does the illustrations because he had difficulty learning vocabulary words when he was in school.
In the latest book, Derek is still drawing his cartoons, only this time is joined by a new kid to the school, a bully in a wheelchair, Umberto. Turns out Umberto has quite a knack for cartooning as well, even when he is making Derek's life miserable. Fun story that kids will truly enjoy!
Look for My Life as a Cartoonist in May 2013.

Hide and Seek -- Kate Messner is such a diverse writer. Hide and Seek is the follow-up to Capture the Flag. This time, we see the events transpiring more through the eyes of Jose, even though it is still written in 3rd person. The setting takes all the main characters to the rain forests of Costa Rica, a perfect setting for the action and adventure that takes place in this book. Good guys, bad guys, trying to recover important artifacts for the Silver Jaguar Society - what's not to like? I especially enjoy the author's note at the end, where Kate shares the research she and her family did before she wrote this book. All the nature things in the story came from the trip they took to Costa Rica. And it is an author's note truly addressed to students - it sounds like she is talking right to them. I can really appreciate her teaching background when I read this.
Hide and Seek due out April 2013.

A Tangle of Knots -- A blurb about this book said it is "Savvy meets When You Reach Me", and I think that's a good analogy for A Tangle of Knots. The different points of view make this delightful - the reader becomes very invested in each character. Lisa Graff weaves a plot that is magical with almost everyone in the book having a Talent, but there is also a Talent stealer. I think I am a good reader, but as the story skipped around with characters in the beginning, none seeming to have anything thing to do with the other, I was puzzled and then enchanted. This book is due out February 2, 2013, and fans of Lisa Graff might be treated to one of her best books yet!

Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Summer Vacation -- From the minute I saw the title of the first book in this series, Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading, I knew it would be a hit with kids and I was right.  This series is spreading like wildfire in both of my classes.  So when I had the opportunity to get the 3rd book, Guide to Summer Vacation, as a review copy at NCTE, I grabbed it!
What I like is that Greenwald continues to have Charlie Joe be a schemer and always getting in trouble, but as the books have progressed, so has Charlie Joe's self-actualization.  In a fun series like this, I think that would be a fine line to walk as an author but Greenwald has done a great job.  Great freedom of speech and editorial writing in this last one as well.
Mark your calendars for May - this is yet one more book due out that month.

Please join Kellee and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts, who are the cohosts of this wonderful Monday event!  I love finding out what others are reading, and start planning my next week's reading using some of the participants ideas.