Nifty New Picture Books for Everyone: Nonfiction
I hope you’ve had a chance to check out last week’s post about fiction picture books. It contains many outstanding books that show the wonderful diversity of picture books.
Like last week’s books, today’s nonfiction picture books were published in 2014 and cover a wide range of topics: people, animals, math, science, history…
Steve Jenkins is one of the best author/illustrators of the animal world. I look forward to reading any of his books and this is no exception. Every page has fascinating information and outstanding illustrations. I never really thought too much about animal eyes. There’s so much to know!
I would never have thought water could be so poetic! It’s not just that the text rhymes (Water can be a… Tadpole hatcher. Picture catcher.) It’s also how it sees the magic of water (Drink cooler. Rainbow jeweler.) And then there are the wonderful, dreamy illustrations.
Plan to spend some time with this book! Each page spread shows a different look at New York City: its history, the Empire State Building, museums, food… The illustrations show details that take a while to study. This would be a great book to read before a trip to New York.
The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Mary Grandpré
Vasily Kandinsky tries to be a proper boy and man, but colors keep singing to him. He tries to paint proper paintings but the music keeps playing as he paints. For him, colors have sound and sound has colors. Finally, he gives in to this and creates paintings that the world loves. His paintings are in museums all over the world.
Sugar Hill is a historic neighborhood in New York City’s Harlem district. It was a center of African American culture in the 1920s and 1930s. It was home to artists, writers, performers, and great thinkers. This book celebrates the place and time with perfect rhymes and illustrations that dance on the page.
George Cornelius Factor collects fractions. An unusual hobby, for sure, but one that sends him on an adventure that needs his particular skills. This book is sure to appeal to math geeks but also those who find fractions a challenge (including many adults I know). There are over 20 books in this Math Adventures series.
I’m not sure what I like more about this book—the text that gives the songs of a dozen birds or the beautifully painted illustrations. Throughout the book a girl and boy wonder about a silent robin in a tree that is sitting on a nest. The last pages have an interview with the robin which gives some more bird information.
In simple text and full-page illustrations, this book does an excellent job of explaining how gravity affects all things on Earth as well as in outer space. A section in the end, “More about Gravity,” gives additional information.
This exceptionally colorful book is exactly what I would hope for from Lois Ehlert. Ehlert has illustrated 35 picture books, many of which she’s also written (Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Color Zoo). In this book, she tells about her writing process and how she gets ideas. Each page explodes with color. Ehlert fans and anyone who loves reading and/or writing picture books will enjoy it.
Not My Girl by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard (sorry, no link)
When Olemaun was sent to the outsiders’ school from her home in the Arctic, the people at the school changed her name to Margaret. Plus, they did not allow her to speak her family’s language. When she returns 2 years later, now 10 years old, she has forgotten her language and the skills to hunt and fish. This book shows Olemaun/Margaret’s difficult adjustment back into family life. It is the sequel to When I Was Eight, and continues the true story of one of the authors. It is a powerful book.
This book is rather hard to explain. It’s set up as a catalog from which you can order bird parts with which you can construct your own bird. It’s funny, for sure, but it also has a serious message about extinction. The illustrations are clever and the information supplied about what tails, beaks, legs, etc. are used for is interesting.
Hooray for new picture books to read and delight!