Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Nonfiction 10 for 10!

When I saw Mandy Robek's post announcing "Nonfiction 10 for 10," I knew I wanted to participate. So I gathered my top 10 Nonfiction Books that I can NOT live without in my classroom! It was hard to choose...but I tried my best to get it to 10!  Here they no particular order...

Thank You, Sarah...The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving

Thank You, Sarah...The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving is a book that I always look forward to reading each year! I love to read this book before Thanksgiving, because my students are always surprised to learn that Thanksgiving was almost NOT a holiday! The book is about Sarah Hale who wrote persuasive letters to many of our country's presidents to demand that Thanksgiving be a national holiday.  She didn't give up and it's a great book to help teach perseverance.

All About Turkeys

All About Turkeys by Jim Arnosky is such a detailed nonfiction book!  I love this book about turkeys! I was lucky enough to be a teacher at a school where Jim Arnosky visited for an Author Visit.  He was great with the students and we were all amazed that he does the research for his books, takes the photos, writes the book, draws the pictures, and plays guitar! He includes so many great facts in his books and the students always walk away with a new appreciation for turkeys.  I always tell them to dazzle the dinner table on Thanksgiving with their "turkey knowledge." 


Locomotive by Brian Floca is amazing!  This is a new book, as well as the new Caldecott Winner! I love this book! I love the nonfiction text features in this book, I love the figurative language in this book, I love the illustrations in this book, and I love the topic!
The students were mesmerized by this book and they learned so much about the Union Pacific Railway. There is so much information to take in while reading this book and I could definitely understand why it won the Caldecott Medal! 

The Story of Ruby Bridges

The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles is a book that I never get tired of reading! The students love it just as much as I do! They are always amazed that racism like this actually existed.  We always have great conversations about this book and it is just a great interactive read aloud! Lots of deep thinking with this book! 

America: A Patriotic Primer

America: A Patriotic Primer by Lynne Cheney is a  book that I find myself reading every year! I usually read it in September around Constitution Day.  I love the ABC book format and there are so many great facts about our country in this book! This year we actually brainstormed words for our own ABC book and created our own! It turned out great and having this book as a mentor text for ABC books is a must! 


Frogs by Nic Bishop is just an AWESOME book for sharing text features. From photographs, to close ups, to captions, types of print, comparisons, glossaries,'s my "go-to" text feature book. All of his other books are equally great and engaging. I've also done reader's theater with these books...the students love it! 

Now & Ben

Now & Ben by Gene Barretta is a book that compares Benjamin Franklin's inventions to the modern day versions.  This book is great for kicking off "Invention Convention" or the design process.  It is filled with great facts and fun illustrations. My students have always enjoyed listening to me read this book to them comparing and contrasting his inventions.  Lots of great discussions about how Benjamin Franklin changed our world! 

The Story of Snow

The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino with Jon Nelson, is one of my new FAVORITES!!! I LOVE this book! Especially since I live in Minnesota and snow is part of our lives for a large part of the year! This book explains how snow starts and how it forms.  It explains the entire "life cycle" of a snowflake. The students were enamored by this book! They still talk about the difference in snowflakes and the causes of why a snowflake may look a certain way.  This book contains great diagrams, close-ups, comparisons, and photographs to analyze. Definitely can not live without this book! 

Turn of the Century

Turn of the Century by Ellen Jackson is another long time favorite! I bought this book back "at the turn of the century" in 2000.  I read it every year in January to my class.  The students love to see what times were like back in different centuries. They are always amazed that in the year 1000 most people live their entire lives without ever handling money and have never seen a book. They beg me to keep reading through each century and it is a great way to teach timelines as well. This is probably one of their favorite nonfiction books that I read all year. I recently found a new book that ties in really well with this book called A Street Through Time. The students enjoyed this book just as much as Turn of the Century and it will definitely be added into the curriculum.  

My Brother Martin

My Brother Martin by Christine King Farris is a fabulous read aloud to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  The students love this book because it is told from his sister's perspective about his life as a young boy.  This book has many great talking points to facilitate a successful interactive read aloud.  It is a touching book and we always have great discussions about the author's purpose for writing this book. 


  1. What wonderful titles! I read Thank You, Sarah every Thanksgiving to my class. I love it! I also love My Brother, Martin. Locomotive is a beautiful book and definitely deserved the recognition it got at the ALA Youth Media Award this year. There are new titles to me, too. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great list! I'm going to have to get my hands on Locomotive. I still haven't read it. I also need to find The Story of Snow. I have seen it on several posts this year (and last). Thanks for sharing your recommendations.

  3. What a great list! I have enjoyed Turn of the Century, but I've never seen A Street Through looks like one to find! Your students may also like The Secret Lives of Snowflakes by Ken Libbrecht--he has an amazing website with a wealth of information as well.