I continue to look for nonfiction books that are interesting to students and that can be read cover to cover. I have watched over the years and have noticed that our students are great skimmers and scanners but often don't get beyond the skimming and scanning. This is true when reading nonfiction books as well as websites. As web reading becomes even more important for our students, they need experience reading nonfiction beyond skimming. When I stopped looking for nonfiction that matched the curriculum years ago, I was pleasantly surprised at how many great and interesting nonfiction books there are for kids. This weekend, I picked up three at Cover to Cover and I love them all.
POLAR BEARS by Mark Newman is filled with great photos of polar bears. Each two-page spread focuses on one statement about polar bears. For instance, "Polar bears are patient." Following the bold print with the focus statement, a paragraph goes into more detail about this fact. Readers learn a lot about the polar bear and the length of text on each page is perfect for elementary students. This book seems like it would be a great read aloud for younger students. The pages can be read in order or based on interest. Older students should be able to read this one on their own.
I DREAMED OF FLYING LIKE A BIRD by Robert B. Haas is a fascinating read. Robert Haas is an animal photograph but he takes his photos from the air. The book's introduction shares the way that he takes photos and then he goes on to tell stories (with accompanying photos) of several of his adventures. The amount of text on each page is very accessible and the accompanying photos pull readers in. The writing of each adventure is told as a story--as it happened so it keeps readers interested in how things will turn out. I think books are fascinating reads but also help kids see what is possible when they are passionate about something. All of the author's proceeds go to The Humane Society.
KAKAPO RESCUE: SAVING THE WORLD'S STRANGEST PARROT by Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop is my new favorite in this Scientists in the Field series. I was thrilled to see that Nic Bishop was part of this book as I love all of his work. I knew nothing about the Kakapo until I read this book. This unique parrot is one of the most endangered species in the world, with only 91 living Kakapo at the time this book was written. This book is a fascinating look at the island where scientists are working to rebuild the Kakapo population. The island and its scientists are dedicated to this one cause. The book shares the work done by the scientists and also shares interesting information about the Kakapo, New Zealand, and endangered animals in general. This would make a great read aloud for upper elementary students. I can't say enough about how much I love this series--it really allows readers to see the work of scientists in so many capacities.