Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Making Time and Place for Nonfiction: Bat Citizens by Rob Laidlaw


I love discovering great new nonfiction books, especially when a great new book leads me to an author who is new-to-me. Last week I picked up Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night.


First of all, when I think about topics that might engage kids who don't typically read nonfiction, bats seems like a great topic.  And not only is this book about bats but the focus is on the importance of bats in our ecosystems. It is packed with information but it is also packed with information that is connected to a bigger topic which I think is important.

The layout of the pages are inviting. Lots of text on each page along with great photos and supporting facts.  Although there is a lot of text on the page, the font makes it accessible.  There are many supports for readers--a Table of Contents, Headings and Subheadings, captions, a glossary, an index and more. The book is about 48 pages long which seems a perfect length for readers who are moving to longer nonfiction.

My favorite feature of the book is the "Bat Citizen" feature.  Author Rob Laidlaw highlights 10+ bat activists--young people who are doing something to protect and help bats in some way. This is a great feature as it not only highlights kids who are making a difference, it will also help us expand our definition of the word "citizen".

Many of the Bat Citizens are part of the "Bat Squad" and the many resources for kids/by kids on the Bat Conservation International website. Lots of great resources that I'll need to explore more and so much of this connects to our life science unit of study.


As I mentioned early in the post, I immediately checked out the author--Rob Laidlaw-- after I fell in love with this book and he has so many other books that I think my students would enjoy.  He is passionate about protecting animals and shares his knowledge in a way that is perfect for middle grade students. Each book focuses on a topic such as Animal Captivity or Animal Parades. I am considering reading one of these as a read aloud and I am definitely going to check all of his other books out soon. I imagine many will be added to our classroom library and these may be the books that hook some of my students on nonfiction reading.

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