I am very thankful to my friends on twitter and goodreads that encourage me to read nonfiction. As I am typing this post, my goodreads nonfiction shelf stands at 111 books. Of these 111, I read 62 of them since a group of us started Nonfiction Navigators at Goodreads to challenge ourselves to read more nonfiction. 62 titles is a little more than 10 percent of the books I read in 2011. I hope to read even more nonfiction in 2012 (Did you know that the Common Core suggests that informational text be 50 percent of a children’s reading life?). In comparison I only read four nonfiction titles in 2010 that were not part of my former school’s reading series and all four titles were adult nonfiction titles.
I was thrilled to find nonfiction books accessible for my youngest readers, stories of people I’d never heard of and new information on familiar people, places and things. Children’s nonfiction can be wonderful and eye-opening. It can stick with you as much as a tale.
If you work with children, I invite you to join in Passport Nonfiction, a year long celebration of children’s and young adult nonfiction that I created with other educators. Stop and by to see how nonfiction can be celebrated in nonfiction and share your ideas!
These are some of my favorite nonfiction books that I read in 2011:
1. Balloons over Broadway by Melissa Sweet. Meet Tony Sarg, the man behind the balloons at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
2. Seabird in the Forest by Joan Dunning. The birds in this book travel up to fifty miles to nest.
3. Heart and Soul by Kadir Nelson. This overview of African American history is as thought provoking as it is gorgeous.
4. Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner. Learn about the world sleeping and living beneath the snow.
5. Jim Henson: The Guy Who Played with Puppets by Kathleen Krull. Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets, started working with puppets at a young age.
6. Can We Save the Tiger? by Martin Jenkins. Filled with fascinating animals that once lived and those that struggle that live today as well as how they became threatened in this engaging book.
7. Sit-In by Andrea Davis Pinkney. This retelling of the Woolworth Sit will work as an elementary discussion starter about civil rights.
8. Henry Aaron’s Dream by Matt Tavares. This is a great book to share for its baseball and its civil rights connections.