Nonfiction Monday

So, when I get super busy (i.e. during the school week) I tend to read nonfiction. It’s perfect for my drained mind and snippets of time. Not that nonfiction is light reading. But I do read it differently than fiction. I begin with a quick flip through the illustrations and their captions. Then a scan of chapter titles and headings. Then I settle right in with whatever looked the most promising, whether it’s on page one or page 100. Sometimes I read the whole book; other times it’s just pieces. But that’s part of what’s so great about nonfiction. You can read it like this and it still makes sense.

So the question that begs to be asked–in these end-of-the-month-book-reports time at school–is: Am I still reading the book if I only read most of it? Or if I don’t read it in order from first page to last? What do you think? Some teachers would have a very hard time answering this.

Whether you call it reading the whole book or not, here are some recent reads of mine that are definitely worth taking a look at:

Darwin Darwin by Alice B. McGinty

Handwritten words of Charles Darwin show the evolution of his idea of the survival of the fittest.


The Story of Salt The Story of Salt by Mark Kurlansky

The history of salt–from rock to seasoning to the revolutions and wars that have been fought over it. I had no idea.

Saving the Ghost of the Mountain: An Expedition Among Snow Leopards in Mongolia Saving the Ghost of the Mountain: An Expedition Among Snow Leopards in Mongolia by Sy Montgomery

Rare snow leopards! In Mongolia! With photos by Nic Bishop!

The Frog Scientist (Scientist in the Field) The Frog Scientist by Pamela S. Turner

Mr. E and Colonel Mustard are Frog People, so we loved this book on the race to save frogs around the world from pesticides and pollution. The teacher in me loved the overview of the scientific process and also the multicultural cast of scientists. (The frogs are pretty cute, too.)

One World, One Day One World, One Day by Barbara Kerley

After returning from China recently, this book–about how kids all over the world are so different and yet, so the same–really hit home.

Big, Bigger, Biggest! Big, Bigger, Biggest! by Nancy Coffelt

Big, bigger, biggest…large, huge, enormous, gigantic! I’m handing this book to my Six Traits writing teachers for their next “word choice” lesson.

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