Reading Teacher Writes

Sharing a love of literacy with fellow readers and writers

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#NF10for10: February 10th and 10 Nonfiction Books – Outside/Nature

It’s February 10th, and that means the annual #nf10for10 (Nonfiction 10 for 10) book lists are posted today. Thanks to our hosts: Cathy Mere (Reflect and Refine) and Mandy Robeck (Enjoy and Embrace Learning).  I enjoy challenging myself to come up with meaningful lists to share with other readers.

It’s been a crazy winter here; we haven’t seen our standard winter snowfall amounts. I look to nature and outdoor activities more instead of being cooped up inside as usual. Here are ten picture books that focus on outside/nature:
Move! by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. (2006) Swim, leap, slither, slide…discover how animals move in different ways. We use this book to find more descriptive details about animals and how they get around.
Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner. Art by Christopher Silas Neal. (2011) Speaking of snow, what’s under that blanket of white? “A secret kingdom.”
Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman. (2019) Carl is a fictional earthworm, but the story surrounds what happens when this little animal doesn’t do its job. All life is interconnected. Just ask Carl!
Homes in the Wild by Lita Judge. (2019) A home can be high in the trees, in an underground burrow, or even out in the open country. A beautiful look at some different animals you may not have heard of before.
Pink is for Blobfish by Jess Keating. Illustrations by David DeGrand. (2016) My students love “The World of Weird Animals” series by Jess Keating. In this first installment, we learn about the “world’s perfectly pink animals.” This infographic-style picture book is a pleasing plunge into the weird animal world.
Eat Like a Bear by April Pulley Sayre. Illustrated by Steve Jenkins. (2013) Written by my local favorite nonfiction author, April Pulley Sayre shows readers how bears find food in all seasons to prepare for winter hibernation.
Frogs by Seymour Simon. (2015) Okay, I could have done a whole “nonfiction 10 for 10” with Seymour Simon books. I love them! Amazing photography highlights the information about different species of frogs.
An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Hutts Aston. Illustrated by Sylvia Long. (2006) I love these light, airy, beautifully soft descriptions of all kinds of fascinating eggs.
Looking Closely Through the Forest by Frank Serafini. (2008) I love Frank Serafini’s photographs. From the “Looking Closely” series, my favorite is the “forest book.” It reminds me of my hikes at state parks and nature preserves.
Camp Panda by Catherine Thimmesh. (2018) This Robert F. Siebert Honor Book explains how pandas are cared for in captivity for the purpose of being released back to the wild. Rebuilding habitats is a much needed, timely activity.
Have fun reading this week. Take a look at some nature books to get you through the rest of the winter.


#NF10for10: “Nonfiction 10 for 10” February Book List

It’s February 10th, and that means the annual #nf10for10 (Nonfiction 10 for 10) book lists are posted today. Thanks to our hosts: Cathy Mere (Reflect and Refine) and Mandy Robeck (Enjoy and Embrace Learning).  I enjoy challenging myself to come up with meaningful lists to share with other readers.

As we prepare for standardized testing season in our schools, I resist “test prep” practices more than ever. I look on social media and look to my friends to drag me out of the muck of worksheets and “read-and-answer-questions” crud that is the traditional way of school life during testing. I LOVE to read, and what better way to spread love than honoring time to read and learning with books that inspire? Based on a personal need to see more creativity and thinking in our classrooms, I chose “Inventors/Inventions/Thinkers” for my “Nonfiction 10 for 10” theme. Here are ten books that inspire:
Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton (2016)
Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin by Gene Barretta (2013)
Honda: The Boy Who Dreamed of Cars by Mark Weston (2014)
Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum by Meghan McCarthy (2010)
The Hole Story of the Doughnut by Pat Miller (2016)
Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille by Jen Bryant (2016)
The World is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid by Jeannette Winter (2017)
Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines (Vietnam Veterans Memorial) by Jeanne Walker Harvey (2017)
Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark (2017)
Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating (2017)
Thank you for reading. I hope I’ve inspired you to invent, create, and think. What ten picture books would you share with the world?
(All pictures from

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February 10th: Time for #nf10for10 “Winter”

It’s February 10, 2018, and all the local news revolves around the deep snow and Winter Olympics, so I’m going to use the news for my theme. My nonfiction picture book “10 For 10” has me thinking about winter (#nf10for10).

The Snowflake: Winter’s Secret Beauty (Kenneth Libbrecht): Pair this nonfiction book with Snowflake Bentley (Jacqueline Briggs Martin) for a winter research project. Wilson Bentley discovered the beauty and wonder of intricate snowflakes. I enjoyed a look at individual flakes and wondered how they all pack together to create the chaos that is today’s weather. (I like reading about snowflakes better than looking at the snow outside.)

Secrets of Winter (A Shine-A-Light Book) (Carron Brown/Georgina Tee): My granddaughter and I carefully pulled up the papers on these pages to reveal fun secrets. What is winter like outside?

When Winter Comes (Nancy Van Laan): What happens to flowers, and fish, and deer when winter comes? This book allows us to snuggle under the warm covers and find out.

The Polar Bear (Jenni Desmond): Nonfiction facts AND a beautiful picture book. Just look at the cover — it pulls you in!

A Is For Axel: An Ice Skating Alphabet (Kurt Browning with Melanie Rose): Take a look at Olympic ice skating from a real expert — Kurt Browning skated for Canada and was a 4-Time Figure Skating Champion before writing this ABC book. Part of the alphabet series and appeals to any-age vocabulary buffs. (2nd edition, 2015)

A Kid’s Guide to the 2018 Winter Games (Jack L. Roberts): This book came out in July 2017, and prepared readers for events of the 2018 Winter Olympics, going on NOW. This title is COOL — it has colorful and interesting photographs, facts and figures, and even a medal tracker readers can use to record winners.

Best in Snow (April Pulley Sayre): Speaking of photographs, I could just sit and stare at April Pulley Sayre’s beautiful pictures all day. Her picture books’ photography shots are “best in show” for sure! This title shows the wonders of the snow and winter in the wild. I consider her books science class must-haves, and it doesn’t hurt to tell you she’s a friend, does it? (By the way, I’ll just recommend her new title, Warbler Wave — coming out this week– while I’m at it!)

Over and Under the Snow (Kate Messner): Speaking of friends, let me also recommend the Over and Under books by Kate Messner. Her nonfiction books are beautiful and informative, and the research presented in them is packaged in an engaging picture-book style (my favorite format!). In this title, the reader discovers the wonder and activity that lies beneath the snow-covered ground.

Blizzard (John Rocco): Now that I’m an adult, I sure hope we don’t have to relive the Blizzard-of-’78-kind of snow again. I remember donning my one-piece snowsuit as a 10-year-old and heading out to the swing set in the back yard — my sister and I sat on TOP of it! We had so much fun while my dad and the neighbor walked all day to get groceries at the corner gas station. What a crazy week that was. John Rocco placed his memories in this picture book, which is just as fun to read as that old swing set was to sit on.

Now it’s time for YOU to read and share your #nf10for10. Picture books are the best!