Category Archives: Nonfiction

Find Momo by Andrew Knapp

Pet books – specifically dog books – were hot commodities for readers in MTigersLibrary.  There was an overflowing shelf of them in the 600’s which was usually decimated by the end of September.  While my elementary readers liked books on each breed, they really liked the ones with good pictures.  Forget the words: they wanted to coo over the photos of the doggies.  Like Momo.

Find Momo Coast to Coast & Let’s Find Momo by Andrew Knapp

The original Find Momo isn’t a typical addition to the elementary library: it’s a photo-journal of a dog, Momo, in landscapes and interiors.  But one element makes Momo a bona fide hit: the black and white dog hides in each photo.  This I Spy aspect is age-appropriate and perfect for readers of any age, language, or ability.  Momo’s first book had enough fans (my students included) to spur more titles: Find Momo Coast to Coast and a board book for the youngest readers Let’s Find Momo.  Both keep the element of I Spy and showcase beautiful photography with one hidden dog.  Momo Coast to Coast gives young readers a picturesque view of the United States through the adventures of an appealing dog.  Imagine the mapping activities one could do with Momo! The board book Let’s Find Momo is great for emerging readers and English-language learners, as it showcases four words and objects in a quadrant, inviting readers to find the matching objects on the following page…along with Momo, of course.  The only drawback may be if readers learn the name “Momo” as representing a dog.  Fun and appealing, share these with dog-lovers of all ages.   

Find Momo published in 2014.  Find Momo Coast to Coast published in 2015.  Let’s Find Momo is released April 18, 2017.

One of the previewed titles at 2017 London Book Fair at the Quirk books booth.

Cheers, y’all! 🙂 arika

Best of 2016: Early Readers, Graphic Novels, Nonfiction…

Broad category here, so please forgive me. As usual, I didn’t read enough nonfiction. Or graphic novels (to my daughter’s chagrin). I did read lots of beginner readers/transitional books, and these are exceptional.  Here are some great choices from 2016:

Best retelling of a fairy tale in graphic novel format: Snow White by Matt Phelan

Best cover of the year that also happens to be a stellar graphic novel for young readers: Narwhal: unicorn of the sea! by Ben Clanton

Best for super-fans of Ezra Jack Keats (um, ME!): A Poem for Peter by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Best use of language to describe the essence of seasons: When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano

Best nonfiction story to use to develop growth mindset among students: Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s super-soaking stream of inventions by Chris Barton

Best math concept book since The Greedy TriangleThe Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat

Best gift for teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week: The Thank You Book by Mo Willems

Best realistic portrayal of divorce through a child’s eyes: Weekends With Max and His Dad by Linda Urban

Best “bad boys…but not really” story: The Infamous Ratsos by Kara LaReau

Best must-read of the year as chosen by my 7-year-old son: Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

…and now, a little lagniappe.

What is lagniappe?  A bonus or unexpected gift. Also, a little bit of my Louisiana years coming out. 🙂

I didn’t read much YA this year (shame on me!), but these stood out:

Three completely different stories, characters, problems – but similar in that they’re each unforgettable. Like YA? You won’t be disappointed by these.

Happy reading, y’all!

Game Changer by John Coy

Game Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game by John Coy

Duke University is known as a college basketball powerhouse. But in the 1940’s, the all-white team secretly – and illegally – met to play the North Carolina College of Negros in the first non-segregated basketball game.  An important and true story on the need for inclusivity, understanding, and acceptance. (Ages 7+)

One of the titles shared at Build a Better Collection, part of PSESD’s 2016 T-L Summit.

A Poem for Peter by Andrea Davis Pinkney

A Poem for Peter by Andrea Davis Pinkney

On the 100th anniversary of Keats’s birth in 1916 comes the story of his life. From his early years in poverty to his time in WWII to creating the character of Peter as inspired by a series of pictures of an African American boy, the life and impact of Keats is remembered and celebrated. Releases 11.01.16 (Ages 7+)

One of the titles shared at Build a Better Collection, part of PSESD’s 2016 T-L Summit.

Flying Frogs and Walking Fish by Steve Jenkins

Flying Frogs and Walking Fish by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page

Animal movement – from jumping to swimming, sliding to soaring – is highlighted in short, easily digested vignettes complete with Jenkins’s unique collage artwork. Both common and more unusual animals are included, from penguins to sloths to tenrecs. To extend learning, further information on each animal is included in the back matter.  (Ages 6-10)

One of the titles shared at Build a Better Collection, part of PSESD’s 2016 T-L Summit.

Aaron and Alexander by Don Brown

Aaron and Alexander: The Most Famous Duel in American History by Don Brown

Meet Aaron and Alexander: two men more similar than different. Both were orphans, soldiers, and politicians. Alexander deeply disliked Aaron; Aaron’s duel challenge was met with Alexander’s unfortunate death.  A condensed yet thorough account of their actions and lives with detailed, divisive illustrations. Hamilton fans, don’t miss this one! (Ages 7+)

One of the titles shared at Build a Better Collection, part of PSESD’s 2016 T-L Summit.

Top 10 nonfiction of 2016

Poor nonfiction. So often, it seems like you’re overlooked. You’re not the glamorous, flashy graphic novel, You’re not the cute, endearing picture book. And you’re not the dependable favorite chapter book.

But you’re loved. Your pages inspire learning and creativity while entertaining and instructing.  Not including the graphic novels – which, while shelved in NF, are a different genre – these are our top 10 nonfiction of 2016.

10.Chess Tactics for Kids

Chess is huge among our students and families. The “tricky tactics” advertised on the cover? Guaranteed appeal.

9. Advanced Chess

No tricks here: this isn’t chess for rookies. Our students travel to state, regional and national competitions. Reading books to get a leg up = checkmate in my world!

8. Not-quite-so-easy Origami

Origami is one of the stations at our makerspace…one of the most popular stations. These cheery pinwheels scream “make me”!

6. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Note to self (and others): check with mom/dad before K students check this out. Chances are good it’ll be returned the next day with a note. Otherwise, it’s a perennial kid favorite.

5. Tales of the Cryptids

A first grader checked this out to prove to her classmate that mermaids were real. Why? “Because they’re in a book and that makes them real.”  Cue intense discussion.

4. Difficult Origami

This might explain all the mangled paper found throughout the library…

3. Easy Origami

I sometimes wonder if origami books circulate so much because they’re shelved next to the graphic novels.  Nope. Not possible. This is the third in the top 10.

2. Star Wars: revenge of the Sith

The too tall spine keeps this book shelved on its side, where students can’t see the spine. Usually, that’s the kiss of death for a book.  Not for Star Wars.

1. Action Optical Illusions

It used to be that the 100’s in the library were a ghost town (no, wait: that’s the 000’s.  Library joke!).  Not so with this title. We’re up to three copies, and they’re constantly circulating…hence it’s #1 status.

See all of our top titles for 2016 on display!