It’s Monday and here’s what I’m reading: November 12th,. 2012

Monday YA Round Up
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts

  Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2012  
 The Kid Lit Challenge is hosted by Alyson at Kid Lit Frenzy

Nonfiction Monday is hosted by Lizann at The Flatt Perspective

I am always on the look out for non-fiction books that can serve as “reading hooks” – something to get my kids interested in a topic so that they will want to go off and research it further (i.e. read MORE non fiction!), and National Parks: A Kid’s Guide to America’s Parks, Monuments and Landmarks by Erin McHugh is just such a book. 

This state by state guide to parks, monuments and landmarks is written in an engaging “you gotta check this out!” style that is sure to grab my sixth graders’ attention.  Here, for instance is a lead-in to Carlsbad Caverns National Park:

As a young boy, Jim White (1882 – 1946) found the most incredible caverns near Carlsbad, New Mexico.   He went there all the time, bringing along his home made ladder: Most folks he told didn’t even believe there were any caverns.  And when he grew up, Jim White became…a park ranger!  You can walk into a huge, yawning hole in the caverns or take an elevator down to the bottom.  As you do, think of sixteen-year old Jim White, discovering all this bit by bit…

The vintage photographs and gorgeous reproductions of the National Parks poster series  makes this book a visual treat as well.  I know my kids will pause at each page to read the information and take in the visuals with equal delight.

As a big fan of  baseball, I could not resist this book when I saw it at our library:


Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team, written by Audrey Vernick and illustrated by Steven Salerno is exactly what it claims to be – a true story of the Acerra family from Long Branch, N.J. – twelve boys in a family of sixteen (wow!) who loved each other and loved the game of baseball.   They were able to field a team and were one of twenty nine baseball teams made up of brothers who played from the 1860’s until the 1940’s.  Amazing!    Here is an actual photograph of the brothers:
And here they are, in an old home movie:

Although this book is more suitable for elementary school, the writing is wonderful  and I can imagine my sixth graders studying lines such as this for writing strategies:

“When winter’s chill melts into spring, back doors swing open and slap shut as kids from home run outside – mitts, bats, and balls in hand.”
I also came across, Marching with Aunt Susan, written by Claire Rudolf Murphy and illustrated by Stacey Schuett:
The jacket copy notes that the story is “based on the family papers of the real Bessie Keith Pond, a ten-year-old girl who lived in California during the suffrage campaign.”  Bessie meets Susan B. Anthony through her aunt, and is inspired to work on the movement to earn women the right to vote. 
I did not know that women first earned this right in the Western states, through campaigns just like the ones young Bessie works on in 1896.  I did know that it took many years and much sacrifice, and I do know that for many of my students the Suffragette Movement is entirely unknown…so this would be another book with which to pique their curiosity.  I especially loved the fact that the perspective of this book  is that of  a young girl, who wants to know: “Why can’t girls do the same things as boys?”  
The last few pages of this book include information about the suffrage movement and resources for further investigation.  Since we read about Susan B. Anthony during our biography book club cycle, this will be a perfect addition to our “look here for further information” resources shelf.  

9 thoughts on “It’s Monday and here’s what I’m reading: November 12th,. 2012

  1. The first state to grant women suffrage was Wyoming, Tara. You can visit the statue of Esther Habart, a most influential woman in that commemoration in the capitol in Cheyenne. I didn't know either until we visited Cheyenne one day (not too far from Denver). Thanks for the book ideas. The "brothers" baseball is amazing! My grandmother had 10 brothers & 1 sister! Thanks!

  2. There you go….Wyoming! I would have never guessed at that, Linda. My grandparents came from big families, too – I could never imagine having such a large family, but I know that their siblings helped raise them and the bonds t hey formed were lasting and deep. Such a different time, right?

  3. Once again we're on the same page I just purchased Brothers at Bat at our school book sale. I am excited to share it with my class and will also be sharing the link from your blog.

  4. I love non-fiction and particularly non-fiction that is presented in a fun way that grabs the readers attention. I'm excited to check out these three books! I just found your blog, following a link from Teach Mentor Texts, and honestly I clicked on it because my name is Tara as well! I'm looking forward to following your posts!~Tara

  5. Hi Tara, What a great selection of books. And, I think you're right — middle schoolers would enjoy studying Audrey Vernick's baseball biography book for her writing style. You picked one of my favorite lines from the book.

  6. Tara, the National Parks Guide looks wonderful, and it caught my eye. My nonfiction book, Wild Horse Scientists (Houghton Mifflin Scientists in the Field), just published this month, is largely set at Assateague Island National Seashore (Maryland) and features a park ranger, Allison Turner, as well as other scientists working to control populations of wild horses and assure their place in the landscape alongside other species. Kids who are interested in the national parks, science, horses, or all three might like to check it out!

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