The most recent bag of new nonfiction for young readers contains some real gems. Here are a few to seek out and share:
Look Up! Bird-watching in Your Own Backyard, written and illustrated by Annette LeBlanc Cate (Candlewick, 2013).
This is a great beginner’s guide to bird-watching (for folks of all ages), with funny cartoon-style illustrations and tons of useful information. You’ll find more than just info on birds here: Cate also offers a clear, straightforward, and humorous visual explanation of classification. This book has it all.
Sloths may not move very quickly, but they’ll capture your heart if you dare to open this book. While it’s lighter on facts than Look Up!, this title is heavy on cute. Cooke profiles sloths living at a Costa Rican sloth sanctuary, including tidbits on habitat, habits, digestion, and diet. But the photogenic sloths steal the show. “Mateo is so cute,” Cooke tells readers, “he should come with a public health warning.” So, for that matter, should the book.
Knit Your Bit: A World War I Story by Deborah Hopkinson; illustrated by Steven Guarnaccia (Putnam, 2013).
No roundup of nonfiction books would be complete without something about boys who knit, right? Hopkinson offers a historical fictional picture book about a boy who learns to knit in order to send warm socks to the troops. The story is fun, but the best bits are in the author’s afterword, where she reprints lines from a 1918 song for Seattle schoolboys:
Johnnie, get your yarn, get your yarn, get your yarn;
Knitting has a charm, has a charm, has a charm;
See us knitting two by two,
Boys in Seattle like it too…
Well, you get the picture.
This new narrative nonfiction from the author of The Fairy Ring hasn’t come out yet, but I’m so eager to read it, I’ll share here a link to the trailer. Can’t wait!