Monday, January 17, 2011

Cybils Nominated Non Fiction Picture Books

I really enjoyed my time on the Cybils Non Fiction panel. I thought we all worked very well together. Though it was very hard to narrow it down to seven finalists. There were a lot of great books. Today I am going to follow, Lizjones lead, and highlight some of my favorites that almost moved on.

Ballet for Martha :Making Appalachian Spring by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan illus by Brian Floca

I loved this look at dancer and choreographer Martha Graham's making of the Appalachian Spring ballet. The book highlights Aaron Copland, the composer and Isamu Noguchi, the set designer, just as much as Graham. The authors manage to include a lot of information on all three, as well as the history of particular ballet, yet the text never feels overcrowded. The text, is very fluid, rhythmic and informative. Floca's gorgeous illustrations are a perfect fit.
An excerpt

Yucky Worms by Vivan French illus. by Jessica Ahlberg

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. A grandmother is working in her garden with her grandson. After a worm appears, and the little boy says yuck, the grandmother proceed to tell him all about worms. I thought French did a great job with Yucky Worms. I love that the line between fiction and non fiction is never blurry. Ahlberg's illustrations are wonderful match. Ahlberg's style differs for the story and facts portions of Yucky Worms. Like the text, I really appreciated the distinction. The author includes a few things in the back, including how to be a wormologist. An excerpt

Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age by Cheryl Bardoe

This was very well done. As far as I know there aren't a lot of non fiction books about mammoths and mastodons. The text is very informative and readable. This book has a lot of visual appeal. There are illustrated maps, photographs and drawings. In the end I like that Bardoe, reminds the reader that elephants are the same type of species as mammoths and mastodons. The connection makes mammoths and mastodons that much more real.

I've linked this post to nonfiction Monday which is being hosted this week at NC Teacher Stuff


Carol H Rasco said...

I like all three of these books but I am a real fan of BALLET FOR MARTHA and have found both dancers and non-dancers appreciate this book, especially when asked to look at it in terms of the collaboration shown. Thank you for highlighting the book!

Cheryl Bardoe said...

The committee selected a great group of seven finalists! Thanks so much for highlighting Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age. Your comment about the connections between these animals and elephants is spot on. In researching the book, it really struck me how scientists see the study of past species as relevant to understanding and benefiting life on earth today.