Happy Halloween! Books in the Scientist in the Field series look and feel like a picture book (albeit hefty ones at 80 pages). They get shelved with nonfiction picture books. But inside, they’re middle grade material, complete with chapters. They’re also totally engaging. Every chapter in this book features a different scientist working on some […]

How do you summarize a life like Ralph Waldo Emerson’s for a picture book biography? Barbara Kerley did it by choosing one theme–Emerson’s desire for a home–and follows it throughout his life. We see him longing for a home as a child, building a home and community with his wife, losing his home to a […]

 Despite the title, this book doesn’t have anything to do with school or classes (check out Snow School if you’re looking for an animals-school comparison). Instead, it’s a clever rhyming picture book outlining the different characteristics of vertebrate classes: amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles. Lord uses rhyming couplets, each with 7 or 8 syllables. She […]

In honor of the World Series, here are some great recent nonfiction picture books about baseball: You Never Heard of  Willie Mays?  Jonah Winter also wrote You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax? Barbed Wire Baseball by Marissa Moss. Haunting and inspirational story of a semi-pro player in a Japanese American internment camp in World War II.  Becoming Babe […]

This moving autobiography tells the story, in first person present tense, of a boy who stutters but can speak fluently to animals. We live with him through the despair and loneliness of school and then find, with him, the joy of researching jaguars in the wild. We see his passion to protect the jaguar from […]

“Birds and feathers go together, like trees and leaves, like stars and the sky.” Melissa Stewart’s lyrical voice makes this information-packed book a great read aloud. The layered text structure is elegantly simple. Each spread compares a function of feathers to something in a child’s frame of reference–“Feathers can shade out sun like an umbrella”–and […]

  This is not your everyday counting book! No 1-2-3 or babyish illustrations here. Instead, Lola Schaefer attacks the idea of averages for middle grade readers. The mathematics are sophisticated but she keeps the text simple and clear. Brevity and consistency are the heart of the book. Every spread has a sentence in exactly the […]

“Crash!” This book plunges us into the action with its first word. We follow Toughie Brasuhn and Gerry Murray’s roller derby rivalry as we read about one day’s match. We also get a glimpse of the way sports came to television. Sue Macy’s narrative voice is fast and engaging; her present tense third person narration […]

Sometimes brilliant book design elevates a good story into something extraordinary. In the main text of this biography of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Peter Sís uses language infused with the same tone as Saint-Exupéry’s masterpiece, The Little Prince:  Long ago in France, at the turn of the last century, a little boy was born to be an adventurer. The […]

The Nonfiction Detectives highlight a new Lee & Low title about a female trombonist. It’s on my to-read list! This mash-up of Press Here and a Gail Gibbons book plays with the definition of nonfiction. Betsy Bird’s Fuse #8 blog is my first stop for book recommendations. She has a cover reveal of the newest in the […]