Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge

Alyson Beecher over at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts a Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge and has a roundup every Wednesday. I love the encouragement to explore more nonfiction. My plan is to read at least 100 nonfiction picture books this year.

This week, I'm highlighting all of the nonfiction picture books I've read so far this year that have earned five stars in my eyes.

Out of the Woods: A True Story of an Unforgettable Event by Rebecca Bond

Goodreads summary: Inspired by the author's grandfather's experiences living in a lodge in the woods, a story of how people and animals survive a forest fire in a small Canadian town.

Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Goodreads summary: This poetic, nonfiction story about a little-known piece of African American history captures a human’s capacity to find hope and joy in difficult circumstances and demonstrates how New Orleans' Congo Square was truly freedom’s heart.

Mondays, there were hogs to slop, 

mules to train, and logs to chop. 

Slavery was no ways fair. 

Six more days to Congo Square. 

As slaves relentlessly toiled in an unjust system in 19th century Louisiana, they all counted down the days until Sunday, when at least for half a day they were briefly able to congregate in Congo Square in New Orleans. Here they were free to set up an open market, sing, dance, and play music. They were free to forget their cares, their struggles, and their oppression. This story chronicles slaves' duties each day, from chopping logs on Mondays to baking bread on Wednesdays to plucking hens on Saturday, and builds to the freedom of Sundays and the special experience of an afternoon spent in Congo Square. This book will have a forward from Freddi Williams Evans (, a historian and Congo Square expert, as well as a glossary of terms with pronunciations and definitions

Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History...and Our Future! by Kate Schatz and illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl

Goodreads summary: Like all A-Z books, this one illustrates the alphabet—but instead of "A is for Apple", A is for Angela—as in Angela Davis, the iconic political activist. B is for Billie Jean King, who shattered the glass ceiling of sports; C is for Carol Burnett, who defied assumptions about women in comedy; D is for Dolores Huerta, who organized farmworkers; and E is for Ella Baker, who mentored Dr. Martin Luther King and helped shape the Civil Rights Movement.

And the list of great women continues, spanning several centuries, multiple professions, and 26 diverse individuals. There are artists and abolitionists, scientists and suffragettes, rock stars and rabble-rousers, and agents of change of all kinds.

The book includes an introduction that discusses what it means to be "rad" and "radical," an afterword with 26 suggestions for how you can be "rad," and a Resource Guide with ideas for further learning and reading.

American history was made by countless rad—and often radical—women. By offering a fresh and diverse array of female role models, we can remind readers that there are many places to find inspiration, and that being smart and strong and brave is rad.

Goodreads summary: Some people think pink is a pretty color. A fluffy, sparkly, princess-y color. But it's so much more. Sure, pink is the color of princesses and bubblegum, but it's also the color of monster slugs and poisonous insects. Not to mention ultra-intelligent dolphins, naked mole rats and bizarre, bloated blobfish.

Isn't it about time to rethink pink?

Slip on your rose-colored glasses and take a walk on the wild side with zoologist Jess Keating, author of How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied, and cartoonist David DeGrand

Ada Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark and illustrated by April Chu

Goodreads summary:  Ada Lovelace, the daughter of the famous romantic poet, Lord Byron, develops her creativity through science and math. When she meets Charles Babbage, the inventor of the first mechanical computer, Ada understands the machine better than anyone else and writes the world's first computer program in order to demonstrate its capabilities.

Olinguito, de La A a la Z!/Olinguito, from A to Z! by Lulu Delacre

Goodreads summary:  With text in both Spanish and English, travel to the magical world of a cloud forest in the Andes of Ecuador. Discover the bounty of plants, animals, and other organisms that live there as we help a zoologist look for the elusive olinguito, the first new mammal species identified in the Americas since 1978.

The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch by Chris Barton and illustrated by Don Tate

Goodreads summary: John Roy Lynch spent most of his childhood as a slave in Mississippi, but all of that changed with the Emancipation Proclamation. Suddenly people like John Roy could have paying jobs and attend school. While many people in the South were unhappy with the social change, John Roy thrived in the new era. He was appointed to serve as justice of the peace and was eventually elected into the United States Congress.This biography, with its informative backmatter and splendid illustrations, gives readers an in-depth look at the Reconstruction period through the life of one of the first African-American congressmen.


  1. What a great list! I loved "Out of the Woods"!

  2. I recognize some of the titles as books I've enjoyed and books I've been meaning to read. Out of the Woods definitely falls in the latter category.

  3. I've read a lot of them but I think my favorite is Pink is for Blobfish :) I love it because it's one of the first nonfiction books I had a hold list for!

  4. This could be titled "Nonfiction texts that Kellee hasn't read that all look really good" :)