Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2017

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.

Last month I was part of a class through Earth Partnership called Indigenous Arts and Sciences. I wrote about it here.  An important focus of that class was restoration of land and water so I was really excited to come across the book Creekfinding: A True Story written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrated by Claudia McGehee. Creekfinding is the true story of Michael Osterholm and his restoration of Brook Creek in the middle of Iowa farmland. He purchased a farm and found out where the creek used to be. He then had a dream to restore the land to what it had once been. In the note at the end his words are recorded, "I hope kids will remember from this story that we can change the world by acting on our dreams."

The illustrations are beautiful woodcut prints and really support the story well. They help it feel close to nature. Also, sometimes the text is woven into the illustrations for readers to find.

I love that the book starts with an excavator. That will really pull in readers who like big machinery. The first page says, "Sometimes excavators help find lost creeks. How do they do that?" The text often encourages readers to wonder about things. The content is awesome, but the way it is delivered makes the book really powerful. The book really pushes readers to think about what happened and how it happened. I don't think readers can remain passive while reading this story.

I'm excited to share Creekfinding with students and teachers. I have been planning to teach about ecological restoration this year and this book is pretty much perfect for that. It will pair well with a few other books I had in mind also.

Written by Kate Messner
Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Written by Phyllis Root
Illustrated by Betsy Bowen

by Henry Cole

Beyond picture books, I've found a few adult texts. I really love Kimmerer's memoir. It's a fabulous look at restoring the human relationship with the natural world. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer is a must read for anyone interested in this work. I'm recommending it to all the adults I come into contact with lately. It's lovely and all kinds of educational.
Written by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Another text that is highly relevant is an essay in the book below about race in Minnesota. In it Diane Wilson writes, "We are responsible for teaching our children that plants and animals are co-creating this world with us, and the lessons they offer can help us reverse the harms that humans have inflicted." By the way, the rest of the book is fabulous even though the other essays aren't about gardening.

A Good Time for the Truth
edited by Sun Yung Shin
"Seeds for Seven Generations" an essay by Diane Wilson

For more nonfiction and fiction titles relating to outdoor education, visit my Goodreads shelf here

*Post edited to add additional resources on May 13, 2018

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for linking back to your experience with Indigenous Arts & Sciences--fascinating!