Non-Fiction in January


Well, 2014 is off to a good start. Apparently I read more non-fiction than I realized.  The five books I’ve read this year have all been stellar, too.

I loved Army Camels: Texas Ships of the Desert.  It’s such a small piece of random Texas history  that so few people know about.  What a neat book to have in a 4th or 7th grade social studies class.  It could be that spark that gets a kid interested in Texas history.

Texas Camels

To Dare Mighty Things: The Life of Theodore Roosevelt is a wonderful biography of Teddy Roosevelt.  I thought the author did a great job of hitting the highlights of such an accomplished public figure.  There are so many things Roosevelt is known for and this book, with it’s colorful, active pictures does a nice job of introducing Roosevelt’s many facets.  I could see using it as a springboard into students researching different aspects of his life.  It’s also a great model for students on how to pick those really key, most important topics that you want to write about.  Have you read The Camping Trip That Changed America by Barb Rosenstock?  It pairs nicely with To Dare Mighty Things.

Teddy Roosevelt

After spending a week with the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham a few years ago, I naturally gravitate towards books like We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March and Birmingham, 1963.  I love how both of them focused on the role of children in Birmingham’s fight for equality.  Birmingham, 1963 is a bit harder to read; it’s about the four victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.  But you’ll absolutely want to include it in any study of the era.  And We’ve Got a Job is a detailed look at the events of 1963 through the eyes of four children who participated in different ways.  Both great resources that will heighten interest in this era.

Birmingham 1963     We've Got a Job

Locomotive had been on my to read list for so long and I’m so glad I finally got to it.  Gorgeous, detailed illustrations that give the reader a deep understanding of the Transcontinental Railroad. Another great resource to include in an American History class; much more enjoyable than reading the textbook I’m sure.  And congratulations to Brian Floca.  Just last week it was announced that Locomotive won the 2014 Caldecott.  Definitely well deserved!


Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2014! Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction titles.  My goal is to read 25 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 5/25 complete!


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