Nonfiction Monday: Gandhi: A March to the Sea



I just picked up Alice B. McGinty’s newest book, Gandhi: A March to the Sea from the library.

In 1930, Gandhi led a twenty-four day march from Ahmedabad to Dandi by the sea. It was a pivotal event in Indian history to break away from the taxation policies of Britain. The seventy marchers promised to break the laws of getting salt from the sea.

Gandhi was successful in demonstrating in a peaceful manner.

McGinty uses free verse accompanied by evocative illustrations by Thomas Gonzalez. It’s a book that illustrates an abstract concept of peaceful protest in such a way that young children will understand.

The book contains a map of the route and notes on British India along with source notes and a bibliography.

I have a third grade teacher who likes introducing students to social justice. This book will be a good resource for him. It would also be great to use with fifth graders and their study of the causes of the America Revolution and taxation.

Title: Gandhi: A March to the Sea
Author: Alice B. McGinty
Illustrator: Thomas Gonzalez.
Published: 2013
Pages: unpaged
Reading Level: 3rd grade and up
Publisher: Amazon Children’s Publishing
ISBN: 978-1477816448
Source: Borrowed from the public library.

Nonfiction Monday is at Sally’s Bookshelf.

Happy Monday.
Happy reading.



Nonfiction Monday


Wendy’s Wanderings is hosting Nonfiction Monday.

Have you ever wondered about lightning, eletricity, and static electricity? Nikola Tesla did at the age of three.

In Electrical Wizard, How Nikola Tesla Lit Up the World by Elizabeth Rusch, readers learn about Tesla’s fascination with electricity at an early age and his perseverance to understand it. He discovered that electricity could be so much more, and go further in the world with the use of alternating current (AC).

It wasn’t an easy road for Tesla. He needed money for his inventions and supporters. He was up against Thomas Edison, who believed in the power of direct current (DC).

Determination paved the way to success at the Chicago’s World’s Fair and Niagra Falls.

Rusch’s thorough research shows through in her writing. Author notes including scientific notes and bibliography will make this book a great companion in the classroon during science.

Oliver Dominguez’s mixed media art adds great visuals to the story.

Title: Electrical Wizard, How Nikola Tesla Lit Up the World
Author: Elizabeth Rusch
Illustrator: Oliver Dominguez
Published: 2013
Pages: unpaged
Reading Level: 3rd grade and up
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5855-7
Source: Sent by publisher upon request for review.

Happy reading.

Thirty Days of Student Poetry


Continuing our around the world travels:
Use ikanji
Baseball, sumo wrestling, scooters
Japan has a big population.

Brevin, 3rd grade

Far away
Gaming, baseball, sumo wrestling
Japan has lots of islands.

Levi, 3rd grade

Christmas, New Year Day
Cars, bus, subway
Uses lots of French language.

Kailey C, 3rd grade

Welcome to Non-Fiction Monday


Hi there. I have been on break especially from NFM. Today I am thrilled to be hosting. I will be back in the morning with a great book that features poetry and nonfiction.

Do you want to interest a young reader in nature and poetry? Look no further than Outside Your Window, A First Book of Nature by children’s author and biologist, Nicola Davies. The illustrations by Mark Herald complement the content with simple but colorful design.

I really like how Davies has divided the book into seasons beginning with spring. You can tell that each poem and activity has been clearly researched before crafting the poems.

Title: Outside Your Window, A First Book of Nature
Author: Nicola Davies
Illustrator: Mark Hearld
Date Published: 2012
Pages: in paged
Reading Level: K-3
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5549-5
Source: From the publisher

Now for other fabulous nonfiction books:
Shelf-Employed: Monday Morning Miscellany

Rovingfiddlehead Kidlit: Cool Circuits

Bookends Blog: Master of Deceit: J. Edgar Hoover and America in the Age of Lies

NC Teacher Stuff: Samurai

100 Scope Notes: Bird Talk

Wrapped in Foil: Moonbird

Archimedes Notebook: Luna Moths

Mother Reader: Elizabeth and Her Court

Jean Little Library: Trout are made of Trees

Becky’s Books Review: A Passion for Victory

Simply Science: Build It

True Tales and a Cherry on Top: All the Way to America

Perogies and Gyoza: My First Atlas in the World

Ms Yingling Reads: Can You Survive: Special Forces and Bodyguard!

Great Kid Books: Great Moments in Summer Olympics

Books for Learning: How the Government Works

Booktalking: Labrador Retriever: Most Popular

Please leave your links in the comments and I will add throughout the day.

Happy Reading.

Nonfiction Monday: A Black Hole is Not a Hole

A Black Hole is Not a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano, illustrated by Michael Carroll gives readers much to think about regarding the universe. In her introduction she begins:

“Have you heard the news? In outer space, mysterious entities called black holes seem to be up to no good.” It is followed up with an explanation that they are not monsters and not even alive.  The illustration on the opposing page is a dark starry night with a speech bubble saying, “YIKES!”

What are black holes? How did they begin? Where do black holes come from?  These questions and more will be answered.     Any young scientist or astronomer should be able to navigate the text as each two page spread is a combination of text and stunning ilustrations.Bold headings, charts, tables, and graphics are infused throughout the book.  Carroll’s illustrations were created using acrylic and Adobe Photoshop.

Here’s some fun facts:

  • There is plenty of light in the back hole but we can’t see it from the outside.
  • Black holes come from stars.
  • A black hole is like a giant whirlpool.
  • A black hole is like a hiding place with footsteps leading to it.
  • The discovery of black holes has something to do with the telephone.

The Author’s Note at the end of the book: “How Do You Know I Know?” explains DeCristofano’s  research in writing the book. There is also a glossary, resources, websites, image credits, and index.

Title: A Black Hole is Not a Hole
 Author: Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano
Illustrator: Michael Carrol
Published: 2012
Pages: 74
Reading Level: 5th grade and up
Publisher: Charlesbridge
ISBN: 978-1-936157091-783-7
Source:  Sent by publisher upon request for review.

Nonfiction Monday is held at Capstone Connect.

Happy Reading.


Poetry Friday: Student Haiku

Today I am featruing the haiku of fourth grade students in Mr. Yates class.

up trees squirrels race
splitter rain falls on windows
crunch leaves fall on ground

the grass is silver
I like when it snows winter
winter very cold

outside is cold now
rainbow sparkling in morning light
shine in gold sunlight

a falling snowflake
as I look up at the sky
it’s winter white snow

hawks perch high on tree
feathers keep them warn outside
puff  up to heat up

snow is falling down
beautiful snow is coming
snow is here now

snowflake in mid-air
trees are breaking from wind breath
cocoa warming up

a big fat snowman falls
while the wind drifted in the air
snow on ground felt soft

birds are too cold now
branches have no leaves on them
crispy crunchy grass

frosty grass is hard
outside is frosted snowballs
frost freezes my nose

April, National Poetry Month is just 57 days away.  If you would like a poetry postcard sent to your mailbox from Silver Star students, please contact me at macrush53 at yahoo dot com.

Visit next Friday when I interview Marilyn Singer, winner of last year’s CYBILS Award for Poetry.

Poetry Friday is hosted by Karissa at The Iris Chronicles.

Happy Reading.


Nonfiction Monday: An Interview with Barbara Kerley, 2010 CYBILS NFPB Winner

In a little over three weeks the 2011 CYBILS will be announced.  Today I have an interview with Barbara Kerley.  Her book, The Extraordinary Mark Twain (according to Susy) won the CYBILS Award for Nonfiction Picture Books.

Your Reading Life

 MsMac: What books are on your night stand?

 BK: I’m currently reading The Penderwicks at Point Mouette and just finished Okay For Now and A Monster Calls.  Next up is an adult title, The Things They Carried

 MsMac: What was your favorite book as a child? As a teen?  As an adult? Any particular genre stand out?

BK: My favorite book as a child, for years and years, was Harriet the Spy.  As a teen, anything by Jane Austen.  As an adult, The Voyage of the Narwhal and The March.

 I guess the genre I read most often now would probably be described as “literary fiction”—but lest I sound too snobby, I will readily admit to a great fondness for the magazine, Entertainment Weekly.

 MsMac: Where’s your favorite reading spot?

BK: This is going to sound dorky but we have this big old Laz-y-boy recliner in the living room…

MsMac: Which do you prefer a real book or ebook?

BK:  I prefer real books.  I do own an e-reading device (though I have yet to purchase any books for it—my library (shout out to Multnomah County Library, Oregon) has a system to check ebooks out.)  I like the e-reader because I can increase the font size of any book, and my eyeballs are getting old. BUT I also find that I read less deeply on my e-reader, esp. in the way that I am used to reading, which is to flip back and reread something if I can’t remember (like, wait who is this character again?  wait, when did they meet?) but on the e-reader it is too much of a hassle to scroll back and find the spot to reread, so I just skip that part. There is room in my life for both kinds of books.

Your Writing Life

 MsMac: What does a day of work look like for you? Favorite time of day?

BK:  Typically, I get to my desk right after breakfast, work til lunch, and then try to put in an hour or two after.  If I have a lot of reading to plow through (which is common for me as my books take a lot of research) I might read more in the late afternoon.  But I also believe in getting out of the house, so I fit in gym time and walking time and bike-riding time.

MsMac: Writing the first draft or revising? Which is your favorite?

 BK:  Revising, once I’ve gotten to the line-edit stage—because then it is all   about language.  Love that part.  Love figuring out just the right word.

 MsMac: What does your writing space look like?

BK:  I’m big on horizontal space, so I have lots of stacks of sort-of-neat notes.  You could fit all my material for a book into one box (and I have stacks of boxes in the closet—the Waterhouse Hawkins box, the Alice  Roosevelt box…) but when I’m in the middle of something, that one box of  material seems to fill up a whole office.

 MsMac: What are you currently working on?

 BK:  I just finished up a new picture book biography, Those Rebels, John   and Tom.  It’s about John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and the partnership  they created to move the Colonies toward independence.  Edwin  Fotheringham did the illustrations. They are fantastic!

 About Your Book

 MsMac: Where did you find  the inspiration for The Extraordinary Mark  Twain (according to Susy)?

 BK:  I stumbled across an article in a magazine about Susy writing a   biography of her dad, when she was only 13.  I thought, Wow!

 MsMac: Where there any challenges during the writing of the book?

BK:  It was a little tricky figure out how to structure the story, as I wanted it  to be a book about someone writing a book about someone, but I also  wanted to broaden the scope and include information about Twain that Susy did not herself note in her biography.  So part of the Twain portrait is carried  by Susy’s words and part is carried by the narrative. 

 MsMac: How did you find out that you had won the CYBILS award for Nonfiction Picture Books?

 BK:  I got an email from one of the CYBILS judges.  I was so excited as I just love the energy bloggers bring to their work, and I know they are passionate about kids’ books.  And Scholastic was so excited that they put the announcement up in the display cases in all of the building’s elevators,  which is where they post all the happiest news.

 Just for Fun

 MsMac: Chocolate:  white, dark, or milk?

 BK: Super dark, like 85% dark.

 MsMac: Coffee or tea?

 BK: Tea with milk.

 MsMac: Dance: funky chicken or the tango?

 BK: Ha ha, well I’m not sure I fit either category.  But I do take Zumba classes at the gym and look very cool while dancing to Pittbull.

 MsMac: Favorite Quote:

 BK: Here’s one of my favorites, of course by Mark Twain:

 “The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

Thank you for the interview, Barbara.

Happy Reading.

Nonfiction Monday is at Shelf-Employed.

Nonfiction Monday: The Story of Snow

It’s a perfect day to share The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder by Mark Cassino with John Nelson, PhD, illustrated by Nora Aoyagi. Outside my window the snowflakes are drifting to ground.

Maybe you aren’t interested in the science of snow. Maybe you just want it to be magical. That said, The Story of Snow is magical in how it tells the science behind this weather event.

The book combines bold larger text statements such as:

Snow begins with a speck.

The speck becomes the center of a snow crystal.

with smaller factual information that is kid friendly text and clear visual details over a two page spread. Nelson provides insight about how snow crystals form into snowflakes.

Cassino’s photographs of snow crystals are stunning.

As I shared this book with students they were mesmerized with the photos, the illustrations and information. I wonder if any of them have tried to capture snow crystals this weekend as demonstrated at the end of the book.

The book ends with a wonderful quote:

“A snow crystal is a letter from the sky.” – Ukichiro Nakaya, Japanese scientist (1900-1962). This book should be paired with Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin.

The Story of Snow has its own website HERE.

Title: The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder
Author: Mark Cassino with Jon Nelson, PhD.
Illustrator: Nora Aoyagi
Published: 2009
Pages: 23
Reading Level: K-3
Publisher: Chronicle Books
ISBN: 978-0-8118-6866-2
Source: School library

Nonfiction Monday is held at The Swimmer Writer.

Happy Reading.


Nonfiction Monday: A Butterfly is Patient

A Butterfly is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston is nominated in the NFPB for the CYBILS Award.  Each page is begins “A butterfly is…”  with factual information and stunning illustrations

Readers will discover  information such as how butterfly wings serve as protection, that many butterflies are poisonous, and that their wings are really made of tiny scales serving a variety of purposes. 

Sylvia Long, illustrator, creates exquisite watercolor illustrations that are detailed from butterfly eggs to caterpillars                                                 and finally the butterflies.  Readers will spend hours gazing at these detailed images. 

As I read this book, I thought about the time spent in the research of the book. Hundreds of species are shown.  The book is hand lettered by  illustrator.

Both Aston and Long have created a book that not only informative but wondrous. It will be a fabulous mentor text to use with students on how to write nonfiction that is fun to read while providing facts.

Title: A Butterfly is Patient
Author: Dianna Hutts Aston
Illustrator: Sylvia Long
Pages: unpaged
Reading Level: K-5
Publisher: Chronicle Books
ISBN: 978-0-8118-6479-4
Source:  From the local library

Nonfiction Monday is hosted by Jean Little Library.

Happy Monday.

Happy Reading.

See you in 2012.


Nonfiction Monday: Underground

Underground Finding the Light to Freedom written and illustrated by Shane W. Evans is a story about a family’s  journey to freedom.  It’s nominated for the NFPB category for the CYBILS.  The text is deceptively simple.

For example:

The darkness.
The escape.
We are quiet.

The illustrations carry the weight of a fleeing family via the Underground Railroad, crawling to freedom and looking for the light of freedom.  This is a book for the youngest of readers as the combination of spare text and illustrations will make this topic accessible to them.  It will also work with older readers as well. 

The illustrations are subdued which provides a somber tone  until the very end when they reach freedom. 

The story of the Underground Railroad is a story of today as well.  There are men, women, and children who desire to escape their circumstances and find the light of freedom.  There is an afterward by the author.

Title: Underground Finding the Light to Freedom
Author: Shane W. Evans
Illustrator: Shane W. Evans
Published: 2011
Pages: unpaged
Reading Level: K-3
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
ISBN: 978-1-59643-538-4
Source:  From the local library

Nonfiction Monday is hosted by Books Together.

Happy Reading.