For some reason, we always seem to skip over non-fiction when we buy books for children. Yet it is one of, if not the, most popular genres when you ask kids what they like to read. So with that in mind, here are some favorites from my classroom library!
- Albino Animals by Kelly Milner Halls- My students are obsessed with this cool book about albinos. Full of pictures, some of which are a little creepy (it’s the red eyes!), kids won’t be able to put this one down. The chapters are arranged by animal category (reptiles and amphibians, sea mammals, and so on), and Halls cites real-life examples of albino animals and discusses the special concerns that albinism raises in each one. And this Language Arts teacher loves that a glossary and bibliography are included!
- The Race to Save the Lord God Bird by Phillip Hoose- This is the story of the first modern endangered species in America, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. In 1800, the large and impressive woodpecker lived in the southeastern United States, from Texas to the Carolinas and as far north as Indiana. By 1937, it could be found on only one tract of land in northeastern Louisiana. Its last confirmed sighting was in Cuba in 1987. The story is full of suspense and intrigue and is difficult to put down. There are original archival photos included, along with paintings (the Ivory-billed woodpecker was a frequent model for artists). A great book for any kid who loves animals, endangered species, or the environment.
- The Devil on Trial: Witches, Anarchists, Atheists, Communists, andTerrorists in America’s Courtrooms by Philip Margulies- For some reason, court trials are absolutely fascinating when you are in middle school. aturing five famous trials, this book examines the way our right to a fair trial can be threatened, when people are tempted to abandon their principles in the name of safety. Trials included in this book include the always-popular Salem Witch Trials, the Haymarket Affair Trial, the Scopes “Monkey” Trial, the trial of Alger Hiss, and the recent trial of Zacarias Moussaoui
- Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past by James M. Deem- Perfect for that one child in your life who is fascinated by gross and/or morbid things. In 1991, mountain climbers on the Niederjoch Glacier on the Italian-Austrian border came across something gross: a body. It had been a very warm summer, and five bodies had already turned up in the area (sadly common on mountaintops). But something here was different. The materials found with the body suggested it might be very old, perhaps from the 1800s. But radiocarbon dating proved the iceman was 5,300 years older, from the Copper Age. He was named Ötzi and he is the oldest human mummy preserved in ice ever found. Deem takes the reader on a fascinating journey as you learn about the mummy and the scientists who studied him.
- The Way We Work by David Macauley- This is the book that any future doctor needs! David Macauley reveals the intricacies of the human body with detailed artistic drawings. The book is divided into seven sections – from the cells that form our foundation to the individual systems they build. Each gorgeous illustration details different aspects of our complex body structure, explaining the function of each and offering up-close glimpses and unique cross-sections and perspectives. Plus, it’s funny, too!
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