I was at NCTE recently, and I got to see Aly host an awesome nonfiction panel featuring Melissa Stewart, Candace Fleming, and Deborah Heiligman. What a celebration of nonfiction! And in another nonfiction session, I heard Tracy Nelson Maurer, Phyllis Root, Jackie Briggs Martin, and Ann Matzke discuss writing picture book biographies. I had read many of the books shared, but now I have some more to check out! Meanwhile, here are two of the best nonfiction picture books I’ve read this month:
The World Is Not a Rectangle (by Jeanette Winter) – I adored this book. It’s a peek into the mind of an architect and a look at how her artistic mind worked. It reminded me a lot of Maya Lin, which I also loved earlier this year. I had never heard of Zaha Hadid, so this book not only introduced me to someone new, but it also celebrated architecture that draws its inspiration from nature. The text is lyrical and lovely, and the whole book is just a winner!
Karl, Get Out of the Garden is another biography, this one about Carolus Linnaeus, the naturalist who gave us our system for naming species. I read this one about a year ago and tucked it away to review and then lost track of it. I found it recently and reread it. If you’re obsessed with names and the way things are organized, and you love nature and beautiful writing (all of those fit me), then you can’t go wrong with this fabulous book from Anita Sanchez.
Another exciting thing at NCTE was that I got to hold my first copy of Meet My Family! Yay! It comes out next year from Millbrook, and it’s all about animal families and how diverse they are (and, of course, I’m hoping kids will see their own family structures and traditions reflected in the animals’). It was great to hold that first copy in my hot little hands. This one is rhyming main text with prose sidebars and tons of cool backmatter.
And I did a signing for How to Make a Rainbow, another picture book coming out from Lerner next year. This was the first time I got to see that one, too. It’s a Crayola branded book, super bright and (duh) colorful!
I still need to type up all my notes from NCTE, and then I’m sure I’ll have more fabulous nonfiction picture books to enjoy!