1999-2000 Winter Non-Fiction

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Nancy's picks for the best non-fiction of Winter 1999-2000 and ideas for using them in the classroom. Compiled by Nancy Polette 1999.
Last updated: Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Bowen, Betsy. GATHERING: A NORTHWOODS COUNTING BOOK. Houghton-Mifflin, 1999.(Gr 2-5)
The Northwoods is "One seed, Two rhubarb pies, four bears, five blueberries...." all the things associated with this area of the country.
Activity: Use as a research reporting model. Find ten things associated with your city, state, province or country. Create a counting book by giving information about each.
Brenner, Barbara. THE BOY WHO LOVED TO DRAW, BENJAMIN WEST. Illustrated by Olivier Dunrea. Houghton-Mifflin, 1999. (Gr 2-4)
As a child Benjamin got in trouble for drawing instead of doing his chores. Finally, realizing that their sin could not be "cured" of his drawing habits, Benjamin's parents arranged for art lessons. This boy who loved to draw became one of America's most famous artists.
Activity: List as many words as you can to describe Benjamin. Which one word from your list best describes him? Why?
Brown, Don. RARE TREASURE: MARY ANNING AND HER REMARKABLE DISCOVERIES. Houghton-Mifflin, 1999. (Gr 2-4)
Mary Anning's discovery of a remarkable skeleton led to a life-long passion with fossils. Educated only to the age of eleven, she was self-taught and her knowledge was sought by both the customers of her fossil shop and scientists of the day.
Activity: Compare Mary Anning with Marie Curie or Maria Mitchell using this pattern. "If I were Mary Anning I would ( list five facts about her) . But I wouldn't (list one major fact about another woman scientist) because ( name of scientist) did that."
Collard III, Sneed. 1000 YEARS AGO ON PLANET EARTH. Illustrated by Jonathan Hunt. Houghton-Mifflin, 1999. (Gr 3-6)
Find out how people lived 1000 years ago in North America, Central America, South America, Europe, England, the Middle East, Africa, India, China and Australia.
Activity: Interview senior citizens. Find out how people in your town, state or province lived fifty years ago. What was different about life then and today?
Farmer, Nancy. CASEY JONES'S FIREMAN: THE STORY OF SIM WEBB. Pictures by James Bernardin. A Phyllis Fogelman Book. Penguin/Putnam, 1999. (Gr 2-4)
A fireman shovels coal into a red-hot furnace and makes sure water flows into the boiler. A mistake can mean the boiler explodes. Webb Sims, Casey Jones's fireman didn't make mistakes. Webb and Casey Jones were real people and here is one tale of why Casey's train crashed.
Activity: Do you think this tale is true? Why or why not?
Fisher, Leonard Everett. GODS AND GODDESSES OF THE ANCIENT MAYA. Holiday House, 1999.(Gr 3-6)
The author tells about 12 of the most important Maya gods, explaining their powers, their gifts and their images.
Fritz, Jean. WHY NOT, LAFAYETTE? Illustrated by Ronald Himler. Putnam, 1999. (Gr 3-6)
A fascinating biography of the French nobleman who joined George Washington's army and became "The Hero of the New World."
Activity: Continue writing about Lafayette's life using his pattern: Fortunately Lafayette was born into a noble family. Unfortunately his father was killed in battle in 1759. Fortunately...........
Garland, Sherry. VOICES OF THE ALAMO. Illustrated by Ronald Himler. Scholastic, 2000. (Gr 3-6)
History is revealed from the viewpoints of the people who lived it. The story of the Alamo begins in 1500 with Native Americans and is told by a Spaniard, Tejano, Texian, Mexican and American. Through their voices a poignant human drama unfolds.
Activity: Choose one of the voices and read it aloud to background music you feel is appropriate.
Gold, Julie. FROM A DISTANCE. Illustrated by Jane Ray. Dutton, 1999 (Gr 3-6)
Here is a beautifully illustrated edition of a popular folk hymn that brings a message of hope in a troubled world.
Activity: Find and play recordings of the song by Nanci Griffith, Bette Midler or The Byrds.
Patten, Brian. THE BLUE AND GREEN ARK. AN ALPHABET FOR THE PLANET EARTH. Scholastic, 1999. (Gr K-3)
Exploring the blue and green ark ( the Earth) each letter of the alphabet explores the many natural wonders of the world.
Activity: Create an ABC book to tell others ways in which they can take care of the Earth.
Tallchief, Maria and Wells, Rosemary. TALLCHIEF, AMERICA'S PRIMA BALLERINA. Illustrations by Gary Kelley. Viking, 1999. (Gr 3-6)
From her early years on an Osage Indian reservation in Oklahoma to her departure for New York, where her professional dancing career was launched,here is the story of Maria Tallchief's rise to America's prima ballerina.
Activity: Create a bio poem about Maria Tallchief. On each line use one of these headings:First name, Four traits, Related to, Who needs, Who Has, Who gives, Who would like to, Resident of
Tanaka, Shelley. SECRETS OF THE MUMMIES. Illustrated by Greg Ruhl. Hyperion, 1999. (Gr 4-6)
Beneath their linen wrappings, Egyptian mummies hold clues to how people lived and died thousands of years ago. Here is an account of how modern science can unearth long ago secrets.
Waters, Kate. MARY GEDDY'S DAY. Photographs by Russ Kendall . Scholastic, 1999.Gr K-3
The latest addition to this popular series follows a Colonial girl through a day in Williamsburg.Activity: List things that you do or see everyday. How do your daily activities differ from Mary's?