||Nancy's picks for the best non-fiction of the
1990s and ideas for using them in the classroom. Compiled
by Nancy Polette © 1998.
Tuesday, February 19, 2002
- Barrett, Lindsay. In
the Snow, Who's Been Here? Greenwillow,
- A brother and sister see
clues left in the snow as to the bird or
animal that has previously been there.
Activity: Create a class book..In
the Books, Who's Been Here?
- Students draw clues that
favorite book characters might have left
behind. Others try to guess the
Blos, Joan. Nellie Bly's Monkey. Morrow, 96. (Gr.2-4)
- Reporter, Nellie Bly,
travels the world in 72 days in 1889.
Activity: Trace her route on a world map
after sharing the book.
Cooney, Barbara. Eleanor. Viking, 96. (Gr.3-6)
- The lonely and sad
childhood of Eleanor Roosevelt.
Activity: Write an 'Important' paragraph
about Eleanor after reading the book.
- Begin: The most important
thing about Eleanor Roosevelt was _____.
Add six details and repeat the first
Deary, Terry. The
Awesome Egyptians, The Groovy Greeks, The
Rotten Romans. Scholastic, 1997. (Gr 5-8. )
- A humorous but accurate
look at early civilizations.
James, Elizabeth. Social
Smarts: Manners for Today's Kids. Clarion, 96. (Gr.4-6)
- Advice for children on
handling social situations.
Activity: Share one of the problems in
the book. Let students suggest how they
would handle it. Then read the author's
Jones, Charlotte. Accidents
May Happen. Delacorte, 96. (Gr.4-6)
- Many things we use each
day were the result of accidents.
Activity: Think like an inventor. Create
a bedroom burglar alarm by combing these
items so that each will act on the next
to achieve the desired result. A candle,
a ten pound bag of potatoes, a frog, a
bucket, a balloon, an old saw, a rope, a
horn, a springboard. Use at least four of
- Kroll, Steven. Lewis
and Clark. Holiday, 94. The
Pony Express. Scholastic, 96. (Gr.3-6)
- Nicely illustrated
historical accounts. Create a geography
riddle poem to describe an historical
Krupinski, Loretta. New
England Scrapbook. HarperCollins, 94. (Gr.3-6)
- Each page associates
something with New England with a
description, a picture and a poem related
to the object.
- Lindbergh, Reeve. Nobody
Owns the Sky. The Story of Brave Bessie
- Create a dialogue between
two people watching Bessie's daring
Nivola, Claire. Elizabeth. Farrar, 1997.
- A little girl, a doll a
dog( who liked to dance) and a war tell a
true tale of the Holocaust.
Ryder, Joanne. Jaguar
in the Rain Forest. Morrow, 96. (Gr.2-4)
- A literary description of
the life of the jaguar in the rain
Activity: Write a five line description
of the rain forest. Each line must begin
with a preposition: Below, upon, in,
under, beneath, etc. The last line can
read “stalks the graceful jaguar.
SanSouci, Robert. Kate
Shelley: Bound for Legend. Dial, 95. (Gr.4-6)
- A young girl crawls along
a 700 foot icy trestle in the dark to get
to the station to warn an oncoming train
that a bridge is out. How many ways can
students complete this pattern:
____________ is scary but __________ is
Simon, Seymour. Strange
Mysteries from Around the World. Morrow, 1997.
- Can it really rain frogs?
How can a person walk on hot coals with
no pain or injury? List your theories,
then read this book!
Stanley, Diane. The
True Adventures of Daniel Hall. Dial, 95. (Gr.4-6)
- A young boy goes to sea
and is savagely beaten with a knotted
rope, dragged in a small boat by a whale,
eats food with maggots, is attacked by a
hungry bear and surrounded by fifty
Activity: Let small groups within the
class rank order the dangers Daniel faced
from most to least dangerous and explain
Towle, Wendy. The
Real McCoy. Scholastic, 92. (Gr.3-6)
- The life of
African-American inventor Elijah McCoy.
Write a bio-poem about McCoy. Begin each
line with Name, Four traits, Related to,
Who cares deeply about, Who feels, Who
needs, Who gives, Who fears,Who would
like to see, Resident of.
Wulfson, Don. Amazing
True Stories. Dutton 1991. Gr 4-8.
- True accounts of
Use one or more of these short accounts
as a predicative reading exercise.