Non-fiction November

When my kids were younger, we would make many trips to the library to explore topics that the schools just didn’t have the time to fit in to their already overloaded curriculum. My kids would dive into books about science, history, poetry, computers, skateboarding, art, biographies, and so much more. More often than not, I would learn just as much they did. 

At the library this month we are observing Non-fiction November. This was inspired by Lerner books. They are sharing a read aloud video of a nonfiction book each day in November with many of the books being read by the author. You can learn more and sign-up HERE. Here are a few of the books they are featuring. 

Many of us wonder how we can reuse the plastic bags at the grocery store, but they are pretty flimsy and often can’t be used more than two or three times before they break. One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul tells the remarkable, true story of how Isatou Ceesay and the women of her community turned the trash that was littering their town into useful, everyday items. The bags that once harmed their gardens and livestock were now being woven into beautiful baskets and bags that could be used over and over again. If you would like some ideas on how to turn trash into treasure, check out the video below. At 5:15, there is even a project on how to make a jump rope using plastic bags.

The supply chain issues that we keep hearing about in the news has many people worried that they will have to do without. The book The Most Beautiful Thing by Kao Kalia Yang tells of the author’s childhood as a refugee when she wanted things that others had like a new dress, ice cream, and braces to improve her smile. Through the wisdom of her grandmother’s stories, Kao learns to find true beauty in what she has and in the world around her.

A Bowl Full of Peace by Caren Stelson is the true story of Sachiko Yasui, a survivor of the August 9th atomic bomb detonation over Nagasaki. This is a moving story of family, resilience, suffering, loss, remembrance, and hope. A bowl that belonged to Sachiko’s grandmother, a bowl that was used as a part of every family meal, survived the blast without a chip or a scratch. This bowl became a connection to the past and a symbol of hope for the future. The end of the book includes a picture of Sachiko, her family, and her grandmother’s bowl. It is a heartbreaking and powerful story of the tragedy of war and the importance of family.

The Old West may be gone, but memories and legend live on. Ask any cowpoke and, boy howdy, he’ll tell some tales. Ask a cowboy from Umatilla County, and he’ll for sure come around to the story of the Saddle Bronc Championship at the 1911 Pendleton Round-Up – and the bronc buster named George Fletcher.” These are the first words in Let ‘Er Buck by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. George Fletcher grew up in Oregon and learned how to ride bucking animals at a very young age from his Native American neighbors, but because he was black, he faced many obstacles when competing in rodeos. George didn’t win the Championship that day at Pendleton, but his skill and hard work won the hearts of the crowd, and he earned the respect that he deserved. This is a story of determination, justice, and resilience that resonates as much today as it did in the early 1900’s America.

Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” -Kay Redfield Jamison.

Joeys box each other, rhinos and peccaries wallow in the mud, and monkeys race. These are all ways that young animals practice the skills they will need to survive and thrive as they grow. Play Like an Animal by Maria Gianferrari uses fun and descriptive language to tell how different animals play. Each page has an explanation for why it is important for young animals to develop these skills. She points out that it is just as important for human children to play and learn and grow! At the end of the book there are more facts about each of the animals and some ways that kids can play like an animal!

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