Dogs, wild animals and ocean creatures: Nonfiction middle grade books all perfect for gift giving

Some informative books that will get children enjoying reading nonfiction are available just in time for the holidays. But even after the holidays, these books are wonderful choices for not only classrooms and libraries, but also for home bookshelves. Adults will enjoy learning about dogs, wild animals, and ocean creatures, too.

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Three captivating computer coding picture books

What better way to introduce children to the language and ideas behind computer coding (or just codes in general) than by reading picture books that combine real information with a bit of story-telling to inform and entertain.

“How to Code a Rollercoaster” written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Sara Palacios is a code rollercoasterlively story about Pearl, who visits an amusement park with her robot, Pascal. This brightly illustrated picture book introduces kids to the language of computers. Readers learn what words like “loop,” “code,” “variable,” and “value” mean. In fact, they also learn computer reasoning like true and false and “if-then-else.” Adults just might learn a bit about computer programming from this quick, interesting read. The author knows what he writes about because he’s a software engineer. This is not his first picture book. (Viking)

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12 fabulous nonfiction picture books about animals

 

Kids and animals — I love fabulous picture books about animals that will get kids hooked on reading. These nonfiction picture books are filled with color and animals, some about specific animals that fly or swim and about a plethora of other animals. One is even poetry about animals. Enjoy this list of books that are perfect for animal lovers and great for any library or bookshelf. Be prepared to read them time and time again for your young animal lover. It’s a long list, but it’s a wonderful one.

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‘Señorita Mariposa’ by Ben Gundersheimer is a picture book that’s a bilingual “song” about the monarch’s migration and life cycle

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“Señorita Mariposa” by Ben Gundersheimer and illustrated by Marcos Almada Rivero is a beautiful, happy, rhyming picture book that tells the story of the monarch butterfly’s long journey from faraway places to Mexico where the monarchs gather each winter. Children get an idea of how long the journey is through the text and illustrations. “Over mountains capped with snow, to the deserts down below,” and elsewhere, the monarchs travel long distances on their journey.

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‘Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson’ is a powerful book that encompasses decades of civil rights struggles and discrimination

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“Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson” is a very powerful book. Not only is the story of Katherine Johnson’s life inspiring, but the story she tells is filled with emotion and facts and history, and the way she combines them all into this middle grade book is superb.

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‘P is for Pterodactyl: The WORST Alphabet Book Ever (All the letters that misbehave and make words nearly impossible to pronounce’ is an EXTREMELY

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“P Is for Pterodactyl: The WORST Alphabet Book Ever (All the letters that misbehave and make words nearly impossible to pronounce)” is truly the BEST book ever! First of all, it’s brilliant — from the choice of alphabet words and for the text that explains what the words mean, and the words and text and illustrations combined make it really humorous, as well.

For example, “B is for Bdellium. We doubt that anyone knows what bdellium is, but it’s the only word dumb enough to begin with a silent B.

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Four picture books (2 fiction and 2 nonfiction) about animals and compassion — should not be missed

Summer is a wonderful time to spend outdoors with children, showing them the beauty of nature and the beauty of the animals in nature. It’s a wonderful time to play with dogs and visit forest preserves. At night, reading books about nature and about animals is an excellent way to drive home lessons about respecting nature and treating animals — whether pets or wild animals — with love and compassion.

Two of these books are new releases, and two are simply picture books that deserve to be shared and widely read. Two are about domestic animals, dogs, and the two nonfiction picture books are about wild animals and how two brave, resourceful people became determined to help them. All are fabulous choices for every home and school library.

Two nonfiction picture books that should become classics are “Jasper’s Story: Saving Moon Bears” by Jill Robinson and Marc Bekoff and the semi-autobiographical “A Boy and a Jaguar” by Alan Rabinowitz. Both books are about brave people dedicating their lives to helping animals, and both are fascinating to children of all ages. I’ve read these books with first graders and fourth graders, and each child appreciated each book on a different level.

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‘How Many: A Counting Book’ by Christopher Danielson is a deceptively simple picture book that helps develop mathematical thinking

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“How Many: A Counting Book” by Christopher Danielson is a very simple yet brilliantly composed book of pictures about counting. There are no right answers, and Danielson states at the start of the book:

“This is a book about numbers and counting, but it’s different from other counting books. This book doesn’t tell you what to count. It doesn’t start with small numbers and end with big ones.”

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Four picture books about work vehicles, on land and on sea, that kids will love

“Little Yellow Truck” is by prolific and talented author Eve Bunting and illustrated by little yellow truckKevin Zimmer with a bright cheerful palette. It’s the story of a red dump truck, a green flatbed truck, a blue concrete mixer, and a little yellow pickup truck, all working together to build a children’s park. Little Yellow waits impatiently as the other trucks carry away trash, mix concrete, and bring in lumber. Then Big Green brings in the swings and slides, benches and tables. What will there be left for Little Yellow to do? Don’t worry, Little Yellow has an important job to make the park just perfect! Zimmer manages to create great expressions on the vehicles and kids will love the story of the little guy, worrying and impatient, who finally gets to do his job. (Sleeping Bear Press)

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