Ramblings · Themed Books

Nonfiction Picture Books for Kids

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no extra charge to you if you click on a link and make a purchase. Thank you!)

Last year, I attended an SCBWI nonfiction conference and learned quite a bit about writing nonfiction books for children.

This year, I’m excited for the opportunity to attend another SCBWI Adventures in Nonfiction conference featuring Senior Editor Carolyn Yoder and authors Jacqueline Briggs Martin and Miranda Paul.

Adventures in Nonfiction Part 2

You can find more information about the upcoming nonfiction conference on the SCBWI Iowa website here. Registration is now open for it!

Just like I did last year, I decided to read some books written by the authors who will be presenting at the conference. Even though Jacqueline Briggs Martin and Miranda Paul have published many books, these are the books I was able to check out from my local library.

Nonfiction Books by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

Jacqueline Briggs Martin will be discussing picture book biographies at the conference. Here are some of the nonfiction picture books written by her that I was able to find at my local library.

Alice Waters and the Trip to Delicious (Readers to Eaters, 2014)

This is a picture book biography about Alice Waters who was on a mission to make delicious meals to share with others using fresh foods. She started Chez Panisse, had the opportunity to cook for a U.S. president, won the James Beard Award for “Outstanding Chef of the Year”, started the Edible Schoolyard Project, and wants others to learn about growing fresh food for themselves.

Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix (Readers to Eaters, 2017)

This is a picture book biography about Chef Roy Choi who calls himself a “street cook”. Roy Choi was born in Korea but has spent most of his life in Los Angeles. Searching for his path in life wasn’t easy for him, but he finally discovered his passion and joy by cooking for others out of a truck. His Korean barbecue in a taco was a success! He started Kogi, opened cafes, and opened a soulful fast food restaurant called Locol. He wants to show others the deliciousness of cooking with love.

Creekfinding: A True Story (University of Minnesota Press, 2017)

This is a true story about a man named Michael Osterholm who was on a mission to find a creek that had been covered with fields in Iowa. Through much work, dedication, and time, he was finally able to restore the creek. Now, instead of a field, the creek is flowing and filled with lots of wildlife.

I found it interesting that this true story took place less than an hour away from where my family once lived.

Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table (Readers to Eaters, 2013)

This is a picture book biography about Will Allen who went from playing professional basketaball in Belgium to becoming a farmer in the middle of the city of Milwaukee. He started Growing Power farm, and he now grows many fruits and vegetables, raises red wigglers, and shows others how they can farm in cities. Thousands of people each year continue to visit his farm in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to “tour the greenhouses, watch goats, snack on greens, and go home planning to start a farm on a city lot, rooftop, or abandoned highway.”

This was another book that I found interesting due to the location of the story because I lived in southeast Wisconsin for quite a few years and was just in that area again recently.

Snowflake Bentley (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998)

This picture book biography is about photographer Wilson Bentley (who became known as “Snowflake Bentley”) who lived from 1865 to 1931. He was intrigued by snowflakes and wanted to find a way to capture their beauty to share with others. His “parents spent their savings and bought the camera” Wilson Bentley wanted in order for him to pursue his dreams. Through a lot of patience, dedication, and creativity, Wilson Bentley discovered ways to capture the beauty of snowflakes on film. He enjoyed showing others his photographs and even had a book published with his snowflake photos.

The book states: “By 1926 he had spent $15,000 on his work and received $4,000 from the sale of photographs and slides.” That seemed like a lot of money for 1926, so my daughters and I Googled what that would be equivalent to in 2019 dollars. According to this inflation calculator, $15,000 would be equivalent to $217,070.34 and $4,000 would be equivalent to $57,885.42.

My family also watched this Youtube video after reading Snowflake Bentley to see some of Wilson Bentley’s beautiful snowflake photographs. It is quite amazing what he was able to do with the technology of that time!

The Chiru of High Tibet (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010

This is a true story about trying to save the chiru species. Chiru are animals that “look like antelope” and live in “the northern plains of Tibet”. They had once been very plentiful in that area but their population was significantly depleted when people started killing them to make shawls. For many years, no one knew where the chiru birthing ground was located. A man named George Schaller and four mountain climbing men took the initiative and (more than) one journey to find the location and ask the Chinese government to protect that land from hunters.

Nonfiction and Informational Fiction Books by Miranda Paul

Miranda Paul will be talking about creative nonfiction and informational fiction picture books at the upcoming conference. Here are the nonfiction and informational fiction picture books by her that I was able to find at my local library.

Adventures to School: Real-Life Journeys of Students from Around the World (Little Bee Books, 2018)

This nonfiction picture book written with Baptiste Paul describes the journeys children from thirteen different nations must take in order to get to school along with additional information about each of the nations.

It’s amazing to read what some of these children must endure in order to get to school. My daughters are truly blessed to be able to simply walk down the stairs to start school each morning.

Are We Pears Yet? (Roaring Brook Press, 2017)

This is an informational fiction picture book. Two pear seeds perform a play about the life cycle of pear seeds. The young pear seed is eager to become a pear but learns it first needs soil, rain, sun, and long naps (more than 2 years of naps) to grow into trees at which point the pear seeds need a costume change. Pears finally appear on the trees and an x-ray reveals two pear seeds within one of the pears. Extra facts about pears are given at the end of the book.

Nine Months Before a Baby is Born (Holiday House, 2019)

This picture book told in a poetic style goes through the process of a baby forming and growing before birth. Backmatter offers more information about the different stages of development.

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia (Millbrook Press, 2015)

This nonfiction picture book tells the story of how a young woman named Isatou Ceesay took the iniative to make Njau, Gambia beautiful again after plastic bags had accumulated in the area causing unwanted water, mosquitoes, disease, and dying goats. With help from some other women, the bags were cleaned and transformed into beautiful hand-crocheted purses, which could be sold to others.

Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle (Roaring Brook Press, 2015)

I found this book in the fiction section at my library, but it is informational since it discusses the water cycle in poetic form. The backmatter found at the end of the book offers additional information about water including words like evaporation, condensation, precipitation, seepage, and more.

Fun Fiction Picture Books by Miranda Paul

Here are the some fun fiction picture books written by Miranda Paul that I found at my local library.

10 Little Ninjas (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2016)

Told in the same fashion as “10 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”, this picture book has 10 little ninjas, 9 tiny astronauts, 8 rapid racers, 7 prowling tigers, 6 rowdy cowboys, 5 hungry reef sharks, 4 thirsty firefighters, 3 quiet pirates, 2 sleepy dragons, 1 little cuddlebug, and finally 10 sleeping kids.

The Great Pasta Escape (Little Bee Books, 2017)

This fiction picture book filled with humor and pasta puns is about noodles in a factory that were content following the rules until they discovered they were made to be eaten. After examining all of the evidence and confirming this was true, they strategized an escape plan together.

Mia Moves Out (Alfred A. Knopf, 2018)

Mia decides the obvious solution to her brother taking over her room is to move out. So, begins her journey of finding a new place to stay. The bathroom, basement, and cupboard prove to be bad choices. She finally finds a place she likes but realizes it’s missing something (really someone – her brother). That’s when she comes up with the idea of creating a fort for her and her brother to enjoy together outside.

Trainbots (Little Bee Books, 2016)

This rhyming picture book is about trainbots becoming hero-bots to get rid of the evil badbots, so they can deliver toybots to kidbots. How a-bot that description?

Reading all of these books makes me really excited for the upcoming SCBWI Adventures in Nonfiction Conference. Which book is your favorite?

Jobs of a Preschooler · Themed Books

14 Children’s Books About Teachers

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no extra charge to you if you click on a link and make a purchase. Thank you!)

A course I created entitled Who Are Community Helpers? was published earlier this year on Schoolhouse Teachers. Within the course, I had ten lessons about ten different community helpers.

One of the community helpers included was a teacher. Now that summer break is coming to an end and school is beginning again soon, I thought it would be fun to share a list of books about teachers.

Illustration from the book Jobs of a Preschooler

“I’m a teacher…” from Jobs of a Preschooler 

Many of these books were listed in the Who Are Community Helpers? course. None of them are about homeschooling teachers, though.

Books About Teachers

Most of the following books are books about teachers I was able to reserve from my local library.

A Letter to my Teacher by Deborah Hopkinson

A cute book written as one long letter from a student who is all grown up to her second grade teacher who was very patient and understanding and taught the then-reluctant student so much.

Because You are my Teacher by Sherry North

Simple rhyming text talks about all the ways a group of students could explore the world with their teacher if it were possible.

Diary of a Worm: Teacher’s Pet by Doreen Cronin

Worm doesn’t know what to get his teacher as a birthday gift. He writes a list of ideas and finally finds the perfect gift to present to her.

How to Get Your Teacher Ready by Jean Reagan 

Cute tips tell students how to help a teacher such as reminding her of no messy snacks on picture day and making sure her whistle works on field day.

Miss Brooks Loves Books! (And I Don’t) by Barbara Bottner

Miss Brooks isn’t a teacher by profession. She is a librarian, but she still teaches the kids at her school about her love of books. One student in particular thinks she will never like books until she discovers a book that fits her interests.

My Teacher by James Ransome

This fiction picture book is about a student talking about her teacher and all that her teacher does for the classroom and others.

My Teacher for President by Kay Winters 

I was unable to reserve this book at my local library, but it appears as though this book uses simple text to compare a teacher to a president.

What DO Teachers do (After YOU Leave School) by Anne Bowen

Rhyming text describes the adventures of teachers after the students leave school at the end of the day. Who knew teachers rode the slide, zipped through the hallways on skates, had colossal food fights, danced in their socks, made slime soup, and more after the students went home?

What Teachers Can’t Do by Douglas Wood

This book goes through many things a teacher can and can’t do such as not being able to spell “cat” even though they can spell words like “Mississippi” and “encyclopedia”. It ends by saying “teaching you” is what teachers do best.

More Books About Teachers

These books about teachers are great for a community helpers study that includes teachers.

Clive is a Teacher by Jessica Spanyol

Clive pretends to be a teacher and teaches his students.

I Can be a Teacher by Michou Franco

Simple text talks about what teachers do and ends with “I can be a teacher. So can you!”

Teacher by Ando Twin and Lucy M. George

This book talks about what a teacher does throughout her day and what her students get to experience. The teacher has a special guest join the class. An assistant helps the teacher throughout the day.

Teachers by Melanie Mitchell

This book talks about what teachers may do at a school throughout the day.

Teachers Help Us by Aaron R. Murray

Simple text talks about what teachers do.

What is your favorite book about teachers?


For more themed books, check out the following posts:

Jobs of a Preschooler · Ramblings · Themed Books

Nature Walk: How Many Butterflies and Moths?

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you if you click on a link and make a purchase.)

I had mentioned in a previous post that your little ones can be scientists by taking a nature walk to make some fun discoveries. I have talked about finding tracks, nests, and interesting creatures before. Today, I thought it would be fun to search for butterflies and moths.

Although I am definitely not a lepidopterist (a person who studies moths or butterflies), there are some books that provide details about moths and butterflies.

Books about Moths and Butterflies

Butterflies and Moths: Explore Nature with Fun Facts and Activities by DK

Butterfly or Moth?: How Do You Know by Melissa Stewart

Butterflies and Moths by David Carter

Moth and Butterfly Search

Typically, moths have fat feathery antennae, and butterflies have slender antennae with “balls” at the tips. Butterflies are often found during the day, whereas moths often prefer nights. Butterflies make chrysalises, and moths make cocoons.

This is a picture of a monarch butterfly we found on a trail we were walking on one day. Did you know you can tell a male and female monarch butterfly apart by looking at the markings on the wings when they are open? The males have black spots, and the females don’t.

These caterpillars shown on the milkweed plants are not technically butterflies (yet), but it is fun to see the different stages of a butterfly. Did you know monarch caterpillars can only eat milkweed plants?

monarch caterpillars on milkweed

I took the caterpillar picture at a monarch butterfly event we attended. Families were allowed to take home a caterpillar to raise and later release.

The book How to Raise Monarch Butterflies by Carol Pasternak is a great resource if you would like to raise your own monarch butterflies.

Some nature centers allow visitors to help tag monarch butterflies. The small tags help track monarchs during their long migration. More information about monarch tagging can be found on Monarch Watch.

I think this is an eastern tiger swallowtail. We were walking and saw it along the side of a road.

If you know what this guy is, please let me know.

A moth, a beetle, and a fly all flew on to a tree…

butterfly, beetle, and fly

…and then I took a picture.

Speaking of butterflies and flies, another book to check out is I, Fly by Bridget Heos about a fly that feels underappreciated. He thinks butterflies get too much attention, so he attempts to enlighten a classroom full of kids about flies. Readers learn quite a few facts about flies through the fly’s humorous discussion.

How many butterflies and moths can you find?

Here are some more posts you may be interested in reading:

Nature Walk: Whose Tracks Are These?

Nature Walk: Where Will You Find a Nest?

14 Children’s Books About Flowers

14 Children’s Books About Seeds, Plants, and Gardening


Themed Books · Writing Appearances

8 Children’s Books About Community Helpers

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no extra charge to you if you click on a link and make a purchase. I greatly appreciate any purchases you make using one of the links. Thank you!)

One of my 2019 writing goals included creating a course, which I was actually able to complete earlier this year. The Foods and Food Production Course I created was published on Schoolhouse Teachers at the end of March.

Foods and Food Production

And now, there is another course I created available on Schoolhouse Teachers. This one is entitled Who Are Community Helpers?

Who Are Community Helpers? is divided into ten lessons each focused on a different community helper. Those include:

  • Chef
  • Construction worker
  • Dentist
  • Doctor
  • Farmer
  • Firefighter
  • Mail carrier
  • Nurse
  • Police officer
  • Teacher

Each individual community helper lesson is divided into sections:

  • Introduction Questions
  • Bible
  • Books to Read
  • Social Studies/History/Geography
  • Math
  • Science/Health
  • Writing
  • Art/Snack/Activities
  • Closing Questions

Who Are Community Helpers? and Foods and Food Production are available to members of Schoolhouse Teachers, which offers over 400 courses for preschoolers through high schoolers, as well as additional resources for adults.  My daughters and I have enjoyed mutliple courses, videos, and resources from Schoolhouse Teachers, and we are looking forward to taking advantage of more of the courses in the upcoming school year (and this summer).

If you would like more information about Schoolhouse Teachers, click here.

If you are not a member of Schoolhouse Teachers (and have no interest in becoming one), then maybe the following 8 books about community helpers will be helpful if you decide to talk about community helpers with the little ones in your life.

Books About Community Helpers

Helpers in my Community by Bobbie Kalman

This book talks about what a community is, who community helpers are, what communities need, and who helps to fill those needs. It discusses builders, electricians, plumbers, teachers, librarians, crossing guards, school-bus drivers, nurses, principals, caretakers, medical helpers, dentists, paramedics, fire fighters, police officers, and volunteers.

Jobs of a Preschooler by Brigitte Brulz

Yes, this is the book I wrote and published, but I figured it fits in with community helpers. Jobs of a Preschooler has only one sentence per page and rhyming text. Free coloring pages to go along with the book are available here.

The summary of Jobs of a Preschooler states: “There are many jobs a parent may do throughout his or her day. A parent may be a chef (someone has to make the meals to eat), a teacher (learning doesn’t happen only at school), and a driver (for all those places where walking would take way too long). But parents aren’t the only ones with these jobs – preschoolers may do them, too! Join a busy preschooler as she experiences many jobs throughout her day. Is it work, or is it play?”

Show Me Community Helpers by Clint Edwards

This book includes police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and hygienists, veterinarians, teachers, librarians, school bus drivers, cafeteria workers, construction workers, and electric utility workers. Each community helper section offers vocabulary words that go along with that community helper. For example, the police officer section talks about what police officers do and defines a fingerprint, crime, jail, holster, police car, siren, flashlight, two-way radio, badge, and handcuffs.

Whose Coat is This? by Laura Purdie Salas

Throughout the book, the reader is asked whose coat is being shown closeup with a one line description. The answer is then found on the next page along with more of a description of how the coat is just right for the job it is used for. The “coats” shown in this book include an artist’s smock, judge’s robe, soldier’s jacket, mail carrier’s coat, ski patroller’s jacket, doctor’s lab coat, firefighter’s coat, and your coat. The end includes a quick quiz to see what you have learned about three of the coats.

Whose Gloves are These? by Laura Purdie Salas

Throughout the book, the reader is asked whose gloves are being shown closeup with a one line description. The answer is then found on the next page along with more of a description of how the gloves are just right for the job they are used for. The gloves shown include a zookeeper’s glove, baseball player’s glove, dentist’s glove, mountain guide’s glove, gardener’s glove, welder’s gloves, housekeeper’s glove, and your winter mittens. The end includes a quick quiz to see what you have learned about three of the gloves.

Whose Hat Is This? by Sharon Katz Cooper

Throughout the book, the reader is asked whose hat is being shown closeup with a one line description. The answer is then found on the next page along with more of a description of how the hat is just right for the job it is used for. The hats shown include a firefighter’s helmet, beekeeper’s hat, chef’s hat, police officer’s cap, football player’s helmet, astronaut’s helmet, construction worker’s hard hat, and your hat. The end includes a quick quiz to see what you have learned about three of the hats.

Whose Shoes Are These? by Laura Purdie Salas

Throughout the book, the reader is asked whose shoes are being shown closeup with a one line description. The answer is then found on the next page along with more of a description of how the shoes are just right for the job they are used for. The shoes shown include underwater photographer’s flippers, park ranger’s field boots, athlete’s basketball shoes, construction worker’s steel-toed boots, ballerina’s pointe shoes, fisherman’s knee-high rubber boots, astronaut’s space boots, and your sneakers. The end includes a quick quiz to see what you have learned about three of the shoes.

Who Will I Be? by Abby Huntsman

The teacher in Isabel’s class asks what the students want to be when they are older, but Isabel doesn’t know. Her dad has her think about what makes her happy. She enjoys helping others but doesn’t think there is a job for a helper, so her dad shows her some of the helpers in her community: a teacher, crossing guard, veterinarian, someone in the military, policeman, librarian, activist, gardener, garbage man, pastor, journalist, fireman, and mayor (her mother). She still doesn’t know specifically which job she wants to have when she grows up, but she decides she does want to be a helper.

Do you have a recommendation for any other book about community helpers?

For more themed books, check out:

Ramblings · Themed Books

55 Children’s Books About Dads

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no extra charge to you if you click on a link and make a purchase. Thank you!)

Father’s Day is already less than two weeks away!

If you are looking for a fun gift or card for kids to make this Father’s Day, you can check out 15 DIY Father’s Day gifts and cards that I compiled for Hands On As We Grow.

If you are looking for children’s books about dads, then keep reading! With so many options to choose from (a total of 55), I hope you are able to find at least one that fits your needs.

Many of these books are available at my library according to the online library catalog; however, I did not check them all out and preview them ahead of time like I have done in the past.

Children’s Books About Dads

Always Daddy’s Princess by Karen Kingsbury

Ask Me by Bernard Waber

Baby Dance by Ann Taylor 

Because I’m Your Dad by Ahmet Zappa

Because Your Daddy Loves You by Andrew Clements

Dad and the Dinosaur by Gennifer Choldenko 

Dad By My Side by Soosh 

Dad Can do Anything by Martin Thomas 

Daddy Hug by Tim Warnes

Daddy Hugs by Nancy Tafuri 

Daddy Hugs 1-2-3 by Karen Katz

Daddy’s Girl by Helen Foster James

Daddy is a Cozy Hug by Rhonda Gowler Greene

Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments: From Boiling Ice and Exploding Soap to Erupting Volcanoes and Launching Rockets, 30 Inventive Experiments to Excite the Whole Family by Mike Adamick

Days With Dad by Nari Hong

Faster! Faster! by Leslie Patricelli 

God Made Daddy Special by Glenys Nellist 

Hero Dad by Melinda Hardin

Higher! Higher! by Leslie Patricelli 

How to Surprise a Dad by Jean Reagan

If I Didn’t Have You by Alan Katz

I Love Dad by Joanna Walsh & Judi Abbot

I Love Dad With the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

I Love My Daddy by Giles Andreae 

I Love My Daddy Because…by Laurel Porter-Gaylord

I Love Pop!: A Celebration of Dads by Dr. Seuss

I Love You Daddy by Jilliam Harker

I Need All of It by Petra Postert 

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Just Like Daddy by Ovi Nedelcu

Just Me and My Dad by Mercer Mayer 

Lola Loves Stories by Anna McQuinn 

Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects by Mark Frauenfelder

Me and My Dad! by Alison Ritchie 

My Cat Looks Like My Dad by Thao Lam

My Dad and Me by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

My Dad and Me by Tania Cox

My Dad is Amazing! by Sabrina Moyle

My Dad is Big and Strong, Bu/t…A Bedtime Story by Coralie Saudo 

My Father Knows the Names of Things by Jane Yolen

Naptastrophe! by Jarrett J. Krosoczka 

Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too by Anna Dewdney 

Night Job by Karen Hesse

Pet Dad by Elanna Allen

Shopping with Dad by Matt Harvey 

Thank You, God, for Daddy by Amy Parker 

The Berenstain Bears and the Papa’s Day Surprise by Stan and Jan Berenstain

The Night Before Father’s Day by Natasha Wing

The 10 Best Things About My Dad by Christine Loomis

Things To Do With Dad by Sam Zuppardi 

What Dads Can’t Do by Douglas Wood

When Dads Don’t Grow Up by Marjorie Blain Parker 

Why I Love My Daddy by Daniel Howarth

You and Me, Me and You by Miguel Tanco 

Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada by Jimmy Fallon

What is your favorite book about a dad?

Check out even more themed books: