Now Read This! Discovering Nonfiction
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Preschoolers enjoy asking questions, especially “Why?” These interesting and fun books are a great way to answer children’s questions and bring up new ones.
Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People,
by Monica Brown. Illus. by Julie Paschkis. 2011. Henry Holt.
This short biography tells about the early life of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Julie Paschkis uses bright, South American-inspired paintings to weave together English and Spanish text in her illustrations. Like Neruda’s poetry, the text and many of the illustrations are inspired by nature. In the author’s note, Monica Brown provides information teachers can use to bring Pablo Neruda and his poetry to life. This book can also inspire children to learn about Chile and Chilean culture.
Where Does Pepper Come From? And Other Fun Facts,
by Brigitte Raab. Illus. by Manuela Olten. 2006. North- South Books.
The book presents readers with a number of questions, such as Why do snails carry their houses on their backs? After each question, a character gives a silly answer. Readers learn the true answer to the question on the next page. Teachers can invite children to guess the answers before they are revealed.
All in a Rainforest Day,
by Ellen B. Senisi. Photos by Thomas Marent. 2014. EdTechLens.
In All in a Rainforest Day, engaging photographs capture the colors and beauty of the rainforest. Children learn about the kinds of animals that come out during the day, the animals that come out at night, and how these creatures live in the unique rainforest climate. Readers also follow animals as they wake up, explore, experience a rain shower, and get ready for sleep.
Lots of Spots,
by Lois Ehlert. 2010. Beach Lane Books.
This short collection of poems offers information about animals and camouflage. Children learn about the different animals that have spots and stripes and why these features are important. The author’s note shares even more information about the how and why of animal spots and stripes.
After reading these books
Any of these books might spark or respond to children’s interest in a certain topic. Invite them to explore their interests through a research project. Work with a small group of interested children to find information online, locate books on the subject, and print pictures that offer visual information. Invite the children to share what they learn with their classmates and families through writing a book, creating a blog post, or making a classroom display.
After reading Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People, create poetry templates like those used in the TYC article “Writing Poetry With Preschoolers,” by Pamela Hobart Carter, to work with children to help them write their own poetry. The article can be found at www.naeyc.org/tyc/article/poetry_with_ preschoolers.
Ask the children, “What questions do you have about the world around you?” Record their questions on chart paper, then invite them to tell the group what they think might be the answer. Teachers and children can work together to find an answer to the question. Post the chart paper where children can revisit their questions, possible answers, and researched answers.