Stack Overflow: Fascinating Non Fiction (Mostly)

Books Columns Reviews Stack Overflow

There is such an engaging array of possibilities when we talk children’s nonfiction, you get to make any kind of topic interesting, even chickens!

The next line up is organized from easiest to most complex:

A Pair of Pears and an Orange by Anna McGregor (Author & illustrator)

I recently reviewed Anna’s first book, a funny take on an anemone afraid of never getting any friends.

Continuing on this theme of friendship, here we have two friendly pears playing together… because they make a cute pair! (Sorry, couldn’t help myself).

A pair of pears rocked on a seesaw.

A pair of pears played ping-pong.

A pair of pears rode their tandem bike.

Until one day, someone new wanted to join their fun.

Big Pear and Little Pear love playing together. Soon, Orange joins in, and as their games stop working as they used to, Big Pear feels left out.

When Big Pear goes away, he finds three peas that play great games. Even though she joins in on the fun, she fails to notice some of the discomfort her big clumsy shape does to the game.

Of course, this is all about playing games, belonging and finding new ways of interacting… as children finally star school after a two-year hiatus, this feels right on time for toddlers and kindergarteners.

A Pair of Pears and an Orange is on sale since October 5, 2021.

Publisher: Scribble Us
Pages: 32
Type: Hardcover
EAN/UPC: 9781950354702

Up next, we can start with the nonfiction category. I’ve been taking some instruction on the subject for library work. Usually, in Latin America, nonfiction is not included in reading lists (can you believe it?), therefore, there is a lot of talk about reluctant readers.

It may be true there are kids out there who find novels boring, or that struggle with narrative. However, there are very few kids not interested in anything, they just haven’t found the right book for them, yet!

Inside Animals by Barbara Taylor (Author) Illustrator: Margaux Carpentier

Organs and senses in the animal kingdom are hidden from us by their skin, and perhaps they hide many secrets as how animals breathe, fly, sting or move.

In this book, there are 21 cross-sections that show how skeletons, organs, nerves, and muscles fit together inside creatures from across the globe.

Each creature, be it an insect, a camel, or a shark, has its own unique body to help it survive and thrive in its habitat. Some you may have guessed already, like the octopuses’ ink sack, other are more mesmerizing, like the scorpion’s ability to glow in the dark.

The information in this book work as a classic spread, one animal displayed on each double page, where you can pore over and see all the details and read about them.

The spotlight sections throughout are packed full of absorbing details about skeletons, organs, muscles and more. This book explains a lot, and does so in surprisingly economical ways: each tid-bit is illustrated, and the illustrations mover between infographics and colorful shapes.

You will be able to peer inside: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects.

Inside Animals is on sale since August 3, 2021.

Publisher: Wide-Eyed Editions
Format: Hardback, 64 Pages
ISBN: 9780711255067
Size: 9.291 in x 11.929 in / 236 mm x 303 mm
Published: August 3, 2021

Up next comes a surprising one, that my kid specifically chose first, because anything with Titanic on the cover does that to young readers. It is a fascinating topic, a huge, unsinkable ship that sunk in the Atlantic sea.

Rescuing Titanic. A true story of quiet bravery in the North Atlantic by Flora Delargy (Author & Illustrator)

The Titanic here features largely as the reason why the Carpathia chose to drop everything and run to its rescue. It is a fascinating account of the organization, sheer luck and determination that the rescuers encountered when rescuing the survivors in the middle of the night, passing treacherous lumps of ice, in total darkness.

The author, Northern Irish artist, Flora Delargy, had both her grandfather and great grandfather working in the Belfast Shipyards where the Titanic was built.

The book is cleverly organized with images of ticking clocks, so you know what was happening on each of the ships at the same time. When the Carpathia received a distress call from the sinking Titanic, the ship immediately changed course.

Morse code, navigation tools, the different roles of the crew, how the ships found each other and each minute counting as precious, this is an adventure, an emotional appeal to the power of compassion. Because of the actions this one ship, 705 persons were able to survive.

This is a new take on known stories, part of the Hidden Histories series, which explores the untold parts of stories we thought we knew. For those teachers and at home school parents searching for a new angle about the Titanic, there is a lesson plan available here.

Rescuing Titanic is on sale since September 7, 2021.

Publisher: Wide-Eyed Editions
Format: Hardback, 80 Pages
ISBN: 9780711262782
Illustrations: color illustrations
Published: September 7, 2021

Now let’s talk chicken. I wanted very much to take a look at this title, art teachers where raving about it and now I know why:

Chickenology: The Ultimate Encyclopedia by Barbara Sandri (Author) Francesco Giubbilini (Author) Camilla Pintonato (Illustrator)

This book has won the 2021 Premier Anderson Award winner, Best Nonfiction category, because it is an ode to the real fluffy fondness human have for this farm animal.

First, the information is very well laid out (again, sorry for these puns!) Chickens are interesting because they are close to us, and many of the observations drawn and displayed here spark from that same interest. If you have noticed something or wondered about a specific thing on chickens lives, it is very possible that the explanation for it is covered in this book!

From the egg first or chicken first debate, to feathers, to how they clean themselves, to different breeds… the information is engaging, thoughtful and beautifully illustrated.

It is one of those rare books where the grandmother or parent reading it out loud to its young reader will say: “Wow! I didn’t know that there are black chickens who have black bones and black internal organs”, or “I wasn’t aware how big the biggest breed can be! Or that the chickens can count and murmur soothing sounds very much like cats purring!”.

This beautiful book is illustrated and interesting from cover to cover.

Chickenology: The Ultimate Encyclopedia is on sale since February 02, 2021.

Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Publish Date: February 02, 2021
Pages: 80
Type: Hardcover
EAN/UPC: 9781616899080

After the success of this first book, next in the series come pigs:

Pigology: The Ultimate Encyclopedia by Daisy Bird (Author) Camilla Pintonato (Illustrator)

Following on the success of the title mentioned above, the editors decided to take a look into another farm animal: the pig.

This one feels different because, I think, the first one sprung up from the love the writer felt for her own chickens. It was written from that place, so it was a labor of love. This one is more matter of fact and has tons of digestible information for you to peruse, but it is not as charming.

For sure, if what you’re looking for is a good book on how pigs behave and breed it is interesting, in a more generic kind of way. There are still a lot of fun facts about pig life in it, because they are very clever creatures.

Pigology: The Ultimate Encyclopedia is on sale since October 26, 2021.

Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Publish Date: February 02, 2021
Pages: 80
Type: Hardcover
EAN/UPC: 9781616899080

Lastly, here it is the most complex of all the nonfiction of this column, regarding plants and the necessary and wonderful part they have in all of Earth life:

When Plants Took Over the Planet. The Amazing Story of Plant Evolution by Author: Chris Thorogood. Illustrated by: Amy Grimes

This book was written by a true botanist: Dr. Chris Thorogood has been fascinated by plants for a long as he can remember, having spent much of his childhood growing bizarre and unusual plants including carnivores and parasites. He is now Head of Science & Public Engagement at Oxford University Botanic Garden, England.

Since he is a doctor in botanist science, do not expect an overly simplified version of a book. I would say it is ideal for avid readers who know some science and are familiar with classification. Otherwise you’d be lost, because the amount of information inside these sixty-four pages is immense: from the key aspects of the life of plants, to the history of early ferns (munched by dinosaurs) to carnivorous plants (that snap and ‘attack’) their prey, they are classified by evolutionary characteristics.

Because plants began with just algae and sprouted to ferns, to deciduous plants that flower, fruit and bear seeds, propagating with pollination. It was a long journey and many fossil plants are still around us today!

This book, alongside The Book of Amazing Trees, are both great for the seriously interested botanists out there. If your kid is going for a Scouts Plant Science Merit Badge, for example, they are a great source of information!

This book is the latest in the Incredible Evolution series.

When Plants Took Over the Planet is on sale since September 7, 2021.

Publisher: QED Publishing
Format: Hardback, 64 Pages
ISBN: 9780711261266
Published: September 7, 2021

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