Nonfiction Monday was started by Anastasia Suen and is hosted this week at Ana’s NonFiction Blog.
Eamer, Claire. The World in Your Lunchbox: The Wacky History and Weird Science of Everyday Foods.
How did the food that we eat end up in our country, and how did it end up being considered something that was supposed to be eaten? How is food preserved? This clever book sets out a week of menus, using foods that are particularly appealing to students, and discusses these and other facts about it. The one page spreads present the information in a graphically pleasing way, and move the reader quickly from one topic to the next. This really was one of the most visually appealing books that I have read in a long time, and it is perfect for reluctant readers looking for something quick and fun to look at while providing a ton of information.
The Unusual History series from Capstone Press definitely hits topics that students like to read about. Interestingly, Lexile.com lists these as Illustrated Guides, and describes them as follows: " The IG code is applied to books that consist of independent pieces or sections of text such as in an encyclopedia or glossary. These text pieces could be moved around without affecting the overall linear flow of the book. Usually nonfiction, IG books are often used as a reference resource rather than read in their entirety like a storybook." While this is an apt description of the page layouts, I would say that this makes them much less valuable as a reference book and much more fun for reading through. All are filled with snippets of information about the history and famous people connected to each topic, as well as lots of random, interesting facts. The attractive, graphic style will encourage students to pick these up. Unfortunately, this will be the sort of book that is returned half an hour after it is checked out! At least they will see enough use to justify their $24 price tag
The Lexile Levels on these are slightly lower than the ones the Common Core Standards indicate for middle school (about 840 instead of in the 955-1155 range), but these books will definitely gets readers to pick up nonfiction!