Monday, April 02, 2012

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday was started by Anastasia Suen and is hosted today at Rasco from RIF. Please read the sad news that RIF's government funding has been cut. I never benefitted personally from RIF's books for children, but it makes me sad that we can afford to fund the military but not education for impoverished children.

Nonfiction Monday will be hosted here on 14 May 2012!

Latham, Donna. Garbage: Investigate What Happens When You Throw It Out.
This is part of the Build It Yourself Series from Nomad Press. This book is an overview of how garbage is produced and dealt with through history and today. Each chapter discusses different aspects of garbage, gives explanations of vocabulary and unknown concepts, and concludes with an experiment, activity or craft project. Cartoon illustrations accompany this information, and there is a complete glossary, index and bibliography at the end.
Strengths: This would be great for a teacher to have as a resource in a classroom. I can see it being helpful for coordinating lessons with the curriculum. (And I REALLY want the one in this series where you can learn how to make your own trebuchet! My students think this would be dangerous.)
Weaknesses: I have deaccessioned several books that look very much like this from my library and am extremely leery of things illustrated solely by cartoons and anything that deals with science fair projects. It always seems like students would check them out, but they just don't.

(And on the weeding front, I finally deaccessioned my Mr. Wizard book from about 1962 after flipping it open and reading that "Mr. Wizard has been on television for the past eight years". Sadly, Don Herbert passed away in 2007. I gave the book to a science teacher who was very happy to have it!)

Szpirglas, Jeff. You Just Can't Help It!: Your Guide to the Wild and Wacky World of Human Behavior.
This book covers several topics of human behavior, including senses, emotions, communications and interactions. Each is described briefly, and short paragraphs with illustrations are arranged on the pages and don't need to be read linearly. Each chapter also includes the description of a scientific study that was done on the topic and discusses what the outcomes have to say about human behavior. There is an index, but no glossary of bibliography.
Strengths: This brightly colored collection of snippets of information is one that would be easy for students to skim, and there is a lot of good information in the book. High "gross" factor isalways good.
Weaknesses: The clip art/illustration mix looks rather 1990s to me, but students might not see that.


  1. I am worried about what kind of activities regarding garbage there are from people who will teach you to build a trebuchet. ;)

  2. Hi Ms Yingling, I always love how you share both your perceived strengths and weaknesses of the books that you share. Like you, I also am a little cautious about borrowing nonfiction books illustrated exclusively in cartoons. Thank you for highlighting these two new books.

  3. I agree with you. Even the cover looks dated. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thanks for letting me know about Nonfiction Monday! What a fantastic resource.

    Garbage seems like a book that I would use a selection from for our Article of the Week, then give the full book to those who are interested.

    I'm really excited to have a whole bunch of nonfiction links to check out!