Monday, March 02, 2015

MMGM- Nonfiction Picture Books

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. Nonfiction Monday also occurs today.

22504704Meltzer, Brad. I Am Jackie Robinson
January 8th 2015 by Dial
Copy received from Penguin Young Readers

This fifth book in the Ordinary People Change the World series is a good overview of the life of Jackie Robinson, with more text than one might imagine. (Other books in the series have an Accelerated Reader reading level of 3-3.5, and are worth half a point.) It covered the challenges he faced because of prejudice in a way that younger students can understand, and showed how Robinson helped pave the way for baseball teams to be integrated. The amount of text and placement of the pictures is just right for my struggling readers-- I've been showing a lot of pages of books to students to gauge what catches their eyes, and I think this will engage them. I wasn't thrilled with the characters on the margins opining about what the "b" on Jackie's hat stood for, or the fact that the cartoon version of the child Jackie appears even in the scenes where he is an adult, but I don't think students will care. I may have to investigate the rest of the series. The pictures in this are better than the ones in the Scholastic series of biographies, and there is less information, which will appeal to some students.

23080097Paul, Miranda. One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia
February 1st 2015 by Millbrook Press

In the 1990s, plastic bag pollution was causing many problems in Isatou Ceesay's village-- goats would eat them and die, they would collect water and breed mosquitoes, and the bags would let off toxic chemicals when they burned. Ceesay could see that the bags had their uses, but since there was no good place to discard them, she started collecting the bags, washing them, and crocheting strips of the bags into purses. She sold these in the market and started a small business.

This is a great book to teach children to be more globally and ecologically aware!

I loathe plastic bags and never take them at the store. Whenever I go shopping, I carry my own bag, and have a large collection of cloth bags useful for any number of purposes.  In this country, I think that the plastic bags that bread comes in are a bigger threat, because they are harder to recycle. Back in 1989, I attempted to crochet with those, but since I can't crochet very well, I didn't get very far! My only quibble is the timeline in the back of the book that says that plastic bags became a problem in Gambia in the 1970s. I don't know anything about the introduction of plastic bags in Africa, but they weren't used widely in the US until the 1990s. I will assume that Ms. Paul did her research, but it struck me as odd.


  1. I don't know that Ordinary People Change the World Series but I want to look into it, as our 2nd graders do a whole change makers unit all year long. I loved One Plastic Bag and can't wait to share it with our science dept.
    Happy Monday! Jody

  2. I love to read your reviews because you look at books through the same kind of lens as I do (duh, we are both TL's) So if you think a book is worthwhile, I take your word for it. I have put I Am Jackie Robinson into my shopping cart. I already had One Plastic Bag. It seems to me that in the 1970's we were still using paper bags weren't we? It was a long time ago!.

  3. Picture books this week. That's a bit of a departure, but I do love picture books. I will definitely check these out. One Plastic Bag is getting a lot of press. I hadn't seen I Am Jackie Robinson and am a big baseball fan. Thanks for the post.

  4. One Plastic Bag sounds really timely. I will definitely be checking it out, just to find out how she crocheted those bags. I'm not much of a baseball fan, but Jackie Robinson's story is intriguing. Thanks for featuring these!

  5. Thanks for sharing these great books. I am very excited about One Plastic Bag - a perfect book for teaching ecological awareness. Ordinary People series is also new to me - but looks like a great series for our library. Thank you!

  6. Good to read your quibble about One Plastic Bag - I think it's very important to be extremely mindful of these facts and figures as they do add authenticity to the narrative. I am looking forward to reading it and finding it as I believe it is a good addition to the text-set I have in my higher degree multicultural children's literature class.