Ten Favorite Nonfiction Read Alouds from 18-19

This started out as a Top 5 list but quickly spiraled into separate Top 10 Fiction and Nonfiction lists.  It was just too hard picking favorites!  In no specific order except for how easily I could find the pictures on my phone, here are my top 10 favorite nonfiction read alouds from this year.
Looking for new favorite picture book read alouds? Don't forget to include nonfiction books, too! Take a look a 10 favorite nonfiction picture book picks from our classroom book a day reads.
This post contains affiliate links which means Amazon tosses me some change whenever someone makes a purchase through one of these links and allows me feed my book habit!

Mary Wears What She Wants

Mary Wears What She Wants by Keith Negley is one of my favorite books. I put it on the nonfiction list, but it's really half fiction and half nonfiction.  The story is inspired by the childhood of Mary Edwards Walker, a 19th century doctor arrested many times for wearing pants.
This is a perfect opportunity to refer to these free printable posters from Elise Gravel. (I usually introduce them the first time I hear something referred to as girl things/boy things or pink is for girls.)
 
 Click on the images to visit her site and download the posters.

The Youngest Marcher

The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Fay Hendricks, a Youngest Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson shares the true story of a brave 9 year old girl in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963. She volunteers to participate in a children's march that ends with her spending a week in jail.  This story is simply but powerfully told and a perfect beginning for introducing activism to younger students.

What if You Had Animal Teeth?

The What if You Had series by Sandra Markle is a favorite of students.  The series walks through different animal topics teeth, hair, noses, feet, and ears with one of kids' favorite questions, "What if . . .?" Students will love the facts about animals as well as the hysterical reality of what life would be if we had the same features.

Brave Girl

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel tells the true story of a Ukranian immigrant who believed everyone deserves a fair chance. As one of the factory workers in an overwhelmingly young, female work force, she led the largest walkout of female laborers ever seen in the United States.

The Girl with a Mind for Math

The Girl with a Mind for Math: The Story of Ray Montague by Julia Finley Mosca shares the life of a engineering pioneer. Inspired by a visit to a submarine when she was a child, young Raye Montague dreams of becoming an engineer. Despite facing nearly insurmountable barriers from racism and sexism, she succeeds in her field. After being given a 6 month deadline to complete a project that usually took two years by a racist supervisor hoping to fire her, Montague completes the design in less than 19 hours. For older students, pair the text with a news article about her life and death like this one.

Creature Features

In Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do, Steve Jenkins writes about animals' odd features in a fun letter/question/answer format. Kids will love the close up illustrations from Robin Page and learning the answer to questions like: "Dear Egyptian vulture: Why no feathers on your face?"

(FYI-It's because they chow down on dead animals and feathers would get pretty messy.)

Planting Seeds

Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise is a beautiful story of the woman who would one day have an ALA award named after her. After moving from Puerto Rico to New York City, she gets a job at the library and realizes all the stories she grew up with are missing from the shelves, so she works to change that.  In 1996, ALA established an award in her honor for children's authors and illustrators celebrating Latinx culture.
I put together a basket of Pura Belpré award winning and honor books for students to browse after reading this, and they loved it.  You can see a list of winners and honorees here.

Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years

Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years is the first in the Our Universe series by Stacy McAnulty.  Sun! One in a Billion and Moon! Earth's Best Friend are just as wonderfully written. Students will love the fact filled book written as well as the fun, first person point of view, "Hi! My name is Earth. Some people call me the blue marble, the world, or the third planet from the sun. You can call me Planet Awesome."

Separate is Never Equal

Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family's Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh is a 2015 Pura Belpré honor book telling the story of a family fighting to end school segregation in California. Sylvia was denied entry to a "whites only" school, and her family organized with other families and organizations to fight for integrated schools eventually filing and winning a lawsuit in federal court.  Their success helped to bring an end to segregated schools in California.

Game Changers

Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Lisa Cline-Ransome is a story of two legendary athletes, the burden of racism and poverty, and family. From their dedication (getting up six days a week before sunrise!) to the challenges of racism they face in a nearly all-white sport, students will love the story of two girls who did not stop.  And I dare you not to tear up when you read about how Venus responded to Serena's first win.

Happy reading!



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