Sunday, May 24, 2009
Some kids are naturally drawn to non-fiction picture books. When my oldest son was in pre-school, he would always head to the non-fiction section of the library to pick out a book about his latest fascination. Whether it was heavy equipment, dinosaurs or sea turtles, he just wanted to know more about the world we live in.
There are children's book authors who specialize in writing only non-fiction, and Brenda Guiberson falls into this category. Guiberson has authored 20 non-fiction picture books for young children. She is also an illustrator. Last spring, I had the privilege of taking a course on writing children's literature from her. She was an inspiring teacher, and her overall curiosity about the world is evident in her books.
Many of Guiberson's books focus on the natural world. Her newest book, Ice Bears, depicts a year in the life of a female polar bear and her two cubs in the Arctic. The text is readable and very informative. Interesting facts abound. For instance, did you know that cubs are "born deaf, blind and almost hairless?" They are utterly dependent upon their mothers for their survival. The book ends with a warning about the effects of global warming on polar bears, which arouse the reader's sympathies.
In Rain, Rain, Rain Forest, you are whisked to a tropical rain forest to meet the different creatures that live there. Clever word use immerses the reader into the rain forest atmosphere. Kids will enjoy learning about the capuchin monkey, the sloth, and even the scissor-jawed ant. Guiberson shows how they search for food, protect their young and fend off enemies. The collage illustrations by Steve Jenkins enhance the lush, green habitats of the animals.
Here's a complete list of Brenda Guiberson's books:
Mud City: A Flamingo Story
Rain, Rain, Rain Forest
The Emperor Lays an Egg
Tales of the Haunted Deep
Exotic Species: Invaders in Paradise
Mummy Mysteries: Tales from North America
Teddy Roosevelt's Elk
Into the Sea Lighthouses: Watchers at Sea
Spotted Owl: Bird of the Ancient Forest
BookNosher Activities: On Brenda Guiberson's website, there is a page that features activities for some of her books. These activities enhance the book and offer the child a more hand's on learning experience. Both parents and teachers will find much to offer here.