Category Archives: #nf10for10

Building Baby’s Library: Part 3

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I’ve begun building a library for grandchildren. What a joy it is to peruse the shelves of books aimed at babies and toddlers! It’s been a long time since I spent time in that part of the bookstore and there are so many new treasures there. But, I am drawn to titles that my #nf10for10 community members have curated over the past five years. Their expertise is not to be ignored! So, without further ado, here is my 2018 list–a mix of all-star non-fiction titles and a few new ones to round the list out.


Award-winning artist Sylvia Long has teamed with up-and-coming author Dianna Aston to create this gorgeous and informative introduction to eggs. From tiny hummingbird eggs to giant ostrich eggs, oval ladybug eggs to tubular dogfish eggs, gooey frog eggs to fossilized dinosaur eggs, it magnificently captures the incredible variety of eggs and celebrates their beauty and wonder.The evocative text is sure to inspire lively questions and observations. Yet while poetic in voice and elegant in design, the book introduces children to more than 60 types of eggs and an interesting array of egg facts. Even the endpapers brim with information. A tender and fascinating guide that is equally at home being read to a child on a parent’s lap as in a classroom reading circle.

The biggest snake, the anaconda, can swallow a deer or goat whole. The smallest mammal, the Etruscan shrew, could easily sleep in a teaspoon. In a striking full-color collage, each spread of Biggest, Strongest, Fastest portrays an animal that stands out in the animal world as the largest, slowest, longest lived. Readers can see the animal’s size in relation to something familiar, and a chart on the last page indicates the size, weight, and diet of each animal, as well as where it can be found in the wild. Biggest, Strongest, Fastest is an entertaining, informative introduction to the world records” held by fourteen members of the animal kingdom. “

We can be sure of this: It’s a circle without end. It’s pumpkin seeds to pumpkins to pumpkin seeds again! This treat of a picture book comes cloaked in the colors of fall. Bouncy verse and glowing photographs show a backyard pumpkin patch move through its natural cycle — a bug’s eye and a bird’s high view of seeds sprouting, flowers blooming, bees buzzing, pumpkins growing . . .and then going back to earth.

The clouds drift across the bright blue sky–all except one. Little Cloud trails behind. He is busy changing shapes to become a fluffy sheep, a zooming airplane, and even a clown with a funny hat. Eric Carle’s trademark collages will make every reader want to run outside and discover their very own little cloud.

Over the snow, the world is hushed and white.

But under the snow is a secret world of squirrels and snowshoe hares, bears and bullfrogs, and many other animals who live through the winter, safe and warm.

OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW takes readers on a cross country ski trip through the winter woods to discover the secret world of animals living under the snow.

How do snow crystals form? What shapes can they take? Are no two snow crystals alike? These questions and more are answered inside this exploration of the science of snow, featuring photos of real snow crystals in all their beautiful diversity. Perfect for reading on winter days, this book by a nature photographer and a snow scientist will inspire wonder and curiosity about the marvels of snow. Snowflake-catching instructions are also included for aspiring young snow scientists!

Wonderful Worms encourages an appreciation for the small creatures of the earth by explaining the vital role that earthworms play in the planet’s ecosystem. The book also contains informative charts and cross-section illustrations of the worm’s underground environment.


Now babies can learn all about the things that go in a book that’s indestructible. With call-out identifications on each spread, Things That Go! is a vibrant introduction to those irresistible vehicles that fly, drive, sail, dig, lift, dump, and more.

Apparently, this book is 100 percent baby-proof, chew-proof, rip-proof, and drool-proof, which sounds amazing. Indestrucibles are not new, new, but they are certainly new for me!

Look for Momo hiding on a farm, in a bookstore, at a construction site, and in other unlikely locations (the photos are also loaded with other hidden objects for kids and parents to find together). Perfect for bedtime reading, car trips, playtime, or anytime, Let’s Find Momo is part art book, part puzzle book, and all fun!

BORDER COLLIES! Whether the dog’s name is Momo or Satchmo, we love border collies. Here is our Satchmo looking as intense as only a border collie can.

Finally, LOVE.

Love is an abstract idea and artists of all ilks attempt to capture its essence. I needed to include this book because love is not fiction, is it?

Here Matt de La Pena and Loren Long illustrate love for us in ways that are deeply satisfying and terrifying. They recognize the complexity of love and its ability to sustain us in spite of its intangibility and its guises.

This book will always come at the right time for us as we work to understand ourselves and others in our lives.


In this heartfelt celebration of love, Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña and bestselling illustrator Loren Long depict the many ways we experience this universal bond, which carries us from the day we are born throughout the years of our childhood and beyond. With a lyrical text that’s soothing and inspiring, this tender tale is a needed comfort and a new classic that will resonate with readers of every age.

Posts in this series.

Building Baby’s Library 

Building Baby’s Library: Some old. Some new. Some Tried and true.


#PB10for10 Information

by Cathy Mere

Here’s how you can participate:

  1. Grab a Badge (just copy the URL address of the one above or take a screenshot)
  2. Join the #pb10for10 Google Community
  3. Choose Your Favorites:  All you need to do is choose ten picture books you cannot live without for whatever reason.  In the first days of this event, everyone shared their ten very favorite titles.  This still works.  You will notice, however, that many past participants choose some type of theme to determine their selections.  We’ll leave this up to you.
  4. Narrow Your List to Ten:  It isn’t easy, is it?  We’ve seen some crafty ways to get around that number.
  5. Write Your August 10th Post:  Write a post about the ten books you cannot live without.  Share your post on August 10th and link it to the Picture Book 10 for 10 Community.
  6. No Blog?  No Problem:  If you don’t have a blog, this might be the perfect time to start one — or there are a million digital ways to join (see post below).  Of course, now with the Google Community it is quite easy to just post your favorites directly into the community without a blog.  We will also be tweeting from the #pb10for10 hashtag.
  7. Comment:  On August 10th (and maybe for a week — there are a lot of posts) take some time to read posts from other participants.  Please comment on at least three.


Pull out your library cards, load up your Amazon accounts, or better yet – plan a trip to your local bookstore on August 11th because you’re going to be unable to resist checking out (or purchasing) a few new picture books.  We hope to see you on the 10th!

A Few Historical and Informational Posts:



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Building Baby’s Library


Typically the lead up to the #nf10for10 book event is filled with lots of hemming and hawing by participants as they think out loud (on Twitter) about what titles they should include. A lot of the banter surrounds how more titles than the 10 allowed can actually make people’s lists. And, of course, there’s the age-old dilemma–To buy or not to buy?


Well this year, I am super motivated to buy books…especially picture books!


Without hesitation, Mandy was on the case. (And my profile pic had not yet changed to include baby!)


Indeed, I do have a someone special and small in my life. My first grandchild was born on January 29, 2017, and she has been born into a family of readers! That she would receive many, many books from me was never at issue. BUT having an event like #nf10for10 (and then #pb10for10) to focus my thinking about what to get her when is terrific. So without further delay, let’s begin to build a library for baby!

The foundation of a baby’s library has to be the board book. Here are 10 (plus).


Rule #1 in choosing children’s books is knowing the illustrator as well as the author. In Hello Baby! two perennial favourites collaborate to hook young readers (and their parents) into falling in love with text. If baby loves this book, more Steve Jenkins and Mem Fox will be heading her way!


Rule #2. Include the dads. Find a book that dads will love reading to baby. I’m betting my son will return to this book often as it captures the hard work and pride that he values so much.


With dancers on both sides of her family, there is no side-stepping this topic. Mommy and aunties are sure to gravitate to this book and to read it to baby with passion. That’s key, isn’t it? That the parents and relatives of baby will read to her. That they will sow that seed. Baby’s library has something for everyone!


A police car, pickup truck, sports car, and monster truck clang and bang and screech and vroom! This is a book that demands interactivity. It’s the best kind of read aloud because the reader can offer up his or her own interpretation of the mechanical cacophony presented on the page. This is a lively and fun book!


As the days and weeks and months go by, baby will be ready to name things. Colours are a great place to start because they’re everywhere! I absolutely love the illustrations and the point of view in this book. I always knew crayons were alive!



And she will begin to count.

1 is One is classic Tasha Tudor. The illustrations are of days gone by ~ bonneted girls and a boy writing on a slate; simple, natural settings with some of a whimsical nature (I especially enjoyed the “12 baby birds learning how to sing”). In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, the text teaches the numbers 1 through 20 in a rhythmical way. A joy for adult and child alike!


Oh my gosh! It’s Canada’s 150 birthday this year. What an awesome year to be born in! What better way to connect than with a gorgeously illustrated book all about Canada. This book has legs….in the pre-reading years, it offers wonderfully drawn images of Canada’s iconic symbols, souvenirs and events, including the Dogsled, Inuksuk, Loonie, Totem Pole and the Zamboni machine. And as baby gets older, there is depth to the content of the book like information about the provincial flags. Lots of learning to be had here!


There is no way I could build baby’s library and not include something from Eric Carle. This classic is designed to help toddlers associate colors and meanings to objects. The book contains all the wonderful and simple illustrations that Eric Carle is famous for. And its repetitive story of all the animals that are found, keeps everyone engaged, reading along, and chanting until…SURPRISE!


Ok. I cheated. I know. But I wanted to include the idea of the series in the foundation of baby’s library. I want to entice my new reader to books not just for information and not just for the illustrations. I want her to notice what authors do when they write/illustrate/create their books. And that knowledge only comes about with some deep diving into multiple texts by the same author.

What is #nf10for10 anyway?

In 2010 Mandy Robek and Cathy Mere began hosting a picture book event that celebrates participants’ most cherished picture books.  I joined the conversation in 2012 and had so much fun that I wondered out loud if a nonfiction picture book event would meet with similar success. Never one to shy away from a conversation on books, Mandy and Cathy replied with a resounding “YES!”

And #nf10for10 has been a huge success, with folks posting 10 books on dinosaurs, or 10 books on the wonder of women, or 10 books for girl readers, or 10 books on architecture and building, or …

Here are the details:

  • What: 10 nonfiction picture books you can’t live without.
  • Hashtag:  #nf10for10
  • Who:  Anyone interested — educators, media specialists, librarians, parents, and book lovers.
  • When:  Friday, February 10th
  • Where:  All posts will be linked on the 2017 #nf10for10 page of the Picture Book 10 for 10 Google Community Site.


Filed under #nf10for10

#nf10for10 “Home”

I love this event because as a high school English teacher I work with many students who have keen interests, but low reading ability. I’m always on the look out for great non-fiction texts that fit the desire and the learning, and #nf10for10 definitely inspires me!

This year I want to focus on the ideas of belonging, care, change, and voice. While our young teens are trying to find themselves, they’re also trying to make sense of the world they find themselves in.


When readers explore the world of non-fiction texts, their world can change. Passions are born, discoveries are made, seeds are planted. These texts connect readers to their local place and to the world at large helping them realize how much we all have in common. But to grab our young readers’ attention, the texts must be compelling. I think I have found a stack of non-fiction picture books that fit the bill exactly!

But first, let’s remember where we’re all from, and why together we need to work to protect it and all of its inhabitants.

1. “If the World Were a Village tells us who we are, where we live, how fast we are growing, what languages we speak, what religions we practice and more.”

This is a book that puts into perspective some of the harsh realities of our world that we might not otherwise understand. Of the 100 people who live in the village

30 people in the village do not have a reliable source of food and are hungry some or all of the time

14 people are severely undernourished and are always hungry.

These are numbers we can all relate to, which allows us to have concrete conversations about those very issues that seem beyond us. This book gives us a place to begin to build understanding, tolerance, and empathy.

2. And yet, we know that in this ever-shrinking world, “we can no longer dismiss conflicts on other continents and in other hemispheres as being ‘way over there.’ Whether through family, business, war, or other factors, we are all touched by them.” (Why Do We Fight?)

 This is a fantastic primer (not really a picture book, but graphic) on the issues surrounding conflicts like ‘Why do Conflicts Come Up?’, ‘Cooperation or Combat?’, and ‘Making Sense of Conflicts’.  And scattered throughout the text are inspirational quotes like this one

You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist. —Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India (1917-1984)

Beyond it’s tremendous content, the book offers all of the text features we are looking for when students need to conduct research:

  • Introduction
  • Chapters
  • Conclusion
  • Sources
  • Index
  • Maps and timelines

3. And conflict leads to altered lives. Children’s lives around the world can be different in many respects, but one thing should hold true: Play is the work of children. Yet some kids don’t have time for play; their responsibilities to the family or their work leave few opportunities for fun-filled times.

It’s for them, the world’s most disadvantaged children, that Right to Play was started. For over a decade now, this humanitarian organization has been helping to bring laughter and smiles to children all around the world. It uses sports and play to educate, to improve health, and build confident youth who want to give back to their communities.

This is what we want for all of our young people. This book does relate the stories of those impacted directly by the organization, but it goes beyond providing information (although it does that well). The book is a also a call to action!

Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.  —-Margaret Mead, anthropologist and author.

4. Which is a terrific segue to my next pick! There are many ways to make a difference in our lives, schools, communities, and world. This handbook covers issues from your carbon footprint to ethical food shopping to eco fashion. It’s a bright, well-laid out highly visual text. It’s upbeat, positive, and fun!  Like Why do we fight? and When Children Play, Making a Difference offers up suggestions of how the reader can answer the call.

This text is also appropriate for learning about text features and the research process.

5. What’s a cause without a hero! Well Heroes of the Environment is a book about 12 regular folks across North America who do remarkable things to help our environment.

They build farms in the middle of cities. They invent toilet systems that clean flush water with plants. They protect wild habitats or reindeer, sea turtles, alligators, and people. The book offers the reader an annotated map of North America, photographs and illustrations that do a good job of supporting the narratives. Each of the 12 chapters can be read on their own, which is exactly how my students use the book. They gravitate to Chapter 11, “Saving the Porcupine River Caribou”, because its hero is First Nations! We are always excited to find positive stories about indigenous peoples.

6.  Those heroes of the environment are inspiring, but what about the kids?

Down to Earth: How kids help feed the world isn’t so much about changing the world as it is about understanding how it works. This is our home, and kids need to know where their food comes from. The book is chock full of fun farm facts and beautiful photographs of the animals, gardens, farms, and kid farmers. But it’s not all fun and games. Food is a political issue. As If the World were a Village taught us, not everyone gets equal share of the world’s resources.

7. Once our students become passionate about their cause, Political Activism: How you can make a difference, might find its way to the top of their TBR list.

Don’t let the seriousness of the title scare you off! This book is about pre-teens and teens, and it is accessible for grade 4 and up. It’s value is that it explains the process of going from learning about an issue to taking action.

  • Chapter 1: Driven to make a difference
  • Chapter 2: What’s the problem?
  • Chapter 3: Get the facts
  • Chapter 4: Plan of action
  • Chapter 5: Take the action

It also has relevant resources for further research.

8. and 9. Bicycles.

These two books take us in a different direction when we think about making a change. Sometimes our young readers think that change is a sudden, immediate happening. These two books look at a favourite past time of many readers through the lens of change. Pedal It! is a beautifully photographed history of the impact that bicycles have had and continue to have in the world. It is a very accessible text, loaded with sidebars, pullout quotes, and historical images.

The Wheels of Change is also an historical text illustrating how bicycles helped change the lives of women.

With an astonishing number of primary source research gems, a lively narrative, and a keen sense of history. Sue Macy will guide you through the evolution of the bicycle, its surprising impact on women’s place in society, and some ill-fated bumps along the way. So, hold on to your handlebars!     Wheels of Change cover

If you have girls who want to learn about women’s history, this is a dynamite book!

If you are teaching critical literacy, this is a dynamite book!

If you are teaching biography writing, this is a dynamite book!

10. For those of you who know me, you know that I work in a First Nations high school. In Canada, right now, there is (finally) a move by the Canadian government and its people towards reconciling the past harms done to First Nations people. There is much work to be done. And one of the first things that we need to begin to do from our hearts and souls is to listen. I think this is true of any society on the journey towards true inclusion. This is change too. And it’s all around us, isn’t it? My collection of books is about how each one of our readers can make a difference in the world by taking care of our home and each other.

The writers and artists in Dreaming in Indian made it home, to ourselves, to our medicines, to our beliefs, to our stories, to our art, and to our music, and we did so with extraordinary alacrity, strength, resilience, and awesome talent. We braided the art of the external to our won. We dug inside the depths of our rage until peace, love, and  struggle were born. We scraped together our music, scrabbled for language that would express our deepest sentiments, our strongest desires, and we expressed them.    Lee Maracle, editor

Dreaming In Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices 

That’s it! 10 titles to frame conversations about how we are in this world together! Have a great day of reading everyone!

Thanks, as always, to Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek for their dedication to literacy for all!


February 19, 2016 · 6:18 am

Nonfiction Picture Book Event: #nf10for10


In 2010 Mandy Robek and Cathy Mere began hosting a picture book event that celebrates participants’ most cherished picture books.  I joined the conversation in 2012 and had so much fun that I wondered out loud if a nonfiction picture book event would meet with similar success. Never one to shy away from a conversation on books, Mandy and Cathy replied with a resounding “YES!”

And #nf10for10 has been a huge success, with folks posting 10 books on dinosaurs, or 10 books on the wonder of women, or 10 books for girl readers, or 10 books on architecture and building, or …

One year, I wrote about a collection of 10 nonfiction picture books about indigenous people. Another year, I focused on 10 titles around the themes of dignity, human rights, and social justice.

But you can’t read them.

Tragically, they are gone. Lost, somehow…possibly to the most deadly of all dangers— post-migration.

On the upside, I am looking forward to revisiting those titles as I consider my #nf10for10 post of 2016.

Let’s get to the details!

You choose 10 nonfiction picture books to share. You can share via the twitter community, #nf10for10, and you can add your nonfiction link in the Google Community. Just look for the 2016#nf10for10 tab! We also suggest that you leave the link on one of our blogs in the comment section, just in case we have to move again.

Here are the details:

  • What: 10 nonfiction picture books you can’t live without.
  • Hashtag:  #nf10for10
  • Who:  Anyone interested — educators, media specialists, librarians, parents, and book lovers.
  • When:  Friday, February 19th
  • Where:  All posts will be linked on the 2016 #nf10for10 page of the Picture Book 10 for 10 Google Community Site.

It’s nonfiction picture book time!

Which titles are popular in your class? Which nonfiction books are best for read alouds? Who is your favourite illustrator?

There are many ways to approach this event, so come on! Join us on February 19th as we rummage around each other’s nonfiction bookshelves!

Feel free to grab the #nf10for10 button and spread the word.

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