Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Twenty Titles for Upper Elementary #nfpb2015

nonfiction picture book challenge 2015

Kid Lit Frenzy hosts my favorite reading challenge, the 2015 Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge. Visit her blog to discover more wonderful nonfiction titles.

This week’s list was inspired by a pre-service teacher taking my online Children’s Literature class. Savannah is reading picture books for our class and enjoying them but wants to be sure she’s discovering titles that will work for her future upper elementary students. I think one of the beauties of the picture book is that picture books are for everyone. Nonfiction picture books for younger readers still work for older readers: my college students enjoy Lola Schaefer’s Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives or April Sayre Pulley’s Eat Like a Bear as much as Carrie Gelson‘s second graders.

But I take Savannah’s point. With upper elementary students, we may seek picture books that give us a little more to grapple with: more substantial text, more complex vocabulary and sentence structure, more sophisticated themes and topics. The picture books I’ve included on this list fit that bill: they are still true picture books, telling a story as much through image as through text, but their complexity and sophistication make them better suited for older children.

tricky vic

langston's traid ridemighty

shackleton's journey - Copy

malcolm littleright wordenormous smallness

tree of life

planting the trees of kenyajosephine

neighborhood sharks

price of freedom

oranihelens big worldafghan dreams

barbed wire baseball

separate is never equal


tsions life

she loved baseball


9 responses to “Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Twenty Titles for Upper Elementary #nfpb2015”

  1. Linda Baie Avatar

    Yes, more complex, differing ways to present information, and each offer more information, even within the illustrations. Wonderful books on this list. I do love The Right Word! Thanks, Elisabeth.

  2. Kellee @ Unleashing Readers Avatar

    Love the sharing of texts for older students. The spread of PBs to secondary classrooms are so powerful and important.

  3. carriegelson Avatar

    Fantastic list. Some of my very favourites here like Shackleton’s Journey and Helen’s Big World Nonfiction books are so amazing!

  4. Holly Mueller Avatar

    I’ve got some of these fantastic titles in my upper elementary classroom, but some are new to me. I have Tricky Vic out from the public library right now- looking forward to getting to it this weekend! I’ll be sharing this list. Thank you!

  5. Michelle Haseltine Avatar

    Amazing list!!! I just shared with the librarians at our school. Thank you so much!!

  6. Jane Whittingham Avatar

    So many of my favourite titles are on this list!! I love picture book biographies – I find they work so well for engaging readers and really bringing historical figures to life. Some of these books are almost works of art, with their stunning and thoughtful illustrations. Thank you for sharing!

  7. savannah3547 Avatar

    Thank you for this list! I really appreciate it and will have to hunt down some of these titles.

  8. […] list of 20 great nonfiction picture books for upper elementary classrooms and […]

  9. […] for Teachers New to Nonfiction, the Mentor Texts to Teach Craft, Style, and Voice and the list of 20 titles for upper elementary. With this list, I hope to remind myself to incorporate more nonfiction in my own classroom […]

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