Nonfiction Books

111 Trees: How One Village Celebrate the Birth of Every Girl by Rina Singh, 2020

Trees, India, environment, Social Studies

Sundar Paliwal, who is from a small Indian village ruled by ancient customs. As he grows to be a man, Sundar suffers much heartbreak and decides it is time for change to come to his village. Sundar is determined to live in a place where girls are valued as much as boys and where the land is not devastated by irresponsible mining. Sundar's plan? To celebrate the birth of every girl with the planting of 111 trees. Though many villagers resist at first, Sundar slowly gains their support. And today, there are over a quarter of a million trees in his village, providing food, water and opportunities for women to earn a living. His efforts have turned a once barren and deforested landscape into a fertile and prosperous one where girls can thrive.

Lesson Ideas:

Teaching Books

Citizen Kid Teaching Guide

Authors Website

Read Aloud (YouTube)


  2022 Yellow Cedar

  Award Ontario Library Association nominee

  2021 Bank Street Best Children’s Book

  2021 Green Earth Book Award

  2021 Social Justice Literature Award

  2020 Book List Editor Choice Book Winner



Butterflies Belong Here: A Story of One Idea, Thirty Kids, and a World of Butterflies –   Deborah Hopkinson

Save the Bees – Bethany Stahl

The International Day of the Girl – Jessica Dee Humphreys

Old Enough to Save the Planet- Loll Kirby

Carter Reads the Newspaper by Deborah Hopkinson 2019

Woodson, Carter Gordon, historians, African-American historians, Social Studies   

Carter G. Woodson was born to two formerly enslaved people ten years after the end of the Civil War. Though his father could not read, he believed in being an informed citizen, so Carter read the newspaper to him every day. As a teenager, Carter went to work in the coal mines, and there he met Oliver Jones, who did something important: he asked Carter not only to read to him and the other miners, but also research and find more information on the subjects that interested them.

​Lesson Ideas:

Teaching Guide

Read Across America Teaching Guide


Read Aloud (YouTube)

Shirley's lesson ideas:   (Grade 3+).  Who were these people?  When did they live?  Why should tehy be in a history book (what ddid each do to deserve being in the book:  Sarah Breedlove, Rebecca Lee Crumpler, Peter Salem, Lewis Latimer, Shirley Chisholm, Joseph Cinque, Charles Drew, Marcus Garvey, Frances Harper, Edmonia Lewis (also a Native American), Elijah McCoy, Dred Scott, Phyllis Wheatley, Richard Wright and Crispus Attucks.   You can also change the list to Mexican-Americans: Rudolfo Anaya, Marcario Garcia, Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales, Juan Felipe Herrera, Dolores Huerta, Octaviano Larrazolo, Joseph Phillip Martinez, RUben Salazar, Luis Valdez, Roberto Clemente, Sylvia Mendez, Arturo Alfonso Schomburg and Sandra Cisneros or Native Americans: Powhatan, Tamanend, Joseph Brant, Sequoyah, Wilma Mankiller, Princess Nokia, Jim Thorpe, Andrew Blackbird, Gall, Maria Tallchief, Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Elias Boudinot, Maria Tallchief, Blackhawk, Susan Flesch or Asian-Americans: Dr. Sammy Lee, Phillip Vera Cruz, Joyce Chen, I.M. Pei, Patsy Mink, Steven Chen, Duke Kahanamoka, Kalpana Chawla, Steven Chen, Kalapana Chawla and Yuji Ichioka.


  National Council for the Social Studies Carter G. Woodson Book Award (Honor) 2020

   Parents Choice Silver Honor Award

   Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book

   New York Public LibraryTop 10 Books for Kids

California Reading Association Eureka! Nonfiction Children’s Book Award Silver Honor

  Literacy & Social Justice Special Interest Group/International Literacy Association

       Social Justice Literature Award 2020

  Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award 2019

  NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2020

  ALSC Notable Children’s Books 2020

  Northern Lights Book Award (Biography) Northern Dawn Awards 2019

  Literary Arts Eloise Jarvis McGraw Award for Children’s Literatur finalist 2020

  Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year 2020

  National Christian School Association – Children’s Crown Award nominee 2020-2021

  Connecticut Nutmeg Awards nominee 2021

  Delaware State Reading Association Delaware Diamonds nominee 2020-2021

  Greater Kansas City Association of Schol Librarians Great Kids Can Read Award

       nominee 2021-2022

  Kansas National Education Association -State Reading Circl Recommended Reading

       list (intermediate) 2020

  State Library of Louisian and Louisiana Center for the Book -  Louisiana Young Readers’

       Choice Award nominee (Grades 3-5) 2021-2022

  Oregon Council of Teachers of English – Oregon Spirit Award Honor 2019

  Pennsylvania School Librarians Association – Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice

       Awards nominee (Grades K-3)

  Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College – Paterson Prize for Books for

       Young People Honor book 2020


The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read – Rita Lorraine Hubbard

Midnight Teacher – Janet Halfmann

Carter G. Woodson – James Haskins

Carter G. Woodson: the Father of Black History – Patricia & Fredrick McKissack

Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 by Heaine Becker 2018

Apollo 13 (spacecraft), mathematician, African-American mathematician, biography, Social Studies


You've likely heard of the historic Apollo 13 moon landing. But do you know about the mathematical genius who made sure that Apollo 13 returned safely home?  As a child, Katherine Johnson loved to count. She counted the steps on the road, the number of dishes and spoons she washed in the kitchen sink, everything! Boundless, curious, and excited by calculations, young Katherine longed to know as much as she could about math, about the universe.

Lesson Ideas:

Teachers Pay Teachers ($)

Activities and Comprehension Questions

Storybook Guide

Rosie Reads Discussion Questions

Review with Resources

All About Katherine Johnson Powerpoint

Shirley's lesson ideas:  Research other remarkable women in science and math; when did they live, what were their accomplishment's?


  Vermont Red Clover Award Master Selection

  Morning Calm Medal nominee

  Towner Award nominee

  Silver Birch Express Award nominee

  Indiana Young Hoosier Book Award nominee

  Junior Library Guild selection

  NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book

  NCTM Mathematical Honor Book

  Bank Street Cook Prize winner

  NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book

  ILA Notable Book for Global Society

  ILA Teachers’ Choice Reading selection

  Amelia Bloomer selection

  Chicago Public Library Best Book of Year


The Story of Katherine Johnson: a Bio Book for Young Readers – Andrea Thorpe

Hidden Figures: the True Story of Black Women and the Space Race Young Readers’

  Edition - Margot Lee Shetterly

A Computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon

     Suzanne Slade

You Should Meet:  Katherine Johnson – Thea Feldman

Counting the Stars: The Story of Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathemation – Lisa Cline-


The Girl With a Mind for Math: the Story of Raye Montague – Julia Finley Mosca

Human Computer: Mary Jackson, Engineer – Andi Diehn

Crossings: Extraordinary Structures for Extraordinary Animals by Katy Duffield, 2020

Wildlife crossings, conservation projects, animals, environment, Science


Around the world, bridges, tunnels, and highways are constantly being built to help people get from one place to another. But what happens when construction spreads over, under, across, and through animal habitats? Thankfully, groups of concerned citizens, scientists, engineers, and construction crews have come together to create wildlife crossings to help keep animals safe.

Lesson Ideas:

Authors Website

Lesson Plan

Book and a Hug Information

Collaborative Lesson

Bored Panda Lesson Ideas

Wildlife Crossings

Shirley's lesson ideas:  What other ways can animals cross the highway; draw or write a description of the animal crossings.


  Kansas NEA Reading Circle List Primary Title

  Maine Chickadee Award nominee

  Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year selection

  California Eureka! Excellence in Nonfiction Gold Award

  Texas Topaz Nonfiction Reading List

  Keystone to Reading Elementary Book Award nominee

  ALA/ALSC Notable Children’s Book

  Missouri Dogwood Reader Award Final nominee


     Except Antarctica – Todd Sturgell

     Animal Habitats – Judy Press

     Animal Homes – Ann O. Squire

     A Day with the – Sharon Rentta

     How Animals Build – Moira Butterfield

     Animal Architects – Amy Cherrix

     If Animals Built Your House – Bill Wise

Dinosaur Lady: The Daring Discoveries of Mary Anning, the First Paleontologist by Linda Skeers, 2020

Bio-nature, dinosaurs, Science/Social Studies

 Mary Anning loved scouring the beach near her home in England for shells and fossils. She fearlessly climbed over crumbling cliffs and rocky peaks, searching for new specimens. One day, something caught Mary's eye.

Bones.  Dinosaur Bones.

Mary’s discoveries rocked the world of science and help create a brand-new field of study: paleontology.  But many people believed women couldn’t be scientists, so Mary wasn’t given the credit she deserved.  Nevertheless, Mary kept looking and learning more, making discoveries that reshaped scientific beliefs about the natural world.

Lesson Ideas:

Teachers Pay Teachers (free)

Educator Guide from Publisher

Kids Read STEM Lesson

Rosie Reads Lesson

Mary Anning Biography


  Outstanding Science Trade Books, 2015-2022

  SB & F Prize for Excellence in Science Books, 2006-2022

  Notable Social Science Trade Books for Young People, 2015-2022

  The RISE: a Feminist Book Project List, Nonfiction 2021


      Fossil Huntress: Mary Leakey, Paleontologist – Andi Diehn

     Gutsy Girls Go for Science Paleontogists: with STEM projects for Kids – Karen Bush Gibson

     When Sue Found Sue: Sue Hendrickson Discovers T-Rex – Toni Buzzeo

     Mary Anning – Marla Isabel Sanchez Vegara

     Fossils for Kids: a Junior Student’s Guide to Dinosaur Bones, Ancient Animals, and

     Prehistoric Life on Earth – Ashley Hall

     Mary Anning’s Curiosity – Veronica Kulling

     Mary Anning: the Fossil Hunter – Dennis Brindell Fradin

     Stone Girl Bone Girl: the Story of Mary Anning – Laurence Anholt

     Mary Anning and the Sea Dragon – Jeannine Atkins

     The Fossil Girl: Mary Anning’s Dinosaur Discovery – Catherine Brighton

     Mary Anning – Sara Spiller

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming 2020

Bees, Honeybees, bee behavior, Science 

 A tiny honeybee emerges through the wax cap of her cell. Driven to protect and take care of her hive, she cleans the nursery and feeds the larvae and the queen. But is she strong enough to fly? Not yet!  Apis builds wax comb to store honey, and transfers pollen from other bees into the storage. She defends the hive from invaders. And finally, she begins her new life as an adventurer.  The confining walls of the hive fall away as Apis takes to the air, finally free, in a brilliant double-gatefold illustration where the clear blue sky is full of promise-- and the wings of dozens of honeybees, heading out in search of nectar to bring back to the hive.

Lesson Ideas:

Authors Website

Teachers Pay Teachers ($)

Publishers Lesson Plan

Book Review and Teaching Ideas

Book Review and Activities


  Robert F. Sibert Medal winner

  Orbis Pictus Honor

  Texas Bluebonnet Master List

  AAAS/Suburu Finalist SB & F Prize for Excellence in Science Books

  Cook Prize Honor Book

  A Kids’ Book Choice Award finalist

  New York Public Library Best Bok of the Year    

  Horn Book Fanfare Best Book of the Year

  BCCB Blue Ribbon Book

  Book List Editor’s Choice

  ALA Notable Children’s Book

  Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year

  Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

  Best Book:  Kirkus, NPR, Shelf Awareness, SLJ, Publishers Weekly


     Explore My World: Honey Bees – Jill Exbaum

     The Honeybee – Kirsten Hall

     Kaia and the Bees – Maribeth Boelts

     Bee and Me – Allison Jay

     The Secret Life of Bees – Moira Butterfield

     Hello Honeybees – Hannah Rogge

     The Bee Book – Charlotte Milner

     The Secret Life of Bees – Moira Butterfield

     The Buzzy Bee Book for Kids: Storybook, Bee Facts, and Activities – Alice McGinty

     Honey Bees: Discover Pictures and Facts about Honeybees for Kids – Bold Kids

     I Am a Bee – Rebecca McDonald

     National Geographic Readers: Buzz, Bee – Jennifer Szymanski

The Last Straw: Kids vs. Plastics by Susan Hood 2021

Plastics, environment, recycling, scrap, Science                     

There is a growing plastic problem and meet just a few of the young activists who are standing up and speaking out for change.

·   You’ll hear about the “Be Straw Free” campaign, started by nine-year-old Milo Cress.

·   You’ll discover how scientists are using jellyfish snot and munching,  crunching caterpillars to                             break down plastic pollution faster.

·   You’ll meet Xóchitl Guadalupe Cruz López, the eight-year-old girl turning  old plastic bottles into solar                 heaters.

Lesson Ideas:

Activities and Read Aloud

​Resources and Further Reading

Read Aloud (YouTube)

Shirley's lesson ideas:  Explore/list ways kids can clean the oceans; design a contraption for cleaning the oceans.  What can you do with all the recovered plastic from the oceans and land?


  2022 Notable Poetry Book – NCTE Award for Excellence

  2021 Chicago Public Library Best Informational Books for K-3


What a Waste: Rubbish, Recycling, and Protecting Our Planet – Jess French

     Save the Ocean - Bethany Stahl

     A Planet Full of Plastic: and How You Can Help – Neal Layton

     Saving Tally: an Adventure into the Great Pacific Plastic Patch – Serena Lane Ferrari

     Harry Saves the Ocean:  Teaching Children about Sea Pollution and Recycling – N.G.K. &

       Sylvia Fae

Earth Ninja: a Children’s Book About Recycling, Reducing, and Reusing – Mary Nhin

     Kids Fight Plastic: How to be a #2minutesuperstar – Martin Dorey

     Plastic Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – Patricia Newman

     The Mess We Made – Michelle Lord

Mamie on the Mound: a Woman in Baseball's Negro Leagues by Leah Henderson 2020

​Johnson, Mamie, woman baseball player, African-American baseball player, Negro League ,Sports, Social Studies

Mamie "Peanut" Johnson had one dream: to play professional baseball. She was a talented player, but she wasn't welcome in the segregated All-American Girls Pro Baseball League due to the color of her skin.  However, a greater opportunity came her way in 1953 when Johnson signed to play ball with the Negro Leagues' Indianapolis Clowns, becoming the first female pitcher to play on a men's professional team. During the three years she pitched for the Clowns, her record was an impressive 33-8. But more importantly, she broke ground for other female athletes and for women everywhere.

Lesson Ideas:

The Story of Mamie Johnson (YouTube)

Women of the Negro Leagues

Black Women in Professional Baseball

Shirley's lesson plans:  Research other Negro baseball players-- who were they?  When did they play and for what team/city?  Tiffany Brooks, Eeri Yoshida, Ila Borders, Mo'Ne Davis, Toni Stone, Connie Morgan, Effa Manley, Olivia Taylor, Pearl Barrett, Isabelle Baxter, Billie Harris.


  Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People 205-2022

  CCBC Choices Award


      She Loved Baseball: the Effa Manley Story – Audrey Vernick

     A Strong Right Arm: the Story of Mamie “Peanuts” Johnson – Michelle Y. Green

     Catching the Moon: the Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream – Crystal Hubbard

     The Kid From Diamond Street: the Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith

      Houghton – Audrey Verrick

    What Were the Negro Leagues? – Varian Johnson

    Curveball: the Remarkable Story of Toni Stone the First Woman to Play Professional

    Baseball in the Negro League – Martha Ackmann

    Remember My Name: My Story from First Pitch to Game Changer – Mo’ne Davis

    Meet the Philadelphia Dolly Vardens: Inspired by the First African American Women’s

     Professional Baseball Team – Sabrina A. Brinson

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard, 2020

Walker, Mary, women slaves, freedman-woman, reading, Social Studies

In 1848, Mary Walker was born into slavery. At age 15, she was freed, and by age 20, she was married and had her first child. By age 68, she had worked numerous jobs, including cooking, cleaning, babysitting, and selling sandwiches to raise money for her church. At 114, she was the last remaining member of her family. And at 116, she learned to read.

Lesson Ideas:

Read Aloud (YouTube)

Teachers Pay Teachers ($)

Educators Guide from Publisher

Texas Bluebonnet Awards Activities and much more

Choose to Read Ohio Toolkit

Overview and Activities

The Power of Reading

Author Interview and more

Read Across America using Diverse Literature

Book It Discussion Guide

Shirley's lesson ideas:  Mary Walker inspired other adults who could not read to learn no matter how old tthey were: think of someone you know or you yourself and describe how they or you overcame obstacles to learn something or be able to do something.


  Comstock Read Aloud Book Award winner 2021

  Texas Bluebonnet Award winner 2022

  Minnesota Book Award nominee 2022

  Rhode Island Children’s Book Award nominee 2022

     Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award nominee 2021

  Virginia Young Readers Program Award nominee 2021

  ALSC Notable Children’s Books Selection 2021

  Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year selection 2021

  Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices selection 2021

  Notable Books for a Global Society Award selection 2021

  Ohio Ohioana Book Award finalist 2021


     The Power of Her Pen: the Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne – Lesa Cline-


  Carter Reads the Newspaper – Deborah Hopkinson

  Nasreen’s Secret School: a True Story from Afghanistan – Jeanette Winter

  Poet: the Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton – Don Tate

  Fauja Singh Keeps Going: the True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run a

       Marathon – Simran Jeet Singh

  Lillian’s Right to Vote – Jonah Winter

  One Hundred Steps: the Story of Captain Sir Tom Moore – Captain Tom Moore


Try It! How Frieda Caplan Changed the Way We Eat by Mara Rockliff, 2021

Food and drink, fruits and vegetables, food and drink-cooking

In 1956, Frieda Caplan started working at the Seventh Street Produce Market in Los Angeles. Instead of competing with the men in the business with their apples, potatoes, and tomatoes, Frieda thought, why not try something new? Staring with mushrooms, Frieda began introducing fresh and unusual foods to her customers—snap peas, seedless watermelon, mangos, and more!

Lesson Ideas:

Read Aloud (YouTube)

Activity Guide from Publisher

Ag in the Classroom Lesson Plan

Oklahoma Agriculture in the Classroom Lesson Ideas

Authors website

Shirley's lesson ideas:  Create a new fruit or vegetable that is nutritious and delicious: you can combine two or three fruits/vegetables that now exist; what is its name, color size, is it a fruit of vegetable or combination, nutritional values (serving size, calories, carbohydrates, protein, etc.).  Where does it grow (country, in a tree, on a plant, on the ground, underground).


  Smithsonian Magazine 10 Best Children’s Books of 2021

  Tablet Magazine Best Jewish Children’s Books of 2021

  Missouri Dogwood Award nominee 2022-2023

  California Reading Association Eureka! Nonfiction Honor Book 2021 


Grow: How We Get Food From Our Garden – Karl Beckstrand

I Can Eat a Rainbow – Olena Rose

Eating the Alphabet – Lois Ehlert

To Market, To Market – Nikki McClure

Carrots Like Peas – Hannah Elliot

The Ugly Vegetables – Grace Lin

Edible Colors – Jennifer Vogel Bass

Oliver’s Vegetables – Vivian French

The Vegetables We Eat – Gail Gibbons

The Fruits We Eat – Gail Gibbons