You are never too old for a good picture book! Each year publishers add more wonderful picture books to the literary landscape. 2015 has been no different! Below are a few new cross-curricular picture books middle grade students will love. Each one offers opportunities for science and/or social studies instruction.

28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World Teacher Resources Button (Grades P-5, Lexile: NC1080)  28 Days

From the famous passing of the 14th Amendment in 1868 to Henry Johnson’s less well-known heroism in World War I, 28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World takes readers on a tour of significant moments and individuals in history. Each two-page spread introduces an historical person or event with a poem or quote from a primary resource. A short informational paragraph provides additional details about each topic, and a bibliography in back provides ample resources for those wishing to learn more. This book can provide a great starting point for a longer research piece on any of the topics covered. Selections from the text also make for wonderful read aloud options to engage students before beginning related classroom studies.

Flying Cars: The True Story (Grades 4-7, Lexile: 1340)Flying Cars

Cars that can fly may seem like the stuff of fantasy and science fiction, but there have been many individuals who have tried to bring flight to the automobile. While most attempts were unsuccessful, some of these contraptions did indeed gain lift-off. Flying Cars is filled with archival photographs and other primary source materials. While most of the inventors did not achieve fame, there were some very well-known engineers with the goal of flying cars. Even Henry Ford had a short lived project creating vehicles called Sky Flivvers, which were only 350 pounds and 22 feet across. Robert Fulton Jr., a descendent of the famous steamboat creator, invented the Airphibian, which was functionally a tremendous success, but never a commercial one. The engineers’ successes, failures and revisions will encourage students to persevere in their own creations and is great to encourage Growth Mindset ideals.

Spidermania: Friends on the Web (Grades K-4, Lexile: NC1090)

SpidermaniaWarning—this book may give you a case of the shivers! Spidermania includes an abundant amount of scientific information about spiders. In addition to learning all about hunting vs. web building spiders, readers will be captivated (and perhaps horrified!) by the electron micrograph photography showing detailed images of spider features. Author Alexandra Siy connects spider facts with relatable topics for kids. For example, many diurnal (aka daytime) spiders spin patterns and shapes into their webs for various reasons. One famous example of such a spider is the eponymous orb-weaving barn spider from Charlotte’s Web. Siy also clears up popular myths about spiders, such as daddy longlegs being highly venomous. This book is a great one to have in a classroom library for students who love the creepier things in life. Spidermania is also a great text to use when demonstrating the different things images and text can convey in an informational text.

Trombone Shorty Teacher Resources Button (Grades P-3, Lexile: 840)

Trombone ShortyTroy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews tells the story of how he got his nickname, Mardi Gras and his New Orleans neighborhood, all woven together with music. When Troy and his friends were very young, they would pretend to be a band. One day Troy finds an old trombone, and even though it is almost too broken to play, he was excited to finally have a real instrument. After spontaneously joining a Mardi Gras parade, playing his newfound instrument, his brother dubs him “Trombone Shorty” because the instrument was twice his size. Trombone Shorty even plays during a Bo Diddley performance! Instead of being angry the show was interrupted, Bo invites young Trombone Shorty on to the stage to play along. Collage-style illustrations from award-winning illustrator Bryan Collier brings this story of New Orleans and jazz to life. The author’s notes include photographs of young Trombone Shorty with Bo Diddley and other jazz musicians in New Orleans. This is a great book to study New Orleans culture, Mardi Gras traditions or music history.



Booksource Recommendations

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