March 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

On the Radar: Top Picks from the Editors at Junior Library Guild: New Releases for Your Nonfiction Shelves

Book cover of girl and boy w/ clothing for diff temperaturesGood nonfiction titles rise to the top as librarians focus their content needs to meet the Common Core State Standards. New releases by our favorite authors and illustrators include an environmental bilingual poem, a picture-book biography, a fact-filled science title, and a narrative account of a bird’s 7,200 mile migration.

ARNOLD, Caroline. Too Hot? Too Cold?: Keeping Body Temperature Just Right. illus. by Annie Patterson.  Charlesbridge. 2013. ISBN 9781580892766. JLG Level: SCE : Science Nonfiction Elementary (Grades 2-6).

Written in a voice that speaks directly to the reader, Arnold’s text presents facts about body temperature. “You have a layer of fat under your skin. It is like a built-in blanket that helps protect your body and keep it warm.” The author introduces various behaviors that influence natural temperature, such as weather, clothing, and location. Glossary and author’s note provide supplemental nonfiction text features.

Book Cover- Journey of a Godwit birdMARKLE, Sandra. The Long, Long Journey: The Godwit’s Amazing Migration.

illus. by Mia Posada. Millbrook. 2013. ISBN 9780761356233. JLG Level: NEK : Nonfiction Early Elementary (Grades K-2).

In picture book format, Markle and Posada tell a story about the 7,200 mile migration of a godwit. Hatching in an Alaskan summer, the bird learns to fly, catch its food, and develop its defenses. In October, it will make a long, nonstop journey to New Zealand. Young readers will enjoy the narrative lilt of the text, while older children will appreciate the numerous facts. Appended information, including an author’s note, round out the nonfiction features. Beautiful collage and watercolor illustrations communicate one bird’s lifecycle in migration.

Bilingual Picture book of nature scenesMARTIN JR., Bill. I Love Our Earth / Amo nuestra tierra. illus. by Dan Lipow. Charlesbridge. 2013. ISBN 9781580895569. JLG Level: PS : Primary Spanish (Grades K-3).

Full-color photographs illustrate a poetic tribute to the seasons of the earth and times of the day. This bilingual picture book uses simple language to convey an introduction to nature. Panoramic views depict mountains and seas. Kids of all ages and cultures illustrate the meaning of each line. This simple overview of a child’s world makes it a good selection for even preschool storytimes.

Nelson Mandela portrait by Kadir NelsonNELSON, Kadir. Nelson Mandela.  HarperCollins/Katherine Tegan. 2013. ISBN 9780061783760. JLG Level: BE : Biography Elementary (Grades 2-6).

Much-loved and respected author/illustrator Kadir Nelson gives children an up-close-and-personal look at Nelson Mandela. From the tight shot of Mandela on the cover to the final shot of the world leader’s fist in the air, powerful images punctuate this introduction to the life of the first black president of South Africa. Expressive verse allows the author to convey a young boy who saw injustice and vowed to make a difference. A must-have for your picture book biography collection.

For ideas about how to use these books and links to supportive sites, check out the Junior Library Guild blog, Shelf Life.

Junior Library Guild is a collection development service that helps school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Season after season, year after year, Junior Library Guild book selections go on to win awards, collect starred or favorable reviews, and earn industry honors. Visit us at


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Deborah B. Ford About Deborah B. Ford

Deborah is the Director of Library Outreach for Junior Library Guild. She is an award-winning teacher librarian with almost 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher and librarian in K–12 schools.



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