Sunday, May 29, 2011

Welcome to Nonfiction Monday—Today it’s All About Acting Up

Welcome to another Nonfiction Monday. I am excited to host this weekly event where readers and writers gather to talk about their favorite nonfiction works.

As part of Nonfiction Monday, I will link to other nonfiction reviews from blogs around the Kidlitsphere. If you want to your review included, simply leave a comment or email me. And remember, you must link to the specific post (not just your general blog home page).  Check throughout the day for updates, too.

Like many authors of nonfiction, I believe good nonfiction rests on the belief that the truth is sometimes way stranger—or funnier, or more fascinating—than fiction. It’s certainly what drives my approach in nonfiction. Still, even the funniest or most entertaining work will be of little interest to a certain type of child—particularly the reluctant reader or the dreamy fantasy-fan who thinks, “facts are boring.”

Author Doraine Bennett shakes up pre-conceived notions about “boring facts” by putting kids right into the middle of the action. Literally.

Readers Theatre forGlobal Explorers is a substantial collection of short scripts that bring the stories of ancient and modern explorers to life. Teachers and librarians use them to help students inhabit or “become” both famous and little known explorers.

The scripts—divided by regions such as “The Americas,” “Africa,” “The Artic,” and others—make it easy for social study teachers to tie scripts to their curriculums and bring fresh perspectives to the study of global exploration throughout history.

Even better, the quick reads don’t require sets, props or costumes. The kids can prepare in moments simply by reading the material for emotional content before performing the skits.  The scripts are a bit like radio drama, where the energy of the work must come through the voice. This can be a great tool for the extroverted child who may like to “ham” it up. But it’s also very useful for the introverted child who may need coaxing to read aloud. Reading as the observer/narrator can be an effective way to reach the shy student.

In addition to the creative way the plays capture the essence of either the personalities or the actual voyages, Bennett includes extension activities at the end of each script, which helps deepen the understanding of both the circumstances and the individuals involved.

People often talk about multi-modal learning, but are not always clear how to implement it in the classroom. Readers Theatre for Global Explorers is a great tool for students who need to move and/or “experience” the information in order to learn. Every social studies teacher should have it in his or her classroom arsenal!

Readers Theatre for Global Explorers
By Doraine Bennett
Publisher:  Libraries Unlimited
For 4th-8th grade classrooms
Available on Amazon or through the publisher

Nonfiction Reviews from Around the Web:

Wild About Nature blog reviews CHICKS AND CHICKENS by Gail Gibbons.


A Patchwork of Books reviews BUTTERFLY IS PATIENT by Diana Hutts Aston.

SimplyScience reviews HOW BIG? HOW HEAVY? HOW DENSE? by Jennifer Boothroyd.

Wrapped in Foil reviews 13 PLANETS: THE LATEST VIEW OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM by David A. Aguilar.

Shelf-Employed reviews WE ARE AMERICA: A TRIBUTE FROM THE HEART by Walter Dean Meyers.

Jean Little Library reviews BAGHDAD PUPS by Meish Goldish.

Lori Calabrese Writes! reviews HOW TO SURVIVE ANYTHING published by National Geographic Children's Books. 

Check it Out reviews DAZZLING DRAGONFLIES: A LIFE CYCLE STORY by Linda Glaser.

Proseandkahn reviews THE MEADOWLANDS: A WETLANDS SURVIVAL STORY by Thomas F. Yezerski

Books 4 Learning reviews ALEXANDER THE GREAT by Demi.

Geo Librarian reviews THUNDER BIRDS: NATURE'S FLYING PREDATORS by Jim Amosky.


Rasco from RIF reviews PICASSO: SOUL ON FIRE by Rick Jacobson.

All About the Books with Janet Squires reviews THROUGH GEORGIA'S EYES by Rachel Rodriguez. 

Pratically Paradise/SLJ Curriculum Connections reviews HOW THEY CROAKED: THE AWFUL ENDS OF THE AWFULLY FAMOUS by Georgia Bragg.


shelf-employed said...

Good morning! Thanks for hosting today and pointing out a great book. I love Reader's Theater. It's a little hard to do in a public library setting, but if you can get enough kids together, it's a great experience! My post for today's holiday is Walter Dean Myers', We are America.

Doraine said...

Vicky, Thanks so much for featuring my book. I'm delighted to be on your blog. My editor, Sharon Coatney, at Libraries Unlimited was great to work with. There's an interview with her on my blog, if anyone is interested in considering sending her a proposal. Reader's theater is a lot of fun to write.

Doraine said...

Forgot the link!
Interview with editor, Sharon Coatney, at

Amanda said...

Thanks so much for hosting today! I have a review of A Butterfly is Patient over at my blog:

A Patchwork of Books

Unknown said...

Wild About Nature blog reviews CHICKS AND CHICKENS by Gail Gibbons.

Thank you for hosting this week!

Shirley said...

Thank you for hosting today! I have a Lerner book titled How Big? How Heavy? How Dense? by Jennifer Boothroyd at SimplyScience.


Roberta said...

Good morning and thanks for hosting on Memorial Day.

I reviewed 13: Planets The latest View of the Solar System by David Aguilar at as part of an ongoing series of recommended science books for summer reading.

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Thanks everyone for the comments and links!

Jennifer said...

I really like your organization of Nonfiction Monday! I have a review of Baghdad Pups by Meish Goldish

Lori Calabrese said...

Sounds like a great book--Reader's Theater. Thanks for sharing.

Today at Lori Calabrese Writes!, I review How to Survive Anything by National Geographic Kids.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Thank you for hosting today. Here's my addition on dragonflies:

Anonymous said...

Happy Memorial Day and thanks for hosting. I was inspired to read The Meadowlands thanks to Richies Picks and Shelf-employed, just in time to hear the author speak! Here's my link:

Happy reading!


Books4Learning said...

Thanks for hosting. I wrote about Alexander the Great by Demi.

Geo Librarian said...

Thanks for hosting today. That Reader's Theater book sounds perfect for my library. I've reviewed Thunder Birds: Nature's Flying Predators at my blog, Geo Librarian.

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Vicky, Thanks for hosting today! True Tales & A Cherry On Top posted about an interesting person from French history -- Before There Was Mozart-

I enjoyed reading Doraine Bennett's comment about Reader's Theater and the interview with the editor.

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Wow, these are some great books! Thanks for posting, all!

Roberta said...

The round-up looks great!

Just FYI, the link for Wild About Nature didn't work for me...

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Thanks for letting me know, Roberta. I fixed it.

Carol H Rasco said...

I have written today about Picasso as a follow up to the book I featured for Nonfiction Monday last week which talked about among others Picasso as a child starting his artistic endeavors. PICASSO: Soul on Fire; my review can be found at

Thank you, Becky, for hosting!

sally said...

Readers Theater for Global Exporers sounds great. And this post looks great with all the book covers. Nice job.

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Thanks to all who sent me links. This was fun and I've definitely come across many books I now want for myself!

Books4Learning said...

I love how you highlight each book with a picture. Would you mind sending me the linky or explanation on how you did it that way? books4learning at

Janet Squires said...

Thanks for hosting.
My selection is "Through Georgia's Eyes" by Rachel Rodriguez with illustrations by Julie Paschkis.

DianeRChen Kelly said...

Thanks for hosting. I'm slipping in before midnight with my link to How They Croaked at Practically Paradise

Cathy C. Hall said...

Look! I can comment again! Wheeee!

Now, what was I saying? :-)

(Oh, yeah. Great post!)