[Nonfiction Wednesday] Feathers Not Just For Flying and the Search for Bird-Themed Books

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Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2016 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.

Widget Handcrafted by Iphigene for GatheringBooks.

Widget Handcrafted by Iphigene for GatheringBooks.

Our reading theme for January-February: Fairytales, Romances, and Happy-CYBILS-Afters. And since this particular title has been nominated for the CYBILS nonfiction picture book category, it fits right into our current theme.

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Feathers Not Just For Flying

Written by: Melissa Stewart
Illustrated by: Sarah S. Brannen
Published by: Charlesbridge, 2014
Award: ALA Notable, Chicago Public Library Best Informational Books for Young Readers
Book borrowed from Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

I confess that I am not a huge non-fiction fan – unless they are biographies or memoirs. Yet, I am especially taken by non-fiction titles that manage to effectively weave poetic vision and information together just like what Melissa Stewart managed to accomplish in Feathers Not Just For Flying.

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The entire book is packaged like a scrapbook – with the factual tidbits complemented beautifully by Brannen’s watercolor on cold-press paper. I also enjoyed knowing about how feathers can actually “make high-pitched sounds like a whistle”

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and how the birds’ plumage can serve as inspiration for jewelry design or protect the skin like sunscreen or snowshoes:

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For teachers who wish to make use of this book in the classroom, here is a downloadable PDF link created by islma.org that you may wish to check out.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to give out this call to fellow bloggers to recommend their favourite bird-themed titles (both fiction and non-fiction). Our committee is currently on the look-out for predominantly-Asian, bird-themed titles that we will be happy to consider including in our bibliography to be launched at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content this year. We have three themed-bibliographies published over the past three years (see below) – and we are excited for our theme this year.

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If you have any recommendations, do share them with us and our committee would be more than happy to source for these books in our libraries here and consider them for inclusion.

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With my fellow committee members: Evelyn Wong (Member of AFCC Board of Advisors), Kenneth Quek (AFCC Festival Director and Deputy Director of the National Book Development Council of Singapore), and myself (Chairperson of the AFCC Writers and Illustrators Conference),

  1. Not Asian-themed, but I really like the poems in the collection On the Wing by David Elliott.
    High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs by Lisa Kahn Schnell and Flowers are Calling by Rita Gray give two different perspectives on the ways birds interact with other parts of the environment.

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  2. I love this book, Myra, so beautifully filled with information. I’ll look, but am not sure I know of Asian-themed bird books.

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  3. Feathers was one of my favorite 2014 nonfiction picture books! She did such a beautiful job!

    Some bird books (though not all Asian birds):
    The Sky Painter by Engle
    And Tango Makes Three by Richardson
    Parrots over Puerto Rico by Roth
    Look Up! by Cate
    Anything by Seymour Simon

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