As I continue to look for inspiring and unique non-fiction texts to share in classrooms this school year, I came across Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Sarah Brannen. This delightful book struck me as a unique teaching tool.
The illustrations have a naturalist quality to them, yet readers will recognize they aren’t the photographs usually found in non-fiction. Brannen also includes the location of the bird illustrated on each page so readers might even do some mapping as well. Children might use the book as a model for sketching and perhaps draw and write about feathers they find at home or on a nature walk at school.
The text is differentiated in a way that allows the book to be enjoyed by very young readers (preschool), but then offers more in depth facts on each page for older children (I can see students in third or fourth grade enjoying this book too). I can also see reading the book a few times with younger children and revisiting some of the ‘deeper’ facts on each page with recurring reads. Some of these ‘deeper’ facts are as short as one sentence, while others are longer paragraphs.
Filled with facts about feathers I never knew myself (Feathers can make high-pitched sounds like a whistle…), readers will enjoy learning about a topic they thought they knew about. Feathers appears to be a simple book about a surprisingly complex subject, but like the topic, when the reader goes deeper, there is more to learn.