I love doing research for the author/illustrator profiles because I learn so much about the featured person and how they work. And, research is exactly why Gail Gibbons likes to write. This prolific non-fiction author has over 100 books published on topics ranging from trains to butterflies. Gibbons chooses topics for her books that interest her and that she thinks kids will enjoy. She then delves into her chosen topic often visiting places she is covering or interviewing experts on specific topics. For example, when she was writing Nature’s Green Umbrella: Tropical Rain Forests, she visited two rainforests to conduct her research. I appreciate that Gibbons doesn’t skimp on the vocabulary. Her books are full of rich terminology. Gail Gibbons not only writes her books, but she also illustrates each of them. She holds a graphic design degree. The illustrations are vibrant and beautifully compliment the text.
Gibbons showed an interest in writing as a young child. In an interview that she did with Reading Rockets, she said that at age seven she wrote a book about clocks after taking one apart. She said she was full of questions as a child always asking what, why and how. I thought that was a powerful reminder to us that as caregivers we need to encourage this natural curiosity in children.
With so many books to choose from, I’ve narrowed down my top five Gail Gibbon’s books. I think these are my favorites because I have a natural curiosity for the topics. Here we go!
1. Alligators and Crocodiles (2011)
I can never remember the difference between these reptiles. Gibbons clears it up and points out all the differences and similarities. The book is full of labels.
This is an older book, but a fascinating look at what happens when we drop a letter in the mail. I used this book often when I had students create a school post office.
3. Ice Cream: The Full Scoop (2008)
Explore how ice cream production has changed over the years. Follow how ice cream is made from farm to factory to store.
4. Horses! (2004)
Horses! explores the long relationship that humans and horses have had. You will learn about different breeds and everything that goes into taking care of a horse. There aren’t a lot of children’s books on this topic so this is a great one to share with anyone interested in horses.
5. Tornadoes! (2010)
A Nebraska tornado destroyed my house when I was two, which might explain a natural curiosity I have about this topic. Gibbon’s illustrations just keep getting more vibrant. This book even gives tips on what to do if you encounter a tornado. This would be a great read at the beginning of tornado season to review safety.
Gibbons work makes a great study for a non-fiction writing unit.
So, if you ever wanted learn more about snakes, hurricanes, penguins, coral reefs, apples, owls, dinosaurs, or farming, then Gail Gibbons has a book for you. Do you have a favorite Gail Gibbons book?
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway announced last week to recieve a book and two activities tailored to your child’s interests. You have until 6/30 to apply!
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