Winner Wednesday: Grand Canyon

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For this week’s Winner Wednesday I decided to review Grand Canyon by Jason Chin, which is a 2018 Caldecott Honor Book, 2018 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book, and winner of the 2018 NCTE Orbis Pictus Award. The Orbis Pictus Award is given to an outstanding nonfiction picture book for children and the Sibert Award is given to the most distinguished informational book published in the U.S. in the previous year. I can certainly see why Grand Canyon has won all these honors and I think it would make a great addition to an elementary classroom library, especially if ecology or geology is a part of your curriculum.

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Chin presents information about the Grand Canyon in a creative way and the illustrations are captivating and detailed. Even the endpages are engaging, detailed, and informational. You can see one of the end pages below, which depicts a map of the Grand Canyon.

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The illustrations depict a girl and her father as they hike about the Grand Canyon. While the text is all informational and does not mention the girl and her father at all, information about each section of the Grand Canyon is presented as the girl and her father reach the area on their hike in the illustrations. I think this is a creative way to incorporate a bit of a storyline into an informational text. Chin uses the boarders creatively to present more information by depicting animals and plants in each of the ecosystems present in the Grand Canyon or including detailed diagrams of the rock formations.

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A neat feature of the book are the small, hidden cutouts, which depict fossils. When you turn a page with a fossil cutout the following page has a full two-page illustration of what the Grand Canyon may have looked like during the time period the fossil was formed. You can see one of the cutouts in the illustration below.

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The book ends with two pages that open up into a beautiful four-page illustration of the Grand Canyon, but I will save that image for you to see for yourself when you read this book, which I highly recommend. Grand Canyon is a wonderful informational text and it would be especially useful for lessons on ecosystems and/or geology.

-Kate Fehrenbach

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