Monday, October 5, 2009

Non-Fiction Monday: National Popcorn Poppin' Month

To celebrate the wholesome, economical, natural food value of popcorn, America's native snack, National Popcorn Poppin' Month is celebrated from October 1-31.
-The Teacher's Calendar, 2008-2009

It was hard to find non-fiction books about popcorn, but I did find a few that were relevant... mixed ideas about them... read on to find out!

Micucci, Charles.
The Life and Times of Corn.
September 2009.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

What grain has seeds in all colors of the rainbow, can grow twenty feet high, is often harvested by moonlight, and is more valuable to the United States than gold?

This book is great for children who love a bit of history! It takes readers back to the times of Columbus when the "new world" was formally introduced to corn by natives. While the details in the book make it more appropriate for advanced readers, the way the book is broken down into chapters does make it more accessible to all readers. The chapters also the book to be used as a research mechanism (for example, in my case, for National Popcorn Poppin' Month, chapter 5, "Poppin' Through the Ages"). It's definitely a book that would be nice for a library!

Kudlinski, Kathleen.
Popcorn Plants.
Lerner Publications.

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

Describes the life cycle of the popcorn plant from the time the farmer plants the seed until the kernel explodes.

While this book is exactly the type of book I was looking for for this post, I was a bit disappointed because it seemed like a bit much going on all at once. However, that being said, if I was going to do a popcorn themed unit, I would definitely incorporate this book into it... I would just have to determine how to best implement it! It is a great book in that it provides so much information but I just don't see it being used in the classroom during independent reading time (and I like to have most of the books in my "library" to be used for independent and shared reading).

Gibbons, Gail.
June 2009 (2008)
Holiday House.

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

What is the story behind corn? Corn is used in many favorite foods, such as popcorn, corn on the cob, corn dogs, and cornflakes. This cornucopia of information in Gail Gibbons's tried-and-true style presents the history and uses of corn as well as details concerning planting, cultivation, and harvesting.

This was by far my favorite of the three books I've reviewed for today. I guess I enjoyed it because it can be used by many, many children. There's a simple text that is appropriate for beginning readers and additional factual information that can be used by more advanced readers. It also provided a ton of neat information about popcorn corn plants! The book mentions four different types of popcorn: Strawberry, Calico, Robust Yellow, and Dakota Black (all named for their color/shape). The book also briefly details how popcorn "pops." Definitely a must have for a popcorn thematic unit!

Teaching Resources:
If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to