Subscribe to SLJ
Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Nonfiction Monday – Zombies?

Nonfiction Monday – Zombies. What? Didn’t I just write that this was Nonfiction Monday where we usually incorporate factual information on a variety of social, scientific, and economic issues? Yes, I will focus on science today, but with it being the month of October and Walking Dead appearing on my TV screen (thanks to my son), I couldn’t resist the lure of the zombies.

I’m so easily frightened that I have to watch Walking Dead and zombie movies standing up from behind the couch that divides the open space so I can scream and run away into the kitchen peering out over the counter when the zombies attack. I alone could provide the sound effects of gasps and people crying out, “Don’t do it! Don’t go there! Look out!” Let’s not discuss how often I scream when something jumps out.

What does this have to do with Nonfiction Monday? Let’s take a look at a few of the delicious titles from Capstone Press today that incorporate zombies. First, we have the number one crowd pleaser among upper elementary and middle school teachers and librarians when I present – ZOMBIES And Forces and Motion by Mark Weakland. This book is going on everyone’s list to order. Talk to vendors about what series truly stands out for them this year and they’ll gleefully turn to their favorite page and start quoting passages like this:

“A zombie at rest needs a force to get it moving. And once a zombie gets moving, another force is needed to get it to change directions or stop.”

This title is one in the Capstone Press Graphic Library series Monster Science.  Incorporating cartoon illustrations, clever comic terror, solid scientific facts, and the mythical monsters: zombies, werewolves, aliens, bigfoot, vampires and ghosts, this series presents science for elementary and middle school involving atoms, force, motion, energy, adaptation, states of matter, and cells in a creative compelling hardcover.

The subject matter ranges in sophistication based upon the scientific level of understanding appropriate for instruction. For example, in Vampires and Cells, there is a unique discussion of endocytosis and exocytosis demonstrating how objects enter and are ejected from cells. That title would be particularly relevant for middle schooler’s. I can just imagine using the Elmo or digital projector to discuss these pages on Halloween.

In my adult reading of fiction, I am currently devouring many werewolf titles so I appreciate the release of Werewolves and States of Matter. These 32 page books are 2012 copyrights, but you can order them now.  I feel totally justified with my academic reasons for purchasing after visiting the Capstone website and viewing the correlations between our state science standards:

  • Science 2007 Curriculum Standards 5th Grade
    • Physical Science
      • 9 Matter The composition and structure of matter is known, and it behaves according to principles that are generally understood.
        • How does the structure of matter influence its physical and chemical behavior?
          • GLE 0507.9.3 Investigate factors that affect the rate at which various materials freeze, melt, or evaporate.
  • Science 2007 Performance Indicators Teacher and Checks for Understanding Grade 4
    • Physical Science
      • 9 Matter The composition and structure of matter is known, and it behaves according to principles that are generally understood.
        • How does the structure of matter influence its physical and chemical behavior?
          • 0407.9.1 Use appropriate tools to measure and compare the physical properties of various solids and liquids.

As far as usage and popularity, it hardly bears mentioning that these titles will fly off the shelves to be devoured by eager readers.

What other series has Capstone released dealing with Zombies? I’m glad you asked.

From Stone Arch, we have the contemporary scary fiction series for ages 8-11 Jason Strange with unbelievable characters in realistic settings of Raven’s Pass . Basement of the Undead, Faceless Friend, Full Moon Horror, and Text 4 Revenge are 72 page titles written at a Grade 2-3 level. Accessible to most in elementary school, these scary titles fill a need this season. There are four additional titles available including Zombie Winter.

Basement of the Undead not only puts zombies in the school basement, but it addresses bullies. I like the endings leaving the readers wondering what’s real and what’s not. The “Case Report notes” from the police officer and letters at the end of the book from series main character Jason Strange, provide examples of creative writing for busy teachers to incorporate into lessons. Be sure to examine the state correlations.

I hope that Common Core State Standards will be listed soon by Capstone as CCSS is incorporated around the country.  You know you’re looking for an excuse to order this title with a dead librarian. Need a Halloween costume? I’m think undead librarian could be cool this year. I need someone to go back and draw me as a zombie for ideas (like in the book Rot & Ruin).

As I mentioned, Stone Arch is keeping my love of werewolves satisfied with Full Moon Horror. Keeping secrets to protect one’s family at the selfish risk to others is explored.

Not to be left out of our love of monsters, Picture Window books releases titles in their extended series Legend Has It. We have the Legend of the Zombie and the Legend of the Loch Ness Monster to explore today in 32 pages of library bound hardcovers.

I like the approach of Legend of the Zombie as it incorporates zombie-like mythology from Haiti’s voodoo bokors, Norwegian draugrs, and Chinese Jiang Shi . The text reads aloud smoothly and will prompt many questions from students.

Fortunately, Facthound is there with answers and cartoon fun as I learned how to draw zombies. The links to American folklore of ghosts were helpful, but I cannot resist adding my own Tennessee ghost tale about The Bell Witch Haunting story! What?! You haven’t heard of it. Yet, eyewitness accounts, affidavits, and manuscripts penned by those who experienced the haunting first hand caused “Dr. Nandor Fodor, a noted researcher and psychologist, to label the Bell Witch legend as “America’s Greatest Ghost Story.””

Next week, it’s back to serious science, but this week, I hope to have given you three new series to incorporate in your busy fall ordering.

Legend Has It Reading Level: 2-4; Interest Level: 2-4;  ISBN: 9781404866881. Publisher: Picture Window Books. Copyright: 2012.

Jason Strange Reading Level: 2-3; Interest Level: 3-6; ISBN: 9781434232496. Publisher: Stone Arch Books.  Copyright: 2012.

Monster Science. Reading Level: 3-4; Interest Level: 3-9; ISBN: 9781429665834. Publisher: Capstone Press Graphic Library. Copyright: 2012.


  1. Excellent timing on your request for Common Core correlations. I’m happy to report that they are now live! You can see an example of how the Zombie Winter title correlates through this link: We’re excited that we can continue to create books that students love to read and that educators can use to support learning objectives.