Interesting Nonfiction Books for Kids
Charles Darwin: Around-the-World Adventure by Jennifer Thermes
From the time he was a boy, Charles Darwin loved nature and collecting. As an adult, he observed and studied the natural world of South America. This richly illustrated and interesting picture book biography follows Darwin’s life and explorations.
Egg to Bee LifeCycles by Camilla de la Bedoyere
Large pages, colorful photographs, oversized print, bolded vocabulary words, and interesting information make this a good addition to any elementary classrooms. You’ll learn about the bees, hive, laying eggs, growing and eating, queen, and more. This is just one in the new easy nonfiction picture books in the LifeCycles series. Other titles include: Tadpole to Frog, Seed to Sunflower, Caterpillar to Butterfly, and Egg to Chicken.
The Tudors: Kings, Queens, Scribes, and Ferrets! by Marcia Williams
Written and illustrated like a picture book / comic-book combo, this unique historical nonfiction book is quite busy. Illustrations on the borders and text and pictures in the middle share a part of British history that I, for one, always mix up. (I’m keeping this book for ME!) Discover information about the monarchy, life for regular people, and other influential people of the time.
To Burp or Not to Burp A Guide to Your Body in Space by Dr. Dave Williams and Loredana Cunti, illustrated by Theo Krynauw
When you gotta go and you’re an astronaut, what do you do? Well, this book explains the details of peeing and pooping in space which is quite fascinating actually. But what about hair, brushing your teeth, taking showers, boogers, and burping? Well, you’ll find out that burping is high risk without gravity and plenty more answers to the questions you never knew you had!
Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark by Heather Lang, illustrated by Jordi Solano
Genie loved all fish, especially sharks, and wanted to be a fish scientist. Even though she lived in the 1930s when that wasn’t a regular job for a woman, Genie found work — first as an assistant, then as a researcher for the US Navy, and finally she opened up her own marine laboratory. She focused her research on sharks, discovering more about sharks than anyone knew before. Reading this picture book biography inspired me and sparked my interest in learning more about sharks.
Poetry for Kids Emily Dickinson edited by Susan Snively, PhD, illustrated by Christine Davenier
I’m already a HUGE Emily Dickinson fan so the poems, to me, are wonderful. But, what sets this book apart are the whimsical illustrations. They bring the poems to life! Especially for children.
Rad Women Worldwide by Kate Schatz, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl
Once I started reading these biographies (which I flipped and read in random order), I got very hooked. Hopefully this book will inspire kids as much as it did me. Plus, it’s really interesting to read about other people, ordinary people who did amazing things.
What on Earth? Wind: Explore, Create and Investigate by Isabel Thomas, illustrated by Pau Morgan
Parents and teachers, this nonfiction book is for us to facilitate learning by reading the wind information (even myths and poems) and making the related projects (pinwheel, windsock, tornado in a bottle, sail racers) with kids. The muted colors and quiet font appeal as does the organization of information. I really like this book! Also read: What on Earth? Water.
How Things Work: Discover Secrets and Science Behind Bounce Houses, Hovercraft, Robotics, and Everything in Between by T.J. Resler (National Geographic Kids)
This book is hefty — just over 200 pages of oversized pages that show the inner workings of things at home and school (microwave, robot vacuums, and erasers) as well as transportation things (escalators), fun things (roller coasters), and much more! The book also includes inventor profiles such as David Moinina Sengeh who figured out how to make artificial limbs fit better. You could read this book for years!
Science Encyclopedia: Atom Smashing, Food Chemistry, Animals, Space, and More! by National Geographic
Remember back in the day when we had volumes of encyclopedias to look up information? Well, this is not your grandmother’s encyclopedia. Popping with colorful photos and artful design, this A to Z science tome (it’s HUGE– 300 pages and oversized to boot!) is the kind of encyclopedia useful for research and to engage #STEM kids in reading. From the physical sciences to life sciences, I’m pretty sure you could look up just about any topic or just pick a random page and learn something new every day. The Science Encyclopedia includes: weird but true facts, amazing statistics, do-it-yourself experiments, plus profiles of scientists and National Geographic’s explorers.
Sharks! Animal Planet Chapter Book #1 by Lori Stein
I have mixed feelings about this nonfiction chapter book series. (Also see: Dinosaurs!) Here’s what I do like: the layout and design, the smidgen larger font, the photographs, and the insets of information. But, I am not captivated at all by the writing. It’s dull and lacking any pizazz. Heck, it even lacks transitions. So you decide if this book is for you. Maybe peek inside a few pages before you decide.
Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science by Jeannine Atkins
Three girls lives, Maria Merian, Mary Anning, and Maria Mitchell, are showcased in this beautiful verse. Each girl’s interest is explained and elaborated. We see how these interests grew into something more, into the passions and discoveries that become their life’s work. I love the flow of the poems and the celebration of these ground-breaking women.
Heroes for My Daughter by Brad Meltzer
The featured 60 individuals are a few familiar faces (Anne Frank, Benjamin Franklin, Sally Ride) but many new, unique people that deserve to be recognized and highlighted. I’m thinking of Joan Ganz Cooney who helped create Sesame Street, Carol Burnett who made it big and gives back big, and Golda Meir, Israel’s first female prime minister. The writing is easy to read, includes dialogue, quotes, and short stories. The author’s intention is to show kids that if you take a chance and work hard “you can do anything in this world.”
Heroes for My Son by Brad Meltzer
In the same format as Heroes for My Daughter, this book focuses on people and their stories that show boys that if they are determined, the “impossible becomes possible.” The book features: Mr. Rogers, Nelson Mandela, Harry Houdini, Mother Teresa, Eli Segal, Muhammad Ali, and others.