Best Nonfiction Children’s Books, 2016

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If you’re looking to find the best nonfiction children’s books of 2016, I’ve got you covered. Here are my favorites — many of them are nonfiction picture books, but you’ll also find easy readers, poetry books, chapter books, and informational tomes as well.


Best Nonfiction Children’s Books, 2016

first book of hockey Must-Read NonFiction for Kids
My First Book of Hockey Sports Illustrated Kids A Rookie Book

I highly recommend this informative nonfiction book. Cool graphics, simple text, and full color photographs will teach young children about the game of hockey.

Best Nonfiction Children's Books, 2016
Real Cowboys
by Kate Hoefler, illustrated by Jonathan Bean
The illustrations are so unique and gorgeous, I hope this book will be nominated for a Caldecott. The text shares what real cowboys are like — they are gentle, they share, they cry, they ask for help, and more. Love this!
Best Nonfiction Children's Books, 2016
We Dig Worms!
 by Kevin McCloskey (early reader)
I love, love, love this early reader book! It’s a Toon Book Early Reader so you know from the get-go that it’s going to be cartoon images, but you won’t know how the author makes worms seem so fascinating. He does this with eye-popping illustrations and one sentence of text per page that explain something about the worm — sometimes he has kids asking questions which the worm answers. He painted on recycled grocery bags which makes for a gorgeous, earthy feeling throughout. I just can’t say enough good things about this short little book!
Shape poems paint a picture on the page — and these do an amazing job. The Hanger poem is shaped like a hanger, Dominoes are shaped just like falling dominoes with fun texts about pushing single file down the row. I love the Corners poem about a hungry mouse looking for cheese that is shaped like a maze. These are inspiring!
Best Nonfiction Children's Books, 2016
Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille
by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Boris Kulikov
Fascinating and important history meet gifted storytelling in this new picture book biography about Louis Braille. We follow the life of precocious, sightless Louis who desperately wants to read and write but is disappointed with his limited options. Despite being chronically ill, a child, and lots of failed attempts, Louis invents a system for the blind to read and write that is still in use today.
Best Nonfiction Children's Books, 2016
The Toad: The Disgusting Critters Series
 by Elise Gravel
Visually captivating with interesting, just-right text that is informative and sometimes hilarious. I’m a fan of this kid-friendly non fiction book series! (also read: The Worm, The Fly, and The Rat)
Best Nonfiction Children's Books, 2016
When Green Becomes Tomatoes Poems for All Seasons
by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Julie Morstad
Beautifully written and illustrated, these poems capture the beauty of each season in relatable verses that seem like magic just like the poem below describes the first snow.

december 29
and i woke to a morning
that was quiet and white
the first snow
(just like magic) came on tip toes

Best Nonfiction Children's Books, 2016
The Blobfish Book by Jessica Olien
I LOVE how creative this book is with a cartoon-like blobfish with a big personality who interjects said personality during the book’s photograph and textual information about life in the deepest parts of the ocean. Perfect text to picture ration (aka. not too much!) makes this a nonfiction home run!
Best Nonfiction Children's Books, 2016
Animal Planet Animal Atlas

Extra large pages of continents show the biomes and animals who live in each. Subsequent pages feature colorful close-up photographs of animals matched with information about the animal– where it lives, why it lives there, and what it eats. This atlas is SO colorful and well designed, any reader will be drawn to look at the photographs and read it extensively. Impressive!
Best Nonfiction Children's Books, 2016
Pink is for Blobfish: Discovering the World’s Perfectly Pink Animals by Jess Keating
These aren’t your princess pink variety of pink animals. No! In fact, these are gelatinous blobfish, hairy tarantulas, naked mole rats, and more — that just happen to be pink. Great writing pairs perfectly with photographs and cartoons. I love this book!

Best Nonfiction Children's Books, 2016
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.

Weird but True 8
Do your kids love the Weird But True! books as much as mine? This new edition contains 300 all-new wild and wacky facts and pictures. Want to hear a few?

  • The 1904 World’s Fair featured a life-sized elephant made of almonds.
  • moonbow = a nighttime rainbow
  • Scientists found sharks living in an underwater volcano.
  • Octopuses have blue blood and nine brains.

You’re welcome.

Best Nonfiction Children's Books, 2016
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.

Best Nonfiction Children's Books, 2016
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!

Best Nonfiction Children's Books, 2016
Mercy The Incredible Story of Henry Bergh: Founder of the ASPCA and Friend to Animals by Nancy Furstinger
This little nonfiction chapter book packs a big punch — it’s the absolutely fascinating life of a rich (and formerly lazy) man named Henry Bergh who devoted his life and his money to saving maltreated animals in the late 1800s. (He also is persuaded to start campaigning for children as well — they were often treated just as badly or worse!) This is one of my favorite narrative nonfiction books ever. One of the reasons I like this book so much is that the writing is excellent and the author paints a complete picture of a man who is flawed. The print is big (yeah!) and the illustrations throughout add to the narrative. FANTASTIC and I highly recommend this narrative nonfiction chapter book for schools and libraries!

Best Nonfiction Children's Books, 2016
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. Also excellent is Heroes for My Daughter.


list of the best nonfiction children's books of 2016

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  1. I’m just discovering your excellent site–thanks so much for spotlighting my books–MERCY and PAWS OF COURAGE! As you can guess, I am fascinated by animal topics and love to write about them. I have two new animal books that you might be interested in (you can see on my website): UNSTOPPABLE (MG NF) and THE DUCHESS AND GUY (PB).