If Book Love is the goal then how about getting kids to read non fiction books? Non-fiction encourages many reluctant readers to love books. Why? Because readers can read in short chunks. It’s a different feel than a fiction story.
Of course, all kids need to read non-fiction books as a part of their reading diets. I know you’ve heard me say this before but it’s so true. Think about what they’ll be asked to read as they grow — much of it will be for information in non-fiction text. Since practice makes better, be sure to vary up your fiction with non-fiction.
So, the key is finding non-fiction books that kids enjoy — and believe me, they’re picky. So am I. Here are some recently published goodies.
Non Fiction Books for Kids
The World Almanac® for Kids 2013
My 10 year old couldn’t put this book down. It’s a great book for readers to flip through and find trivia and information about people, places, buildings, animals, fashion, art, geography, books, energy, environment, inventions, and more. And if you child is like mine, you’ll get to hear all the fascinating facts, too. “Did you know that . . .?” That’s okay. And no, I didn’t know that January was National Oatmeal Month.
The Wing Wing Brothers’ Math Spectacular! by Ethan Long
I’m a big Ethan Long fan, and this book blew me away it was so funny and educational both. (Hard to do.) Plus, it’s a bedtime favorite which I found, well, surprising. Math for bedtime? Cool! In this book we meet the performing Wing Wing brothers: Willy, Woody, Walter, Wendell, and Wilmer. Cartoon illustrations depict their antics in three acts – Act 1: Comparing Amounts, Act 2: Addition and Subtraction, and Act 3: More Addition and Subtraction. For example, we see Woody wheeling out a box. Walter, Willy, Wendell, and Wilmer come out of the box. 1 + 4 = 5. That sort of thing plus crashes and farts.
Counting on Fall by Lizann Flatt illustrated by Ashley Barron
Not only did I love the cut-paper collages, this book is a very engaging nature-themed math picture book. The page with pronghorn antelope asks us to count by twos. We did — there were 90. The monarch butterflies page asks us to count the butterflies by tens — there were 100. Fewer, less, part to whole, first and last, and how to make 10 are just some of the math concepts in this beautiful picture book.
Tushes & Tails! by Stephane Frattini
Yes, this is just what you think it is — a book about butts. Guess whose butt is in the photograph. Lift the flap and see if you’re right. From an elephant to a bee, this will turn you into an animal butt expert!
Open each page and a gigantic eyeball stares out at you. Can you guess who it is? Lift the flap and see if you’re right plus tantalizing tidbits about each animal. For example, we learn that sea turtles cry when they leave the water. “Crying helps them get rid of extra salt in their bodies. Tears also help to keep sand out of a mother turtle’s eyes . . .” A Must-Own!
Nature’s Patchwork Quilt: Understanding Habitats by Mary Miche illustrations by Consie Powell
Designed to mimic a patchwork quilt, this beautiful picture book offers key information for kids, surrounded by squares and rectangles of animals and plants. You’ll linger on each page, pouring over the detailed pictures, imagining you’re in the habitat yourself. I’m happy to see an age-appropriate non-fiction picture book with limited text. Well done!
Unusual Creatures: A Mostly Accurate Account of Some of Earth’s Strangest Animals by Michael Hearst
The aptly named blobfish isn’t as cute as the dugong, another unusual marine animal but neither can compare to the grotesque hagfish. Yuck! Flip through the sketches, maps, read the bizarre information, and imagine your life it before you knew that these animals populated our world.
Seymour Simon’s Extreme Earth Records
Seymour Simon’s books are always my go-to science and nature books. What I love about this new book, is how it invites readers to flip through, pick a photograph and interesting chapter title, and read more. Organized by the ____-est Places on Earth, you’ll learn that the rainiest place is on the island of Kauai, the snowiest place is on Mount Rainier, Washington, and the hottest place is in Death Valley, California. Each chapter is about three pages of information and photographs. This book falls into the category of things that make you say, whoa.
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