Every month or so, I share new nonfiction children’s books that are appealing to kids, excellent in writing, and valuable in content. I do this because our kids must read both fiction and nonfiction. It’s vital.
Why? Becuase kids need to learn how to comprehend informational text for school and life. Reading more in this genre is the best way to become better at this different kind of comprehension.
Keep your kids reading nonfiction with good books like these…
25 New Nonfiction Books
Listen to the Language of Trees: A Story of How Forest Communicate Underground by Tera Kelley, illustrated by Marie Hermansson
TREES / FORESTS
In a busy forest of plants and animals, a squirrel grabs a pinecone and buries it. In that pinecone hung a seed that rests underground. The seed listens to the trees talk to each other through their roots. And a giant tree sends the little seed nourishment. Beautiful, descriptive writing with action verbs show the seedling waiting and watching as danger arrives and how the forest communicates.
I Am the Subway by Kim Hyo-eun, translated by Deborah Smith
Written in first-person, the subway explains to readers what its job is–and shares vignettes about the people who ride the subway. Granny gets on at City Hall and brings the strong, salty smell of the sea because she grew up diving in the ocean to bring fresh fish to her family. As people fill the train, it feels like a little family of strangers you might never meet again.
Peculiar Primates Fun Facts About These Curious Creatures by Debra Kempf Shumaker, illustrated by Claire Powell
Learn about playful primates in rhyming text! Some primates hunt, some wear cute mustaches, others thump their chests or howl, some live alone, and others live in groups. A playful take on the curiosities of the variety of primates who populate the world.
Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story by Danielle Greendeer, Anthony Perry, and Alexis Bunten, illustrated by Garry Meeches Sr.
Learn the story of Weeachumun (corn) and the first Thanksgiving from the Wampanoag perspective, and how they helped the Pilgrims who didn’t understand or respect Weeachumun. But Weeachumun told the First Peoples to help the newcomers by bringing them corn and her sisters, crab apples, and chokecherries, and help them learn to fish. Many First Peoples consider this day to be a day of mourning, not thanksgiving.
Pizza: A Slice of History by Greg Pizzoli
Pizza fans, check out these tasty tidbits, history, and facts about your favorite food. Where did pizza originate? Greece or Persia? Or Naples, Italy when a man named Raffaele Esposito created a pizza with tomatoes. One or two sentences per page, this informative book hits the right spot for ages 4 to 8 year olds.
Am I a Frog? by Lizzy Rockwell
Don’t miss this fantastic nonfiction easy reader! The simple text narrates a conversation between a tadpole and the author. The author answers the tadpole’s questions and explains to the tadpole about his characteristics now (gills like a fish, a tail that helps him swim) and the upcoming change into a grog (grow front legs, shorter tail, and jumping out of water).
A Land of Books: Dreams of Young Mexican Word Painters by Duncan Tonatiuh
The little brother’s sister explains to him how their people make paper which they turn into handcrafted books, then how the books are painted to create codices to document their lives, rituals, history, and more. It’s a celebration of the Mesoamerican Mexiheah (Aztec) culture and the painters of words that capture the Aztec heritage, all illustrated in iconic Tonatiuh style/
The Tide Pool Waits by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Amy Hevron
Read about the ecology within the biome of a tidepool –– and you’ll want to observe a tidepool in person– I know that I do. “Sea anemones bloom on the rocks. Shrimp paddle out of the seaweed. Tubeworms poke from the sand while sea slugs slither across sponge.” The tidepool teams with life, creatures, and plants, busy for a time, and waiting for the waves.
Over and Under the Waves by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
Follow a family kayaking in the ocean as they paddle and notice what’s in the sky and the ocean’s surface like the whales breaching. Below them, the ocean teams with life — both plants and animals. As always, the evocative writing shares memorable details and vivid verbs. “Under the waves, leopard sharks prowl,” and “Barnacles pull in their feather feet, while treefish and prawns tuck away in the rocks.” Once again, Messner illuminates the wonders of the world’s biggest ecosystem with the unique over/under pattern.
Raising Don: The True Story of a Spunky Baby Tapir by Georgeanne Irvine
Follow the life of a baby Baird’s tapir born at the San Diego zoo-– and learn about tapirs as you do. Full-color photos, an interesting design, and interesting information.
Little Platypus by Anna Brett, illustrated by Rebeca Pintos
Platypus narrates his life to us in an engaging first-person point of view. You’ll learn about where he lives, his characteristics, how he finds food using electroreception, and other information about these cute animals. Back matter includes additional fun facts and activities.
Honeybee Rescue: A Backyard Drama by Loree Griffin Burns, photos by Ellen Harasimowicz
Straightforward and fact-filled, this book is dramatic and very interesting. When Mr. Connery discovers a new hive in his barn, he hires Mr. Connery to help him rehome the bees to a new hive. But it’s trickier than you might think. The narration is accompanied by color photographs.
Illumibugs: Explore the world of minibeasts with your magic 3 color lens by Carnovsky, illustrated by Barbara Taylor
SEARCH AND FIND / BUGS
Hold up the detachable color lens up to the colorful illustrations organized by continent, and you’ll see bugs POP out and off the pages! Informational text pages in black and white provide more information on each bug so readers can learn about the bugs they see. FUN!
Narwhal The Arctic Unicorn by Justin Anderson, illustrated by Jo Weaver
NARWHAL / OCEAN ANIMALS
The informational and narrative text follows an old narwhal and his pod as they journey north for the summer. They must find places to surface for breath that are safe from polar bears. When they arrive in the north, the females birth baby calves whom they need to keep safe from killer whales. The pod journies south when the seasons change again before they get trapped by the freezing ice.
What a Blast! Fart Games, Fart Puzzles, Fart Pranks, and More Farts! by Julie Winterbottom, illustrated by Clau Souza
FART ACTIVITY BOOK
If you love bodily functions and crack up at farts, here’s an entire activity book about farts, different kinds of farts, stories about farts, and more. Flatulence and butts are everywhere!
The Hanmoji Handbook Your Guide to the Chinese Language Through Emoji by Jason Li, An Xiao Mina, and Jennifer 8. Lee
A cute little pig character guides readers through this book of Chinese characters and emojis that make Hanmoji and help kids learn the Chinese language. For each character, you’ll read the word in Mandarin Pinyin and Cantonese Jyutping which use letters from the English alphabet, the Chinese characters, the simplified Chinese character, then an illustration in the form of an emoji. The book introduces words of the five elements, people words, and phrases. My eldest daughter LOVES this book!
Concrete From the Ground Up by Larissa Theule, illustrated by Steve Light
BUILDING / ENGINEERING
Well-written and interesting, learn about concrete and how it was used throughout history thousands of years before humans invented the wheel. The appealing illustrations by Steve Light include dialogue bubbles with facts, also. Read how engineers used concrete, how a new recipe of concrete changed everything, and some impressive structures made from concrete such as the Salginatobel Bridge in Switzerland and the Sydney Opera House in Australia.
Killer Underwear Invasion! How to Spot Fake News, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories by Elise Gravel
NEWS SOURCES & FAKE NEWS
This is a clearly organized informational book that will teach kids about fake news — and how to find reliable sources of information. (In a nutshell.) Comic panels filled with humor and facts will make the information digestible and easy to understand.
Curtain’s Up: Behind the Scenes at the Royal Opera House illustrated by Lauren O’Hara
THEATER / DANCE
Explore what’s off-stage and behind the scenes during performances of The Nutcracker at the London Royal Opera House. Read about the costume department including wigs and hats, the prop department which includes an armory, rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms, an orchestra pit, and much more. Watercolor illustrations draw the eye, and the informational text details each area and includes bolded vocabulary words.
How to Draw Diverse Manga by Saturday AM
If you love manga but want more diverse versions, this book shows ways to draw faces, hairstyles, and body types that represent the diversity in the world.
Built by Animals: Meet the Creatures Who Inspire our Homes and Cities by Christine Dorian, illustrated by Yeji Yun
Learn about animal construction — from the animals’ home-building materials to their designs and more. This book is fascinating and the illustrations are engaging.
Animal BFFs by Sophie Corrigan
I’ve poured over this book because the writing is engaging and the information about unusual animals who live together is interesting. I particularly love the funny dialogue bubbles of conversation between animal duos that you haven’t ever heard about — like warthogs and banded mongooses or ruby-throated hummingbirds and spiders– and why they’re paired up.
A Natural History of Mermaids by Emily Hawkins, illustrated by Jessica Roux
Dense with text but also with illustrations, this huge tome details mermaid anatomy, behavior, lifecycles, enemies, different kinds of mermaids in the world, underwater garden plants, and much more.
Romans Magnified by David Long, illustrated by Daniel Spacek
ROMAN HISTORY — SEARCH & FIND
Detailed illustrations on each two-page spread show Roman life including the army, family, market, roads, the slave market, aqueducts, and more. Use the magnifying glass to help you spot the 10 items described on each page. Those items include a sentence or two about them — like sleeping senators and long meetings. Each spread also includes several paragraphs of information on the topic.