Latest Nonfiction Books for Your Summer Reading
The Dictionary of Difficult Words by Jane Solomon, illustrated by Louise Lockhart
Want a mesmerizing book that is even better than a word-a-day calendar? This oversized dictionary contains the coolest selection of 400 words that kids will love to learn beginning with abecedarian (someone who is learning the alphabet) continuing to Zeppelin. Each letter gives readers about 15 new words to learn. This includes the word, pronunciation, part of speech, and definition. You’ll find haberdashery, ichthyologist, luddite and mugwump, mulligrubs, mumpsimus, and mishpocha. Read one of these words (or more) every day. Then try to use it at least a few times in a sentence. It won’t be too onerous and you won’t be ramfeezled; in fact, learning new words might just be a salubrious experience because you’ll soon become a sesquipedalian.
ADDED TO: Picture Books Celebrating Words
Hummingbird by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Jane Ray
Delicate flowers explode on each page. The hummingbird in a girl’s garden in Central America then travels north just like the little girl does when she moves to New York City. It’s a charming story of migration and Latin American culture as well as a beautiful celebration of nature. Added to: Beautiful Books About Birds
Karl’s New Beak by Lela Nargi
3-D PRINTING / ANIMAL REHAB
Engineering and technology align with science in this true story about a hornbill named Karl. Karl can barely eat due to his worn beak, the zoo’s staff decide to make an artificial beak made. It takes several models and experimentation for them to find a beak that will work — but they figure it out! Even though it has to be glued back on every few months, Karl doesn’t mind. He can eat whatever he wants now. It’s a fantastic story of trial and error, persistence, and real-life problem-solving!
Is 2 a Lot? by Annie Watson, illustrated by Rebecca Evans
Use this delightful picture book to talk about numbers and perspective with your preschoolers and early elementary-age kids. A little boy and his mommy talk about numbers from two to one hundred. For each number, she explains that some things are a lot and some are a little. For example, 3 is not a lot of books but 3 is a lot of broken bones. Or 100 is not a lot of snowflakes but 100 is a lot of candles on a cake.
One is a Piñata A Book of Numbers by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, illustrated by John Parra
The rhyming text highlights Spanish objects and words. I love that these aren’t necessarily words that non-Spanish speaking kids will know. They (and you) can use the illustrations and context clues to figure out what the words mean. “Four are bolillos just waiting to dip in four cups of chocolate but first take a sip.” For kids that do speak both English and Spanish, this book celebrates bilingualism and culture! It’s fun, festive, and affirming. Educational, too. I love this new book in an already fabulous series! Added to: Best Counting Books for Kids.
If DaVinci Painted a Dinosaur by Amy Newbold, illustrated by Greg Newbold
Introduce children to great artists like Grandma Moses, Mary Cassat, DaVinci, Qi Baishi, Alma Thomas, and so many more! I adore this book’s engaging illustrations showing the style of each famous artist. You’ll see Degas’ dinosaurs turning pirouettes, Matisse’s colorful paper dinosaurs, Warhol’s dinosaur soup, and even the Dino Lisa. Playful, relatable, and instructive.
An Inconvenient Alphabet by Beth Andreson, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
This book is for anyone who has wondered why English spelling is so tricky! You’ll read how both Benjamin Franklin and Noah Webster wanted to change English to make it easier. They even made up a new convenient alphabet as well as totally phonetical spellings but it didn’t catch on. It would have NO silent letters, no double letters and only one vowel for short sounds and two for long sounds. For example — thum not thumb and spel for spell and hed for head. But believe it or not, the people didn’t like it their spelling reform ideas. Eventually, Webster decided that if people wouldn’t change, he would write up a Dictionary of the English language in 1806 that contained 37,000 words, only some of which he changed.
Spend it! A Moneybunny Book by Cinders McLeod
Cute cartoony pictures help tell this relatable story about a young bunny named Sonny who is debating how to spend his money. He’s having trouble choosing so his mom helps him look at what each thing costs. Sonny considers what he can afford as well as what he will love. This book will be a helpful teaching tool about money and budgets.
Little Kids First Big Book of Science by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
Buy this book for your primary classroom or homeschool, it’s a beautiful presentation of science concepts including life science, earth and space, physical science, and inventions. Eye-pleasing, colorful photographs and layouts make this kid-friendly and readable.
Book of Flight: 10 Record-Breaking Animals with Wings by Gabrielle Balkan, illustrated by Sam Brewster
This cool, oversized picture book gives readers clues about unique flying creatures then asks readers to guess the bird using the clues and the illustration. For example, when trying to guess the fastest flyer, you’ll read that the bird migrates to Asia, swallows flying ants and bees for breakfast, and was named for the needle-like tips of its tail feathers. Turn the page to find the answer… a white-throated needletail. Even cooler, the answer has a full-color, textured illustration plus more information. The animals in this book include an emperor dragonfly, a Philippine eagle, a Madagascan flying fox, and a California flying fish.
The Moviemaking Magic of Marvel Studios Heroes + Villains by Eleni Roussos
You’ll find all the recent Marvel movies except for the latest one (“End Game”) — starting with Captain America and ending with Ant-Man and the Wasp. It’s a dense book primarily about the concepts and reasoning behind each character’s costumes and the CGI to make it happen. There are tons of incredible fold-out concept art illustrations for different characters plus lift-the-flap CG reveals or steps in the production to make a character like Red Skull, for example. Fans of Marvel movies will want to own this book!!
The Heart of a Boy by Kate T. Parker
INSPIRATION / BOYS
I love The Heart of the Boy SO MUCH! It’s a joyful celebration of boys — which I think we need right now! Because do you notice that sometimes in our efforts to elevate girls, we put boys down? That is not only unnecessary, but it also’s demeaning and sends the wrong message…We should never put someone down to raise someone else up. I hope this book sparks a productive and positive conversation about what is wonderful and special about boys as well as how to raise boys to be men of character and integrity. 200 amazing photographs capture emotion and action so vividly! (Swipe to see!!) I could look at this book for hours!! Plus, each photo is paired with a snapshot story about the boy in the photo which not unlike Humans of New York says so much about the boy’s story with just a sentence or two.
Can You Crack the Code? A Fascinating History of Ciphers and Cryptography by Ella Schwartz, illustrated by Lily Williams
CODES – STEM
This book is perfect for children who love to solve puzzles and think deeply. Even better, it’s very well written, flowing with information that makes sense so you’ll want to keep reading. This book intersperses activities, puzzles, insets of information, bolded words, biographies and more throughout the text — I’m very impressed! I can see homeschoolers using this book as a teaching tool or families reading it together just for fun.
Commas Say Take a Break by Michael Dahl, illustrated by Chris Garbutt
Commas are never in a hurry explain the commas who narrate this story and share tips in dialogue bubbles. While some text explains what commas can do, the rest is a story about a whale and his friends, the jellyfish and the seagulls, who write letters to the whale when she’s on a trip. I’m so impressed by how skillfully the story and the instruction are woven together.
ADDED TO: Picture Books that Teache Grammar, Figurative Language, and Punctuation
Exclamation Points Say Wow by Michael Dahl, illustrated by Chris Garbutt
Exclamation points!! In this story, they’re backstage at the theater. Learn what they do and read the examples of exclamation points making their point.
ADDED TO: Picture Books that Teache Grammar, Figurative Language, and Punctuation
The Book of Ingeniously Daring Chemistry 24 Experiments for Young Scientists by Sean Connolly
FASCINATING! I love the writing in this book because it makes chemistry really understandable and interesting. You’ll read about an element on the periodic table then do a related experiment. For example, you might learn how iron oxidizes by submerging steel wool in vinegar. Or learn about magnesium with an Epsom salts crystalizing experiment.
Super Hero Science (DC Comics) by Jennifer Hackett
SCIENCE – STEM
The author connects science and fan-favorite DC superheroes. For example, if your child likes the Atom, they’ll learn more about physics, matter, and atoms. Fans of Aquaman and Meraearn will enjoy reading how fish breath underwater using gills to get oxygen. This book covers soundwaves, eyesight, simple machines, and much more plus contains experiments for kids to do at home from as easy as a paper airplane to as complicated as a spectroscope. Bright colors, enticing graphics, and solid science make this a great choice for young scientists.
Added to: Superhero Books for Kids
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