Most kids love animals which make them a GREAT way to get kids reading — particularly reading nonfiction.
Notable Nonfiction Animal Books for Kids
We Dig Worms! by Kevin McCloskey (ages 6 – 8)
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! (This book is on my BEST CHILDREN’S NONFICTION BOOKS OF 2016 list.)
The Real Poop on Pigeons! by Kevin McCloskey (ages 6 – 8)
When this engaging early reader book shows a man saying how he doesn’t like pigeons, kids dressed up like pigeons tell him how much more there is to know — besides that they poop all over. (Kids love poop in any story!) We learn how fasts pigeons can fly (faster than a car!), how they carried the first airmail, that they are in the same family as doves, and the many wild varieties of pigeons made by breeders, . . . The fun facts are actually fun — Picasso named his daughter after pigeons and the Dodo bird is a pigeon. Who knew!? Readers will be as convinced as the man in this story that pigeons are pretty wonderful but the end. Not like squirrels. Now those are pests. 🙂
A Goofy Guide to Penguins by Jean-Luc Coudray & Philippe Coudray (ages 6 – 8)
A mix of groan-worthy penguin jokes and cool penguin facts, this is a delightful nonfiction graphic novel for beginning readers. The illustrations often answer the questions posed by the narrator penguin and are almost always silly.
Listen to Our World by Bill Martin Jr. & Michel Sampson, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Listen to the world around you . . . the squawk of the parrots in the kapok tree in the rain forest, the weee-aaa of the eagles in the mountains, the snap of the crocodiles of the marshland. Sweet’s gorgeous artwork exquisitely captures this auditory journey of animals, their habitats, and their sounds.
Miró’s Magic Animals by Antony Penrose
The author, Tony, narrates about the life and work of a surrealist painter friend of his parents. His style is conversational. He asks probing questions about the paintings to engage readers — “Can you see the rabbit?” Not only that, his commentary sparks further observation of the paintings — “I don’t think the cat wants to jump anywhere“. He shares photographs of his childhood and Miro who visited his farm in England. This is a wonderful and very personal account of the great Spanish artist, Joan Miró.
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!
Paws of Courage True Tales of Heroic Dogs That Protect and Serve by Nancy Furstinger (National Geographic) (ages 8 – 12)
Wow! The stories in this small but compact book will impress and astonish you — and if you aren’t a dog lover, you will be after reading about these devoted dogs. (see my big list of dog books: Children’s Books About Dogs)
The Big Book of Bugs by Yuval Zoomer
Well, this is truly a BIG book. Whimsical, illustrated bugs dance across the pages paired with simple information text. I like that it’s written in a conversational way with plenty of questions so that children engage with the illustrations and text and that there’s not too much text to overwhelm children.