A couple of our current non-fiction picks.
Non-fiction books for kids are usually associated with school projects and homework. As older kids begin to develop specialized hobbies and interests, they may reach for a book about a particular subject to learn more about it or to look up instructions on how to make or do something. This is fantastic, and I love helping the school-aged kids who come to the library where I work find just the right book to teach them to make an origami ninja-star, or a biography of their favorite athlete. However, I highly encourage parents of even the littlest kids–preschoolers, toddlers, or even babies–to consider non-fiction books as part of a child’s everyday storytime material.
What better way to help a child learn about the great, big, world (and universe!) they live in than to share books that can answer their questions and teach them in a fun way. I don’t believe in pressuring kids to memorize facts at a young age, but when Simon shows great interest in something I try to expose him to more about the topic in order to foster a love of learning. A recent example is when he told me he liked peacocks. I found a couple of books on peacocks at the library that featured large pictures and simple information. These became part of our family storytime, with me reading aloud the bits and pieces of the book I thought he might find interesting, while he excitedly pointed at the color photographs of the peacock’s feathers, or of the pea chicks hatching from their eggs. He also loves large construction vehicles, and there seems to be a plethora of books on this subject geared toward smaller children, many of which have come home from the library for him to devour.
There are many excellent non-fiction books out there for the youngest kids. Some recommendations are:
The Eye-Like Nature board books.
I have recommended these here on the blog before because we have enjoyed them so much as a family. Even when he was still an infant, Simon loved having us read these simple but well-presented books, each one focusing on a different element of nature, such as sticks, stones, snow, or leaves. (The leaf one is perfect for this Autumn time of year we are having.)
Never underestimate a toddler’s ability to learn such big words as “excavator” or “forklift”. I was stunned the way Simon was able to learn the differences between these things and point them out to me after reading books like the one above. Books by Roger Priddy feature everything from first words for baby, to books on trucks, trains, animals, and more.
This is one of my favorite books to recommend when I am working at the library. Any kid with interest in animals will delight in seeing photographs of them, actual size. You’ll be amazed too, as you look at the close-up of the elephant’s eye, or unfold the pages to reveal just how big some of these creatures are, and see the details in their skin or fur. There are more books in this series now as well, from a zoo animals sequel, to books focused on aquarium or farm creatures.
These are just a few of the great offerings out there. The next time your child says they want to be a giraffe for Halloween, or shows a keen interest in outer-space, consider picking up a book about it on your next trip to the library.
Please feel free to share your non-fiction pics in the comments. I love hearing about the books other families enjoy!