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Nonfiction for Young Readers

By Amber Keck, Children’s Librarian

When you think about your reading life as a child, do you remember going through phases?  Maybe you couldn’t get enough of the Berenstain Bears as a preschooler?  Maybe there was a time when Nancy Drew was the only fiction you would read?  A lot of readers might remember devouring nonfiction in the early elementary years.  This trend is still true today, with boys and girls alike asking for nonfiction throughout their elementary years.  Publishing companies invested in children’s reference books have made great strides in producing quality material for all ages.  In the Children’s Room, we have nonfiction books for preschoolers, sixth graders, and every age in between.  Here are some great series of books to consider for your young nonfiction reader.

dk“DK Kids”:  Dorling Kindersley is the world’s leading illustrated reference publisher, and it is very apparent in their kids’ publications.  DK Eyewitness books are aimed at older elementary readers and teens, while DK Eyewonder books are intended for younger elementary readers.  Full of color pictures and information on subjects like animals and history, these books are perfect for children wanting to explore new topics.

“Let’s Read and Find Out Science”: Books in this series range from topics on weather and the earth, to how our bodies work.  Hand-drawn illustrations are used, helping children to transition from picture books to nonfiction.  These books are shorter, intended for preschoolers or younger elementary age students.

“National Geographic Kids”: The National Geographic Society has a wealth of information and photos about the world around us, so it should come as no surprise that their children’s publications are stellar.  The titles are a great stepping stone for early readers, as they each contain a picture glossary, captions, and large text.  This series comes in four reading levels, allowing students to “graduate” to the next level of reading but stay in the same format of book.  National Geographic Kids also has many titles for older readers, such as bird guides, almanacs, and atlases.

“You Wouldn’t Want To” series: Aimed at older readers starting to think critically about science and history, this series examines what it was like to live at a certain time period.  Titles include “You Wouldn’t Want To Sail with Christopher Columbus” or “You Wouldn’t Want To Work on the Great Wall of China.”  Told in second-person narrative, these books allow readers to truly enter into the lives of people in history.

amelia“Childhood of Famous Americans”: This series explores the early years of important American figures.  Though each book is a fictionalized account of one life, the stories are true to the values and experiences of Americans during that time.  Readers can find out what gave Thurgood Marshall a passion for justice, or what made Mark Twain such a gifted and honest writer.

If your children are interested in nonfiction reading, make it a priority to encourage them down this path.  There is so much to learn about history, nature, and how things work.  If you don’t know where to start, ask a librarian.  We will be your advocates in exploring this part of your child’s reading life.

 

 

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Kids, Mercury Column, News, Parents

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What happened today in history?

lunar-landing-9Who knows the significance of July 20, 1969? If you said “the anniversary of man’s first landing on the moon”, you would be correct! Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, Jr. landed lunar module Eagle at 4:17 pm, EDT, and remained on the lunar surface for 21 hours, 36 minutes and 16 seconds.  Learn more about the history of space flight to the moon with these titles.

Posted in: Adult Services

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Science Saturdays: Survival 101

Couldn’t survive five minutes out in the wilderness? Then, this program is for you. Learn the ropes of wilderness survival with Daniel Schapaugh. Katniss and Peeta will have nothing on you after this program. Be there on Saturday, July 19th at 10:00 in the Groesbeck Room. See you there! Recommended for tweens to adults.

Posted in: Adult Services, Children's Dept, For Adults, For Kids, For Teens, Young Adult Dept

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Summer Cloudspotting

cloudsThis summer, take time to study the clouds as they change and move and then learn what they tell us about the weather. Find guidance and inspiration in “The Cloudspotter’s Guide: The Science, History, and Culture of Clouds” by Gavin Pretor-Pinney. It’s a delightful cloud identification guide that offers plenty of helpful illustrations and surprising humor. Another good book for cloud-gazers is “The Book of Clouds” by John A. Day, which includes spectacular photographs, a cluod chart and weather forecasting information. You can find both of these books at the Manhattan Public Library. And remember, look up!

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults

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Science Saturdays: Bug Surprise!

Join us at the library Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. in the Groesbeck Room for Bug Surprise sponsored by the KSU Entomology Department. They will lead us in a hands-on workshop all about insects. The program will include information on insect biology with live specimens that you can touch. They will also go over the importance of insects for humans, both positive and negative aspects. And, for the all the brave souls, there will be an insect cooking and tasting activity! The workshop will be geared towards teens and adults, but is probably appropriate for upper elementary school kids, as well.

Posted in: Adult Services, Children's Dept, For Adults, For Kids, For Teens, Young Adult Dept

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Lola Loves Stories Science Activity

Lola Loves Stories

Living and Nonliving Things

You need:

Lola Loves Stories by Anna McQuinn

Plastic jungle & farm animals, toy cups, airplane, bus, tractor

What to do:

  1. Read the book
  2. Look back at all the things Lola pretends
  3. Bring out the props that go with each pretend
  4. Discuss which items are alive and which items are not alive
  5. Explain that living things grow and change
  6. Explain the three things all living things need:
    1. Shelter
    2. Food
    3. Water
    4. Ask children to categorize the toys based on living and nonliving

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Kids, Parents

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Mad Sci Network

The madsci.org web page is full of information and website links on science topics.  Get ideas for science fair, help with your homework, or learn some fascinating new trivia.  Remember, our October 17 Homeschool Afternoon will be all about science with lots of hands on activities, and our big Mad Scientist Party is scheduled for October 26. Get your goggles ready!

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Kids, Parents

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Mythbusters lab at Discovery Kids online

This is a fun site just for kids that uses the ideas from the popular show Mythbusters to experiment and show kids what is fact and what is fiction.  How can you really get rid of the smell if a skunk sprays you?  What happens when you combine Mentos and Coke?  Are beans the magical fruit?  Mythbusters lab will not only tell you the truth, but explain why.

Mythbusters Lab

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Kids, Parents

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