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 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.
“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.