Non-fiction gets a bad rap for being boring and dry and I’ll admit I’ve thought the same thing. But there are actually a plethora of high interest and entertaining non-fiction books out there! I have especially discovered a lot among the picture books I have read with my kids. Below are some that we particularly enjoyed.
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The Boo-Boos That Changed the World by Barry Wittenstein
This entertaining book tells the true story of the husband wife team who invented Band-Aids. It’s a wonderful story of perseverance, because it wasn’t just a matter of having a brilliant idea and then the work was done. The book does a great job of poking fun at this by saying at various times “They lived happily ever after. The end. Oh wait…” My son found that aspect very entertaining. The book would be great for aspiring entrepreneurs, because it shows the many steps and aspects of making a product work, but it is also a great read for kids about 4 years old and up because of the engaging way it is written.
Hippos Are Huge by Jonathon London
I had no idea how dangerous and intense hippos were until I read this book! It was pretty fascinating and was very well written. It has short text so it can be read with young children, but there is additional reading on each page as well. My kids love reading this one and especially enjoy the part about hippos having battles with their poop ;).
I have a post full of our favorite non-fiction picture books about animals coming soon!
The Street Beneath My Feet and The Skies Above My Eyes by Charlotte Guillain
My son loved this book that folds out to be much longer than him and is double-sided! He was really interested in reading everything that takes place underneath the ground- all the way to the core and back! The Skies Above My Eyes releases very soon and we haven’t had read it yet, but it looks like it will be another amazing book!
The Crayon Man by Natascha Biebow
Another engaging invention story, this one tells the story of the man who created the Crayola crayon through listening, innovation, and experimentation because he sought to bring color to children. My kids loved this one and asked for many rereads. It’s full of bright, appealing illustrations and they loved learning about the process of how crayons were (and currently are) made.
Lego Man in Space by Mara Shaughnessy
I would have thought this was just another in a long line of Lego books if it weren’t for the words “a true story” on the cover. It tells the story of the two boys who invented and executed a plan to send their Lego man into space. What a great example of innovation, creativity, and scientific ingenuity!
Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind by Cynthia Grady
A loving librarian + horribly mistreated people + a true story= me getting emotional while reading. This one tells the story of a librarian who had many of her beloved young patrons sent away to the Japanese internment camps during World War II and how she did everything she could to help. She wrote to them regularly, sent them books, crafts, and toiletries, visited them, and advocated on their behalf by writing about the children’s plight. Such a moving story!
John Ronald’s Dragons by Caroline McAlister
I loved this picture book biography about J.R.R. Tolkien and had a great time reading it with my son. The text was not overly long or complex so he was easily engaged the whole time. The illustrations are so fun and intricate with significant details she woven in throughou. My son was trying to spot dragon shapes on all the pages.
You can see my full post of all my favorite Recently Released Picture Book Biographies!
I read Winnie by Sally Walker when it came out a couple years ago and was really interested to find out that there was an actual bear who had been taken in by a soldier and later placed in the London Zoo where he inspired the son of an author to name his stuffed bear after it. When I read this book to my son and his friend they gasped in excitement when I read about the boy named Christopher Robin visiting the zoo.
Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick came out shortly after and is written by the great granddaughter of the soldier who found and cared for Winnie. It is told from the perspective of the author telling the story to her young son. I really liked the personalized way the story is told as the boy discovers his heritage. The book won a Caledott medal for its illustrations and has been a very popular and admired book.
A children’s chapter book called Winnie’s Great War which is by the same author and illustrator as Finding Winnie will be released September 2018 and will tell more of Winnie’s story!
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
I loved the movie Hidden Figures so I was really excited when this picture book was released! I read it with my son and we took our time reading it and discussing it as we went. A lot of good conversations happened about racial and gender inequality, engineering and math, and working hard for your dreams. After reading it he said he wants to be an engineer when he grows up.
Long May She Wave: The True Story of Caroline Pickersgill and Her Star-Spangled Creation by Kristen Fulton
This tells the true story a girl who, along with several other women and girls, helped make a huge flag to fly at Fort McHenry that was big enough for the British to see as they attacked. Seeing that flag was the inspiration for what became America’s national anthem.
Check out more non-fiction books related to America on my Patriotic and 4th of July Books post
Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers
In a fun approach to non-fiction this book tells the history of the Statue of Liberty and changes the way you think about it by pointing out that the statue is actually walking. The book is thick with more than 100 pages, but it’s actually not a long read with only a sentence per page and a very fast-paced narrative.
Anybody’s Game by Heather Lang
I loved this biography that tells the story of Kathryn Johnson, who was the first girl to play Little League Baseball. The way it’s written flows like a high interest story and it’s not full of dates and facts, so it doesn’t read like a slow non-fiction at all. Sports were a huge part of my childhood and I can’t imagine being banned from playing while watching my brothers and other boys play instead. I had no idea how long it took for girls to be allowed to play despite so many girls desperately wanting to.
There are several more non-fiction baseball stories on my Baseball Picture Books post.
The Brilliant Deep by Kate Messner
Beautifully illustrated and narrated, this book tells the story of the man fighting to restore the world’s coral reefs. I love the message it conveys of the power of influence of just one person.
Ice Cream: The Full Scoop by Gail Gibbons
Who doesn’t want to read about ice cream?! The text is child friendly with plenty of pictures to show how everything works. This book is where I learned how waffle cones were invented and I’ve never forgot it!
Walk This World lift the flap books from Big Picture Press
My kids love a good lift the flap book and will read them over and over again! This series is really great with its wide format, hidden flaps to lift, and educational information included. We like the newer books in the series the best (Walk this Underground World and Walk This Wild World because the flaps are a bit easier to lift and the books felt more sturdy overall.
I will add to this list as I find more favorites so you can pin this list to easily find it again later.