Non-fiction: Books For Kids

Something Rotten book
#1
Something Rotten
Written by Heather L. Montgomery and illustrated by Kevin O'Malley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-11

When Heather L. Montgomery sees a rattlesnake flattened on the side of the road, her first instinct is to pick it up and dissect it—she’s always wanted to see how a snake’s fangs retract when they close their mouths, and it’s not exactly safe to poke around in a live reptile’s mouth. A wildlife researcher with a special penchant for the animals that litter the roadways, Heather isn’t satisfied with dissecting just one snake. Her fascination with roadkill sets her off on a journey from her own backyard and the roadways of the American South to scientists and kids in labs and homes across the globe. From biologists who use the corpses of Tasmanian devils to investigate cures for a contagious cancer, to a scientist who discovered a whole new species of bird from a single wing left behind, to a boy rebuilding animal bodies from the bones up, to a restaurant that serves up animal remnants, Heather discovers that death is just the beginning for these creatures. This engaging narrative nonfiction is an eye-opening and irreverent look at the dead and dying animals that we pass by without a second thought—as well as a fascinating insight to the scientific research process.

Pocket Bios: Coco Chanel book
#2
Pocket Bios: Coco Chanel
Written and illustrated by Al Berenger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A colorfully illustrated, pocket-size picture book biography of renowned fashion designer Coco Chanel. Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel, French fashion designer and businesswoman, is famous for founding the famous Chanel brand and for popularizing a new, more sporty and relaxed aesthetic for women’s clothing. Follow Chanel’s life and accomplishments from her childhood in Saumur to her eventual creation of the successful couture empire she’s known for today. These colorful, pocket-size biographies are full of personality, introducing readers to fascinating figures from history with simple storytelling and cheerful illustrations. Pocket Bios titles include men and women from history, exploration, the sciences, the arts, the ancient world, and more.

How Do Computers Follow Instructions? book
#3
How Do Computers Follow Instructions?
Written by J.T. Liso and illustrated by Srimalie Bassani
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Have you ever wondered how computers follow instructions so well or how they do math so quickly? Basic principles of coding, including variables, binary code, loops, programming languages, and more, are explored through diagrams, photos, and informative and engaging text. 

About the How Do series: These fully-illustrated nonfiction picture books are a great introduction to various STEM topics. Each title includes facts and figures, simple diagrams and hilarious illustrations and is written in a question-and-answer format to encourage readers to ask questions and guess the answers before exploring the science behind the correct answers.

Hello, Baby Beluga book
#4
Hello, Baby Beluga
Written and illustrated by Darrin Lunde
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Take a trip to the Arctic with Baby Beluga.

Pre-readers and beginning readers meet the adorable and playful baby beluga whale. The questions that kids will have for the baby beluga are answered simply and clearly by the baby whale himself. Young learners discover that baby belugas stay close to their mothers and live in large pods, they eat shrimp and fish and other sea creatures, and they can make many sounds like chirps, moos, whistles, and more.

HELLO, BABY BELUGA is perfect for reading aloud at story hour and bed time.

Patricia Wynne illustrates baby beluga’s icy blue north Atlantic home and lets children get up close to these fascinating and friendly creatures.

Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing book
#5
Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing
Written by Kay Haring and illustrated by Robert Neubecker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Iconic pop artist Keith Haring comes to life for young readers in this picture book biography lovingly written by his sister

This one-of-a-kind book explores the life and art of Keith Haring from his childhood through his meteoric rise to fame. It sheds light on this important artist’s great humanity, his concern for children, and his disregard for the establishment art world. Reproductions of Keith’s signature artwork appear in scenes boldly rendered by Robert Neubecker. This is a story to inspire, and a book for Keith Haring fans of all ages to treasure.

  1. A Turtle's Dangerous Journey - Animals face scary challenges every day! These narrative nonfiction books focus on describing the changes to animals habitats that affect the animal’s way of life-or even puts their species at risk of dying out! Readers will learn about the reasons for changes in habitats that affect animals and small steps they can take to help protect them. A turtle is making her way across a highway to find a nesting spot. She avoids being run over, only to find trash in the nesting grounds which will attract predators to her eggs. Will the turtle survive this dangerous journey? This narrative nonfiction title includes a range map, notes on how to help turtles, further resources, and a glossary.

  2. A Wild Cat's Shrinking Home - Animals face scary challenges every day! These narrative nonfiction books focus on describing the changes to animals habitats that affect the animal’s way of life-or even puts their species at risk of dying out! Readers will learn about the reasons for changes in habitats that affect animals and small steps they can take to help protect them. A mother Canada lynx is on the hunt for snowshoe hares to feed her litter of kittens. Deforestation and construction development have pushed preyaway from this lynx’s home area. How far will she have to travel to find food? This narrative nonfiction title includes a range map, notes on how to help lynxes, further resources, and a glossary.

  3. A Bee's Difficult Search for Food - Animals face scary challenges every day! These narrative nonfiction books focus on describing the changes to animals habitats that affect the animal’s way of life-or even puts their species at risk of dying out! Readers will learn about the reasons for changes in habitats that affect animals and small steps they can take to help protect them. A scout bee is searching for food for the hive, but finds building development where flowers used to be. She must avoid pesticides and swatting humans. Will she find any nectar for the hive? This narrative nonfiction title includes a range map, notes on how to help bees, further resources, and a glossary.

  4. Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe - Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe. On the outside, you couldn’t find two girls who looked more different. But on the inside, they were alike—full of hopes and dreams and plans of what might be. Ella Fitzgerald’s velvety tones and shube-doobie-doos captivated audiences. Jazz greats like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington couldn’t wait to share the stage with her, but still, Ella could not book a performance at one of the biggest clubs in town—one she knew would give her career its biggest break yet. Marilyn Monroe dazzled on the silver screen with her baby blue eyes and breathy boo-boo-be-doos. But when she asked for better scripts, a choice in who she worked with, and a higher salary, studio bosses refused. Two women whose voices weren’t being heard. Two women chasing after their dreams and each helping the other to achieve them. This is the inspiring, true story of two incredibly talented women who came together to help each other shine like the stars that they are.

Amazing Animals book
#10
Amazing Animals
Written by and illustrated by Peter David Scott
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Discover the incredible diversity of the natural world through Peter David Scott’s stunning illustrations of animals in their native habitats. Peter David Scott’s richly detailed and colorful artwork brings the beauty of the natural world into your hands in this collection of amazing animals from around the world. From the western gorilla of the African rain forests to the colossal squid that resides deep beneath the sea, animals from every habitat are featured on these pages. A field guide—complete with pencil sketches of each animal—presents the reader with more facts about these creatures.

Do You Really Want to Meet Iguanodon? book
#11
Do You Really Want to Meet Iguanodon?
Written by Annette Bay Pimentel and illustrated by Daniele Fabbri
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Six new titles in this popular adventure series feature various dinosaurs that once roamed the earth. Child adventurers become time travelers and make firsthand observations about the dinosaurs. Delightful illustrations and carefully crafted text help the stories come alive, making these books both educational and entertaining. A young child adventures back in time to 125 million years ago to meet an Iguanodon, learning about what this dinosaur ate, its size, and how it traveled in a herd. This illustrated narrative nonfiction title includes a range map, glossary, and further resources.

A Bat Colony's Search for a New Home book
#12
A Bat Colony's Search for a New Home
Written by Mary Ellen Klukow and illustrated by Albert Pinilla
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Animals face scary challenges every day! These narrative nonfiction books focus on describing the changes to animals habitats that affect the animal’s way of life-or even puts their species at risk of dying out! Readers will learn about the reasons for changes in habitats that affect animals and small steps they can take to help protect them. A big-eared bat colony is disturbed from hibernation and must find a new place to rest until spring. Some bats will roost with a colony infected with white-nose syndrome and others must avoid a predatory farm cat. Will the colony find a place to hibernate? This narrative nonfiction title includes a range map, notes on how to help bats, further resources, and a glossary.

The Wright Brothers: Nose-Diving into History book
#13
The Wright Brothers: Nose-Diving into History
Written by Erik Slader and Ben Thompson and illustrated by Tim Foley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A hilarious nonfiction look at two of history’s most epic “failures”: the Wright brothers, whose countless crashes and biggest failures led to ultimate success. Although the Wright Brothers are now celebrated as heroes for their groundbreaking contributions to science and engineering as the first men to successfully manage powered, piloted flight, their eventual success was built on the back of a lot of nosedives. It took the self-taught engineers years of work and countless crashes before they managed to remain airborne for a mere twelve seconds! In this hilarious first installment of the Epic Fails series, Ben Thompson and Erik Slader take readers through the the Wright Brothers’ many failed attempts at flight before achieving their groundbreaking success, laying the foundation for aviation as we know it today.

A Frog's Dangerous Home book
#14
A Frog's Dangerous Home
Written by Mary Ellen Klukow and illustrated by Albert Pinilla
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Animals face scary challenges every day! These narrative nonfiction books focus on describing the changes to animals habitats that affect the animal’s way of life-or even puts their species at risk of dying out! Readers will learn about the reasons for changes in habitats that affect animals and small steps they can take to help protect them. A yellow-legged mountain frog wakes from hibernation is on the hunt for a meal and a mate. Pollution, invasive fish, and a deadly fungus make hisday dangerous. Will he survive until he can find a mate? This narrative nonfiction title includes a range map, notes on how to help frogs and other amphibians, further resources, and a glossary.

  1. All About Animals! - Learn all about your favorite animals with this nonfiction lift-the-flap board book! Did you know that bees have eyes but they don’t have ears? Did you know that chickens can’t fly? Or that zebras sleep standing up? Filled with tons of cool facts about all of your favorite animals, plus colorful flaps to lift, this nonfiction board book is fact-filled and interactive!

  2. Rickie & Henri - Rickie the chimpanzee lived happily with her mother in the rain forests of Central Africa, warm and safe until the day the hunters came and took Rickie away to sell at a Congolese market. Fortunately, she was rescued by a kind man who adopted Rickie and cared for her. Best of all, he provided an unexpected friend in his dog Henri. This true story of friendship is heart-warmingly brought to life by renowned scientist, conservationist and peace activist Dr. Jane Goodall.”

  3. The Elephant - In this, Jenni Desmond’s third nonfiction children’s book about one of the large, endangered animals of Earth, we join a young boy as he learns about The Elephant. From Africa to Asia, the elephant makes its home. Light on their feet, despite their great weight, these magnificent creatures appear light and graceful because they’re always walking on their tip-toes. They have excellent hearing and can detect the rumblings of other elephants from six miles away. And, just like humans being right handed or left handed, elephants can be right tusked or left tusked! The recipient of the 2016 New York Times Best Illustrated award for her book The Polar Bear, Desmond creates illustrations that are scientifically accurate, strikingly detailed, and beautifully rendered in collage, paint, and colored pencil.

  4. The Strongest Man in the World - The Strongest Man in the World is a true story that reads like a Paul Bunyan tall tale. Cyprien-Noé was born into a poor family in a small village in Quebec, Canada in 1863. At the age of 8 he found a 100-pound calf that was stuck in the mud, lifted it up to his chin and carried it home over his shoulders. At 12, he came upon an injured man in the woods and carried him back to his horse and wagon. News of his strength spread. He changed his name to Louis Cyr, and, at age 18, he began traveling the United States, Canada and Europe, performing increasingly impressive feats of strength. At a performance in Boston when touring with Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circuses, Cyr lifted 350 pounds with one hand. He entered contests, bested other strong men, and eventually became known around the globe as the “Strongest Man in the World”.

A Mammal Is an Animal book
#19
A Mammal Is an Animal
Written and illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What is a mammal? And what is not a mammal? Mammals have skeletons as deer have, breathe air in lungs as whales do, and are born alive as are calves. What is not a mammal? A ladybug has no skeleton, a fish breathes through gills and a bird hatches from an egg. Monkeys, dolphins, and elephants are mammals—and so are you and I!

With clear, simple language, beautiful paintings, a chart, diagrams, and a cutaway, acclaimed author-illustrator Lizzy Rockwell has created a beautiful and informative book that introduces young children to animal classification and dichotomous inquiry.

Curious Critters Texas book
#20
Curious Critters Texas
Written and illustrated by David FitzSimmons
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Curious Critters Texas brings young readers face-to-face with colorful, fascinating, and fun animals that are commonly found in the Lone Star State. Foster the love of nature in your young one through stunning photos of birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, fish, and more. Learn about what lives in your own backyard!

Nurse, Soldier, Spy book
#21
Nurse, Soldier, Spy
Written by Marissa Moss and illustrated by John Hendrix
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

This is the incredible true story of Sarah Emma Edmonds, who dressed as a man and fought in the Civil War. When she was 19, Sarah cut her hair, donned her brother’s clothes, and fled from Canada, where her father wanted her to marry an elderly gentleman. In the U.S., she went by the name Frank Thompson and joined the Army to fight the Confederates. She was a nurse working on the battlefield when, because of her heroism, she was asked to serve as a spy. At her death, Edmonds was buried in a military cemetery, in a plot reserved for Civil War veterans—the only woman to have this honor.

Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries book
#22
Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Crazy-but-true stories about history, geography, and human achievement make this acclaimed nonfiction series perfect for fans of curiosities and wonders. A fun way for middle graders to explore ways to separate fact from fiction.

Did you know that a young girl once saved an entire beach community from a devastating tsunami thanks to something she learned in her fourth-grade geography lesson? Or that there is a person alive today who generates her own magnetic field? Or how about the fact that Benjamin Franklin once challenged the Royal Academy of Brussels to devise a way to make farts smell good?

Welcome to Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries! You know the game: Every story in this book is strange and astounding, but one out of every three is an outright lie.

Can you guess which stories are the facts and which are the fakes? It’s not going to be easy. Some false stories are based on truth, and some of the true stories are just plain unbelievable! Don’t be fooled by the photos that accompany each story—it’s going to take all your smarts and some clever research to root out the alternative facts.

From a train that transported dead people to antique photos of real fairies to a dog who was elected mayor, the stories in this book will amaze you! Just don’t believe everything you read. . . .

A Kids' Guide to the American Revolution book
#23
A Kids' Guide to the American Revolution
Written by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Anna DiVito
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Packed with anecdotes, sidebars, quotes, and illustrations, A Kids’ Guide to the American Revolution brings vividly to life the birth of our nation.

Introduce young readers to the stakes, challenges, setbacks, and victories involved in the single most important event in our nation’s history, the American Revolution, with this approachable book from Kathleen Krull, a Children’s Book Guild Nonfiction Award winner.

Find out what events led our young nation to go to war with Great Britain and how the Declaration of Independence, the document that continues to shape our civil rights, came to be.

• Why did the colonists want independence from Great Britain?

• What brought on the Boston Tea Party?

• How did the Declaration of Independence initially impact women and slaves?

• What did Benjamin Franklin do to convince the French to join the revolution?

• How was George Washington chosen to lead the new young country?

• What elements of the Declaration of Independence continue to be debated today?

  1. Fiona's Friends - Fiona, was born six weeks premature. She was too weak to stand and nurse from her mother, Bibi, so caregivers and vet staff stepped in to provide. With help from #TeamFiona, the premature hippo grew into a healthy hippo and an amazing ambassador for her species. Some of the other species represented in this book, like black rhinos and Malayan tigers, are critically endangered. There is hope for them, but people must care enough to want to save them.

  2. Can an Aardvark Bark? - From award-winning author Melissa Stewart and Caldecott honoree Steve Jenkins comes a noisy nonfiction exploration of the many sounds animals make. Can an aardvark bark? No, but it can grunt. Lots of other animals grunt too… Barks, grunts, squeals—animals make all kinds of sounds to communicate and express themselves. With a growling salamander and a whining porcupine, bellowing giraffes and laughing gorillas, this boisterous book is chock-full of fun and interesting facts and is sure to be a favorite of even the youngest animal enthusiasts.

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!