Ten Non-Fiction Books for Kids
Team Moon | Catherine Thimmish
Combining NASA transcripts, stunning photos, national archives, and even direct quotes from the people involved, this is a unique perspective on the mission of Apollo 11. This book isn’t just about the astronauts, it’s about all the people behind the scenes too – from the seamstresses who made the space suits to the welders and the painters and the programmers.
Natural History: The Ultimate Visual Guide to Everything on Earth
This really is the Ultimate Visual Guide to every kingdom of life on earth – a book that should have a place in every home! My girls love to trace the photos, make lists of species, and browse the book constantly. We don’t even bother putting this book on the shelf because it’s almost always in use here. This book is an investment you won’t regret!
The Way We Work | David Macaulay
This is, in my opinion, the perfect guide to the human body. It explains all of the body’s processes and functions (how we breath, what happens to the food we eat, how an egg is fertilized) with beautifully detailed illustrations and written descriptions. It is a comprehensive look at the science and mechanics of the body.
John, Paul, George and Ben | Lane Smith
This book is funny and well illustrated, making it a hit for kids and adults of all ages. Younger kids may not pick up on all of the historical references or even all of the humor, but they will enjoy it no less than the more informed student of history. Best of all, it opens up discussions about this period of American history and its most memorable players. Even the youngest kids will enjoy this experience of the personalities of five of America’s founding fathers.
Quest for the Tree Kangaroo | Sy Montgomery
Montgomery teamed with photographer Nic Bishop to create this incredible account of a science expedition into the Cloud Forest of New Guinea. It is a stunning and detailed look at the plants, insects, and animals that make up this little known region of the world. It is also a good look at the scientists at work and local people of the region as well.
Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature’s Undead | Rebecca Johnson
This book is not for the squeamish. This book is gross. But most kids will think this scientific look at nature’s parasites and predators is awesome.
Monsieur Marceau: Actor Without Words | Leda Schubert
Marcel Marceau was the world’s most famous mime. For more than 50 years he enthralled audiences without ever speaking a word. Children will be fascinated by both the pictures and the history of this incredible man who claimed he learned the power of illusion during World War II, while he worked heroically to save the lives of Jewish children. This book is a beautiful introduction to the art of biography and a glimpse into history.
Smithsonian Visual Timeline of Inventions | Richard Platt
The format of this book, the visual timeline, is the perfect way to look at history and its inventions. Not only do you get a sense of how the passage of time affects creative design, but it also compels the reader to keep reading. The book starts in 600,00 BC and takes the reader almost to the present day.
Twelve Kinds of Ice | Ellen Bryan Obed
This book is the coziest kind of book – the kind that makes you want to curl up under a warm blanket with someone you love. It chronicles one family’s winter and the twelve kinds of ice that they journey through in a season. It’s a book that is tender and charming, not unlike a work of Tasha Tudor, and has been a favorite here since the first time we picked it up.
Chuck Close: Face Book | Chuck Close
I’ve been a huge fan of Chuck Close’s work since I first saw it on exhibit in Washington, DC several years ago. I was so excited to discover this book and be able to introduce my kids to Chuck Close, his life and his work. Close, who has struggled with severe dyslexia and “face blindness” since childhood and a collapsed spinal artery that occurred later in life, creates from a wheelchair with a paintbrush strapped to his arm. This book introduces art techniques that will inspire even the youngest artist and answers questions from real kids. Chuck Close is truly a role model for children and I highly recommend this book.