It is never too early to introduce nonfiction books to young readers. Whether youth are interested in science, history, biographies or other factual topics, Roseburg Public Library has materials that expand knowledge and facilitate conversations.
Picture BooksThere are many great nonfiction picture books to help older toddlers and preschoolers discover the world around them. The information is given with engaging pictures, clear explanations and just enough jargon to introduce the subject.
“Let’s Pop, Pop, Popcorn!” written by Cynthia Schumerth and illustrated by Mary Reaves Uhles is a new addition to our collection that clearly explains what happens to make that great snack available. The story begins with planting seeds and growing corn at home, then harvesting and drying corn ears, and finally a parent making popcorn on the stove for all to enjoy.
The pages have one or two sentences that mention a scientific word in the process; for example, pericarp is the shell of the kernel.
The endpapers have more specific information about the kernels and why popcorn pops to help answer questions that will come from the preschooler listening to the story.
Nonfiction picture books also can help an older child learn and build on what they already understand about a topic. “What’s Inside a Flower? And Other Questions About Science & Nature” written and illustrated by Rachel Ignotofsky is great for children in grades K-2.
There are wonderful illustrations to help children process scientific labels about the parts of a growing flower. This helps kids make connections and deepen their basic knowledge of how seeds and flowers work.
Middle Grades“National Geographic Kids Almanac 2022” is a fun book packed with factoids, interesting articles and a smorgasbord of information geared toward youth in grades 3-6. The table of contents shows sections on “Amazing Animals,” “Kids & Plastic,” “Geography Rocks” and more interesting topics.
The pages are well laid out to draw in the reader with cool photographs and illustrations, facts set off in boxes, and easy-to-read comparison charts. This book could help reluctant readers or any curious reader, giving them bite-size pieces of information answering questions about the real world.
TeensI like the current trend of repackaging nonfiction titles written for adults into young readers editions because it expands the accessibility of important scholarship.
In the case of “Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians but Were Afraid to Ask: Young Readers Edition,” Dr. Anton Treuer updates and reframes his 2012 adult book to appeal to teens.
Treuer, Professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University in Minnesota, answers a range of questions related to Native culture, history and politics. He states up front that he does not and cannot speak for all Native people, but through his research, writing and personal experiences, he has a lot of knowledge to share.
The Q&A format allows readers to skip around to topics of particular interest. Treuer’s answers are concise, and they shed light on the beliefs and traditions of Native people in the United States and First Nations people of Canada.