Nonfiction Picture Books: Answering Big Questions from Little People

Posted by Big Universe on Sep 17, 2012 3:12:10 AM

If it's not what's that? or why? its how does that work / happen? Kids have lots of questions!

Even though the questions may get repetitive and monotonous, the best thing we can do is feed that innate curiosity. Nonfiction picture books are a great way to engage learners of all ages. Pictures are a great way to entice those who are not confident readers. Even if there are words they can't yet decipher, they can glean information from the images.

I have always loved Marshall Cavendish Children's Books for their ability to reach kids "where they are." With nonfiction that's not always easy. Kids have big questions, some of them require pretty sophisticated answers. What Marshall Cavendish shows us in these picture books is that sophisticated doesn't mean complicated or confusing.

How Do Waves Form?
by Wil Mara
Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2011

Start with wind, add time and distance, and you can create some waves! From the little ripple at your feet to damaging waves in a hurricane, this book answers this age-old question.

  • Using a "recipe" analogy brought the concept into our reader's world and really demonstrated the scalability of a wave.
  • The image of the child blowing out the candles gave us a great idea for letting the kids experiment with the elements of a wave.

Eyes Have It
by Melissa Stewart; illustrated by Janet Hamlin
Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2012

Photographs and drawings illustrate this book that has an eye for everything. From the varying shapes and colors of eyes among species of animals to the gross things kids like to think about and do with their eyeballs, this upper-elementary nonfiction picture book has it covered.

  • The book grabbed us with the first sentence: Imagine being able to grab one of your eyeball and pop it out of your head. What kid hasn't thought about that one?
  • I personally loved that it extended the science into everyday living ... like reminding kids to blink when they overdo it with the computer screen!
  • Kids can pick this book up and start at page 28 if they want to. Being able to move back and forth among the topics, without having to go in order, will be very attractive to curious, wandering minds.

Glass (Use It! Reuse It! Series)
by Dana Meachen Rau
Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2012

This Easy Reader chapter book covers everything about glass from the practical to the aesthetic. Readers will learn about the elements that make glass, both in natural and man-made processes; different uses and shapes of glass; and how glass has been used historically, as well as in today's world.

  • There are lots of pictures and inset text boxes that make it easy for young readers to navigate the pages.
  • The glossary is helpful, though it would be nice to have some of those definitions closer to the bolded words.
  • Readers can easily get a sense of the use of glass over time, offering a history lesson that is "digestible" for this audience.


Topics: Reviews, Reading Lists

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