Learning to Love Nonfiction


I have always been more fascinated by stories than by facts. Traditional fiction is what I choose to read in my free time, as limited as my time is. It’s taken getting through graduate school and now having a curious preschooler at home to really prompt me to check out nonfiction to read. I think some of the best nonfiction for children can be just as captivating as a story.

According to Reading Rockets, “Nonfiction books present many opportunities to learn new concepts and vocabulary, as well as broaden a child’s view of the world. Nonfiction books are written differently than picture books in that there are often more pictures, graphics, charts and photographs included within the pages.”

My son was recently fascinated by the ants he saw crawling across our kitchen floor. The next library trip included a search for a good ant book so we could learn together what they eat, where they live, etc. We’ve also enjoyed getting books that coincide with experiences he’s having- whether it’s a trip to the dentist, or a new sibling; a question about how his eyes work, or what a groundhog is. A recent favorite is Building Our House by Jonathan Bean which details a family with young kids who build their own home.

Whatever makes your child curious, what prompts them to ask why or frequently grabs their attention is a good place to start. Here are more tips from Reading Rockets, as well as some wonderful age appropriate book suggestions along with related activities and mobile apps organized by theme. Do you enjoy nonfiction? Do your kids? I’d love to hear what your experience is.