I am always looking for interesting nonfiction books for my kids to read. They seem to enjoy nonfiction as much as they enjoy fiction, but a lot of informative books aren’t aimed at younger kids. They have too much small text, or are too long or too dry. Some are hopelessly out of date. Through many trips to our local library, though, I have noticed more nonfiction books emerging that are very well illustrated, short, accurate and hold my kids’ interest. Book publishers and authors seem to be finally getting the idea that kids aren’t just small versions of adults. They learn more when they are engaged and interested. Try to teach a kid a difficult concept, and watch for their eyes to glaze over. That’s your signal to take a step back, and teach it from another direction, or through a different method. Publishers are learning this lesson as well.
One new set of books teaches about (mostly) wild animals in an informative and engaging way: Wild Reads. I was sent a few books to review, and the minute I opened the envelope, my kids, aged 8 and 5, devoured them. The recommended age range for the books is 4-8, which sounds about right to me. They are filled with colorful, very detailed drawings to interest the non-readers, and have large print for young readers. The books don’t talk down to the kids, however. There are plenty of big words to learn, but each book comes with a handy glossary in the back.
There seem to be 14 books in the series: Bees, Big Cats, Crocodiles, Dinosaurs, Dogs, Elephants, Frogs and Toads, Horses, Rats, Sharks, Snakes, Spiders, Whales and Wolves. I received the books on bees, big cats, dinosaurs and dogs. Each one tackles the subject a little bit differently. For example, the book on bees covered things like how a city of bees works, the kinds of bees, parts of a bee and what bees do. The book on dinosaurs covered the history of dinosaurs, their babies, herbivores and carnivores, dinosaur bones and modern day birds.
The last page in each book lists a website or two to get more information on the animal highlighted in the book. It also lists places to visit to see the animal. Unfortunately for those of us in the states, most of these places are in the UK.
Each book is about 30 pages long and costs $3.95.
Wired: These books help make nonfiction more accessible to children and show that nonfiction can be just as fun and interesting as fiction. Great price and value.
Tired: They only have 14 books available! Hopefully they’ll come out with more in the future.