Just the Facts, Please: Non-Fiction for Children and Young Adults

Just as there are adult readers who prefer to read non-fiction, there are many children and young adults that prefer fact to fiction. They want to learn something from their reading, not just enjoy a story. And then there are those readers who like interesting books whatever the genre. Here are some of the books from the non-fiction collection we’ve been talking about to promote summer reading. Just the facts, please, most of these titles can be picked up and read in bites.

First Big Book of Why is a colorful book of answers to questions like “Why do donuts have holes” and “Exactly what is that zamboni doing out there on the ice?”  Thanks to Cool Hockey Facts, I also know that the zamboni logs 3 miles at each hockey game. This is part of a series including baseball, basketball, football, and soccer facts as well. Even someone who knows their sport well can learn from these books. I assumed, as most people do if asked, that the football huddle was initiated so that the other team couldn’t hear their plan. Surprisingly, the huddle was initiated by a deaf quarterback who signed – he used the huddle so the other teams couldn’t see what he had planned!

The 100 Most Disgusting Things on the Planet by Anna Claybourne is another title for nibblers, but don’t read it before a meal. Slugs only rate a 2 on the scale from 1 to 5 yucks; things just get worse from there. Pictures and descriptions of gourmet delights such as maggot cheese, and ugly oddities of the animal world, keep readers turning the pages.

Danger by Laura Buller is full of, well, dangerous things, but with a touch of humor as well. It includes a section on surviving a horror movie with advice like “Never flee up the stairs from a monster on the loose. Once at the top, your only way out is to jump!”

In How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg, a comical skeleton on the cover is posed in an attitude of warning as if quoting the author who admonishes: “If you don’t have the guts for gore, don’t open this book.” Each chapter features a forensic study of a famous person from history including how they died and what caused their death. There is a little history and a great deal of science (and humor) mixed in.

Animal Pop! by Wanda Jones and More Life-size Zoo by Teriyuki Komiya both use pop-up book technology to allow you to unfold and see just how big a hippo (or bison or wolf) really is without getting too close for comfort.

Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine, and a Miracle was written by Major Brian Dennis about the dog he adopted, or rather the dog that adopted him, in Iraq. His patrol was sent routinely to a desert outpost where he met a dog he called “Nubs” due to his short-cropped ears. The two bonded and eventually Nubs tracked the marine 70 miles across the desert to his base. When his CO said the dog had to go, Major Dennis enlisted friends and family to raise the funds to send Nubs to his parents in California. Nubs was waiting to welcome Major Dennis home after his time in Iraq. Lots of pictures make this heartwarming story an inviting read for animal lovers of any age.

We are fortunate to have a world-renowned storyteller, Margaret Read MacDonald, as our first summer performer. She will tell folktales at both the Main Library and the Evergreen Branch Library on July 9.  Little Rooster’s Diamond Button, The Squeaky Door, and Go to Sleep, Gecko are three of her stories published in picture book form. The illustrations compliment the texts which stay true to the oral traditions they come from.

Look for the signs that say We talked about these at your school! in the children’s and teen areas for displays featuring the books we brought to Everett schools along with bookmarks that list all of the books we brought for show and tell.


2 thoughts on “Just the Facts, Please: Non-Fiction for Children and Young Adults

  1. Pingback: Beach Reads | areadinglife.com

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