Ten Children’s Nonfiction Books That Will Engage Your Child

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By Ashley Riggleson

Reading nonfiction is an important skill that children will need to develop as they grow. So, why not introduce nonfiction at a young age? Although many may think nonfiction is boring, the books on this list are sure to challenge that assumption. From memoirs in verse to picture books, this list has something for the whole family.

“Boy: Tales of Childhood” By Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake

Roald Dahl is frequently mentioned in the world of children’s literature, and he is mostly known for his fiction titles. But this fun and engaging memoir in stories shows that Dahl was a multitalented writer. The stories in here are as fascinating as fiction, and children will have no trouble reading this compelling title.

“Going Solo” by Roald Dahl

In the same vein as “Boy,” Dahl’s second memoir tells of the time he spent as a WW2 pilot. His amazing exploits and charming voice are sure to ignite your child’s love of reading.

“Mexikid” Written and Illustrated by Pedro Martin

This funny and heartfelt graphic memoir about a family road trip is sure to attract even the most reluctant readers. With a conversational voice and eye-catching full-color illustrations, “Mexikid” will be a fun read for the whole family.

“Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson

Introduce your child to poetry and nonfiction at the same time with Woodson’s poignant and compelling read. This memoir tells of Woodson’s early life growing up as a black girl during the Civil Rights Movement. This National Book Award winning title is a guaranteed conversation-starter.

“The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” written by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer and illustrated by Anna Hymas

This inspiring memoir tells the story of a young boy growing up in Malawi. After a severe drought leaves his family destitute, Kamkwamba decides to build a windmill out of scrap parts and brings electricity to his village. This inspiring story, which is now a film on Netflix, will amaze the whole family.

“Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear” written by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

This nonfiction picture book tells the amazing story of the real-life bear who inspired A.A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh.” Although this title is nonfiction, reviewers promise that this picture book is an interesting as any fiction book.

“The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read” by written by Rita Lorraine Hubbard and illustrated by Oge Mora

This biography (told as a picture book) tells the true story of a formerly enslaved woman who learns to read at 116 years old. This compelling book about an overcomer of obstacles will teach children to never give up and to appreciate every opportunity to learn.

“Dreamers” by Yuyi Morales

Another conversation starter, this memoir for young readers tells the story of Morales’ immigration to the United States from Mexico. Known for its beautiful illustrations, “Dreamers” promises to be a great way to engage your child’s imagination while exposing them to multicultural voices.

“Honeybee: the Busy Life of Apis Mellifera” written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann

As climate change becomes increasingly prevalent in the national conversation, the importance of bees has become an undeniable fact. This captivating and accessible book for young children tells of a bee’s life cycle and is great read for children interested in science.

“El Deafo” By Cece Bell

“El Deafo” is a loosely autobiographical graphic novel for reluctant young readers that tells Bell’s story of growing up as a deaf child learning how to navigate a hearing world. This touching book, about finding one’s strengths in the face of adversity, is sure to be a family favorite.

These captivating nonfiction books are sure to keep your child’s interest while the whole family learns new things. As a bonus, they are all available at the Prince William Public Libraries. To find the library closest to you, click here.

Ashley Riggleson is a contributing writer for Prince William Living.

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