Six of the Best Nonfiction Book Series for Kids
Children are naturally curious about the world around them, and nonfiction books for elementary students can help them explore and grow their interests. There are so many engaging nonfiction book series for children covering such a wide range of topics, and the benefits of reading nonfiction books for kids are immense. Whether your child is drawn to the true stories of historical figures who have helped shape our world, are curious about how things work, or wonder about dangerous creatures from the deep, there is a nonfiction book to meet their curious ponderings.
Here Are Six of the Best Nonfiction Book Series for Elementary Students
Little People, Big Dreams Series
This biographical children’s book series seems to be ever growing in popularity and size. The series introduces children to important and intriguing artists, musicians, scientists, activists, athletes, and more. The clean and colorful illustrations and simple language present even complex topics in ways that are accessible for young children.
Translated into 40 different languages and with 2 million sales and counting, this diverse children’s book series is likely to be a mainstay that children today will grow up remembering. Whether you have an animal lover, young musician or budding fashion designer at home, you’re sure to find a figure your child can learn from and relate to. You can also introduce your child to brave and admirable women and men who have changed the course of history, such as Rosa Parks and Mahatma Gandhi.
The author of this series, Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, hails from Barcelona, Spain (where we live!).
National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of …
Curious children and their parents can learn plenty from this hefty hardback nonfiction book series published by National Geographic. These books are packed with intriguing facts brought to life with relatable comparisons, revealing graphics, and striking photos and visualizations.
For the little scientist who incessantly asks “why?” there’s The Little Kids First Big Book of Why, and also The Little Kids First Big Book of How, which explains how ice cream is made, how fast the fastest train is, and much more. As your child develops particular interests, you can seek out one of the books focused on a more narrow theme, such as dinosaurs, oceans, bugs, birds, space, weather, and “things that go.”
The format of these books are wonderful for introducing fact-based nonfiction rather than nonfiction that reads like a narrative. These books are broken up into chapters by categories, allowing you and your child to start with the topic that most interests your child, rather than reading straight through from cover to cover. This is great practice for the type of research your child will do both in school and throughout life—perusing a large volume of information and seeking out the parts that are most relevant or interesting to them.
Fly Guy Presents
This extensive series of short nonfiction books for kids presents bite-sized facts about a whole range of scientific, cultural, and historical topics. Topics include insects, weather, castles, monster trucks, the White House, firefighters, and garbage and recycling, and more.
Author Tedd Arnold opens each book with Fly Guy, a fly, and human boy, Buzz, who go on adventures together to learn new things. Buzz and Fly Guy are most visible at the start and end of the books. The majority of the book reads like a nonfiction list of fun facts, the kinds of things that make you say, “Wow!”
The images are a mixture of illustrations of Fly Guy and Buzz with photographs of the subject being explored. Some of the pages look like a scrapbook of their adventure.
Scholastic: True or False
Scholastic’s True or False book series are short nonfiction books for elementary school children. According to Scholastic, these books are ideal for second and third graders. Each book presents 22 statements made about a topic, and then explores the truth or falsehood of each statement. For example, in True or False: Planets, on page reads, “The earth’s surface is mostly land.” Turn the page, to find out whether this is true or false and read a brief explanation of why. This format allows children to consider the statement presented and make their own guess before turning the page.
The books also often feature real-life photos of the subject at hand. The series generally explores scientific topics, including a wide range of animals as well as storms, planets, rocks and minerals, and more.
Gail Gibbons Books
Gail Gibbons is an American author and illustrator with quite an extensive list of nonfiction children’s books published through a handful of different publishers. Her books are filled with her own colorful illustrations (not photographs) and vivid explanations of various concepts.
In addition to the beautiful illustrations and explanations, one of the wonderful things about Gail Gibbons selections is the original subjects explored. In Up Goes the Skyscraper, children can watch a skyscraper being built to learn how these behemoth structures come to be. We can learn about various animals, knights in shining armor, the “deep dark sea,” how the post office works, and weather forecasting. In her books about hurricanes and tornadoes, she explains what they are, how they form, and even tips for how to stay safe in these intense storms. These would be great for explaining these weather phenomena to children who live in areas affected by these events.
As explained on her Amazon author page, Gibbons’ books “are particularly accurate because she goes right to the source when researching a topic,” including visiting the 17th floor of a skyscraper being built.
Who Would Win?
This is another nonfiction children’s book series from Scholastic, and it takes on a creative format pitting real animals against one another to see who would win in an altercation. In Who Would Win? books, first we get to learn about the animals with several facts and illustrations of different parts of the animals being introduced. Then author Jerry Pallotta narrates a fight between the two animals. The deadly battle is described and illustrated. It is not overly gruesome, but it is a fight to the death, so be prepared!
This series exposes children to some advanced vocabulary and doesn’t shy away from animals’ scientific names, which is great for eager learners. Children can learn how large different animals are, how the animals are classified and related to other animals, how they move, and how they attack and defend themselves.