Non-fiction Read Alouds for Kids

I’ve never been much of a non-fiction reader, at least not for enjoyment, though I’ve read more then my fair share for school. But since I begun working in youth services I have discovered some really enjoyable non-fiction, particularly aimed at younger readers. Many have stunning illustrations, interesting information, and quite a few are suitable for reading out loud to a group or together at home. Since I love picture books, it is not surprising that I would enjoy these so much. Today’s new book cart was chock full of delightful non-fiction, which I thought I would share!

The first is a hilarious book for pre-k and up that is PERFECT for reading aloud because it invites participation. It is Where Does Pepper Come From And Other Fun Facts and it includes a wide range of facts, from why flamingos are pink to the difference between whales and fish. First a silly statement is made explaining why these things are so, such as “Flamingos are pink because they are embarrassed!” Then a child says “No! Silly” and then the facts are explained. Children will love to say “No!” to the silly stories and pictures, and will not be confused by the facts explained.

Another fun book that came in today is Ape , the illustrations are stunning and the text is simple. The book presents the five great apes and provides a bit of information about each and where they live. It might not be for every family, as the ending presents the fifth ape as humans, and there is definite preservation angle. However, the images and lyrical simple text make this a book that is definitely worth recommending as a read aloud.

Continuing the theme of animals, this is an interesting story for a bedtime theme: Water Beds: Sleeping in the Ocean It pairs simple words with peaceful text that provides information about the sleeping habits of aquatic mammals. Another good themed storytime bookPumpkins –this time for a fall/harvest/pumpkin theme, this non-fiction book has incredible pictures, simple text, and good proportions for sharing with a group.

Oddly, one of the hardest categories for non-fiction read alouds is folk tales, which are particularly hard to find for younger readers. Most of the time a storyteller can modify them to keep attention using dramatics, props, or just voice modulation, but simple folk tales are excellent for sharing aloud. Today, I found The Ghost Catcher with the new books. It is a simple tale of trickery and humor, involving ghosts and generosity that will not frighten children. This is suitable for k-2 grades.

What I have really discovered is that there is a lot of non-fiction that can be incorporated into our story telling in the library, and that rather then just focusing on fiction picture books, we can introduce our children to the world around them from an early age. I hope to find even more amazing non-fiction books–so any suggestions would be appreciated!

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