I need to get something off my chest. If as a parent you are not exploring the non-fiction area of the children’s section at the library with your kids – you are missing out! Some of the BEST books I have ever come across for kids of all ages are sitting quietly on the non-fiction shelves. These are books packed with stunning photos, beautifully drawn art, facts about anything your child could be interested in, poetry, and more.
Please check out the children’s non-fiction section on your next library trip!
I love reading biographies. Naturally, that means I check out the biography area of the children’s non-fiction as well and WOW we have found some hidden gems there over the years. In case you aren’t into digging through the biographies section looking for just the right thing, I wanted to give you a great starting point for reading biographies with your kids.
Below you will find 5 tried and true biographies we have read at home. These are often geared toward elementary aged children – ages 5-11 – but my four year old enjoys listening to them too.
Do you have a favorite biography – either for kids or adults?! Let me know in the comments!
Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet wrote this Caldecott Honor Book together about Peter Mark Roget who was the creator of Roget’s Thesaurus. Now I know that a book about a guy who wrote a Thesaurus of all things doesn’t sound super interesting at first glance. Trust me, you want to pick this book up and read it!
First, this book is great because it talks about someone who created something useful. Perhaps your child has never even heard of a Thesaurus! Now would be a great time to explain what it is.
Second, the author does a great job of making the story truly interesting. This isn’t just the story of a reference book. This is the story of a child’s life. A child who isn’t all that different from your son or daughter. The story telling in this little book is phenomenal.
Third, the illustrations – OH THE ILLUSTRATIONS! They are absolutely beautiful. The time and talent put into drawing the pictures of this book blows my mind and keeps my kids staring the entire time I’m reading.
Tanya Lee Stone and Marjorie Priceman share the woman empowering biography of Elizabeth Blackwell who was America’s first female doctor!
This biography isn’t just about a woman doing what a woman has never done before. This is a story about overcoming struggles. It’s a story about being different from the crowd. It’s a story about bravery and following your dreams.
Again, the art in this book is fantastic. You really can’t beat the art you will find filling the stories of the non-fiction section and this biography does not disappoint. Pick this one up and read it with your child – girl or boy – and spark some conversations about facing and overcoming challenges!
New York Times best selling author Andy Andrews paired up with illustrator Philip Hurst to bring to life the story of Norman Borlaug.
Norman Borlaug? Who is that?
Norman Borlaug was a boy who dreamed of feeding the world. He studied plants and seeds and worked to form seeds that grew more easily in a variety of climates – allowing more people to grow and maintain crops for food around the world.
However this story doesn’t stop there. Andy Andrews wanted to show how one person creates an effect that allows another, and another person to change the world. After talking about Norman, the story continues to discuss world changers who were affected in ways big and small by each other!
Andy took his best-selling adult book The Butterfly Effect, and used its ideas along with Philip Hurst’s gorgeous drawings to show how one life and one decision can help the lives of thousands.
This book is actually part of an “I Am” biography series by Brad Meltzer. My girls have been interested in Jane Goodall since we came across a film documentary she was part of. This book really breaks down her life and work in a way they can understand.
Brad does an amazing job through out the entire “I Am” series of making biographies that engage children, break down a variety of topics in ways they can understand, and bringing to life people of importance.
We particularly loved this Jane Goodall book from the series!
Jen Bryant (again!) and Boris Kulikov teamed up to bring us the story of Louis Braille who invented the Braille reading system for the visually impaired. This book really opened the door for some great discussions with my two oldest girls (ages 4 and 7) about disabilities, the importance of vision, and the way the world has been and could still be changed to make life an equal space for everyone.
This also hits close to home for me as someone who has a relative who is blind. It was neat learning about how the system that my relative uses to read was created. The kids aren’t the only ones learning when we read biographies!