Reading Nonfiction Picture Books
Reading Nonfiction Using Text Features
Reading Nonfiction with 0-10 year olds
Reading Nonfiction stories introduces new vocabulary words, truthful ideas, and new information about our world. Nonfiction can be defined as, informational text that expresses researched content from science, art, mathematics, history, engineering, and many other areas. As your child progresses into different stages of reading features will be important to know such as the text, the vocabulary, and topics. Many of these features will become more complex, and eventually, when they are in secondary or high school your reader will have more informational text to advance their studies.
In this article, you can find additional information about nonfiction reading here.
At any stage that your child is in, you can read nonfiction text from infant, toddler, child, teen, and up. The best way to select nonfiction stories is to think about what your reader likes to do, and what you as a parent/guardian like to do. For example, if your child loves trucks, food, and planes then you can read about those topics. Alternatively, if you work in the arts or software then it would be good to read books about your areas of interest as well.
Below you will find suggestions on How to Read Nonfiction Texts using examples from these nonfiction books.
My First 100 Technology Words
Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering
Nonfiction Feature: Photographs, Illustrations, Icons & Captions
Pre-K book Examples
Imagery can help your reader understand the language throughout the book. The image gives a reference to what the word means. To read nonfiction books such as, My First 100 Technology Words or Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering series, the books use illustrations to expand on complex topics.
My 100 Technology Words is a visual text using images and captions. This book can support learning vocabulary. In addition, you can describe the word or icon as an example, stating in a sentence, or looking for other examples that you might see.
- Hammer “A hammer is a tool used to… What can you use a hammer with?
- Cloud “You can see clouds outside, but a cloud lives in the computer which keeps information.”
- Lever “A lever can be found on your belt, the handle on a car door, even if place it right your arm.
Furthermore, using the word in different ways can build a deeper connection to the text and allow for you and your reader to have conversations. To make an iconic book even more real you can encourage them to draw/scribble, or even use their toys if it is similar to an image in the book.
A series of narrative nonfiction books are written in Baby Loves Series. These are a series of STEM and history books for children ages 0-3. The author takes complex topics and breaks them down with a character who demonstrates or plays with the topic. For example in the Gravity book the baby practices dropping things. In Aerospace Engineering, the baby sees a bird fly and then sees an airplane fly. The author explains how flying is a form of aerospace engineering. In this example of a narrated nonfiction book, the characters are experiencing the topic and having a lot of fun as well. To expand on the vocabulary and illustrations, you can ask questions about the book.
- What do you see?
- I saw you do this too, let’s try____.”
- What happened when__?” “I like ___”
These are examples and you can ask many more.
Nonfiction Feature: Headings, Index, Bibliography
Little Legends Exceptional Men in Black History, by Vashti Harrison
Little Legends Bold Women in Black History, by Vashti Harrison
Little Legends shares different historical stories about prominent Black men and another book about prominent Black women. This book is for readers ages 6-10 due to the word complexity and information. Each character is shaped the same, but she uses the different text features, colors, and wardrobe illustrations to differentiate the characters. In this nonfiction book, you can learn important details about each character.
Additionally, as you read use the text features to guide your questions.
- Look at the Heading, “What is his name and where was he born?”
- “Let’s find___ in the index.”
- “Look at the backgrounds how is this page illustrated?”
Nonfiction Feature: Captions, Images, Types of Print
Ocean by Ines Adam
Books for children ages 4-8 years old
Twirl books have a different mechanism so the reader can manipulate objects. In Ocean, Magnetology you can place objects on different pages. The book has backgrounds so these magnet pieces support the text. Also, different types of print are used to show the difference of text to read, captions, and headings of each page. You can discuss how the object moves on the page and what it does in the real world.
Click here for a full list of nonfiction text features. If you are lucky enough to have a library or books at home, take many chances to read nonfiction and fiction text with your reader.
Derrick Barnes wrote I Am Every Good Thing to celebrate the experiences of black boys. The imagery captivates a brown boy’s experiences of skating, swimming, and growing into a future leader. Barnes stated, “I wrote this book for Black boys and the people that love them all over the globe.” His storybook amplifies this message and positively shows them.
The hashtag #BrownBoyJoy is trending for the reason that Black boys should have more positive images seen in their lives. A parent from The Bump said, “The hashtag is not a put-down of anyone else’s joy. The more joy the better! #BlackBoyJoy was created to show positive images of happy Black boys to reinforce confidence, release some of the emotional baggage and reaffirm the existence of and right for Black boys to be happy. #BlackBoyJoy helps to debunk the stereotypes that some people hold and the media sometimes portrays about who Black boys and men are—a menacing threat.”
Below is a small booklist that was inspired by Derrick Barnes’ book, I Am Good Everything. You can find more books about Black Joy Here from The Brown Bookshelf.
1. I am Every Good thing by Derrick Barnes
Experiences that celebrate the joy and love that black boys bring. A book demonstrating the strength, the humanity, and the experiences of who he is.
2. Black Boy Joy,Edited by Kwame Alexander
Celebrated authors provide experiences of Black boys.
3. Chocolate Me by Taye Diggs
A young boy deals with name-calling because of his chocolate skin color. In the end, he learns to accept the way that he looks.
4. Crown an Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes
Celebrates the experiences of what it means to get a “Fresh Cut” in the barbershop. Barnes’ rhythmic language keeps the story flowing, and makes the reader understand what it truly means to get a haircut at a Black barbershop. Barnes even builds your imagination about the different characters in the shop and what they can be. This story opens the reader into another world and celebrates #Brownboyjoy.
Listen to the story here
5. A Place Inside of Me By Zetta Elliott
A poem that narrates a young person’s emotions and experiences on what occurs in the real world. He feels hope, anger, sorry, joy, and much more. But through the challenges that he faces as a black man, he is proud of who he is.
6. Be Boy Buzz By bell hooks
bell hooks share the different things that boys can do. The simplicity in the illustrations demonstrates the different actions that boys do. She uses jazzy language.
7. Brown Boy Joy by Thomishia Booker
A book for pre-k-kindergarten readers. Brown Boy Joy celebrates a young boy’s life, provides positive affirmations, and about what it means from the lived experience.
8. A Boy Like You, by Frank Murphy
A story celebrating the emotions and experiences. The book tells the reader that he can be or do anything in life.
9. Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration By Samara Cole Doyon
A poem where a little girl sees the different shades of brown in tree branches, honey, sandcastles, and more. These different shades remind her about the brown skin that she is in.
10. Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison
A nonfiction book celebrating bold and courageous leaders, athletes, scientists, and musician. Ms. Vashti Harrison illustrates the characters similarly but their clothes and background represent their differences.
11. Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
A little girl who attends an American school does not feel comfortable when others have to say her name. Her name is Kora-Jalimuso (KO-rah-DJAA-lee MOO-so). Her mother tells her the beauty of her name. Her mother shows her how her name fits into the rhymes and beats in a song. Kora-Jalimuso returns to school and sings her name making all of the children laugh and sing along.
12. A Girl Like Me By Angela Johnson
A story and collage celebrating the aspirations these girls proclaim. View their experiences, joy, and ideas of standing up and shining.
13. The Night Is Yours by Abdul-Razak Zachariah
Join Amani on an evening where she plays hide-and-seek with her friends. The moon keeps her company which shines bright at night. Amani’s name means wishes, and on this night she has the luck of winning hide-and-seek. A story about the joys of being a child, celebrating the shades of brown in the night sky, and the goodness that a child has.
Wanting to teach your baby to read?
Looking for ways for early childhood reading?
Introducing reading to your baby or toddler is a fun and challenging endeavor. When it was time to introduce my son to reading, I started before he was 6 months old to help him get in the habit of touching, seeing, feeling, and hearing the words from a book. You might hear from your pediatrician to begin introducing books to your child early on. You can learn more about different stages of reading from this article here.
You might be feeling unsure of when to implement time for reading. One way is to think about times when your child is being involved with routines: Eating food, potty time, bottle time, rest time, or walking time. You might use routines to teach your baby to read. Here are different ways to establish toddler routines.
When it is time to eat food, consider having a book near the table or countertop. Ask questions about the images. Read the story and mimic expressions. If you do not have time to grab a book, then consider reading food box labels and explaining the ingredients, spelling the words, and even discussing the interesting colors and shapes on the box.
Potty training is a time where your child decides when he or she is ready. One way to encourage more time on the potty is by having books nearby. You cannot determine the length of their time, but having a book in that routine can be a consistent pattern your child expects. If it is easier, consider reading flashcards. They are quick, smaller, and could be another way to hold their attention.
Bottle feeding can be a precious time to tell stories or read a book. During bottle time, your child is more likely still and laying back. This is a perfect time to read a book and you might discover if you are consistent that your child will want a book reading during bottle time.
If you take your child on walks, bus rides, or even car rides, you can use that time to describe what you see outside. You can start by naming things, describing them, giving examples of them, and then possibly sharing a story about what you see. Walking or mobile times can be used to expand your child’s vocabulary and learn the language about their environment.
Wake up/Nap Time
Laughter at 7 AM might be beaming through your door. Where your toddler breaks your moment of sleep. We know that bedtime stories are great ways to relax your child for sleeping. Consider other sleep times where you can read when she first wakes up. You can read before placing her down for her nap.
Reading during routines can give you and your child different opportunities to read. Additional information on Introducing Early Reading .
Books about Earth & Climate Change Books for Kids
Nature Books for Children
Enjoy these picture books about nature that your child might love to read. These books range from riddles, fiction nature books, and non-fiction books. With broader topics about healing the earth and climate change, these books can bring conversations about protecting our Earth.
A New Green Day by Antoinette Portis
Nature is described in this book of riddles. Discover the voice of a snail, the sunlight, my, lightning, and so many more wonder that our world has. I’m a chorus of a million tiny voices. Come splash in my song, says rain. You will have fun guessing the riddle as you read this colorful book.
The Very Last Leaf by Stef Wade
A leaf learns that he spins the summer learning about his life period of then when fall comes he learns that he must fall to the ground just like his answer. Even though this small leaf is a great student and loves who he is he is terrified to fall. We learn what it means and why leaves must fall each year through the eyes of a leaf.
Honeybee by Candace Fleming
The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera
Learn how the honeybee grows from larva, to worker bee, and then passing on. The illustrator takes us inside the beehive where the queen lays 2,000 eggs per day. We follow the life of one bee named scientifically Apis. Once Apis emerges from her cell we learn how busy her life is-tending eggs, cleaning, caring for the queen, building the hive, and even protecting this. She must do all this work well before she searches for flower nectar.
Heal the Earth by Julian Lennon
Children are on an adventure exploring every continent. They learn how to protect the ocean. They learn about rainforests. They also learn how to make cities greener. With these children learn how caring for them is a fun.
Rubies Birds by Mya Thompson
Ruby is a happy little girl. She spends her time doing great things. But she loves visiting Central Park to watch all of the unique birds. She also joyously takes her family to the park to see another bird that she loves to hear.
Over and Under the Rain Forest by Kate Messner
Walk into the rain forest with a little girl and her Uncle as they view the wonders of a hidden. Sometimes, a lizard scrambles across the water. Other times, new songs filled the air as nighttime falls.
Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner
Discover the world of life in a pond. Herbivores take their time to find Decadent plants to eat. Carnivores stealthily wait in till they find the best animal to grab and eat. In the story, a little boy and his mother Canoe in the pine sing all the wonderful life that exists in this ecosystem.
Rocket Cleans Up! By Nathan Bryon
Rocket is a tenacious little girl who will do anything to solve a problem. When she visits the beach at her grandparent’s house she discovers a lot of trash lying around and endangering the animals. Luckily, Rocket does what any young child would do and clean up the beach.
The Tree in Me by Corina Luyken
A story for young readers that shows how nature is a part of all this. The Tree and Me demonstrate how the Sun shines through And Us. How the tree protects us. How we can use fruits and nuts to nourish our bodies.
We Are Water Protectors
By Carole Lindstrom
Native people discuss the dangers of hurting our water system, how they have protected it, and what to do to make a change.
Climate Change and How We’ll Fix It by Alice Harman
This book is for children ages 7 and up. Explains the problems of climate change with graphics and powerful messages.
Topics about Juneteenth
Vocabulary words and questions about Juneteenth
Successful Black Parenting Magazine provides 19 suggestions on Real Learning Activities for Families About Juneteenth. “These activities are suggestions. Take them and customize them for the age of your child. Young children, under the age of six, should not learn any details about slavery but instead celebrate the freedom aspect of Juneteenth. From ages seven-to-nine, gory details should be left out. Children over ages 10-13 may be able to handle more graphic aspects. You can guide your children to create book reports, diagrams, dioramas, poster art, a tri-board presentation, or a PowerPoint presentation of the following activities. Encourage them not to just copy and paste but to read everything and to use their own words and thoughts about the subject they choose.”
Just because Juneteenth has ended, you can continue to find ways as the editor suggested above to keep the truth alive. Below are additional Juneteenth reading activities for children and vocabulary terms. If you are searching for books, you can find a Booklist here.
1. Amendments (13th, 14th, 15th )
What are the amendments?
What do laws do?
Who makes these laws?
Give examples on how the amendments affects your life now.
2. The First African American Senators (First Colored Senators)
Who were they?
Why do you think they were primarily from the South?
Why were their roles significant?
How did Reconstruction affect their roles?
3. What is Reconstruction?
What were the periods of peace and hope?
How did African Americans survive during this time period?
How long was Reconstruction?
Visual Reading Guide Here
What was the significance of voting during these times?
- The 15th Amendment of 1869 giving citizens voting rights
- Voting Rights Act of 1965
- Voting Restrictions of 2021
5. Discover Narratives of People Who Faced Slavery and what they did to live as a Citizen
Read Jourdon Anderson’s Letter to his Former Master
Jourdon’s Master asked that he come back to work on the plantation. Jourdon’s response was powerful and even included mathematical equations for the money that he was owed from his years of enslavement.
Juneteenth has a rich history of customs and celebrations to remember people affected from slavery. Below are additional vocabulary words.
American Colonization Society