It is fall Children’s Book Week Nov 7 – 13th. And it is also Nonfiction November! So here are five recent reads – wonderful nonfiction children’s books – that will work well for all ages actually. As I wrote this post, I realized a common thread among them. Each of them takes readers on a journey around the world in their own unique way.
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Read on to discover
5 Great Children’s Books for the Fall Children’s Book Week
Disclaimer: I received a digital ARC of all the featured books from NetGalley, and these are my honest opinions of the books.
Where We Come From
Where We Come From by John Coy, Shannon Gibney, Sun Yung Shin, and Diane Wilson and illustrated by Dion MDB (Children’s Nonfiction Books | 5 – 10 years, and up | Lerner Books | October 4, 2022)
Get it here: Amazon
We come from stardust / our bodies made of ancient elements. / We come from single cells / evolving over billions of years. / We come from place, language, and spirit. / And each of us comes from story. In this unique collaboration, four authors lyrically explore where they each come from—literally and metaphorically—as well as what unites all of us as humans. Richly layered illustrations connect past and present, making for an accessible and visually striking look at history, family, and identity.
I was not sure what to expect when I started this book. However, by the time I reached the end, I was awed and so very grateful that I read it. It is hard to believe that four different people worked on its narrative. On the one hand, you can hear each of their voices distinctly. And on the other, they are all woven together in an effortless manner to make it all seamless and beautiful. Somehow, this helps add to the central message that no matter where we are from, we are all essentially the same while being unique in our own ways.
The four authors each come from varying backgrounds and the beauty of diversity plays out wonderfully through their words here. And the artwork – what can I say about it except it is amazing and frame-worthy. I spent longer than expected to finish this book for I kept looking at the art and reading the lyrical words a few times over. Plus, so much to learn through their narratives – histories, cultures, and stories so rich in everything!
In summary, this one is simply gorgeous in its artwork and powerful in its narrative! And last, but not the least, the backmatter adds so much to this already must-have stunning book.
It is one for all ages.
Troublemakers in Trousers
Troublemakers in Trousers: : Women and What They Wore to Get Things Done by Sarah Albee and illustrated by Kaja Kajfez (Children’s Nonfiction | 9 – 12 years and up | Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | October 25, 2022)
Get it here: Amazon
Girls and women have historically been denied access to work, been blocked from the arts, refused the opportunity to lead and fight, and much more, simply because of their gender. From Hatshepsut to Joan of Arc to Frida Kahlo, Troublemakers in Trousers highlights twenty-one women who, for different reasons, wore men’s clothing, pretended to be men, and broke the rules in order to do something they wanted—or needed—to do.
This book is so very cool! I enjoyed reading about the many women featured throughout this book, including:
- those I thought I knew well (and now I know them better)
- others I had heard about,
- and many more I had not known until I opened this book.
I know I have said it before; but this discovery of amazing people, places, and things in our world is what draws me to nonfiction. And children’s nonfiction seems to have a way of doing it in a tiny powerhouse of a package!
Both artwork and the storytelling in this book are full of details and just awesome.
Listen to the Music
From 1600s England, where you can hear the harpsichord play Greensleeves, to 18th Century Munich, where you can hear Mozart’s piano sonata, to a classical Indian raga in 1700s Udaipur, to New York in the 1940s, where readers can press Charlie Parker’s saxophone to hear bebop Jazz, this book will teach children about cultural history, famous musicians and musical genres all while wanting to press the buttons and hear the music again and again.
The only issue I had with reading an eARC of this book is that I was unable to listen to the music samples that the physical copy is sure to have; I might just get the physical copy for that reason – plus the book takes readers on an amazing musical journey through time and place!
Through the young fictional protagonists of Pip and Sammy, readers are introduced to music and musicians across the world as they literally time travel, starting from the nun Hildegard in Germany in the year 1155 to listening to Indian ragas in a Udaipur palace in 1767; from listening to ragtime by Scott Joplin in 1899 to joining in the celebrations at the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro in 1911.; and more!
The vibrant and detailed artwork is the perfect accompaniment to the narrative and shows us details of both the place and time. Look for Pip, Sammy, and their teddies on each page!
Lore of the Land
Lore of the Land: Folklore and Wisdom from the Wild Earth by Claire Cock-Starkey and illustrated by Samantha Dolan (Children’s Nonfiction/Multicultural Story Books | 6 – 12 years and up | Quarto Publishing Group | October 18, 2022)
Get it here: Amazon
Unearth the secrets of our natural world with the Lore of the Land, a richly illustrated compendium of folklore and wisdom from the land, skies, and seas. From thundering rivers to shady groves, flickering marshes to lightless caves, and from snow-capped mountains to the depths of the ocean, discover the folklore of Earth’s wildest places. Stories and spirits abound in these land- and seascapes, where traditional wisdom and mysterious magics have intertwined over centuries.
If you are a regular visitor on my blog, you will know that I enjoy reading just about everything, and folktales and such hold a special fascination. Which is why it is no wonder that this book appealed to me. Its beautiful cover, the clever title, and the description: all of this ensured I will be reading Lore of the Land. And I am glad I did!
It is utterly beautiful from start to end in both the visuals and the text. The book is arranged into sections based on natural elements rather than nationality. This allows us to read stories from around the world in one place, and makes it easy to compare the myths and folklore about similar things across different cultures. Each section starts off with a short folktale about the featured natural elements (forests, mountains, wetlands, various waterbodies, hills and valleys). The rest of the chapter/section includes various creation stories and mythical creatures/spirits of the featured element.
The illustrations are vibrant, vivid, and detailed making the stories come alive.
We Are the United States
We Are the United States: Meet the People Who Live, Work, and Play Across the USA by Margeaux Weston; Sarosh Arif and illustrated by Sol Linero (Children’s Nonfiction Books | 6 years and up | Quarto Publishing Group | October 4, 2022)
Get it here: Amazon
This vibrantly illustrated compendium explores the beautiful diversity of the people who live, work, and love across the USA in this joyful follow-up to The 50 States. Across 51 charmingly illustrated infographic maps, covering every state of the USA from Alabama to Wyoming, We Are The United States celebrates the glorious rainbow of different heritages, religions, hobbies, vocations, and cultures that populate this great country.
What is this book, you ask? It is a ‘clear and concise yet comprehensive without being cluttered’ package of information about the United States. And yes, both artwork and narrative are fun and appealing.
It has a fun fact-filled two-page spread for each state in the United States, and also includes Washington D.C. and the US territories. Each spread includes information from the basics (key facts, capital, flag etc) to more fascinating historical and cultural facts among other things. It also includes famous and influential people from each state, some of whom I heard of first from this book. I enjoyed the graphics, text-boxes, and factoids as well as the visuals spread throughout each page and across the book, which lend atmosphere and color and fun details to each featured place.
A great book for all who want to learn more about the states in the USA, and a wonderful addition for homeschools and classrooms too.
Related Reads for Children’s Books
- Magic Monday – Inspirations..and Memes. – My post from the twin-calendar year of 2011 for November 7th – full of children’s books that will inspire while warming your heart
- A Wonderful Medley of Festive Nonfiction Reads – something for all age groups in this list
- 5 Wonderful & Inspiring Nonfiction Girl Power Books
This post goes towards It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? over at TeachMentorTexts
And Now, the End of This Children’s Books Post
Dear reader, have you read any of these books? Or other similar reads? Which of this would you pick first to read? As always, I look forward to your thoughts and recommendations.