Picking a good nonfiction book for your child’s literary collection can seem like a daunting task, especially if your child is between the ages of 5 and 8. Nonfiction books are a great resource to start developing your child’s love of reading. They help children develop skills to determine fact from opinion in addition to teaching new concepts and vocabulary that will be useful as students reach upper grade levels. Consider some of the handpicked nonfiction novels below just for young readers.
Dive into this inspiring story of Eugenie Clark, also known as Shark Lady, who teaches children about sharks. Young readers will learn about the fascinating life of these beautiful creatures of the sea as vivid illustrations take them on a journey with Clark as she studies these misunderstood animals. The story of Clark herself, who grew her early love for animals into a remarkable career in zoology, will inspire kids to follow their dreams.
This stylish, fact-filled book engages young readers with its beautiful illustrations while a personified Curiosity tells her own story of roving on Mars. “Is there anybody else out there?” Curiosity asks. It’s a good question, one that will pique your child’s curiosity as she roams the red planet’s grounds. The book includes other facts about space and space travel that you can read or skip over if your child just wants to see more of Curiosity’s journey. Your child just might discover a budding space explorer inside as they follow Curiosity’s story.
This beautiful picture book biography captures Grace Hopper’s boundary-breaking journey to become one of the best computer-coding scientists in the world. As a curious child, Hopper took apart clocks in her home to find out how they work. She eventually joined the Navy during World War II and became a pioneering coder and even coined the term “computer bug,” but her story is told in simple, direct language. What’s more, Hopper’s quirks and witticisms will make it easy for your child to connect with this Queen of Computer Code. She’s the perfect role model for STEM-minded children who want to embark on their own journeys of self-discovery.
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were friends with very different personalities. In the book “Worst of Friends,” young readers will learn the importance of settling disputes and how to handle disagreements while picking up some American history along the way. Helping kids learn in a fun and entertaining way, Suzanne Trip Jurmain offers a humorous twist on the relationship between two presidents who often did not see eye to eye on how to run the country.
“Emmanuel’s Dream” tells the story of a young boy in Ghana who was born with a deformed leg but overcomes discrimination and eventually pedals a bike 400 miles across his country. Rich illustrations help make the story a page-turner as Emmanuel hops to school and helps provide for his family. An author’s note explains that Emmanuel’s story even inspired legislation that created equal rights for disabled people in Ghana. Young children will love this story of love and acceptance and learn the importance of perseverance through life’s difficulties to achieve their dreams.
“Inspiring a love and passion for lifelong reading is critical in the tender ages of 5-8,” Emily Watts says. “Nonfiction in particular can spark a child’s imagination, while also teaching about new subjects or deepening knowledge in existing areas.”
Our Expert Consultant
Emily Watts is a mother of three (she has two adopted children and one foster child). She also is a licensed teacher with experience educating children in complex life situations. Emily has over seven years of experience in alternative education. She is passionate about children and specializes in helping those who may need a little extra attention or special care.