Over the last few days, the Inly Library has added four new books to the 500s – Dewey code for the science section. Each book is evidence of how much more beautiful and inspiring nonfiction for kids is now than it was when I was a child. These are books guaranteed to encourage young naturalists to look more closely at their world.
The Life of Rice: From Seedling to Supper by Richard Sobol (Sobol travels to Thailand to follow the life cycle of rice, one of the most important and abundant foods in the world)
Celebritrees: Historic and Famous Trees of the World by Margi Preus (the story of the world’s most famous trees, “the oldest, biggest and tallest living organisms on earth.” This book is full of interesting facts, including one about the Methuselah, a 4,800 year-old tree that had already been around for over 200 years when the ancient Egyptians were building the Great Sphinx.)
A Warmer World: From Polar Bears to Butterflies, How Climate Change Affects Wildlife by Caroline Arnold (Arnold’s book about global warming brings to mind the ripples made by a pebble being thrown into the water. The page about fish is sobering. Arnold writes: “Scientists predict that trout and salmon may disappear from as much as third of their current habitat by the year 2090 due to global warming.”)
Billions of Years, Amazing Changes: The Story of Evolution by Laurence Pringle (I love how Pringle’s book begins – by asking kids to think about their own families and asking if they’ve seen pictures of their ancestors. That’s the jumping off point for an accessible and fascinating look at the process of evolution, including information about how it continues today.)
All four of these books are visually amazing. The illustrations, whether drawings or photographs, make the information more vivid and accessible. Good nonfiction should tell a compelling story and encourage curiosity. These four books, with their effective integration of text and illustration, give kids (and adults) lots to think about.