Main menu


Cool nonfiction will dazzle kids

featured image

There are countless nonfiction books for kids that are fascinating, provide readers/listeners with loads of information and are presented in a fast-paced, lively fashion. And that’s good news because it’s doubtful a child could be convinced to read nonfiction if the books were dull, too lengthy or too technical.

Whet a child’s appetite for nonfiction with well-written books that captivate their interest, such as the books reviewed today. If a genuine interest takes root, there will be a greater willingness to read more (and yes, even the tedious sections) because there will be a desire to know more.

The world needs all kinds of people with all kinds of interests. Open those doors to children by reading awesome nonfiction books on a wide variety of topics. You never know where it might lead.

Books to borrow

The following book is available at many public libraries.

“Seabird in the Forest: The Mystery of the Warbled Murrelet” written and illustrated by Joan Dunning, Boyds Mills Press, 32 pages

Read aloud: age 5 and older.

Read yourself: age 8-9.

On the Pacific Ocean, the small, warbled murrelet lives most of its life bobbing on the surface of the water and diving for small silver fish. But warbled murrelets can’t lay their eggs in the water, and until a couple of decades ago, scientists didn’t know where these seabirds nested.

Scientists now know the birds fly as far as 50 miles from their ocean home to the canopy of upper branches of ancient trees, approximately 320 feet off the ground. It is here that the female lays her one, single egg, and the female and male takes turns keeping the egg warm and safe for one month while the other flies back and forth for fish. When the chick hatches, the male and female continue to bring fish for the chick for another month until the young bird is ready to fly for the first time, all the way back to the ocean.

A fascinating tale of a unique bird, this selection is bound to intrigue readers. Beautifully written and illustrated, “Seabird in the Forest” is a stellar contribution to children’s nonfiction and natural history.

Librarian’s choice

Library: Boyertown Community Library, 29 E. Philadelphia Ave., Boyertown

Library director: Susan Lopez

Choices this week: “You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Pyramid Builder!” by Jacqueline Morley; “Titanic: Voices From the Disaster” by Deborah Hopkins; “Randolph Caldecott: The Man Who Could Not Stop Drawing” by Leonard S. Marcus

Books to buy

The following books are available at favorite bookstores.

“Narwhal: The Arctic Unicorn” by Justin Anderson, illustrated by Jo Weaver, Candlewick, 2022, 28 pages, $17.99 hardcover

Read aloud: age 5–8.

Read yourself: age 7-8.

As spring approaches in the Arctic and the frozen sea begins to melt and split the ice apart, pods of narwhales begin their long journey north. Related to killer whales and dolphins, narwhals are toothed whales, and primarily the males grow a long tusk that is useful in many ways.

Swimming many miles for several months, dangerous predators such as polar bears and killer whales must be avoided. The pod must also find enough to eat, have their young, and be ready to begin their trek south in September before the sea freezes again.

Author and zoologist Anderson takes readers on a fascinating journey of their own as they learn about narwhals. Paired with evocative illustrations by Jo Weaver, “Narwhal: The Arctic Unicorn” is bound to fascinate readers both young and old alike.

“Concrete: From the Ground Up” by Larissa Theule, illustrated by Steve Light,

“Concrete: From the Ground Up” by Larissa Theule, illustrated by Steve Light, Candlewick, 2022, 48 pages, $18.99 hardcover

Read aloud: age 7-10.

Read yourself: age 8-10.

From the early makers of concrete (think 9,600 BCE) to today, concrete has played a major role in creating human-made structures. Who would have thought that mixing stone, sand, water and cement would yield cement, a product so strong that seemingly impossible structures last for a very long time. From bridges to lighthouses, skyscrapers, dams and more, our world would be very different if concrete had never been invented.

For curious kids and budding civil engineers, “Concrete: From the Ground Up” is fascinating, incorporates a nice dose of wit, and is perfectly complemented by engaging illustrations.

Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children’s literature. She can be reached at