Children are hungry to learn about the world. Storybooks are rich with teachable situations, but sometimes an informational book is better at satisfying a child’s curiosity. Some children may even prefer a factual book to a story of make-believe.
Often the non-fiction books that are simple enough for pre-school children are a combination of fact and fiction. They have a gentle story line that acts as the backdrop for introducing accurate facts. Once you find a book that you like, be sure to check out other books by that author.
• “Lily’s Garden of India” by Jeremy Smith, illustrated by Rob Hefferan. Lily has an amazing mom who has a garden filled with plants from all over the world. Lily learns about each of the plants in the Indian section and learns all about the culture of that country. More description of the plants is in the back of the book. Illustrations are playful and colorful.
•“The Ugly Vegetables” by Grace Lin. This endearing story is about growing Chinese vegetable plant seedlings and sharing them with the neighbors, who share back with the harvested vegetables. Learn about all of these unusual vegetables and them make soup using the recipe included.
• “Just Behave, Pablo Picasso” by Jonah Winter, pictures by Kevin Hawkes. A lively story about the artist Pablo Picasso told at a level for children about how he pushed convention and painted what he wanted to paint, not what he knew would sell. “The chief enemy of creativity is good sense!” Picasso was heard to say.
• “Secret Seahorse” by Stella Blackstone and Clare Beaton. Rhyming text tells the story of looking for seahorses, while introducing the reader to life on a coral reef. Elaborate creations of appliquéd felt with sequins, beads and trim illustrate a coral reef and all the animals and plants living there.
• “Fire! Fire!” by Gail Gibbons describes everything to do with fire fighting equipment. This is just one of the multitudes of books this author has written for pre-schoolers and early readers describing how things work.
• “Pizza at Sally’s” by Monica Wellington. Primitive illustrations in primary colors with some collage of photographs show how a pizza is made. Tomatoes for sauce, wheat for flour, milk for cheese, stir, knead, chop, assemble, and bake! Recipe included.