My child only wants to check out nonfiction books from the library. Is this okay?
Yes, this is definitely okay. When we think of books and young children we often only think of fiction stories. We tend to think young kids just won’t “get it” when it comes to nonfiction. Of course a child (and an adult) loves a good fantasy, but many children also enjoy nonfiction. Children are so curious about their world and soak up information like a sponge, so nonfiction text is a perfect fit! Nonfiction text also has the added bonuses of increasing a child’s vocabulary, building prior knowledge, developing critical thinking skills and being especially enticing to reluctant readers.
Also, let’s face it. Much of the reading in your child’s future is going to be nonfiction from high school textbooks to the newspaper to the 20 page article your college professor gives you to read for class discussion. If you get them interested at a young age, it won’t be so daunting when they’re older.
Worried about actually finding nonfiction text that’s appropriate for a young child? Today publisher’s are actually very mindful about making sure they publish books on a range of topics at varied reading levels. I’ve even seen some nonfiction books with three word sentences! You just have to look. Also, remember to look beyond the book. Newspapers, magazines, and websites all have a high percentage of nonfiction material. If your still stuck. There’s an annual award for the best nonfiction book for children. The National Council of Teachers of English has the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children.
Some nonfiction books that are my personal favorites:
- Frogs by Nic Bishop
- Lady Liberty: A Biography by Doreen Rappaport
- Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle by Brian Dennis and Mary Nethery
- Listen to the Wind by Greg Mortenson