We tend to associate children with make-believe, fantasy, and imagination. And yet, these lovers of nonsense rhymes and fairy tales are also hard-nosed realists in their own way.
As they grow into active and inquisitive listeners, our young kids start wanting to separate the fiction from the facts. “Is this for real life?” my five-year-old will ask skeptically when someone starts to spin a wild yarn. She’s also learned to peg some stories as “just pretend” while accepting others as “true life.” And these days she is eager to learn “the truth” and become “an expert” (new favorite words) regarding her favorite subjects. At the moment, her main field of study is cats; once she’s mastered ins and outs of felines, I can only imagine what she’ll turn to next.
When they really focus in on a topic, kids are able to absorb a lot of information. My nine-year-old nephew recently stunned one of his grandparents’ friends when he casually identified a World War II general from a photograph hanging on the wall. This boy already knows far more about D-Day and the Normandy invasion than most adults do, and he learned none of it in school! Where does he get his information? From books, of course (as well as obsessive viewings of the classic movie “The Longest Day”).
Whatever your child’s interests, there are loads of good nonfiction titles available for young children. A few series our kids love and rely on include:
The Magic Tree House Fact Tracker series is set of nonfiction companion volumes to the original, beloved Tree House adventures. Each book answers many of the questions kids are bound to have after reading of Jack and Annie’s time travel to the land of the dinosaurs, to ancient Egypt, to Pompei, and other thrilling places in time. Full of photos, illustrations, and clearly presented historical information, these books satisfy your kids’ curiosity about what’s fact and what’s fiction in some of their favorite stories.
National Geographic Kids has numerous titles to answer children’s numerous questions about geography and weather, space, dinosaurs, and the animal kingdom. This trusted source does not disappoint, and sparks the minds of the youngest children and their older counterparts too.
The DK Eyewitness series has lots very appealing titles on historical subjects, science, and travel. Full of vibrant color photographs and standout graphics, these books take kids back to the Medieval Era or to Mesopotamia, for instance, into the depths of oceans or the heart of storms. And so much more.
Spend a few hours with one of these books, and any kid can become an expert on a fascinating subject. Hooray for books, and hooray for kids and their inquisitive minds!
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