2018 Year in Review: Nonfiction

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It’s been a good year for storytime nonfiction! Did I miss a great book? Have you tried one of these titles yet? Was it a smashing success or a flop? Please share!

Looks like I did not pay much attention to storytime nonfiction this year about people – please let me know what I missed!

⭐️= favorite

👎= nope


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⭐️Contrary Creatures: Unique Animal Opposites by James Weinberg

What a bright and beautiful exploration of opposites in the animal kingdom! I love how this book goes beyond mere size and speed, but also explores more unique attributes like eating and sleeping habits. Love the end pages with more fun facts about the various animals. Another great book to bring out during an early literacy storytime about building background knowledge or talking!

This book also introduced me to the sad lack of kidlit about snow monkeys. Seriously? How are there not any picture books or even nonfiction about these awesome animals?

snow monkey

Hidden Critters: Can You Find Them All? by Stan Tekiela

As seems to be the story of my life, this book came out the week after I needed it for storytime. A great size for reading aloud and full of eye-catching photographs, this book invites kids to listen to clues and look for the camouflaged animal. The next page has even more interesting info about the animal. Love it!

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⭐️Heads and Tails by John Canty

Who’s that hiding on the next page? Listen carefully to the clues, then look to find out! Slippery snakes, swift rabbits and scaly crocodiles await! Love the cut-off watercolor illustration clues. Guessing books are so great at building background knowledge, can’t wait to bring this out for a toddler or preschool storytime!

⭐️How Do You Take a Bath? by Kate McMullan
Do you wallow in the mud? Do fish feast upon your scales? NO! This book is full of cute critters and fun facts about how the animal kingdom gets clean. Great storytime read for all ages. The littles will love the silly comparisons and the older kids will find the animal facts fascinating! Read this in storytime last weekend and they giggled the whole time.

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Step by Step by Loreen Leedy

Speaking of guess who books… Who left these little tracks in the snow? Which cute creature crawled to the ocean? Guess the baby animal by its tracks and habitat in this charming informational picture book for toddlers. Another great storytime book for building background knowledge!

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⭐️Birds from Head to Tail by Stacey Roderick

Which bird has a pear-shaped body? Legs like stilts? Find out in this beautifully illustrated informational picture book! I am in love with the bright colors and close-ups of our feathery friends. It’s super easy to adapt the text for a young preschool/toddler audience. I can’t wait to adapt some of these images for a flannel!

Who Eats Orange? by Dianne White

A bright exploration of color, animals and their favorite foods! Fun mix of the familiar and exotic. Shame about the red lobster in the ocean, though- lobsters only turn red after they are cooked.

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⭐️Lovely Beasts: The Surprising Truth by Kate Gardner

Another beautiful book full of surprises. Learn more about these mysterious creatures both big and small, from creepy but crafty spiders to slimy, smart octopuses!

Bird Builds a Nest by Martin Jenkins

So excited by this first title in Jenkins’ new narrative nonfiction series! It can be SO HARD to find nonfiction written in a way that can work during storytime with a young audience, but Jenkins has done just that. This simple story follows Bird throughout her day, from finding worms to building nests and laying eggs.

The Squirrel’s Busy Year and Fox Explores the Night by Martin Jenkins

More great narrative nonfiction titles by Martin Jenkins! Explore the seasons through a squirrel’s perspective, from foraging in snow to stocking up in fall to dodging owls. Or take a nighttime stroll with fox and learn more about nocturnal animals. Love the vocabulary in these!

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⭐️Mama Dug a Little Den by Jennifer Ward & Steve Jenkins

I am SO HERE for a Jennifer Ward & Steve Jenkins collaboration! Beautiful and big illustrations, lovely learning rhymes, and additional informational text for older readers.

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⭐️Roar: A Dinosaur Tour by Michael Paul

I feel like I’ve been waiting FOREVER for new solid storytime dinosaur titles! This book definitely delivers. It’s simple, yet striking. Perfect introduction to the prehistoric world for toddlers! I especially love the inside covers with both the dinosaur names and meanings. Perfect tie-in to a vocabulary early literacy tip for parents!

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⭐️How Tall Was a T-Rex? by Alison Limentani

Big, bold illustrations and fascinating facts sure to delight dinosaur fans both young and old! Love the math in this book.

What Do They Do With all That Poo? by Jane Kurtz

Haven’t you always wondered?! Explore the stinky side of the zoo in this new nonfiction picture book. Full of rhymes and fascinating facts about animals and their waste. Just watch out for that last page! Super fun read for curious preschoolers and primary grades.

Terrific Tongues by Maria Gianferrari

What would it be like to have a tongue like a sword? A windshield wiper? This fantastic nonfiction picture book invites young readers to find out! This imaginative tour of mouths in the animal kingdom is full of fun facts and would work well with multiple age groups. Could definitely be used for storytime or in the classroom, especially for a writing craft unit about simile and metaphor!

⭐️Abdo Kids

My new favorite nonfiction publisher for storytime! These are just the perfect size for storytime and the photographs are super compelling. Unlike the Spot series below by Amicus, these books also include traditional nonfiction text features, like a Table of Contents and Index.

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⭐️Spot Series by Amicus

My other new favorite nonfiction series for young readers! Wish these had come out when I was doing guided reading in the classroom. Full of high frequency words, great photographs, fun facts, and eye-catching text. I’ve used several titles in storytime to great success! Toddlers and preschoolers enjoyed comparing their own eyes and skin to that of the frog. I’m excited to check out the new Ocean, Baby Animals, Creepy Crawlies, and Mighty Machine sets. Some of these are also available in Spanish!


Can’t get enough kidlit? Here’s my look back on 2018’s…

Concept Picture Books: Part One and Part Two

Interactive Picture Books

Laugh Out Loud Stories: Part One and Part Two

Wordless & Nearly Wordless Picture Books

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3 thoughts on “2018 Year in Review: Nonfiction”

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