Posts Tagged ‘non-fiction’

Star Readers

As a children’s and teen librarian I love helping kids find books for school. We get lots of requests, and the specifics of each one make them like little puzzles to solve.

Say, for instance, that a 3rd grade girl needs a book that has an Accelerated Reader (AR) test and is listed as a 6th grade reading level. When elementary school kids are ‘star readers’ it’s sometimes hard to find a book that is challenging enough but also appropriate in content. In these cases, one of my first suggestions is to take a look at nonfiction. There are so many great nonfiction books out there about all sorts of fun stuff! The specific vocabulary they use and the more complex ideas make them a fantastic choice for kids who are reading at high levels.

Here are some examples.

er vets ER Vets: Life in an Animal Emergency Room
by Donna Jackson
88 pages
AR level 8.1


Escape Escape: The story of the great Houdini
by Sid Fleischman
207 pages
AR level 6.6
project seahorse Project Seahorse
by Pamela Turner
51 pages
AR level 6.6
no pretty pictures No Pretty Pictures: a child of war
by Anita Lobel
190 pages
AR level 5.0
american plague An American Plague:The true and terrifying story of the yellow fever epidemic of 1793
by Jim Murphy
165 pages
AR level 9.0

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Real Animal Stories

The last few weeks have brought a lot of great new books to our libraries. Two books that stood out to me were both true stories of famous animals in history. One of my favorite things about these kinds of short non-fiction children’s books is that there are always sequels. Maybe not in the traditional way, but there are always more ways to learn about the topic either online or in other books. The authors’ notes at the end of these two books will lead the way to more discovery!

strongheart Strongheart: The world’s first movie star dog by Emily Arnold McCully
Want to know about the life of the first dog to star in his own movie? This amazing German shepherd was originally named Etzel von Oeringen and was born in Germany during World War I. He was trained as a police dog then brought to the United States after the war. His path to silent movie stardom is fascinating!
ivan Ivan: The remarkable true story of the shopping mall gorilla by Katherine Applegate
Ivan became famous because he was nabbed from the wilds of Africa in 1962 by poachers and lived much of his life in a very unconventional way. The facts about Ivan’s life are disturbing and heartbreaking in parts but the pictures by G. Brian Karas* are tender, calm, and just right for young kids. Katherine Applegate’s longer fiction work on the same topic is called The One and Only Ivan.

* G. Brian Karas has a great post on his blog where he talks about creating the art for this book.

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New Non-Fiction for Kids

i am malala get outside guide when lunch
because they marched if you were a cat goodnight football
try this eat your science homework plains zebras

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