Readers of all ages get much pleasure from nonfiction books that list facts, figures and basic information. Following are a selected few that provide fun and education for various ages.
“THE WORLD ALMANAC FOR KIDS 2013,” published by World Almanac for Kids, $13.99, 352 pages (ages 8 and up)
The latest edition of “The World Almanac for Kids” chronicles the most notable people, places and events of 2012 with many recent facts making news today that will entertain and educate young readers. In a fast-changing society, details such as world currency, scientific research, population changes and the formation of a new nation, South Sudan, are updated — all of which are surely outdated in current school textbooks. The book includes coverage on sports, fashion, media and the arts, and not only what is “popular” today, but predictions for upcoming events.
The hundreds of vivid photographs, graphs, charts and timelines make the almanac a homework helper, reference book and news source all in one.
“THINGS THAT GO,” Sterling Publishing, $4.95 (infants, grades K-2)
This is one of six board book titles from the Say and Play series featuring full-colored photos of things familiar to infants such as scooters, planes, skates and cars. Each of the 26 pictures is boldly labeled on white background just right for “beginning reading.” Because the photos are so visually appealing, the reading will naturally lead to naming colors as well. Others in the series are “Baby Animals,” “Oink, Moo, Meow,” “First Words,” “Numbers” and “Colors.”
“GO OUT AND PLAY: Favorite Outdoor Games from Kaboom!” Candlewick Press, $11.99, 96 pages (all ages)
Children today are not as involved in unstructured play as in years past. “Researchers point to many reasons for this,” explains Darell Hammond, founder and CEO of Kaboom! “Too few places to play. Too much time spent watching television, playing video games and online.”
The games suggested in “Go Out and Play” include oldies like "Red Rover" and new ones like “All Tangled Up.” Ages and equipment — usually no more than a ball, chalk or marker cone — are designated. Of real value are the dozen ideas in the section “A Call to Action,” which aims to help families and communities create more safe and accessible play spaces in a neighborhood.
Scholastic Press offers Discover More, a book-and-web nonfiction series for children ages 3 through 13. Inside each book is a code that encourages readers to download a digital companion ebook from the Discover More website at www.scholastic.com/discovermore, which offers related additional material on subjects of interest. Following are three examples of the Discover More series:
“MY BODY,” by Andrea Pinnington and Penny Lamprell, Scholastic, $7.99, 32 pages (emergent readers ages 3-6)
Full-color photos with well-labeled, large font captions introduce the human body, including anatomy and all five senses. A section includes images of an ultrasound of a baby before birth and a sequence of pictures of children at various ages. A glossary with children in action completes the study of the body.
A website accompanies “My Body” with activities to extend the book. Others in the emergent reader level are “See Me Grow,” “Animal Babies” and “Farm.”
“PLANETS,” by Penelope Arlon and Tory Gordon-Harris, Scholastic, $12.99, 80 pages (confident readers ages 7-9)
“Planets” contains sections on the solar system, individual facts about each planet and much more. Special sections on space, the ISS and interviews with an astronaut make this a timely resource. An extensive index and glossary are provided. Full-color photos with clear captions are brilliantly arranged for easy understanding.
The digital book “Amazing Space Machines” augments the information of “Planets.” Others in this confident reader-level series are “Penguins,” “Bugs” and “Dinosaurs.”
“HOW TODAY'S TECHNOLOGY REALLY WORKS,” by Clive Gifford, Scholastic, $15.99, 112 pages (expert readers, ages 9-13)Comment on this story
Information on the changes in personal computers, space exploration and energy attests to the “shrinking of technology.” Through behind-the-scenes cross-sections and photos, modern technology is explained in details reflecting the changes into today’s world. One example is the section on energy use where power ratings are explained as well as futuristic consumption of energy sources. The glossary and index will be valuable as references. The digital bookm “Cool Tech Heroes,” accompanies the book.