Beautiful non-fiction books we love 

Hello! I hope you are all enjoying the summer. Here in England it seems like the sunshine has finally come back out for a while after weeks of rain – good timing for us as we have spent the weekend camping with friends. I’ve come back feeling physically tired but mentally refreshed after a weekend of fresh air and plenty of good conversation.

I wanted to share some of our favourite non-fiction books which we are currently reading. I love children’s non-fiction, and feel like we are so spoilt for choice at the moment, with many wonderful authors and illustrators working to bring the most beautiful books to the market. Here are some of our favourites, some of which are relatively new to us, and some of which we have had for a while but keep coming back to. Please feel free to share your favourites in the comments!

The Street Beneath My Feet (Charlotte Guillain and Yuval Zommer)

Frida has been asking us a lot recently about what is under the ground, and I felt like our explanations were not satisfying her need to really explore the topic. So I did what I always do when I want to look at a new idea with Frida, and researched books on the topic! I am really excited about this book, and I think that if you have children then they will be excited by it too. It’s a pull-out book, which opens up into a long vertical “slice” of under the ground, from the surface of the earth right to the earth’s core. Along the way we encounter underground trains, animal burrows, soil, rocks and minerals, pipes, bones, and much, much more. One side looks at the ground under a busy street, the other the ground under a garden or field.

This beautiful book takes a fairly abstract concept and makes it tangible for even very young children to grasp, with sufficient information and detail that much older children would be delighted by it too. I will definitely be buying this as a gift for some of the children I know – I can’t imagine any child not enjoying this gorgeous publication!

Today (Julie Morstad)

I love the concept of this book so much. It starts with a child waking in the morning, then each double-page spread looks at a choice they might make (where to go, what to wear, what to eat for breakfast), illustrates lots of options, then asks what you would choose! We have had so much fun as a family reading through this book, talking about which choices we would make. As well as being a fun book it’s also brilliant for expanding a child’s vocabulary. Love it.

Lots: The Diversity of Life on Earth (Nicola Davies)

I am a huge fan of Nicola Davies’ books, and this one does certainly not disappoint. A stunning book tackling the important issue of loss of diversity as well as introducing the concept of ecosystems in an accessible and interesting way. I love that her books do not have a huge amount of writing, allowing the illustrations to speak volumes. This book is very special and, in my opinion, extremely important. A great place to start conversations about conservation and the need to look after our planet.

The Barefoot Book of Children

I am sure I have written about this book before, but I didn’t feel I could write about beautiful non-fiction book without including this. If you don’t have it in your child’s book collection, buy it, or reserve it from the library. Seriously. It’s a wonderful look at the ways in which children around the globe are all different and unique, and yet all so very similar. It’s such a good place to start if you want to introduce more diversity to your child’s bookshelves, and an excellent basis for talking about peace, and disabilities, and different family set-ups, and geography, and and and…

How Do Flowers Grow? (Lift-the-Flap First Questions and Answers)

We recently bought this book, and I wished we had bought it sooner! A beautiful, simple book showing how flowers grow from seeds, how pollination works, how seeds are dispersed, and much more. Fantastic.

Grandma’s House (Alice Melvin)

This book is just so gorgeous, a real visual feast for children to enjoy. The book follows a girl as she walks through her grandmother’s beautiful home, ending up in the sort of garden dreams are made of! There are not many words, but the illustrations are so rich; this book is perfect as a vocabulary building book, as there are so many objects to point out on each page, so many things to talk about. Since reading this book Frida has become very taken with the idea of attics, and what people keep in theirs.

Atlas of Animal Adventures

I love the content of this book, which features some amazing animals from across the globe. From birds of paradise to polar bears, this book makes for fascinating reading – I have certainly learnt a lot! The book includes a map of the world and separates the animals into continents, so it’s a great way to introduce some geographical concepts alongside learning about some of the incredible animals we share our planet with.

A note: If you are following a very strict Montessori approach towards books, you may want to think carefully about this one. Although all of the written content is factual, some of the illustrations appeal to children’s silly nature, and put some of the animals in human accessories or situations. This doesn’t bother me at all and Frida finds it funny, but I only introduced this book when she a) already knew what these animals looked like, and b) could clearly understand that this was for comedic effect rather than because animals wear hats or drink from tea cups!

Look Inside: Our World (Usborne)

This book is a wonderful, accessible, and fun introduction to geography and biomes. Children will adore lifting the flaps on each page (as, ahem, do I) and seeing what lies beneath, to learn more about rivers, deserts, jungles, oceans, and much more. Frida is enjoying this book now but I think she will continue to get a lot out of it for years to come as we explore these concepts further.

In the same series Frida also loves Look Inside: Your Body, which I thoroughly recommend to any family with a young child as a brilliant, visual introduction to human biology. We will definitely be looking to add more of the Look Inside series to our book collection, as I think they make complex topics so accessible for young children.

Moon (Britta Teckentrup and Patricia Hegarty)

Disclaimer – we haven’t read this yet, as it’s not actually released until next month! But we love Britta Teckentrup (we have Tree: Seasons Come, Seasons Go and Bee: Nature’s tiny miracle, both of which are wonderful) and I think this book looks stunning. I will definitely be buying a copy and using it as the basis for further discussions and work around the phases of the moon, something we haven’t really touched upon yet.

I am always looking for recommendations for gorgeous, well-written, inspiring non-fiction books to share with Frida. What beautiful books are you reading at the moment? 

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9 thoughts on “Beautiful non-fiction books we love 

  1. So many wonderful books here, what a lovely post! I especially like the look of ‘Today’ so will be adding that to our wish list.

    We have just stared reading ‘Hidden World: Forest’. It might be too basic for Frida, but it has lots of simple facts, and lovely illustrations that my 20 month old enjoys looking through with me. Great for learning the names of forest creatures!

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  2. Hi Eloise,
    Another great post! We have some of these lovely books (and more now added to my list – thank you). At the risk of asking a dumb question; wondering how you approach some of the lengthier books. Do you start at the beginning/ let child flick through and see what takes their interest/ use as reference etc. My daughter is only 17 months; she loves fiction books and will listen contently to a decent length story but her attention span for factual books is much more limited currently.
    Thanks.

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    • It depends on Frida’s mood really. When we first look at a book we will usually sit and read it all in one go, but then we might come back to a certain page after discussions around that subject, or come back to parts she is really interested in, or just read them in a sitting again. Now she’s a bit older she can sit through longer and longer books, so it will come! I just let myself be led by Frida, and also by the book (some lend themselves so well to dipping into) xx

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  3. Hi Eloise,

    I hope you don’t mind me emailing you. I just wanted to say that I love the content of your blog. You are so inspiring and your blog is so interesting and well written.

    I am currently helping Dorothy Williams at Busy Bumblebees Montessori in Bloomsbury London with her Twitter and Facebook feeds and have posted about a number of your blogs on these platforms. (I’m doing the Digital Mums Social Media Marketing course and loving it.)   It looks like you’re not currently live on Twitter or Facebook although I can see you have a great Instagram account. I just wondered how I can best mention you on Twitter and Facebook. I’m providing links to your blogs and hash tagging #FridaBeMighty. Is that ok?

    I’ll keep enjoying your posts and I’ve already ordered a couple of your suggested books for my nearly 3 year old Madelyn.

    Kindest regards Sarah

    Sarah Richards Ph: +44 7565 233 261 e: sarahlouiserichards@me.com

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    • Hi Sarah! That’s lovely, thank you. Yes, I’m don’t use Twitter any more and I don’t use Facebook for the blog – I might do one day though. Thanks again for getting in touch and for reading xx

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  4. Pingback: Montessori Gifts for Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers | Frida Be Mighty

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