From Robins to Band-aids: Nonfiction Picture Books Perfect for Summer Reading

Just because it’s summer and the sun is shining doesn’t mean it’s time to stop reading. Not with all the fabulous books out there that children will love and that will keep them learning new information. From animals who build shelters to the man who invents a way to make bandages to help his accident-prone wife, here are a bunch of books to make your summer a bit more interesting!

boo boos“The Boo-Boos that Changed the World: A True Story about an Accidental Invention (Really!)” by Barry Wittenstein is the nonfiction story of Earle Dickson and his clumsy wife, Josephine. She would spend all day cleaning and cooking and by the time Earle got back from work, she would be covered in cuts and bruises. He happened to work for a company that manufactured hospital supplies, and his father was a doctor, so he thought and he thought about how he could help his oft-injured wife. Finally, he conceived the idea to put cotton on tape. The story is detailed with information about how at first, no one was interested in buying the Band-aids. But readers find out what the company did to get people to try them, and it was very successful! A fascinating glimpse into the history of a product every reader will have used at some point. (Charlesbridge)

“A Place to Start a Family: Poems about Creatures that Build” by David L. Harrison anda place to start af amiy illustrated by Giles Laroche tells through poetry about different animals and the homes they build for their young. From storks on high rooftops to sun coral under the ocean and many animals in between, the poems are clever and informative. The illustrations also deserve a mention as they are colorful and detailed. Laroche uses cut paper and a variety of hand-painted papers, and the look is quite unique. (Charlesbridge)

“Penguins Don’t Wear Sweaters!” by Marikka Tamura and illustrated by Daniel Rieley is the true story of penguins and an oil spill that ruined their pristine ocean water and coated them with crude oil. The Author’s Note penguinsexplains that when there was an oil spill in Phillip Island, Australia, people around the world knitted sweaters to help the penguins regulate their body temperature and stay warm. Newspapers took pictures of the cute penguins, but as the author explains, sweaters don’t really help the penguins. They press the oil against their skin, and just getting the sweater on the penguins stressed them greatly. The author cautions readers against just skimming the news but rather to investigate before jumping into action, because even well-meaning actions may not be helpful in the end. The other important thing for kids to learn about is how animals can be negatively and cruelly impacted by ocean drilling, and that often one must investigate thoroughly about how to help with environmental issues. (Nancy Paulsen Books)

“A Round of Robins” by Katie Hesterman and illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier is a beautifully written book about robins and how they raise their young. The clever rhyme and rhythmrobins will enchant both readers and those listening to the book being read. On the page titled “Almost a Fledgling” is the text,
Sleeping, eating, then repeating,
Heading in the right direction.
Changing, growing and it’s showing…
Now they’re fluffs of plump perfection.
The illustrator uses bright watercolors and pen and ink, and kids will love looking at the endpapers. The ones at the start of the book show different bird eggs with the blue robins’ eggs just beginning to show cracks, while the endpapers at the end of the book show the baby robins just emerging from the shells. (Nancy Paulsen Books)

“An Extraordinary Ordinary Moth” by Karlin Gray and illustrated by Steliyana Doneva is a rhyming picture book about an unlikely creature — a moth — gray and ordinary. Readers will learn about the more exotic moths like the hummingbird moth (which really looks like a hummingbird!) and the luna moth. Kids will enjoy the colorful illustrations and learn about how special even an ordinary, gray moth is. (Sleeping Bear Press)

And older readers might enjoy “A is for Astronaut: Blasting Through the Alphabet” by Clayton Anderson and illustrated by Scott Brundage. It’s aimed at older picture book readers who can read complex text, probably advanced second grade readers and older. While the text on the illustrations is in rhyme, older readers will want to read the sidebars, which are filled with interesting details. There is information about space walks, quasars, and helmets. There is also more general information about how the space program began and what the Milky Way is. The author, Clayton Anderson, is a retired astronaut who spent 152 days in the International Space Station. (Sleeping Bear Press)

Please note: These reviews are based on the final, hardcover books provided by the publishers for review purposes.

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