Book Gift Guide for Kids: Non-Fiction Picture Books

Dec, 03, 2019

I love a good literary non-fiction picture book to read to my students, and all of these were hits! Some were fun, others inspiring, and a few led to more questions. I didn’t always think that my students would like non-fiction books, but the right ones make them want to go research more about the book’s subject!

As before, I recommend these books for students who are in 3rd grade or higher if they’re read independently. Of course, every child is unique, and some may be ready for reading for comprehension at an earlier age!

Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below  to purchase the books I do get a commission. 

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin⁣ by Julia Finely Mosca

Diagnosed with autism as a young girl, Temple Grandin wasn’t expected to talk, and the doctors told her mother to send Temple away to get specialized help. ⁣
⁣Her mother refused, but after Temple got into some trouble at school, Temple’s mother sends her to live with her aunt on a ranch in Arizona.⁣⁣
This is when Temple’s life changes. Temple realizes she has a gift, and she learns how to use it to change the livestock industry.
Dr. Grandin is currently a professor and speaks around the world to bring awareness to autism.

Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson & Sean Qualls

Even though Emmanuel was born with a deformed leg, he never let that stop him. ⁣At this time, there were not high expectations for those who were disabled.

His mother made sure that he would not let his disability keep him fro going to school. When Emmanuel got too big for his mom to carry him to school, he was determined to continue his education and hopped miles to school each day.⁣

Once Emmanuel was older, he wanted to bring awareness to those who were disabled in Ghana. Emmanuel wanted to let people know that disabled people could do whatever they put their mind to, so he biked 400 miles across Ghana to bring awareness to his cause.

Emmanuel currently runs a charity that helps students with disabilities.

Whoosh: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton

Growing up, Lonnie Johnson enjoyed tinkering around with things. He took his passion for inventing things to college, where he won several awards for his inventions. After college, Lonnie to his ideas to the highest place possible and became a NASA engineer.

Lonnie’s ideas were always flowing, so he continued creating at home. One day while trying to create a new cooling system for refrigerators and air conditioners, he came up with his next invention. A water gun! But not just any water gun, the one, and only Super Soaker! As a kid, the Super Soaker was one of my favorite toys! Pair this book with a Super Soaker to make a really cool gift!

When the Beat Was Born: Dj Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop by Laban Carrick Hill

As a kid, Dj Kool Herc loved music. He loved how it made him feel. In Jamacia, Dj Kool Herc would watch his favorite DJ set up each Saturday dance parties. He couldn’t attend the party, but he dreamed about becoming a DJ.

When he was 13, his family moved to the Bronx. He held on to his love of music and began tinkering around with his family’s speaker system until a big sound came out.

Shortly after DJ Kool Herc threw his first party, he wanted to keep his guest dancing, so he developed a way he could spin two records at a time!

DJ Kool Herc is known as one of the pioneers of rap, so this is a great book to give your child or students some history about how this genre began.
Just be aware, you’re going have to fill them in on some things, which will probably make you feel old. I had to let my students know what an A and B side of a record are. lol

The Boo-Boos That Changed The World: A True Story About An Accidental Invention (Really!) by Barry WITTENSTEIN

We have Earle Dickson’s wife to thank for the creation of Band-Aids. She was a klutz. She was so clumsy; Earle had to wrap her wounds every day when he got home.
A friend suggested Earle meet with Mr. Johnson (from Johnson and Johnson), to show him his bandage idea.

After much trial and error together, they perfected his bandages. Surprisingly, Band-Aids were not an immediate success, and Earle’s struggle to success is shown throughout the book. The End.

Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx by Jonah Winter

Growing up, Sonia wanted to be a detective, just like her favorite book character Nancy Drew.

So, Sonia studied and was at the top of her class, and when she went on to college, she eventually decided that she wanted to become a judge.

Sonia would become a judge, and she used her experiences of growing up in the Bronx to mold her into a stern but an empathetic judge.

Eventually, her talents on the stand were noticed, and she was nominated by President Barack Obama to become a Supreme Court Justice. After much questioning by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina Supreme Court Justice.

A Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage⁣ by Selina Alko

The Lovings was an interracial couple in Virginia that wanted to get married. Virginia was one of many states at that time where interracial marriages were illegal.
The Lovings traveled to Washington D.C. to get married, but shortly after they returned, they were arrested for unlawful cohabitation.
The Lovings fought for their right to be married, and their case went all the way to the Supreme Court. 1967, it was decided that it was unconstitutional for states to ban interracial marriages.

For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai’s Story by Rebecca Langston-George

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, then you know the story of Malala Yousafzai. Malala is known as the girl who was willing to risk her life to get an education. I love Malala’s story because it is a reminder that we shouldn’t take our access to education for granted.

If you’re looking for more books, check out my science picture book recommendations!

Melissa Nikohl

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