Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Non-Fiction for Kids

Just in time for the holidays... There is a new trend in the book publishing world with more adult books being adapted for children. Because of the issues these books tackle, I wouldn't call them easy reads (check out the age recommendations below), but they do present some interesting topics for older kids to ponder, or for families to read together. Check out the bottom of this post for recommendations good for all ages.

The Omnivore's Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat, Young Readers Edition, by Michael Pollan. Although it's definitely geared to kids 12 and up; the lighter text, pictures, and graphs help bring it down a level. With the knowledge of this book, your kids will be vastly more knowledgeable about what they're putting into their body. It's divided into 4 meals or sections: The Industrial Meal: Food from Corn; The Industrial Organic Meal; The Local Sustainable Meal: Food from Grass; and
The Do-It-Yourself Meal: Hunted, Gathered, and Gardened Food. Don't be surprised if your kids are more interested in the backyard garden and local farmer's market after reading this book!

Next up is Our Choice: How We Can Solve the Climate Crisis, by Al Gore. This book is just out in hardcover and is a young readers edition of the follow-up book to An Inconvenient Truth. This full color book is geared at kids ages 9 - 12.

The final book on this list doesn't deal with climate change or scientific facts, but rather social change. I read Three Cups of Tea a few years ago and was amazed to learn how far one man (author Greg Mortenson) has gone to build schools in the lands of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Opening with an American hiker who has failed in his attempt to summit K2 and then becomes lost in Pakistan, the reader is introduced to the meaning behind the title: "With the first cup of tea, you are a stranger. With the second ... a friend. With the third cup of tea, you are family." The School Library Journal pegs this at grades 6 - 8, but I think it has enough of a story that it could also be a read-aloud for younger children.

If you're looking for book recommendations for younger kids, check out my earlier post, Earth-Friendly Fiction for Kids. Or, if you are just looking for some new fun reads for kids (on all topics), check out a great blog, The Booknosher.
Anyone else have favorite books to share with the list? Feel free to put them in the comments.


  1. I love this idea. I think it's important for our children to understand the issues of our country and of the world. For the authors (and publishers) to realize the position that our kids are in is huge. Today's kids are the future, and these issues affect them as much, if not more, than it does us adults.

    I like the idea of a family read for these books. Think of the discussions it could bring.

  2. Agreed. This will be their planet to take care of onen day soon and we haven't exactly made their job easy.

    Thanks for the tip on the Al Gore book.