Book Hook: Just the Facts


nonfiction book hook

We’ve written about it before (here and here) but it is worth repeating: nonfiction is a great book hook.

Sure non-fiction titles are great for striving readers (aka reluctant readers) but they are an excellent choice for any reader. Kids and teens have an insatiable curiosity and thirst for knowledge that books with factual information – and often amazing photography – can satisfy. 

There are so many great nonfiction options for young readers. Illustrated books with inset photographs aren’t the only choice. Narrative nonfiction offers factual information in a way that reads like a novel. If your reader prefers graphic novels, never fear … facts are here, too. 

3 Ways to Pick Nonfiction for Your Reader

1. Focus on something your reader already loves.

There is sure to be a book about an event, activity, or person related to a topic your child already loves. Biographies are a great choice, and you might also consider subscribing to a podcast related to the topic.

Parent Tip: Yes! Listening to podcasts and audiobooks count as reading.

2. Pick something related to a recent question or discussion.

Whether it’s the commute to school or the dinner table, what is something that you’ve been talking about with your child? Did they have a question that you weren’t able to answer for them? Histories, essay collections, and thematic titles (think: science, social justice) can be a great choice for answering questions and adding context to current events.

Parent Tip: Defeat the eye roll by getting audiobook versions of books related to your upcoming trip. That way everyone can listen – and learn – together!

3. Look to the (near) future. 

Planning a trip? Take the opportunity to select a couple of books about the places you are going to be visiting. Headed to the ocean or the aquarium? Books about sharks will definitely be of interest. Going to grandma’s house? Consider a book about sites and history of the town she lives in or maybe a book about her career or history from when she was a child.

Parent Tip: Books – especially biographies – of what life was like “way back when” are more than conversation starters – they are a great way to create family bonds!

This is just a minuscule sampling of the recent nonfiction books written for kids and teens. They cover an array of topics and many are award-winning.

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Current & Topical Events

YA nonfictionStamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning

by Jason Reynolds, Ibram X. Kendi
Audience: High School to Adult

Themes: History, Social Issues (Prejudice, Racism, Social Justice)

auidobook option



New in May 2021: Stamped (for Kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds, Ibram X. Kendi, Sonja Cherry-Paul (Adapter), Rachelle Baker (illustrator)

civil rights nonfiction graphic novelMARCH (Trilogy Set)

by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell
Audience: Middle Grade to Young Adult

Themes: Biography, History (US-1950s), Social Issues

social justice history graphic novelThey Called Us Enemy [Book 1 of 3]

by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, and Steven-Scott, illustrated by Harmony-Becker
Audience: Middle Grade to Young Adult

Themes: Biography, LGBTQ, History (US-1940s), Social Issues 

gay pride historyStonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets

by Gayle E Pitman
Audience: High School and Adult

Themes: LGBTQ, History (US-1900s)

Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights

by Karen Blumenthal
Audience: High School to Adult

Themes: History, Social Issues (Human Rights)

audible logo

olympics books kidsFun Facts about the Summer and Winter Olympics – Sports Book Grade 3

by Baby Professor
Audience: Elementary and Middle Grade

Themes: Global Awareness, History, Sports

Unbroken (The Young Adult Adaptation): An Olympian’s Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive

by Laura Hillenbrand
Audience: High School to Adult

auidobook option



Road Trips & Other Adventures

summer travel kids nonfictionNational Geographic Kids National Parks Guide USA: The Most Amazing Sights, Scenes, and Cool Activities from Coast to Coast! 

by National Geographic for Kids
Audience: Elementary

Themes: Animals, Geography, History (US)

nonfiction picture book sharkWhat If You Could Sniff Like a Shark?: Explore the Superpowers of Ocean Animal

by Sandra Markle, illustrated by Howard McWilliam
Audience: Elementary

Themes: Animals, Science – Biology

Bound by Ice: A True North Pole Survival Story

by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace
Audience: Middle Grade to Adult

Themes: History, Survival

History and Personal Stories

graphic novel nonfictionWhen Stars Are Scattered

written by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, illustrated by Victoria Jamieson and Iman Geddy
Audience: Middle Grade to Adult

Themes: Africa, Biography, Social Issues (Refugees)

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Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier

by Jim Ottaviani, illustrated by Maris Wicks
Audience: Middle Grade

Themes: Biography, History, Science – Aeronautics & Space

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Young Reader’s Edition

by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, illustrated by Anna Hymas
Audience: High School to Adult

Themes: Africa, Biography, History, Science – Electricity

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