Just the Facts, Ma'am: Non-fiction Books for First Graders

Learning to understand and enjoy non-fiction books is an important part of both the core curriculum standards and of developing lifelong reading skills. Because they are teaching subject specific information, non-fiction books cannot have the same level of controlled vocabularly as fiction books; therefore, adults may need to continue to read nonfiction books to children who are already able to independently read some fiction books. Reading non-fiction aloud teaches children the joy of finding out new information, expands vocabulary, and helps them understand how non-fiction books are different from stories.

Our Grandparents: A Global Album by Maya Ajmera & others (JE 306.874 AJM)

One World, One Day by Barbara Kerley (JE 305.23 KER)

All over the world, children go to school, help their families, and play with their friends.  Both these titles use photographs (and some text) to show how children in different places are alike and different.

Exactly the Opposite by Tana Hoban (JE 428.1 HOB)

This wordless book uses photographs only (no text) to explore the concept of opposites. This is an excellent book for an emerging reader to read to a parent or younger sibling.

Four Seasons Make a Year by Anne Rockwell (J 508.2 ROC)

A child describes how the seasons change on her family's farm. Can you guess what sunflowers have to do with winter?

Dinosaur Bones by Bob Barner (JE 567.9 BAR)

How did scientists learn so much about dinosaurs? By studying fossils, of course! Adults can choose to share just the large text with their child (one sentence per page) or to also share the facts printed in smaller type about each dinosaur.

Growing Like Me by Anne Rockwell (J 571.8 ROC)

A child celebrates growing up by showing how different plants and animals grow and change. What will his baby brother grow up to be?

My First Day by Steve Jenkins (J 591.3 JEN)

Baby tigers can't even open their eyes and need mom to take care of them, but baby sea turtles run straight to the ocean as soon as they hatch--with only other baby sea turtles for company. This book describes what the first day of life is like for many different animals. 

Guess What is Growing Inside This Egg by Mia Posada (J 591.4 POS)

It's not only chickens that come from eggs. Turn the pages to find not only the answers to each rhyming clue, but also additional information about each animal.

Our Yard is Full of Birds by Anne Rockwell (JE 598 ROC)

Have you ever thought that you can be an animal scientist right in your own backyard? The clear illustrations in this book make it easy to learn to identify the birds that are likely to visit your yard.

A Pair of Polar Bears by Joanne Ryder (J 599.786 RYD)

Have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes at the zoo? This book describes how polar bear twins are rescued and cared for until they are old enough to live in the main polar bear exhibit at the San Diego Zoo. 

Fire Engines by Anne Rockwell (JE 628.9 ROC)

Who doesn't love fire trucks?

Corn by Gail Gibbons (J 633.1 GIB)

Why does popcorn pop? Is strawberry corn made with strawberries? What can you do with corn besides eat it? This is an excellent book to enjoy before or after munching sweet corn on the cob.

Under the Sun and the Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (JE 811 BRO)

Poems by the author of Goodnight Moon.

Bigmama's by Donald Crews (JE-B Cre CRE)

When the author of the picture book Freight Train was a boy, he traveled three days by train each year to visit his grandmother--who lived on a farm in Florida with no electricity--but lots of animals and cousins to play with.

Dr. Seuss by Cheryl Carlson (JE-B Seu CAR)

The Boy on Fairfield Street by Kathleen Krull (J-B Seu KRU)

Two books about the popular author Dr. Seuss. The title by Carlson is designed for early readers to read themselves; the book by Krull is written at a more advanced reading level and can be shared with an adult reader.

If You Give an Author a Pencil by Laura Numeroff (JE-B Num NUM)

The author of the popular "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" series talks about growing up to become an author and illustrator.