Narrative Non-Fiction for 4th Graders

Narrative non-fiction is non-fiction ("not fake") writing that "reads like a story." In good narrative non-fiction, the facts are accurate, but the author uses many of the same "writing tricks" that fiction writers use. This is a way for the author to create an interesting book that "flows well" and tells one or more true stories. An example of a non-fiction series that is NOT narrative non-ficiton is the DK Eyewitness series. the books in that series are eye cathcing & fascinating, but each is a random collection of facts on a given topic, not a non-fiction narrative.

Hippos in the Night by Christina Allen (J 591.96 ALL)

Have you ever watched the Discovery Channel or Animal Planet and wondered what goes on behind the cameras or what it would be like to actually have a job as a scientist, traveling to exotic locations to study wild animals? In this book scientist Christina Allen gives an "insiders view" of a wildlife biologist working in Africa--complete with being kept awake by munching hippos and baby lion cubs.

Dog Finds Lost Dolphins!: And More True Stories of Amazing Animal Heroes by Elizabeth Carney (J 636 CAR)

When we hear the phrase "animal rescue" we usually think of humans rescuing animals. This book, however, tells about times when animals have been heroes, sometimes helping humans and sometimes assisting other creatures.

Air Force: Civilian to Airman (J 358.4 GOL), Coast Guard: Civilian to Guardian (J 636.28 GOL), and Navy: Civilian to Sailor (J 359.5 GOL), all by Meish Goldish

Have you thought about joining the military when you are old enough? Do you think you have what it takes to defend the United States by sea or air? These photoessays of basic training might give you second thoughts about signing up--or have you looking forward to the time you are old enough to enlist. 

Going to School in India by Lisa Heydlauff (J 370.9 HEY)

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go to a different school? What about going to school in a different country? This colorful book gives the reader a glimpse of what it is like to be one of the 156 million school children in India.

Planet Ark: Preserving Earth's Biodiversity by Adrienne Mason. Illustrated by Margot Thompson. (J 577 MAS)

You probably already know that it is important to protect the environment. You may have heard the word "biodiversity," but can you name the three different types of biodiversity? Do you know what modern day "Noahs" are doing to protect "Planet Ark"? This beautifully illustrated book packs a great deal of information about the environment into its brief text, making it appropriate for older children, despite the fact that it first appears to be a picture book.

Quest for the Tree Kangaroo: An Expedition to the Cloud Forest of New Guinea by Sy Montgomery. Photographs by Nic Bishop.

Yes, there really are kangaroos who live in trees and hop from branch to branch. It isn't easy for scientist to study, or even locate them, as one of the scientists in this book says about her field work in Papua New Guinea: ". . .This is really intense work. . .We're hacking through the bush. We're radio-tracking. This is so different from science in the laboratory, isn't it?" This title is one of the books in National Geographic's "Scientists in the Field" series.

Our Farm: Four Seasons with Five Kids on one Family's Farm by Michael Rosen (J 630 ROS)

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live on a farm? There are very few places to learn what it is like to live on a 21st Century farm--most of what we see on TV and in the movies, read about in books, and experience at places like Longstreet Farm actually describes what farm life was like many years ago. In this book, five siblings cooperate to share their story--and show what it is like to grow up on a family farm today.

One Step at a Time: a Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch (J 616.9 SKR)

Can you imagine what it would be like to move to a new country and be adopted by a new family who spoke a different language from you? For Tuyet, the experience was mostly a happy one. This book tells about the treatment she received in her new country to repair the damage caused by the polio disease. Step by step, Tuyet finds herself feeling more "like other children" as she learns to walk, play, and, best of all, feel safe and secure as a sister and daughter in a loving family.