Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Types of Non-fiction in Children's Books

There are many more nonfiction books in the adult reading world than there are in the children's realm, but nonfiction children's books are HOT (and probably always will be)! And since picture books are a form, not a genre, each type of book listed here would be an example of a nonfiction genre or sub-genre, if you will.

7 Types of Non-fiction in Children's Books || writing nonfiction for children | how to write non-fiction books for kids


There are all kinds of nonfiction children's books out there waiting to be explored, and waiting to be written. The following are the most common types on nonfiction books found in children's literature.

Concept Books

This category of nonfiction books for children are typically for the younger audience, such as preschoolers. These books cover include topics such as counting, the alphabet, opposites, colors, days of the week, and more.

  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
  • Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle 


Animal books abound. There is always a market for more animal picture books. They can be about life cycles, compare/contrast, a day in the life of, habitat, or anything that has to do with teaching kids about animals.

  • No Two Alike by Keith Baker
  • A Warm Winter Tail by Carrie A. Pearson
  • Hello, Bumblebee Bat by Darrin Lunde


Children love to do all kinds of things and want to learn how to do even more. These could be how-to craft books, cooking books, how to play certain games, how to start a collection, how to become an entrepreneur, anything really!

  • Draw the DC Universe by Klutz
  • Sleeping in a Sack: Camping Activities for Kids by Linda White
  • Origami for Children by Mari Uno


Biographies for children are exploding right now. Publishers, teachers, and librarians can't seem to get enough of them. Autobiographies would be a sub-genre of this category. There are biographies about people in certain careers, inventors, famous people, lesser known people, presidents, athletes, scientists, artists, you name it! The blog, True Tales and a Cherry on Top by Jeanne Walker Harvey, reviews nothing but picture book biographies.

  • The Noisy Paintbox by Barb Rosenstock
  • A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jennifer Fisher Bryant
  • Noah Webster and His Words by Jeri Chase Ferris


Children's books about historical events or current events create this genre of kids books. These could be books about a war, political events, social events, etc. They are not really about a certain person, but more about what happened. Oftentimes, biographies are historical because one person usually had a huge impact on what happened.

  • The Story of the Incredible Orchestra by Bruce Koscielniak
  • The Alamo from A to Z by William R. Chemerka
  • Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter
  • Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet (this might actually fall under biography)
  • The Carpenter's Gift by David Rubel (technically, I think this one is actually historical fiction)

Special Topics

Anything else that children want to know about would go here. Weapons of war, gardening, becoming an entrepreneur, nature and the environment, human relationships - it all goes here.

  • Water is Water by Miranda Paul
  • Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals
  • The Juice Box Bully by Bob Sornson


Anything else that doesn't fall into one of the above categories goes here. Alas, I do not have any examples.

What is your favorite genre of nonfiction books for children? Share in the comments!

Keep on keepin' on...



  1. Being a writer of nonfiction for children, I am intrigued by the num- ber of picture book biographies I see published lately. I note that the illustrations carry the book as well. I know librarians are a big fan of this genre, but are children and their parents into them as well?

  2. Biographies are popular due to book reports. Picture book biographies are used in grades 1-8 for source information.

  3. Thanks Christie, I am also a great fan of non-fiction PB's. Another type I would suggest is Bibliotherapy, or Books that Heal for helping children through difficult phases of their lives. I have started a list for this on Goodreads: This could also include books that are focused on problem solving, growing up and facts of life.

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