Many of the nonfiction books I’ve featured have involved historical subjects and biographies. Today, let’s look at some titles set closer to home. Regional nonfiction for kids. After all, every kid should know about his/her home state. Now, my state of Texas is, well, BIG, and there are oodles of titles hitting the shelves each year. So, let’s zero in on a few that have recently landed on my desk.
Kate Boehm Jerome, a twenty-five year veteran of the educational publishing world tapped into a unique market. Her new and growing series, COOL STUFF EVERY KID SHOULD KNOW (Arcadia Publishing, 2010)is a visual collection of factoids about individual cities. Travel guides, of sorts. If, as a parent, you’ve ever scanned book shelves in search of regional books that would either appease a child’s anxiety about moving, or excite a child before a vacation, you’ll want to check these out. The newly-released titles include Houston, TX; Dallas, TX; Orlando, FL; Cincinnati, OH; Tampa, FL; Buffalo, NY; Atlanta, GA; and Charleston, SC. More titles are on the way.
Broken into sections like By the Numbers; Sights and Sounds; Strange but True; Marvelous Monikers; Dramatic Days, the first thirteen pages are dedicated to interesting city factoids and sights. Following the colorful photo-snippets is another thirty pages of even better information about the state as a whole. My copies of the Dallas and Houston books include geographical regions, state symbols, history, fun facts, and a list of famous Texans (though more contemporary famous Texans would have been a kid-friendly addition to the historical names.)
For the wee board book crowd, Carol Crane’s LITTLE TEXAS (Sleeping Bear Press, 2010) is sweet and fun and full of regional flavor. Ten simple riddles make for an interactive game between reader and child. Riddle one, for example, “I gallop fast like the wind. I neigh and whinny, a four-legged friend.” Turn the page to find the answer; horse.
Regardless of where you live, there are surely heaps of regional nonfiction books available for young readers. And if there aren’t, maybe it’s time for you to write one.