It’s National Non-Fiction November! There is so much diversity in non-fiction in format, subject and style, creating books to suit all childrens’ interests and reading levels. Here are ten 2021 non-fiction books we love. From the glowing ocean to inventions by animals and facts about every day of the year!
First up is the biggest book on the list…
Eureka! A Big Book of Discoveries by Jonathan Litton and Wenjia Tang
This large-scale illustrated encyclopaedia is bursting with the world’s most incredible discoveries. Split into five parts, Jonathan and Wenjia explore discoveries throughout history, on land and in the ocean.
From lost worlds, to the Earths crusts and the greatest scientific discoveries of all-time. There really is something for everyone, with science and maths concepts explained in an accessible way.
Eureka! was published by 360 Degrees, 5 August 2021
Technological discoveries have helped mankind create a whole host of transportation and the next book is perfect for younger readers…
William Bee’s Wonderful World of Things That Go! by William Bee
Both my girls loved this book because each page is so colourful and offers a new exciting type of vehicles to explore with William. The unruly traffic cones made the girls laugh out loud! There is literally every type of truck, train, and tractor you can think as well as aeroplanes, submarines, and even rockets!
My girls loved all the little details in the different vehicle and spotting William’s dog and toy rabbit that is hidden on every spread. They particularly loved the café truck and picking their favourite ice-cream as well as the fire engine and plane. William Bee’s Wonderful World of Things That Go! Is a must read for all transport-loving children!
Published by Pavilion Children’s, 26 October 2021
The next book moves away from technological discoveries to the diversity of our society, taking a deeper look at what we wear and why.
The Culture of Clothes by Giovanna Alessio and Chaaya Prabhat
This is one of those books, that is so beautiful, it could sit on a coffee table for guests to admire. Chaaya’s illustrations are exquisite, and it was clear from the design of the contents page that this was going to be a special book. The Culture of Clothes does exactly what the title says: it gives children and adults a colourful celebration of costumes and cultures from around the world, from Japan to Nambia.
From colourful kimonos to dazzling flamenco dresses, my daughter loved looking at all the incredible details and designs of traditional dress from around the world. The Culture of Clothes is unique, inclusive and stunning.
Published by Templar Publishing, 24 June 2021
The previous two books focussed on mankind’s creations, but what about the inventions of animals…?
Invented by Animals: Meet the creatures who inspired our everyday technology by Christiane Dorion and Gosia Herba
I know this book is aimed at children, but is there an adult in the world who wouldn’t also be curious to find out what animals have invented?! This is by far the most original non-fiction concept I’ve come across as a blogger this year, and the book did not disappoint! Often human scientists try to invent something to solve a problem but sometimes they realise animals have beaten them to it.
From the squid’s self-repairing teeth, to the origami-loving wasps, these animals will amaze you from the deep dark ocean to the sky. And of course, we must all thank, the web-designing spider for making this blog post possible!
Published by Wide Eyed Editions, 6 April 2021
It’s not just animals’ inventions that are incredible, many animals are themselves a marvel, and no book shows the beauty of biofluorescent creatures better than this next glow in the dark book…
Curious Creatures Glowing in the Dark by Zoë Armstrong and Anja Sušanj
My daughters were absolutely captivated by this spectacular book. Zoe’s lyrical prose guides you on an enlightening exploration of some of the most astonishing creatures on the planet and uncover their “glowing secrets”.
I was lucky enough to visit New Zealand’s glow worm caves many years ago, and Anja’s illustration captures it perfectly. My four-year-old particularly loved the spread on biofluorescent turtles. Curious Creatures Glowing in the Dark is a book children will want to keep coming back to and discover something new on every read.
Published by Flying Eye Books, 1 August 2021
I think by now you must be feeling as in awe of animals as we are. So, what better way to get to know them, than by interviewing them!
Interview with a Shark: and Other Ocean Giants by Andy Seed and Nick East
I have NEVER laughed so much reading a non-fiction book in all my LIFE! My four-year-old was in hysterics. There is something so magical about the thought of being able to talk to animals, but Andy and Nick have given these extraordinary ocean giants such quirky personalities it will captive readers, young and old.
Arranged as a two-spread interview with each animal, the book takes a question-and-answer format from start to finish. Woven within the hilarious interviews are oodles of interesting facts about each creature, but told so naturally, you hardly realise you’re learning – the best way. We loved the interview with the giant squid:
Question 1: “you’re very mysterious – why is that?”.
Answer: “It’s a secret.”
I mean – need I say more?! I cannot recommend this book highly enough!
Published by Welbeck Children’s Books, 27 May 2021
If like me, you are thinking, Gosh, Interview with a Shark sounds amazing, if only there were land-based animals too, then look no further!
Interview with a Tiger: and Other Clawed Beasts too by Andy Seed and Nick East
This book came out last year, and is one of our favourite non-fiction books ever. I love that this series also includes a few pointers on how to help endangered animals.
Our favourite interview is with wolf and the photo gives you a sneaky peak at his hilarious interview. Wolf is so sarcastic, his interview actually brought tears to my eyes. I think we’d be friends, if he wasn’t so y’know scary, we could play a game of tennis… Interview with a Tiger is an absolute must buy!
Published by Welbeck Publishing, 17 September 2020
The next book also came out in 2020, but we only recently discovered it, and it’s too good not to include in our round-up…
How Many Spots Has a Cheetah Got? by Steve Martin and Amber Davenport
This fantastic traditional style fact-filled book has been elevated by its subject matter and packed full of more accessible, engaging statistical facts than we’ve found in any other non-fiction book.
It’s impossible to pick a favourite spread, but three that my daughter absolutely loved are: How long did it take to become a knight?; How many jobs has Barbie had? and Were carrots always orange? (obviously, given it includes pumpkins!). There is so much to discover on each spread, you can read it again and again and take something different away each time.
Published by Buster Books, 23 July 2020
Some of the books in this round-up have been filled with so many facts that seem unbelievable! But none more so than this next book…
The Encyclopedia of Unbelievable Facts by Jane Wilsher and Louise Lockhart
This book tests your knowledge with 500 perplexing questions aimed to bamboozle. Having become non-fiction book buffs over the past few years, we thought we take on the challenge as a family…
Here were some of my initial answers to the questions in the book
How many kinds of germs live in your bellybutton? Hopefully none.
Which creature takes a three-year-long nap? I would if I could.
If someone asked you to spare a zeptosecond, how long would that be? Errr…. Less than this?
Has the Leaning Tower of Pisa ever been straight? Time to start reading!
We absolutely loved discovering the actual answers to the questions above. This fantastic book is split into ten chapters on the human body, science and technology, animals, natural world, space, mind-bending stuff, history, customs and culture, our world, and arts and entertainment. Each chapter’s facts seem to get more and more unbelievable! The Encyclopedia of Unbelievable Factsis definitely a book to share as a family and with friends.
Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 11 May 2021
If like us, you can’t get enough of non-fiction books then check out this one…
Every Day Amazing: Fantastic Facts for Every Day of the Year by Mike Barfield and Marianna Madriz
This book would make a perfect gift and can be read throughout the year, day-by-day. We loved looking up dates that were memorable to our family and seeing what had happened on that day. There is a good split of different types of facts, with a few aimed at the US readers. We recently looked up 11th November which explains the symbol of the red poppy.
Every Day Amazing really does remind us that something amazing happens every day and it is a great way to fit a bit of non-fiction into your daily routine!
Published by Laurence King Publishing, 2 September 2021
I am very grateful to the publishers for providing me with complimentary copies of these books. This voluntary feature contains my honest opinion.