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Children’s books on the natural world, animals, geography and science for National Non-fiction November

The Usborne Outdoor Book, Mad About Monkeys, The Story of Life and Wicked World Tour

The Federation of Children’s Book Groups (FCBG) are celebrating National Non-Fiction November this month. They’ve worked with bookseller Marilyn Brocklehurst and adult and child FCGB members to compile a leaflet of 100 brilliant non-fiction books for children and young people (PDF).

We have listed a selection of these books you can borrow from Suffolk libraries, covering the topics of the natural world, animals, science and geography. We also have a list of books on history, English and general knowledge.

The Natural World

Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long - A Rock is Lively

This book introduces children to the beauty and science of rocks with beautiful illustrations and a picture of poetic language and straight facts.

Christiane Dorion and Beverley Young - How We Make Stuff: the story behind our everyday things

This book uses pop-ups, pull-tabs and booklets to explain to children how we use Earth’s natural resources to make everyday items such as clothing, mobile phones, paper and food. It aims to answer many of the questions children ask, and teaches them about sustainable living in an engaging way; for example, there is a pull-flap refrigerator door behind which are the six types of plastic containers we use, and a pull-tab showing what happens to plastics that are not recycled.

Joanna Readman and Ley Honor Roberts - The World Came To My Place Today

In a similar vein, in this book, George’s grandpa comes to look after him and his sister for the day, bearing a globe. He explains how everything they use - for example, chocolate, rubber, cereal and wood - comes from plants all over the world.

Tracey Turner - Lost… in the Jungle of Doom

A choose-your-own-story adventure where the reader has to survive the dangers of the Amazon Rainforest by paying attention to facts and information in order to choose the right path. Defeat ferocious jaguars, terrifying black caiman and deadly dehydration to make it out alive.

Alice James, Emily Bone and Briony May Smith - The Usborne Outdoor Book

The weather may have turned, but there are still plenty of reasons to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, be it in the form of the woods, the local park, or the back garden. This book guides children in what they can do and find by ponds, rivers and the sea, in the woods, and in different weather conditions.


Jess French and Jonathan Woodward - Fluttering Minibeast Adventures

Vet and Cbeebies presenter Jess French encourages children to go moth searching, pond searching and butterfly feeding with lots of pictures in vibrant colours. She explains how caterpillars change into beautiful butterflies, where to find baby dragonflies and how to identify bugs.

Emily Bone and Fabiano Florin - The Usborne Big Book of Big Bugs: and a few little ones too

This book focuses on bigger bugs, such as spiders bigger than a dinner plate, stick insects longer than your arm, a beetle the same size as a rat, and moths and butterflies larger than a small dog. Your child can get a real sense of their size, as all the bugs in the book are presented at their actual size. They can also learn about the biggest swarms and colonies, the deadliest bugs, and the bugs that are best at camouflage.

Camilla de la Bédoyère and Mel Howells - Would You Rather… dine with a dung beetle or lunch with a maggot?

Continuing the bug theme, this book reveals the revolting eating habits of bugs and gives readers choices of what they would prefer to eat, where they would rather live, and what super senses they would rather have.

Owen Davey - Mad About Monkeys

If your child prefers their wildlife on the larger side, they can learn about the differences and similarities of many different types of monkeys from this book. They can find out about monkey intelligence, behaviour and movement and where they live. The stylish illustrations and semi-irreverent tone mean that adults can also enjoy this book.

Nicola Davies and Luciano Lozano - I Don’t Like Snakes

Like many people, the little girl in this book doesn’t like slithery, slimy, scaly snakes. Over the course of the book she learns several facts about snakes from her snake-loving family. She comes to change her mind - and perhaps your snake-fearing child will, too!


Katie Daynes and Christine Pym - What Makes it Rain?

Young children can lift the flaps in this book to find out not only what makes it rain, but how rainbows appear, why lightning flashes, where wind comes from and why it is colder in winter. They can also find surprising facts and weather forecasting tips.

Jason Chin - Gravity

Using captivating paintings and few words, this book succeeds in teaching young readers how gravity stops objects from floating out of our hands, keeps our feet on the ground, and stops everything from rising up into space.

Louie Stowell, Roger Simó, Adam Larkum and Jamie Ball - The Usborne Official Astronaut's Handbook

This book, which features a foreword from ESA astronaut Tim Peake, the first British astronaut to embark on a mission to the International Space Station, teaches children about the training astronauts undertake, how they travel into space, and what they do there.

Catherine Barr, Steve Williams and Amy Husband - The Story of Life: a first book about evolution

This book takes young children from the first living cell, to jellyfish and worms, to fish with bendy necks which drag themselves out of the water into swampy forests, to dinosaurs, to hairy mammals who stand on two legs. The story includes dramatic events such as ice ages and volcanic eruptions. Subtle humour adds to the entertainment.


Aleksandra Mizielińska and Daniel Mizieliński - Maps

Lavishly-drawn illustrations of maps featuring borders, cities, rivers, peaks, places of historical and cultural interest, eminent personalities, iconic animals and plants, cultural events and much more.

Anita Ganeri and Mike Phillips - Horrible Geography: Wicked World Tour

In typical Horrible style, with this book children can take a grisly whistle-stop tour around the globe, taking in perishing poles, desperate deserts, stormy weather and earth-shattering earthquakes.

David J. Smith - If The World Were A Village

This book helps young readers wrap their minds around the huge numbers that make up the world by shrinking them to fit a village of just 100 people. For example, of the 100, 22 can speak a Chinese dialect, just 9 can speak English, and 17 cannot read or write. By learning about these, as well as the variations in the village’s religions, education and standard of living, children can gain an increased awareness of the world around them.

Mick Webb - The Book of Languages: speak your way around the world

If your child wants to learn a language but isn’t sure which one, this book features basic vocabulary and short dialogues in a variety of different tongues, as well as facts about where different languages are spoken, and information on Morse code, sign language and whale song.

William Grill - Shackleton’s Journey

A unique illustrated narrative of Ernest Shackleton’s landmark 1914 expedition across the Antarctic from pole to pole. Readers can learn about the crew members, dogs, the ship Endurance, equipment, maps, and everything that happened on the expedition.