Captain Underpants has its own special kind of charm and place in a young reader’s literary diet. However, if you find yourself wanting to round out your little reader’s digestive system, a good way to start is to trick…I mean encourage…your kiddo to mosey around nonfiction.
One method is what I personally like to call the “something shiny” persuasion; ebooks! The change in format can serve not only as a reason for kids to sniff around some new titles, but working with different platforms for searching also increases technological literacy. Plus, eBooks and eAudiobooks can’t be lost, become overdue, get left at Disney World, chewed on by the dog, etc. If that weren’t reason enough to check them out, we recently rolled out our new child-usage friendly eReading Room for Kids in OverDrive and it has an fantastic amount of titles available.
Sometimes the reluctance to read nonfiction can stem from the resemblance or assumed resemblance the titles have to textbooks. But there are series like Magic Tree House that have a ragingly popular fictional presence and also have nonfiction counterparts (such as Magic Tree House: Dolphins and Sharks) serving as a basically seamless transition to the Dewey side of life.
You may not think of it right away, but cookbooks are nonfiction, and there are some really cool tie-ins in that genre as well, such as The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook or The Unofficial Narnia Cookbook. Granted, these particular titles may require some subsequent bravery in the kitchen or at the dinner table.
Biographies can also serve as an effective non-fiction jumping-off point. Is your child currently obsessed with the presidents? An athlete? Melvil Dewey? (Just kidding about that last one…unless they are really into the founder of our library catalog system, then you need to bring them by to fill out a DBRL employment application stat.) Help them find a biography! And speaking of flavor-of-the-week childhood obsessions, what about dinosaurs? Tigers? Horses? National Geographic for Kids and DK Eye Wonders have fun, fact-filled runs available in our eBook collection.
And if they are still most impressed by humor in the style of Captain Underpants, there are always books like “Why You Shouldn’t Eat Your Boogers” and “The Big Book of Gross Stuff.”