Free Range Readers

Nurturing Self Reliant Readers and Writers in K-6 classrooms

Non Fiction Picture Books


Alyson at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts Non Fiction Picture Book Wednesday today.

Teachers and librarians have been sharing favorite titles of mostly fiction picture books, and I wanted to make some space for some favorite non-fiction picture books. I tend to read aloud a lot of narrative non-fiction during the year, although I also use a lot of non-fiction articles from sources such as Scholastic News, Ranger Rick, and other journals for kids.

I also noticed that I tend to read a lot of Jeanette Winter’s books to my students. Her books often feature the life story of a person who has made an incredible contribution to the world. They are beautifully and simply illustrated, and highly accessible to my English language learners. This week, I am focused mostly on biographies. So, here are some favorite non-fiction picture books I read to my 5th graders:


This is a beautiful story of young Jane Goodall and the power of patient observation.


This is perfect for sharing Malala’s story with elementary students.

Wangari's Trees of Peace

There are many great books about the amazing Wangari Maathai and this is one of my favorites.

Some favorites by other authors:

Amazing young people

Written and illustrated by a dynamic duo!

This is a great read aloud about boxer Joe Louis and America’s feelings about the war with Germany. My students had great discussions based on this book.

Ivan:The Remarkable True Story ...

Is there anyone who doesn’t love The One and Only Ivan?! This is a picture book by the same author and makes Ivan’s story accessible to a younger audience. This book makes a fantastic school wide read aloud. Great book to launch social action project on ethical treatment of animals.

OK ….gotta run to work! This is just the very tip of the NF iceberg, but you gotta start somewhere! 😉

Author: mnosal

I have been in education for all of my life, in one way or another. After teaching 5th grade at an urban public charter school, I have decided to return to the public schools and to literacy coaching K-5. I also teach and mentor preservice teachers.


  1. I just finished my Jeanette Winter Reading challenge and have been impressed my the quantity and various yet distinct styles and choice of subjects.

  2. These are all great! I loved using A NATION’S HOPE with a group of students who were reading Christopher Paul Curtis’s Mighty Miss Malone.

  3. She is just a treasure! Thank you for commenting!

  4. Yes! That is a great pairing! It also works really nicely with Bird in a Box, by Andrea Davis Pinkney.

  5. I love the Ivan PB. I read it with my students after we read Hurt Go Happy and Endangered. I need to read The Watcher because it might be a great addition to the themed unit as well.

  6. I think you would like The Watcher. My Ss loved it, and it sparked some rich conversations. Jeanette Winter’s work is beautiful in its simplicity.

  7. I have a huge admiration for Jane Goodall. I’ve seen The Watcher before but have not read it yet. It’s good to know that there is a picture book about Ivan! Will have to see if our library has copies of those! Thanks for sharing these! =)

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