Break from Routine with These Junior Non-Fiction Reads

This week marks the first (almost) normal March break in a long time. Families are heading out to parks, museums, and arenas to enjoy some new activities. We all need a change from our daily routines. It’s also good to change up our reading routines as well. When reading with their children, parents often select chapter books with a conventional ‘beginning, middle and end’ type of storyline. This March break I challenge parents to ‘break’ from their traditional reading choices and introduce their children to the world of non-fiction. These fact-based books are bursting with interesting statistics and real-life stories.

Here are a few of my favorite new junior non-fiction titles:

Ostriches: The Superpower Field Guide by Rachel Poliquin

Book cover of "Ostriches: The Superpower Field Guide" by Rachel Poliquin

What has large eyes, a long neck, and ugly toes powerful enough to take out a lion with one kick?

The answer: an ostrich.

That’s right. An ostrich has feet that are strong enough to break a lion’s ribs. And their toe claw is sharp enough to disembowel it. Then if that weren’t enough, it stomps on the lion for good measure.

I had no idea ostriches were so badass. But when you live in the Serengeti amongst cheetahs, hyenas, and lions, you must be tough to survive.

A mix of cartoon illustrations and humour tells the story of Eno the ostrich and all his “supersonic” survival skills. Each chapter of the book highlights a different trait that helps Eno survive: colossal eyes, thunder thighs, torpedo toes, toe claws, wing flaps, lung power, epic endurance, eggs of wonder, and a heat shield.

I had no interest in ostriches before I read this book. Now I find them fascinating. This is a great read that will have you in awe of these massive birds.

Germy Science: The Sick Truth About Getting Sick and Staying Healthy by Edward Kay

Book cover of "Germy Science: The Sick Truth About Getting Sick and Staying Healthy" by Edward Kay

There is certainly no better time to learn about germs than in the middle of a global pandemic. Right now, there are over 9000 different types of germs lingering in the average home. Some of them are bad. Some of them are good. Certain germs can cause illness and infection. Other germs can be helpful. They help us absorb vitamins and fight off harmful microbes.

Germs have always been here. They even predate the dinosaurs. Without germs, life as we know it wouldn’t exist. They helped create a process called photosynthesis that produces oxygen – something we all need to survive.

This is a wonderful resource that covers the early history of germs and the role they played in shaping civilization. I learned a lot from this book, and it helped to put a new perspective on the pandemic.

The Science of Song: How and Why We Make Music by Alan Cross

Book cover of "The Science of Song: How and Why We Make Music" by Alan Cross

Music has always been with us. The earliest evidence of music dates back 40,000 years ago when a flute made from a bird bone was discovered in a cave in Germany. Anthropologists believe music played a large role in forming communities. No matter the era of history, music in some form has always existed.  

The way we listen to music all changed in 1877 when Thomas Edison invented the phonograph. It could record sound waves and then play them back. For the first time, people could listen to music in their own homes instead of having to see a live performance. A few decades later came the invention of radio. Now, people could listen to a variety of music, news, and entertainment from all over. But perhaps the biggest impact on how we listen to music was the invention of the Walkman. It was light, portable, and private. Until the Walkman, listening to music was usually done in groups. Since it’s invention, listening to music individually has become the norm. This eventually led to the development of streaming apps we have today.

How we listen to music has changed drastically over the years. This book covers how music is made and why it has such a powerful impact on our lives.

You will be amazed at what you can learn in the world of non-fiction. Make sure to check out our catalogue and browse our collection. Happy reading!