This year we have been busy reading a whole lot of great books, so this post is going to be a long one! Grab a cup of tea and enjoy. I LOVE a good book, and I love sharing them with you too. Here are our favourite non-fiction books from read aloud time this year…
Philosophy For Beginners
Usborne has such great books and this is another series from them we have really enjoyed this year. The girls are interested in philosophy and we came across this one when looking for a new book on the topic. We loved it so much that I got some of the others too and we have also enjoyed them! We haven’t read politics yet but will be next year.
I’ve said it many times but I LOVE a kids book that breaks down big topics into simple examples and explanations that everyone can understand. Seriously, I feel like these books are also good for adults. I learnt a lot too!
There are so many great examples in each book, and they are written in a really engaging way. Whenever we read a chapter from one of these books we have so many interesting conversations. I really recommend this series!
Respect: Consent, Boundaries, and Being in Charge of YOU
An important little book. It’s only short, you could read it in one sitting, but it covers crucial topics. We read it over about a week, just a little at a time so that we could sit with one idea for a bit and let it sink in.
The girls really enjoyed this one and requested we read it first every morning. It’s written as a comic and what I love about it is that it has so many relatable examples. Consent is always something we have talked about but I feel like they understood it a lot more after this read.
It’s also very child appropriate and good for young kids too. A really great book for opening up discussions on body safety, healthy relationships, and consent.
The Word Spy
This year we have been reading The Word Spy, and we’ve got the sequel ready for 2023 too! To be honest, I thought this book would be boring. I only tried it after seeing a convincing recommendation. A book on the origins of the English language? How interesting could it be? Turns out, very!
I read this one to my older two (aged 13 and 11) and we all enjoyed it! Evidently reading about how English came to be, and continues to evolve, was quite interesting. The Word Spy had us hooked!
We learned about history, the mechanics of language, famous people who made an impact, spelling, different types of words, and so much more! There were also lots of activity prompts throughout, and a code to crack at the end of each chapter which was always a highlight. Definitely a topic I didn’t predict an interest in but The Word Spy made it intriguing.
How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare
Speaking of topics I never predicted… this year we have been learning Shakespeare! I mean, could we be more homeschooler right now? haha! But seriously, this has been SO fun and all of the girls are really into it. So, how did I come to have this book in my hands? Well, our interest in Shakespeare was actually prompted by seeing an art class with a Shakespeare quote. The girls wondered who Shakespeare was and when we read some facts and discovered that he was responsible for so many words and phrases we use today, an interest was sparked. I borrowed some books from the library, this being one of them. The title had me thinking it wouldn’t be a book I wanted to purchase but that maybe there would be a few things of interest inside. I was browsing it with one of the girls one afternoon and next minute all of them were crowded around reciting, “I know a bank where the wild thyme grows”. Our first Shakespeare passage was memorised that afternoon.
I don’t know what to tell you except memorising passages is really fun! It’s a challenge and whenever we start a new one we don’t think we’ll be able to get it. And then we do! We know lots now, thanks to this book. If I had to pick passages to memorise I wouldn’t know where to start, but the book has done that all for us, and put them in an order that makes sense. We started with some comedies and the girls were hooked. We’ve now been to the Shakespeare festival, Shakespeare in the park, some plays, and the girls have done a Shakespeare acting workshop. I’m so glad I ignored the title and tried it out anyway! I really thought it would be too ‘schooly’ and not for us, but instead, it was a lesson in giving things a chance and offering the kids things even when I don’t think they’ll be keen. We could have missed out on so much fun!
The book is broken down into chapters for each passage. The author explains the meaning and context of the passage, some more about the play, and tips for memorising.
There’s also some extra chapters on Shakespeare’s life and other interesting topics. Definitely recommend this book if you’re interested in Shakespeare, or even if you’re not yet!
More Shakespeare. This is the book that we used alongside the previous one. Abridged stories from all the plays, written in a way we can all understand. Just what we needed! We read each story before starting on passages from the play.
Each story starts with a page like this explaining all the characters. Very helpful when so many have unfamiliar names and you’re having trouble keeping track of who is who!
The stories are written in modern language with some quotes from Shakespeare interspersed. They are a great length, not too long but long enough to include all the important points. A great intro to Shakespeare’s work.
The Upside-Down History of Down Under
This is our favourite book of Australian history. All the facts, and some entertainment and humor. I wish this was around when I was a kid. I still learnt a lot as an adult reading this book.
“The true story of Australia starts with a piece of land that went for a swim. Millions of years ago it floated away from Africa. Very, very, slowly. It was home to dinosaurs and giant animals, until the first Australians showed up and got comfortable. This wild and wonderful land was a mystery to the rest of the world. Then the English decided to make it the biggest jail ever . . . Experience the story of Australia from prehistory to federation in 1901.”
This book is an important one I think, and actually made me realise even more how much was (purposely) left out of my own history education at school. I learnt new things and we had so many important discussions when reading this.
Another of our interests this year: fungi! We had a very rainy year and there were mushrooms popping up everywhere for a while there. We naturally became interested in them and that of couse led to me buying some books. This was our favourite!
Isn’t it beautiful? And SO many interesting things to read about!
Fungi really are amazing!
Nema and the Xenos: A Story of Soil Cycles
Love love love this series of books. I had to get their newest one and it tied in so nicely with our fungi interest too! This is a book about symbiosis between a worm, bacteria, and a tree root being eaten by a grub. Another book that turns something very complex into a children’s story.
There’s a few other books in this series and they just amaze us. The intricacies of mother nature are absolutely fascinating.
And the illustrations are wonderful too!
At the end of the story there are numerous pages with more detailed information of exactly what is going on in the story.
This is a great book covering lots of life cycles! We aren’t reading this one page by page but instead have it as a reference and use it when we are reading other books and need more information!
Not just life cycles of plants and animals, but everything!
Questions and Answers About Growing Up
The kids are really into this book! A simple life the flap book with questions and answers!
I think the attraction is that there are plenty of questions they have wondered about and also a lot they haven’t but are naturally interested in! They are all interested in what’s to come and curious about growing up!
Such a great little into to growing and changing.
Everything Under the Sun
This one will last you a whole year! Or if you’re like us and forget to read it every day it will probably last you two years, haha.
Just a book of random questions and answers! My younger girls really enjoy this one.
And that’s it! I can’t wait to dive in to new books next year! What have you been reading?