Kids are learning long before they start to read, and once they do, a huge exciting world of learning opens up and there’s so much to know! While the term “nonfiction book” isn’t the most thrilling term for kids in first grade, don’t let it fool you. Make-believe tales and fantastical adventures do make up much of the early children’s reading experience, but true stories and informational texts have just as much power to stoke the imagination, while letting them discover so much about our world and their place within it.
Check our list of best, most popular nonfiction books for 1st graders on Epic.
Best Nonfiction Books for First Graders
Written by: Jamia Wilson
Illustrated by: Andrea Pippins
This vibrant book highlights the lives and achievements of 52 leaders of color, past and present. From Crimean War heroine Mary Seattle of Jamaica, to African American icons of the Civil Rights movement, Rosa Parks and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. This book celebrates figures of color from all over the world by sharing stories of their lives and influence.
Captivating and inspiring, “Young, Gifted and Black” is a compelling, informative addition to your young reader’s reading list. Simple enough for a 1st grader to grasp, even older kids and tweens can get a lot out of these empowering real-life stories.
Written by: Julie Murray
As the title suggests, NASA (The National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is the most important symbol of innovation and science in the U.S.—and its groundbreaking explorations have played a vital part of American culture and history throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.
Filled with breathtakingly vivid photography and simple text, this book tells the story of NASA’s iconic impact in a way that young readers can grasp, from pre-K and kindergarten to first grade. The simple language and eye-opening visuals make this one great for read-alouds.
Written by: Aimee Bissonette
Illustrated by: David Hohn
Meet Hallie Morse Daggett, the first woman fire guard in the U.S. Forest Service. This gorgeously illustrated true story follows Hallie Morse Daggett through her childhood spent hiking and exploring California’s Siskiyou Mountains, her firsthand experiences of the effects of wildfires on the natural environment. It continues on to show kids how her love of nature drew her to an important job that, in the 1880s, had always been reserved for men. Share this inspiring picture book detailing the life of this trailblazing woman with your kid. Share this inspiring picture book detailing the life of this trailblazing woman with your kid.
Written by: Julie Murphy
Ready for something different? Spiked heads, lengthy snouts and bright-red lips―we’re talking about the animal kingdom, of course. And it’s full of creatures with interesting features. This fascinating book is filled with vibrant up-close and personal photos of some of nature’s most unique creatures and critters.
The text features a wealth of little-known facts. Like, how did these “odd bod” animals come to exist? What is adaptation and how did these strange creatures come to inherit these traits? This nonfiction text is a super entertaining primer on evolutionary science.
Written by: Candace Fleming
Illustrated by: Eric Rohmann
Using stunningly detailed imagery and poetic language, this award-winning picture book details the life cycle of “Apis” the honeybee.
On day one, Apis emerges as a tiny honeybee and sets to work serving the hive. Apis takes care of larvae in the nursery, creates wax combs to house honey, transfers pollen and eventually grows to a point where she can finally leave the hive. She branches out and becomes an adventurer bee where she can gather nectar to make the honey. Your 1st grader will delight in learning about this bee species through Apis’s experiences.
Written by: Rosie Gowsell Pattison
This is the 4th book in a silly series pairing National Geographic’s amazing animal photos with tons of laugh-inducing material kids can’t get enough of. Even preschoolers will get a kick out of the funny people and animals. Like previous books in the series, it includes 300 all new laugh-out-loud quips, tongue twisters, jokes, funny animal pics and more!
Written by: Jen Green
In this Read-To-Me, “Great White Shark,” young readers can dive in and explore the depths of the underwater world, and one of its most dangerous predators. They’ll learn about the great white shark and the world it dominates through easy-to-understand words and a beautiful variety of clear full-color photos. It also has activities to engage them even more in the learning fun.
If your kid is a fan of sharks, check out our post: Fin-tastic Reads for Shark Lovers for even more picks.
Written and illustrated by: Gail Gibbons
Did you know that tornadoes can spin at speeds of up to 261 miles per hour?! Your 1st grader can discover this and over 50 more awe-inspiring facts in this cute, accessible picture book. The illustrations and diagrams do an amazing job of explaining the science behind tornadoes. Plus it gives kids valuable tips on how to stay safe in the event they’re ever caught in one.
Written by: Laura F. Marsh
Did you know baby foals can walk within minutes of birth? Or that the units of measurement for horses and ponies are … human hands?
“National Geographic Readers: Ponies” showcases the most graceful of Earth’s creatures (and one that’s a big hit among kids)! Its pages are filled with brilliant photographs and fun facts that teach young readers as they entertain. The “National Geographic Kids” series has books on a wealth of topics loved by kids. You can find several of them here on Epic!
10. Coretta Scott (Audiobook)
Written by: Ntozake Shange
Illustrated by: Phylicia Rashad
This celebrated children’s book details the life of one of U.S. history’s most impactful women—the wife of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King. This story explores African American civil rights issues such as the injustice of segregated schools in the south, the excitement and fears of holding nonviolent protests and more—all viewed from the perspective of this great American woman. The poetic prose makes this audiobook version an inspiring and delightful experience.
Want to Learn More?
If you’re looking for more informational texts for 1st graders, browse nonfiction books on Epic or visit your local library.
We hope you enjoyed our list of best nonfiction books for 1st graders!