Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids 2021: Non-Fiction Picture Books

October 18, 2021

Nonfiction Picture Books

78. Begin With a Bee by Liza Ketchum, Jacqueline Briggs Martin and Phyllis Root, ill. Claudia McGehee

Every bumblebee colony begins with just a single queen, waking in the spring, doing everything herself. Colored woodcuts highlight one of the more peculiar tales in the insect kingdom. x595.799 Ketch.L

79. How to Find a Fox by Kate Gardner, ill. Ossi Saarinen

Breathtaking photography instructs young readers on where and how one might spot a fox in the wild. x599.775 Gardn.K

80. I Am Smoke by Henry Herz, ill. Merce Lopez 

Water isn’t the only one that gets a cycle. A rhythmically powerful narration of the many uses of smoke, complemented by illustrations of the swirling substance so important to human life and history. JPic Herz.H

81. Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston by Alicia D. Williams, ill. Jacqueline Alcántara 

There once lived a girl “who was attracted to tales like mosquitoes to skin.” Hear the tale of one of our greatest American writers, and see how it was stories that buoyed her up, even in bleakest of times. xBiog Hurst.Z Willi.A

82. Klezmer! by Kyra Teis

Clap along to this bouncy celebration of this Jewish musical style. A burst of pure joy from start to finish. x781.62 Teis.K

83. Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued by Peter Sís

“I was not a hero… I only saw what needed to be done.” The story of a man who saved 669 children during WWII, beautifully rendered by a picture book master. xBiog Winto.N Sis.P

84. Nina: A Story of Nina Simone by Traci N. Todd, ill. Christian Robinson

When history demands you speak, what happens when you sing? The story of Nina Simone’s life, from child prodigy to voice of multiple generations. xBiog Simon.N Todd.T

85. The People’s Painter: How Ben Shahn Fought for Justice with Art by Cynthia Levinson, ill. Evan Turk

A finely wrought telling of the life of a boy who went from shtetl to tenement apartment to becoming an artist who would always fight for the oppressed. xBiog Shahn.B Levin.C

86. Pura’s Cuentos: How Pura Belpré Reshaped Libraries with Her Stories by Annette Bay Pimentel, ill. Magaly Morales

What do you do when your library contains none of your culture’s stories? Pura Belpré broke the rules to bring the tales of Puerto Rico to life for kids everywhere! xBiog Belpr.P Pimen.A

87. Sharice’s Big Voice: A Native Kid Becomes a Congresswoman by Sharice Davids with Nancy K. Mays, ill. Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley 

How did a Bruce Lee-obsessed Native American kid grow up to become one of the first Indigenous women in Congress? Sharice Davids tells her inspiring tale. xBiog David.S David.S

88. Song for Jimi: The Story of Guitar Legend Jimi Hendrix by Charles R. Smith Jr., ill. Edel Rodriguez


From Jimmy to Jimi. A young motherless boy goes on to become a rock-and-roll legend in a eye-popping deep dive into the Jimi Hendrix life and legacy. xBiog Hendr.J Smith.C

89. 13 Ways to Eat a Fly by Sue Heavenrich, ill. David Clark

How do different creatures eat flies? They zap them and wrap them, poke and soak them, and sometimes even turn them into zombies! Silly and strangely informative. x595.77 Heave.S

90. Two Grooms On a Cake: The Story of America’s First Gay Wedding by Rob Sanders, ill. Robbie Cathro

The true story of the first same-sex couple in America to marry legally. A tale of law, love, and what you need to build a strong relationship. x306.848 Sande.R

91. Unbound: The Life and Art of Judith Scott by Joyce Scott with Brie Spangler, ill. Melissa Sweet

The triumphant story of an artist with Down syndrome who went on to conquer the art world, told by her twin sister. Magnificent colorful art brings Judy’s story to vibrant life. x730.92 Scott.J

92. Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford, ill. Floyd Cooper

Once in Tulsa, Oklahoma there was a thriving Black community of successful businesses, churches, libraries, and more. Once, a terrible violence was perpetrated on those residents. This is that story. x976.686 Weath.C

93. When Cloud Became a Cloud by Rob Hodgson

On a hot day a little cloud forms over a lake. What follows is a robust series of adventures backed up with clear science. A marvelous introduction to the water cycle for younger readers. x551.48 Hodgs.R


Return to the full list of 101 Great Books for Kids here.


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