Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids 2023: Non-Fiction Picture Books

October 30, 2023

Nonfiction Picture Books

77. An American Story by Kwame Alexander, ill. Dare Coulter

You can’t tell the story of America by just telling the comfortable parts. A look at early slavery in America and a consideration of what we teach our kids at school. Call Number: x306.362 Alexa.K


78. The Book of Turtles by Sy Montgomery, ill. Matt Patterson



Think you know turtles? Think again! An up-close-and-personal deep dive into the species with all its weird and wonderful qualities. Best. Turtle. Book. Ever. Call Number: x597.92 Montg.S


79. Butt or Face? Can You Tell Which One You Are Looking At? by Kari Lavelle

Think you can tell a butt from a face? Test your skills against an array of insects, amphibians, birds and beasts. We bet at least one of them fools you! Call Number: x571.31 Lavel.K


80. Dogs: A History of Our Best Friends by Lita Judge

Take a trip back in time to 50,000 years ago and follow the path of humanity’s best friend. From cleaning infectious wounds to clearing birds off of runways, this fact-filled readaloud is a perfect paean to one of our favorite animals. Call Number: x636.7 Judge.L


81. The Fire of Stars: The Life and Brilliance of the Woman Who Discovered What Stars Are Made Of by Kirsten W. Larson, ill. Katherine Roy

What burns at the heart of a star? The story of Cecilia Payne, ground-breaking scientist, is brought to life in this scintillating picture biography riddled with the mysteries of the universe. Call Number: xBiog Payne.C Larso.K


82. The Gentle Genius of Trees by Philip Bunting

Trees give us so much here on earth but how much do we know about them? Take an irreverent trip into their communication, likes, dislikes, and more. Call Number: x582.16 Bunti.P


83. Glitter Everywhere! Where It Came From, Where It’s Found, and Where It’s Going by Chris Barton, ill. Chaaya Prabhat

Do you love glitter? Hate it? Then this book is for you! Find out its history, its science, its importance, and what we can do to be more responsible with it so it won’t hurt the environment. Call Number: x745.5 Barto.C


84. The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music by Roberta Flack with Tonya Bolden, ill. Hayden Goodman

A five-time Grammy Award winner tells the story of how she came to love music and how her family got its very first piano. Loads of personality and fun infuse this delightful bio. Call Number: xBiog Flack.R Flack.R


85. Holding Her Own: The Exceptional Life of Jackie Ormes by Traci N. Todd, ill. Shannon Wright

The life of reporter, cartoonist, dollmaker, artist Jackie Ormes is brought to rip-roaring life in this fun and fantastic biography. Learn as much as you can about the first Black woman to become a nationally syndicated cartoonist! Call Number: xBiog Ormes.J Todd.T


86. Ice Cream Man: How Augustus Jackson Made a Sweet Treat Better by Glenda Armand and Kim Freeman, ill. Keith Mallett

Meet “the father of ice cream” who invented a method to make ice cream accessible to everyone, not just the rich. An inspiring biography of the entrepreneur behind everyone’s favorite summer treat. Call Number: xBiog Jacks.A Arman.G


87. The Indestructible Tom Crean: Heroic Explorer of the Antarctic by Jennifer Thermes

Sail with explorer Tom Crean on the ships Discovery, Terra Nova, and Endurance and watch as the man not only manages to stay alive, but also saves the lives of his fellow crew time and again. A gripping, wonderful look at a heroic man. Call Number: xBiog Crean.T Therm.J


88. Jumper: A Day in the Life of a Backyard Jumping Spider by Jessica Lanan

What’s it like to be a spider in the grass? Enter the world of a jumping spider and experience the danger and excitement happening just under your nose. Call Number: x595.44 Lanan.J


89. Not a Monster by Claudia Guadalupe Martínez, ill. Laura González

Adorable, engaging, and informative! With simple text, meet the axolotl, learn about its Aztec origin myth, and see the way pollution is affecting its natural habitat. Call number: x597.858 Marti.C


90. One Tiny Treefrog: A Countdown to Survival by Tony Piedra and Mackenzie Joy

“Ten tiny tadpoles grow in their eggs.” Count down as each tadpole falls prey to hungry nature in this eye-opening look at not just treefrogs but survival of the fittest as well. Call Number: x597.878 Piedr.T


91. Ready, Set, Run! The Amazing New York City Marathon by Leslie Kimmelman, ill. Jessie Hartland

What’s it like to run in a real marathon? Stretch, get a good night’s sleep, and join the 50,000+ runners for a fun look at this amazing race! Call Number: x796.4252 Kimme.L


92. Stranded! A Mostly True Story from Iceland by Ævar Þór Benediktsson, ill. Anne Wilson

Almost all the facts in this book are true. Can you find the single lie? When the author’s grandfather got stranded on an active volcanic island with his friend their survival was NOT guaranteed. An unexpectedly hilarious and harrowing tale. Call Number: x551.21 Aevarpo


93. There Was a Party for Langston, King of Letters by Jason Reynolds, ill. Jerome Pumphrey and Jarrett Pumphrey

“There was a party for Langston at the library.” Lanston Hughes, that is. A marvelous recounting of one man’s legacy and a vibrant visual praise of Black American writers. This text sings. Call Number: JPicture Reyno.J


94. Tomfoolery! Randolph Caldecott and the Rambunctious Coming-of-Age of Children’s Books by Michelle Markel, ill. Barbara McClintock

Meet Randolph Caldecott! The children’s book illustrator unafraid to put fun, action, and loads of animals on the page. A marvelous look at the artist our picture books owe so much to today. Call Number: xBiog Calde.R Marke.M


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

Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids 2022: Non-Fiction Picture Books

October 21, 2022

Nonfiction Picture Books

  1. Before Music: Where Instruments Come From by Annette Bay Pimentel, ill. Madison Safer

Music from rocks. Music from shells. Music from seed pods, cocoons, and ore. Come see a fantastic array of worldwide instruments, many of which you will have NEVER heard of before. Call Number: x784.19 Pimen.A

  1. Blue by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond, ill. Daniel Minter

The color blue has meant so many different things to so many different people around the world. Take a deep dive into its history and the good, and bad, stories that lie behind the color of the sky. Call Number: x535.6 Brewh.N

  1. Call Me Miss Hamilton: One Woman’s Case for Equality and Respect by Carole Boston Weatherford, ill. Jeffery Boston Weatherford

Can you fight to have people call you a name with respect? Mary Hamilton did. The story of one brave woman’s fight to be called “Miss Hamilton,” accompanied by emotive scratchboard art and photos. Call Number: xBiog Hamil.M Weath.C

  1. Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement by Angela Joy, ill. Janelle Washington

The life of Emmett Till’s mother highlights one woman’s lifetime of making brave, rather than easy, choices. Meticulous papercuts tell her story with dignity. Call Number: xBiog Tillm.M Joy.A

  1. Concrete: From the Ground Up by Larissa Theule, ill. Steve Light

A highly amusing history of a material we all take for granted. From the Partheon to the Berlin Wall, get the low down on concrete, what it’s made of, what it’s capable of, and where it might go in the future. Call Number: x620.136 Theul.L

  1. Dragon Bones: The Fantastic Fossil Discoveries of Mary Anning by Sarah Glenn Marsh, ill. Maris Wicks

Born in 1799, no one would have expected Mary Anning to be remembered as the mother of paleontology. The story of a scientist that couldn’t stop digging up impressive, ancient sea creatures. Call Number: xBiog Annin.M Marsh.S

  1. Fighting for Yes! The Story of Disability Rights Activist Judith Heumann by Maryann Cocca-Leffler, ill. Vivien Mildenberger

Can you imagine being told NO your entire life? The story of Judith Heumann’s life, told so stirringly, it’s sure to make activists out of each and every reader. Call Number: xBiog Heuma.J Cocca.M

  1. Good Eating: The Short Life of Krill by Matt Lilley, ill. Dan Tavis

How much do you know about krill? Did you know that they are shapeshifters? Or that they shed armor? Take a deep dive into the organisms on whom the fate of our planet may rest. Call Number: x595.3 Lille.M

  1. A History of Underwear with Professor Chicken by Hannah Holt, ill. Korwin Briggs

Thongs, corsets, hezi, and paper. Underwear from everywhere is celebrated in this poultry-filled tour, hosted by the delightful Professor Chicken. Call Number: x391.42 Holt.H

  1. If You’re a Kid Like Gavin: The True Story of a Young Trans Activist by Gavin Grimm and Kyle Lukoff, ill. J. Yang

If you’re a kid like Gavin you shouldn’t have to make the choice to stand up for yourself as a trans boy who deserves to use the boy’s bathroom, but that’s just what he did. The inspiring tale of a modern child hero, expertly told. Call Number: x306.76 Grimm.G

  1. Jack Knight’s Brave Flight: How One Gutsy Pilot Saved the U.S. Air Mail Service by Jill Esbaum, ill. Stacy Innerst

A gripping, edge-of-your-seat telling of the daring flight by one man to save air mail service in America. Call Number: x383.144 Esbau.J

  1. Listen to the Language of the Trees: A Story of How Forests Communicate Underground by Tera Kelley, ill. Marie Hermansson

Think trees can’t communicate? Think again. Trees have a whole underground system of sending nutrients, messages, and even alarm systems to one another. Learn more about this amazing wood wide web. You’ll never look at a tree the same way again. Call Number: x582.16 Kelle.T

  1. Marcel’s Masterpiece: How a Toilet Shaped the History of Art by Jeff Mack

What is art? Let Marcel Duchamp help you answer that question. He once turned a toilet into an artistic statement, and the world was never the same again. Call Number: x709.04 Ducha.M

  1. Mega-Predators of the Past by Melissa Stewart, ill. Howard Gray

Forget the dinosaurs! Meet the REAL (and enormous) mega-predators of the past. All but one is extinct… but which one? Call Number: x560 Stewa.M

  1. Out of the Shadows: How Lotte Reiniger Made the First Animated Fairytale Movie by Fiona Robinson

Who knew that a love of fairy tales could turn into something so amazing? The story of one of the world’s earliest animators and how she brought her tales to life in a whole new way. Call Number: xBiog Reini.L Robin.F

  1. Pink, Blue, and You!: Questions for Kids About Gender Stereotypes by Elise Gravel with Mykaell Blais

The gender spectrum is explained in clear, concise language for the young in this fun breakdown of a sometimes complicated topic. Call Number: x305.3 Grave.E

  1. Shapes, Lines, and Light: My Grandfather’s American Journey by Katie Yamasaki

“Serenity. Surprise. Delight.” Japanese-American architect Minoru Yamasaki used that mantra throughout his life. Now his granddaughter is able to tell his story, with all its ups and downs. Call Number: xBiog Yamas.M Yamas.K

  1. Washed Ashore: Making Art from Ocean Plastic by Kelly Crull, art by Angela Haseltine Pozzi

There’s a lot of plastic in the ocean. What to do? Artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi collected it, then turned it into magnificent sculptures of sea creatures. Waste and beauty go hand in hand with a keen environmental message. Call Number: x731.2 Crull.K


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

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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