Weaving Children’s Literature into Social Studies K–5

H. Selecting Non-fiction

Suggested Time: 10 minutes


  • copy of Kids Book of Canadian History
  1. Provide a quick overview about selecting non-fiction resources. Review the following information about non-fiction.
  2. Care should be taken in selecting non-fiction resources. No book should ever be selected without having been evaluated by a professional teacher. Books should never be selected from a catalogue unless from a series for which you already have some examples and know them to be appropriate. Too many titles in the non-fiction area have dense text and black and white pictures. Others do not have a table of contents or an index. Others may have a too-difficult reading level for the grade for which it is intended. Following are some of the criteria to use when selecting non-fiction titles. Use Kids Book of Canadian History to illustrate the points (even though this book does not have an index).

    • Large, clear, high-quality colour illustrations, including both photos and drawings
    • Drawings should include graphs, diagrams, tables and other structures that plot information, show relationships and generally help students understand
    • Illustrations should match and support the text
    • Captions should support the material
    • Index
    • Table of Contents
    • Glossary
    • Authority and currency evident in sources used in content development (e.g., sources and authorities listed)
    • Text appropriate as to size, font type, placement, amount per page
    • Headings and sub-headings used frequently throughout the text
    • Content suitable for age of student
    • Content appropriate for the intended unit of study
    • Content organized in “chunks” of related material
    • Print broken up by illustrations, boxes, sidebars, etc., so as to avoid long, intimidating sections of text.
    • Appealing format
    • Canadian or Albertan content where appropriate

    It is important for libraries have a good supply of quality non-fiction titles to support the Inquiry process in this new curriculum. The Kids Book of Canada a prime example of the many excellent non-fiction books available for most topics. This title part of a series that is indispensable for its thoroughness, accuracy, depth, and, of course, all Canadian content. Titles currently available in this series, all of which have relevance for our curriculum, include:

    • Kids Book of Aboriginal Peoples In Canada
    • Kids Book of Black Canadian History
    • Kids Book of Canada
    • Kids Book of Canada at War
    • Kids Book of Canada's Railway
    • Kids Book of Canadian Exploration
    • Kids Book of Canadian Firsts
    • Kids Book of Canadian History
    • Kids Book of Canadian Geography
    • Kids Book of Canadian Immigration
    • Kids Book of Canadian Prime Ministers
    • Kids Book of Great Canadian Women 
    • Kids Book of Great Canadians
    • Kids Book of the Far North
    • Kids Book of World Religions
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This resource was developed by ERLC as a result of a grant from Alberta Education to support implementation.