Over the past few years, my collection of children’s books has grown a little out of hand, especially when it comes to children’s non-fiction. There have been so many beautiful examples published recently, and I just can’t resist them.
Non-fiction books have had their hold on me for as long as I can remember. It probably all started with afternoons at the library with my mum, before developing into a borderline obsession with Space and Dinosaurs. One of my very favourite books was a collection of dinosaur poems, published by Walker books that I still treasure to this day. A beloved (free with a newspaper) poster of the solar system hung above my bed, becoming ever tattier as the years went on.
This interest was reignited while studying Illustration at Falmouth, where I developed several non-fiction book ideas. I went on to work at Dorling Kindersley, one of the pioneer publishers of children’s non fiction; while there, I had the privilege of working on some fantastic titles (including, to my delight, an excellent Space Book).
On moving out of London, I worked for a design company, designing and illustrating for various museums and heritage sites. While not publishing, the design and editorial process have a surprising amount of crossovers, engaging visitors and presenting clear, and relevant information in fun and innovative ways. Its something that I continue to work on in a freelance capacity.
Over the past few years, I’ve gravitated back to publishing and children’s books. I went to study MA Children’s book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art, delving ever deeper into the potential of non fiction, exploring different ways to present information, from narrative non fiction, through to information books, pop ups and comics, discussing the pros and cons of each method.
Non fiction books are a brilliant way to inspire children to learn about the world around them, engaging curious and questioning minds and encouraging life long learning. They teach kids about different cultures, time periods, places, science and the natural world, leading (hopefully) to understanding and respect.
Children’s non fiction has become increasingly exciting in recent years, thanks in part to a backlash against digital culture and the creative vision of smaller independent publishing companies. Often using eye-catching and stylised illustration, quality paper and high end binding and printing techniques. Once frowned upon for being impractical, oversized books are now commonplace. Walk into any children’s book section now, and rather than the fairly dry information books of old, the non fiction range is massive, exciting and beautiful. Long may it continue.
I’m going to use this blog to take a look at some superb examples of Non-fiction I’ve picked up over the years and share what I love about them and why.
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