Notes from the Wild : Feeling Buggy

Notes from the Wild

A colleague and I are working on an exciting new program for our a library system – a book club for young readers based entirely on nonfiction titles! Being a massive fan of nonfiction for recreational reading, and a passionate champion of this often overlooked genre, I can’t wait to share some fascinating, exciting and unexpected titles with my young charges. While the standard procedure for working with so-called “reluctant” readers seems to be offering them graphic novels, I ardently believe that teachers, librarians and caregivers should also consider offering these kids nonfiction titles. Nonfiction comes in so many formats, including picture books and graphic novels, and covers just about every topic, theme and subject imaginable, so odds are there’s a nonfiction title out there for just about everyone!

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Each month our nonfiction book club will have a different theme. The facilitator will read one title aloud to the group, which the group will then discuss together, talking about what they learned and what surprised them. The facilitator will also book-talk a couple of other books on the same topic, which kids can take home with them after the program, and the group will play some games and do some activities based on the month’s theme. All in all, it will be a fun, activity-packed program for everyone involved!

One of the best parts of prepping for the program has been researching different titles to include in each theme’s template. There are just so many incredible nonfiction picture books out there these days that I’m spoiled for choice – what a wonderful problem to have!

I’m currently working on an insect-themed book club template, so I thought I’d share a few of the titles I’ve found in our library catalogue so far – I’m not sure which one I’ll read aloud and which ones I’ll book-talk, but they all look so good, I can’t wait to share them with my group.


Incredible Insects! Eye-opening Photos of Amazing Bugs

Full-colour, close-up photos and mind-blowing trivia makes this an exciting, kid-appealing introduction to the weird and wonderful world of  insects.

Weird Insects By Worek, Michael

Put “weird” in the title and you’re sure to catch young readers’ attention! Great high-detail colour photos get kids up close and personal with unbelievable creatures.

Insects & Spiders By Tait, Noel

This series uses fantastically-detailed three-dimensional drawings to take readers right inside different spiders and insects, and uses succinct, straight-forward text to introduce these incredible insects (and spiders).

Insect Detective By Voake, Steve

Perfect for younger readers, this charmingly-illustrated book encourages young readers to become insect detectives and investigate the natural world around them.

Insect Emporium By Brooks, Susie

This beautifully illustrated, gently written ode to insects is sure to appeal to even the most insect-averse young readers.

Bugged How Insects Changed History By Albee, Sarah

History AND science, together forever! This cleverly written and engaging illustrated text chronicles the intertwined histories of humans and insects, and is sure to draw readers in and keep them captivated. The text is a bit more complex, making this a great choice for older readers. As one reviewer put it, “this title is astonishing, disgusting, revolting, and ultimately fascinating” – what more could you ask for?

Small Wonders Jean-Henri Fabre & His World of Insects By Smith, Matthew Clark

An enchanting picture book biography of 19th-century French entomologist Jean-Henri Fabre, an eccentric and fascinating scientist whose life was as unusual as the creatures he studied.

Not A Buzz to Be Found Insects in Winter By Glaser, Linda

How do insects survive the harsh winter weather? Full colour paintings and lyrical text explore the different survival strategies insects use to make it through each winter.

The Insecto-files Amazing Insect Science and Bug Facts You’ll Never Believe By Becker, Helaine

Silly illustrations, wacky (yet informative) text and simple, cruelty-free experiments help kids explore and experience the insect world, and have a blast while doing it.

Beetle Busters A Rogue Insect and the People Who Track It By Burns, Loree Griffin

A fascinating look into the world of entomology, through a subject that has impacted communities across our very province.

Super Bug Encyclopedia The Biggest, Fastest, Deadliest Creepy-crawlies on the Planet By Woodward, John

100 insects are featured in incredible detail, with fascinating text, startling full-colour close up photographs and 3D models bringing each creature vividly to life.

Big Book of Bugs By Zommer, Yuval

A whimsically illustrated, colourful celebration of insects, with sweet, big-eyed bugs that are sure to appeal to young readers who might not think of themselves as bug aficionados!