by Beth Cronk, Meeker County Librarian
The Litchfield Library has recently added some beautiful nonfiction books that could be entertaining and educational for the whole family. Sometimes adult books with great illustrations and photos can be very appealing to children who love a subject. I’ve known kids who poured over books about tractors, dinosaurs, and stars, even though they were officially published for adults.
One appealing new addition to our collection is Hubble’s Universe: Greatest Discoveries and Latest Images by Terence Dickinson. An update to a previous edition, this book includes over 300 high-resolution images from the Hubble Telescope. The Wall Street Journal said that this book is “a reminder that the finest telescope in space might also be the greatest camera ever created.” The author worked with the scientists who work with the telescope to include accurate facts about the images.
Drive: The Definitive History of Driving is a large new book from DK Publishing that should appeal to car enthusiasts. Starting with the invention of the car and the birth of the automobile industry, this book showcases the cars of every era, plus related topics like car racing, traffic lights, and advertisements. Even a child who can’t read yet could enjoy the hundreds of pages of photos.
Another new book from DK Publishing, The Story of Food: An Illustrated History of Everything We Eat is a gorgeously illustrated overview of a whole world of food. Covering all of the major types of food (grains, fruits, meat, etc.), cuisines from all over the world, and the history of how foods were developed, this coffee table book is likely to make you curious – and hungry. I’m sure I would have loved this book as a child.
Nick Offerman, famous for playing woodworking enthusiast Ron Swanson on the television show Parks and Recreation, wrote the foreword for The Tool Book: A Tool Lover’s Guide to Over 200 Hand Tools. Once again, this is a DK book, with their signature clear and appealing photos and illustrations. I’m not interested in tools, and I still think this is a beautiful and interesting book. I can just imagine a small child who likes hammers and saws studying all of the varieties of tools and techniques featured in this book.
Animal lovers of all ages can enjoy the Encyclopedia of Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises by Erich Hoyt. Hoyt is a scientist who studies whales in the wild and who has written many books about them for children and adults. This book has detailed profiles of ninety species of cetaceans with photos of each. If you have a child who has enjoyed seeing these creatures at the zoo, they may like a chance to study a book about them.
If you’d like a book that gives the whole family something to look for outside, try Searching for Minnesota’s Native Wildflowers: A Guide for Beginners, Botanists, and Everyone In Between by Phyllis Root. This new book from University of Minnesota Press is described as a family-friendly, photographic guide to the variety of flowers that grow right here in our state. The book not only identifies them, it describes where and when you can go to look for them.
If you have young ones interested in a subject – or if you’d like to spark an interest - remember to look in the adult nonfiction section for books that are appealing to all ages.