You know the drill. It is two weeks until school starts and your young reader still hasn’t finished even one book. Even worse, your school requires that kids complete a certain amount of reading. For some children summertime reading is as simple as a trip to the library. For others, the mere word “reading” elicits groans.

Parents stock their children’s shelves with good books. Librarians and teachers put together lists of books to make the process easier. But how do you get the reading done when nothing seems to appeal to the young reader? Well, I like the old adage: everyone is a reader; you just have to find something interesting to read.

Book of Why - Animal KingdomThink non-fiction! In my years working with emerging readers, I often have found that a non-fiction book on a favorite hobby or interest creates the excitement that a carefully selected novel didn’t. My go-to for elementary age students: TIME for Kids.

And now, TIME for Kids has produced compact versions of their Big Book of Why that provide answers to all sorts of intriguing questions kids might have. As soon as I saw TIME for Kids Books of Why, I was sold.

Book of Why - People and Places coverIf you are not familiar with it, TIME for Kids is a weekly classroom news magazine that covers a wide range of real-world topics. Each issue includes a glossary of new words and questions that reinforce the main ideas. My own kids have always enjoyed them, and their elementary school teachers swear by them.

TIME for Kids Books of Why pose questions kids might wonder about, like “why do kings and queens wear crowns?” and “why does a curve ball curve?” The books are engaging and visually interesting, using photos and other graphics to colorfully illustrate the answers. Each volume contains 250 questions and answers. Like the weekly magazine, at the end of each book is a glossary of terms, and a reading list of books and websites.

Book of Why - Stellar Space coverThere are currently four books: Awesome Animal Kingdom, Really Cool People & Places, Stellar Space, and a somewhat unusual but alliterative pairing, Amazing Sports and Science. They are written for a 9-year-old to read comfortably but should be understandable to an even younger child. And don’t be surprised if you find a teenager, or even yourself, browsing through it.  Before you know it, your child will Book of Why - Sports and Sciencehave read the whole book. Check that off the reading list!

In general, these are a great set of books to have around the house. A kid can pick one up and just read. Or, say she comes to you with a question. Pull out one of these and you can find an answer together. And who knows? Maybe the next step is a trip to the library on a quest for a book.


Enter to win all four!

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