Active Nonfiction Hotlist

Active nonfiction teaches skills that readers can use to engage in an activity. Craft books, cookbooks, books of scientific experiments all fall into this category. Here’s an overview of Active Nonfiction and a look at some of our best-selling active nonfiction titles!

Play at Home with Elmo: Games and Activities from Sesame Street®

  • Interest Level: Preschool – Grade 2    
  • Reading Level: Kindergarten

Staying home today? Let Elmo, Big Bird, and the rest of your friends from Sesame Street help you get creative with fun games and activities for the whole family.

Let’s Draw Monsters with Crayola®!

From the Series Let’s Draw with Crayola®!

  • Interest Level: Preschool – Grade 3  
  • Reading Level: Grade 1

Can you draw monsters? You can if you start with simple shapes! Triangles and squares become a flying fanged monster. Circles in many sizes make up a multi-eyed monster. What kind of monster can you draw with shapes? Colorful, step-by-step illustrations show readers how to draw scary monsters, cute monsters, and every kind of monster in between.

Sporty Algorithms

From the Series Sports Coding Concepts

  • Interest Level: Grade 1 – Grade 3  
  • Reading Level: Grade 1

Simple, hands-on activities explore algorithms for readers not yet ready for coding on computers. Sports-themed projects encourage readers to learn about the basics of coding through writing out the algorithm to shoot a basketball, steal a base, or create a gymnastics routine.

Magic Tricks with Props

From the Series Lightning Bolt Books ® — Magic Tricks

  • Interest Level: Grade 1 – Grade 3    
  • Reading Level: Grade 2

Simple step-by-step instructions and photos show readers how to do fun magic tricks with props such as pencils, coins, and even a banana. Readers will love learning tips for performing magic and information about famous magicians.

30-Minute Chemistry Projects

From the Series 30-Minute Makers

  • Interest Level: Grade 2 – Grade 5    
  • Reading Level: Grade 3

Did you know that you can make plastic, snow, and even a lava lamp in less than 30 minutes? Clear, step-by-step instructions guide readers through the exciting science projects, and Science Takeaway sidebars explain the chemistry behind these cool creations. The activities in this book use common items from around the house and keep readers learning while they’re busy having fun!

Garfield’s® Guide to Lasagna: Cooking Nature’s Perfect Food

  • Interest Level: Grade 2 – Grade 5    
  • Reading Level: Grade 3

Dive into this delicious exploration of a truly flawless food—lasagna!

Learn the art of cooking with step-by-step recipes for all types of lasagna, from a classic red sauce version to very veggie options, and even tex-mex, breakfast, and dessert lasagna! Colorful spreads present unique and delicious recipes so young chefs can make lasagna for every meal of the day. The text features step-by-step instructions and hilarious commentary from Garfield, Odie, and friends.

Cat Litter Cake and Other Horrifying Desserts

From the Series Little Kitchen of Horrors

  • Interest Level: Grade 2 – Grade 5    
  • Reading Level: Grade 4

What can be as yucky to look at as it is yummy to eat? Your dessert! Learn how to make a variety of desserts that are both repulsive and tasty. Create dishes like worms in dirt, gooey alien limbs, and “poisoned” apples. Baking dessert has never been so much fun—or so gross!

Make and Upload Your Own Videos

From the Series Digital Makers (Alternator Books® )

  • Interest Level: Grade 3 – Grade 6  
  • Reading Level: Grade 4

Maybe you love baking or doing martial arts—or perhaps soccer is more your thing. You can make a video about all these interests and more! Share your passions with the world by recording them and posting them online. Learn the first steps involved in capturing what you love on film, and find out how to hone your moviemaking craft and safely share your videos. A handy Video Checklist has even more tips and tricks as you get started. Lights, camera . . . action!

Create Computer Games with Scratch

From the Series Project Code

  • Interest Level: Grade 4 – Grade 7  
  • Reading Level: Grade 5

Do you already know the basics of using Scratch?

Project Code will help you take those skills and build on them to create action-packed computer games that you can play with your friends! Try ready-made blocks of code to produce simple projects and use them as inspiration and models for your own ideas. This book will develop your Scratch knowledge and open doors to boost your creativity when coding. This practical activity book includes projects kids can do in a private online sandbox.

The Craft-a-Day Book: 30 Projects to Make with Recycled Materials

  • Interest Level: Grade 6 – Grade 12  
  • Reading Level: Grade 8

Reduce, reuse, and recycle with ideas from The Craft-a-Day Book.

You can put the three Rs to work with these thirty awesome crafts! Using recycled and reusable materials from around the house, school, or a thrift store, you’ll find directions for making colorful lanterns from paper and jars, ruffle skirts from t-shirts, scarves and mitts from your favorite old sweaters and socks, and much more. Learn to make bobbles and pom-poms and other easy decorative embellishments. You’ll also get a window into how one experienced crafter—Kari Cornell—finds inspiration for her projects. Colorful photographs and step-by-step instructions turn each inspiration into something you’ll love wearing or using—and will lead you to new ideas of your own! Ready, set, let’s get crafting!

Active Nonfiction is a category of Melissa Stewart’s Five Kinds of Nonfiction. This post is part of a weekly series of guest articles by nonfiction authors about their craft, their process, and their amazing books. Stay tuned each week to learn more by visiting the 5 Kinds of Nonfiction page for poster and flyer downloads, curated booklists and more. You can also follow the Lerner Blog’s 5 Kinds of Nonfiction series, or the hashtag #5KNF on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.

Leave a Reply