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Golden National Non-Fiction November (#GNNFN) is here! This month provides a great opportunity to indulge in books that are filled with intriguing information and fascinating facts, allowing young readers to celebrate the breadth, depth and richness of non-fiction writing and illustrating for children and young people.

For 2018 we’ve pulled together a brilliant list of non-fiction books to give you some reading inspiration. This year’s theme is ‘Food and Festivals Around the World’, focusing on food and celebrations associated with different cultures worldwide. We have several relevant recommendations below, alongside other exciting non-fiction titles. From books filled with recipes, to picture books about endangered animals, to a graphic novel about the history of feminism, our list shows the variety of books published under this broad and exciting banner.

Please join in the conversation and tell us about your favourite non-fiction books on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using #GNNFN #WBD.

For Readers 0-5

Bake Me A Celebration Story, by Nadiya Hussain, published by Hachette Children’s Group

Celebrate special occasions all year round with sparkling stories and irresistible recipes by Nadiya, Britain’s favourite baker.

Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, Holi or Chinese New Year, there are so many special moments to be enjoyed as a family throughout the year. And what better way to celebrate than to share stories, enjoy crafts and make delicious food with Nadiya, Britain’s favourite baker? A unique combination of storybook and cookbook, with all recipes, stories and activities devised and written by Nadiya herself.

All About Families, by Felicity Brooks, illustrated by Mar Ferrero, published by Usborne 

What do families look like? Who’s in your family? And how can families change? With delightful illustrations, this glorious celebration of family diversity talks about lone-parent families, adoptive, foster, divorced, remarried, and mixed race families, and lots, lots more, showing little children that families come in all shapes and sizes.

Enter the competition for your chance to win 1 of 5 copies (closes 31st November 2018)

Dogs In Space, by Victoria Southgate, illustrated by Iris Deppe, published by Wren & Rook

Meet Belka and Strelka, the two dogs who changed the face of space history and became international celebrities in the process! Science, survival and dogs in spacesuits – the incredible true story of Belka and Strelka, the Soviet space dogs.

Click here for your chance to win 1 of 5 copies (closes 30th November 2018)


Here We Are, by Oliver Jeffers, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books

The exquisite and thought-provoking new book from the multi award-winning, internationally best-selling picture book creator of Lost and Found, Oliver Jeffers. Our world can be a bewildering place, especially if you’ve only just got here. Your head will be filled with questions, so let’s explore what makes our planet and how we live on it. From land and sky, to people and time, these notes can be your guide and start you on your journey. And you’ll figure lots of things out for yourself. Just remember to leave notes for everyone else… Some things about our planet are pretty complicated, but things can be simple, too: you’ve just got to be kind.

Here We Are is the utterly heartfelt new book from Oliver Jeffers. We’re glad you found it.

Click here for a resource pack filled with activities
Click here to view the book trailer

Look I’m a Cook, published by DK

Bursting with exciting, easy-peasy recipes for kids, Look I’m a Cook lets little chefs explore and discover the wonderful world of food with all their senses.

Children will love to make fragrant Sunshine Strawberries, a crunchy Vegetable Stick Train, and melt in your mouth Meringue Mountains. With Look I’m a Cook, tiny cooks can learn, play and make as they touch, smell, see, hear, and taste their way to delicious food and learning!


Frida Kahlo, by Isabel Sanchez Vegara, illustrated by Eng Gee Fan, published by Lincoln Children’s Books

This board book version of Frida Kahlo – an international bestseller in the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series – introduces the youngest dreamers to this world-renowned painter.

When Frida was a teenager, a terrible road accident changed her life forever. Unable to walk, she began painting from her bed. Her self-portraits, which show her pain and grief, but also her passion for life and instinct for survival, have made her one of the most famous artists of the twentieth century. Babies and toddlers will love to snuggle as you read to them the engaging story of this fascinating painter, and will also enjoy exploring the stylish and quirky illustrations of this sturdy board book on their own.


For Readers 5-8

Mega Meltdown, by Jack Tite, published by Big Picture Press

Nearly three million years ago the Ice Age began. Oceans froze, ice sheets covered land and animals, along with humans, found ways to thrive. These prehistoric creatures were weird, wonderful and enormous. Explore the Earth continent by continent and come face to face with Ice-Age megafauna, such as North America’s short-faced bear – which was 3.7 metres tall, and mastodons – which weighed twice as much as a T. rex! Accompanying the images, lively text allows you imagine exactly what these mega animals were like!

Festivals and Celebrations, published by DK

Discover the wonders of Chinese New Year and all the colours of Diwali with this lively celebration of festivals around the world. Covering the festivals by season, children can learn about: Easter, Holi, Dragon Boat Festival, Eid, Day of the Dead, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa as well as how Christmas is celebrated around the world and many more!

Part of DK’s innovative range of levelled readers, combining a highly visual approach with non-fiction narrative, DK Reader Festivals and Celebrations is perfect for children beginning to read alone.

One Day, So Many Ways, by Laura Hall and Loris Lora, published by Lincoln Children’s Books

Discover what daily life is like for kids all around the world! Meet children from over 40 countries and explore the differences and similarities between their daily routines. Over 24 hours, follow a wide variety of children as they wake up, eat, go to school, play, talk, learn and go about their everyday routine in this stunning retro-style illustrated picture book that celebrates different cultures.

Laura Hall is a travel writer from the UK who now lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark, with her husband and two daughters. Laura was one of the founding team of award-winning family-friendly travel firm Kid & Coe. One Day, So Many Ways is her first book for children.

Loris Lora is a Los Angeles based illustrator & designer. Her illustration style is largely inspired by Mid Century illustration & design, pop culture and her Mexican upbringing. In addition, her work largely reflects the humour and humility of everyday life with her colourful approach. Her clients include NoBrow Press, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.


Saving Species, by Jess French, illustrated by James Gilleard, published by Wren & Rook

From the endangered animals we all know and love, like tigers, polar bears, orangutans and rhinos, to the less familiar pangolin, kakapo and vaquita, see these amazing creatures up close in their natural habitats. Visit jungles, mountains, rivers and coral reefs and learn about the threats to these species’ survival, as well as the remarkable conservation efforts that are being undertaken to save them.

For your chance to win 1 of 5 copies, click here (closes 30th November 2018)

Politics for Beginners by Alex Frith, Rosie Hore, and Louie Stowell, illustrated by Kellan Stover, published by Usborne

An informative guide to political systems, elections, voting and government, and issues including feminism, human rights, freedom of speech and fake news, all explained with clear text and bright, infographic style illustrations. Includes tips on how to argue and debate, a glossary, and links to specially selected websites with more information.

Enter the competition for your chance to win 1 of 5 copies (closes 31st November 2018)


For Readers 8-12

This Cookbook is Gross, by Susanna Tee, published by QED publishing

Get your gag reflexes ready and practise keeping a straight face — you’re going to need both as you dig into this book of repulsive recipes! This is an innovative new cookbook of fun, easy, disgusting-looking (but secretly tasty!) recipes — perfect for kids to feed to unsuspecting adults and annoying siblings. Serve up your creations at a Halloween party, or even just surprise your friends when they come round for tea.

This Cookbook is Gross teaches key cookery skills in the most engaging, exciting and enjoyable way possible, and is sure to provide hours of culinary fun to children as they work their way through each hilarious recipe. Snack on delicious chocolate brain cake, roasted cheese mice or even a baked human hand made from beautifully cooked pork! Whatever you create — enjoy!

With scattered sections on weird foods that are really eaten around the world (like tarantulas in Cambodia and sheep’s heads in Norway!), this is an enterprising and educational way to engage children with food and cookery!

Food Like Mine, published by DK

Part of the much loved Children Just Like Me series, Food Like Mine is a touching celebration of children from all over the world and the food they eat.

Featuring more than 20 easy-to-follow recipes, Food Like Mine is part of DK’s ground-breaking series on children of the world and features children from Botswana to the USA. Perfect for children key stage 1 & 2, who will also discover more about staple ingredients in each country, seeing where they’re eaten, how they’re grown, and then how to use them in the exciting bakes and makes!

Food Like Mine shows that even if we live thousands of miles apart, our lives share a common ingredient – food!

Enter the competition to win a book bundle that includes a copy of Food Like Mine (closes 30th November 2018)

Planetarium, by Raman Prinja, illustrated by Chris Wormell, published by Big Picture Press

Welcome to the museum that is always open to explore… Step inside the pages of this beautiful book to discover galleries of galactic matter, expertly curated to bring you the experience of a fascinating exhibition from the comfort of your own home. Planetarium features all aspects of space, from the Sun and our Solar System, to the lives of stars, the Milky Way and the Universe beyond. With stunning artwork from Chris Wormell and informative text by Professor Raman Prinja, Planetarium is the perfect gift for anyone with an interest in this fascinating field.


Secret Science: The Amazing World Beyond Your Eyes, by Dara Ó Briain, illustrated by Dan Bramall, published by Scholastic 

Children might think everyday life is boring but hoo-ee, are they wrong! Science is a non-stop EVERYWHERE, everything adventure with some incredibly cool stuff going on, too. You’ve got your incredible brain, which has worked out how to read these words and make playing a video game feel as EXCITING as real life; you’ve got aeroplanes that can somehow get from the ground into the sky with all those people AND their luggage on board; you’ve got electricity and artificial intelligence and GPS and buses coming in threes (that’s science too) and LOADS more. The UK and Ireland’s best-loved comedian, Dara O Briain, takes readers on a journey from the comfort of a favourite chair to the incredible science behind everyday life and on into the future!

Looking After Your Mental Health, by Alice James & Louie Stowell, illustrated by Nancy Leschnikoff & Freya Harrison, published by Usborne

We talk about our physical health – but not so much about how we’re feeling. With lots of practical advice, this lively, accessible guide explains why we have emotions, and what can influence them. Covering everything from friendships, social media and bullying to divorce, depression and eating disorders, this is an essential book for young people.

Enter the competition for your chance to win 1 of 5 copies (closes 31st November 2018)

This Book Is Not Rubbish, by Isabel Thomas, illustrated by Alex Paterson, published Wren & Rook

From throwing a planet party and ditching straws, to banning glitter and becoming an art-activist, helping to save the planet is not as difficult as you think. Covering issues like plastics, pollution, global warming and endangered animals, this is a one-stop guide to becoming an eco-warrior, not an eco-worrier. Discover how to ditch the plastic, reduce your rubbish and start making everyday steps that will make all the difference.

It’s time to take control of your future and help clear the world of all this rubbish!

For your chance to win 1 of 5 copies, click here (closes 30th November 2018)

For Readers 12+

How Food Works, published by DK

Today’s world media is full of new discoveries about food – but is there a biological basis to these claims? How Food Works reveals the facts behind your food, evaluates the benefits of superfoods and antioxidants, and explores behind-the-scenes of modern food production – all in bite-size infographics chunks.

Delve into the science behind diets including gluten-free and veganism, as well as the benefits of different diets from around the world. Understand what actually makes food organic, how important sell-by dates really are, and how much salt you should actually be eating. Perfect for young adults looking to learn more about the food they eat.

Women in Battle, by Marta Breen & Jenny Jordahl, published by Hot Key Books

Freedom. Equality. Sisterhood. Women in Battle is the book for anyone who wants to learn as much as possible about the history of feminism in as short a time as possible. Presented as a graphic novel and spanning 150 years of recent history, Women in Battle celebrates the fight for women’s rights all over the world. Topics include the suffragette movement, female world leaders, abortion and contraception, gay marriage and #MeToo.

Slowly but surely we are making progress. We need only dare to be heard.

Have a look at some exclusive pages from the book here

Rebel Cats! Brave Tales of Feisty Felines, by Kimberlie Hamilton, cover illustrated by Risa Rodil, published by Scholastic

A fur-raising collection of stories about real-life cats with extraordinary lives and histories. From whiskered World War II veterans to ballet dancers and astrocats in space, these courageous kitties all deserve their claim to fame. In this gorgeously illustrated book, find the profiles of over 30 cats, alongside feline myths, cat activism and much more.

The perfect Christmas gift for a cat lover, this vibrant, fact-filled book appeals to readers of all ages.


The Good Guys, by Rob Kemp, illustrated by Paul Blow, published by Wren & Rook

What if we celebrated boys for their kindness as well their strength? For their generosity as well as their success? For their loyal friendship as well as their charm?

The Good Guys introduces us to 50 heroes who have showed that changing the world doesn’t require a sword or a corporate jet. Readers will find stories of extraordinary men including Muhammad Ali, Professor Green, Patrick Stewart and Lionel Messi, as well as unsung heroes such as James Harrison, who has spent fifty years donating his rare blood to save millions of babies.

Click here to win 1 of 5 copies (closes 30th November 2018)

The Girl Guide, by Marawa Ibrahim, illustrated by Sinem Erkas, published by Lincoln Children’s Books

Eight times world-record breaking hula-hoop star Marawa Ibrahim was told that she was too chubby during her teenage years to succeed as a performer. Today she is one of the most solicited circus performers worldwide, having worked with fashion power-houses Diesel and Kenzo. Contained within these pages are 50 lessons, anecdotes and stories about the changes Marawa experienced in her own body during puberty, written in consultation with Doctor Janice K Hillman. The first book in a new series about growing up has been written for young girls becoming women, who need not feel alone on their journey to womanhood.

Highly Commended at the British Book Design and Production Awards 2017

For more great suggestions from previous years, click here

The Federation of Children’s Book Groups (FCBG), the masterminds behind NNFN, also have a booklist specifically for 2018’s theme which you can access here. FCBG are running a fantastic ‘design a cake’ competition where you’ll have a chance to win a full set of Nadiya Hussain’s cookery books, find out more here.