Nonfiction books don't have to be dull and uninviting, although many fit this bill. The converse is also true - there are countless nonfiction books that are fascinating and provide readers with loads of information, presented in a fast-paced, lively fashion. And that's the key, isn't it?

Think of it. As an adult, you might be more inclined than a child to plod through some pages of boring material because you've learned that some of that is necessary to develop a firmer grasp of the whole picture. Often, though, an author can get so wrapped-up in their own authority (or self-inflated authority) of the subject matter that they go overboard. That's when readers begin to nod off . . . .

That's precisely what you want to avoid when introducing children to nonfiction books. Whet a child's appetite for nonfiction with well-written books that captivate their interest by providing information in an exciting, quick way, such as the books reviewed today. If a genuine interest takes root, there will be a greater willingness to read more (and yes, even the tedious sections) because there is a desire to know more.

The world needs all kinds of people with all kinds of interests. Open those doors to children by reading awesome nonfiction books on a wide variety of topics. You never know where it might lead.

Books to Borrow

The following book is available at many public libraries.

"Remember the Lusitania!" by Diana Preston, black & white photos and illustrations (various credits), Walker & Co., 102 pages

Read aloud: age 8 - 9 and older.

Read yourself: age 9 - 10 and older.

In the spring of 1915, the German Embassy in Washington, D.C., printed a warning in the newspaper: "Travelers sailing in the war zone on ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk." While a handful of passengers in New York City heeded the warning, over 1,257 passengers and a crew of 702 boarded the Lusitania on May 1, 1915, en route to Liverpool, England. Six days later off the coast of Ireland, a German U-boat torpedoed the Lusitania and the ship quickly sunk to its watery grave. The final toll of lives lost was 1,198.

Drawing from newspaper articles, historical documents, and personal interviews of some survivors, this remarkable account of the sinking of the Lusitania is first-rate. Featuring three children in particular who survived the horrible ordeal, this nonfiction book will have readers on the edge of their seat - start to finish.

Librarian's Choice

Library: Switzerland County Public Library, 205 Ferry St., Vevay

Library Director: Shannon Phipps

Children's Librarian: Judi Terpening

Choices this week: "Diary of a Worm" by Doreen Cronin; "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle; "Flat Stanley" by Jeff Brown

Books to Buy

The following books are available to buy from favorite bookstores.

"Flight of the Honey Bee" by Raymond Huber, illustrated by Brian Lovelock, Candlewick, 2013, 28 pages, $16.99 hardcover

Read aloud: 4 - 7.

Read yourself: age 7 - 8.

Enter the magical world of one of our planet's most important creatures-the honey bee. Of the many jobs a honey bee has during its lifetime, this book explores the job of a scout honey bee as she searches for nectar found in flowers to make honey for her family of bees and their hive, how she reports to her harvester bee sisters where the meadow is located, and how the foraging for nectar simultaneously moves pollen from one plant to another; pollination by bees is essential to provide us with many of the foods we depend on to survive.

Magnificently executed through exciting illustrations and text that is highly engaging, reading more like a fictional story than nonfiction, "Flight of the Honey Bee" is both most informative and very interesting.

"You Are Stardust" by Elin Kelsey, illustrations by Soyeon Kim, Owl Kids, 2012, 33 pages, $18.95 hardcover

Read aloud: age 6 - 7 and older.

Read yourself: age 7 - 8 and older.

"You are stardust. Every tiny atom in your body came from a star that exploded long before you were born." So begins this remarkable book that gently describes how the cycle of life, from its ancient beginnings to the present and into the future, is all interconnected.

At once simplistic and powerful, this reflective book offers more with each reading, both for young and old alike.

Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children's literature. She can be reached at her website: