Alphabet books can be informative, too—November 14, 2008
Usually when someone asks me for an alphabet book, they are looking for something to help their child learn the letters of the alphabet. However, there are many non-fiction, informational books that are done in the “alphabet book” format.
There are quite a few like this about different sports, such as “H is for Home Run: A Baseball Alphabet” by Brad Herzog, “A is for Axel: An Ice Skating Alphabet” by Kurt Browning, “J is for Jump Shot: A Basketball Alphabet” by Mike Ulmer, and “Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet” by Matt Napier. Each of these books is written with a short verse about something that has to do with the sport beginning with each letter of the alphabet as well as more detailed information about each item.
Alphabet books about animals are also popular. “ABC Cats” and “ABC Dogs,” both by Kathy Darling, contain photographs and information about breeds that begin with each letter of the alphabet. Jerry Pallotta has written a number of animal alphabet books, including “The Frog Alphabet Book,” “The Bird Alphabet Book,” and “The Dinosaur Alphabet Book.”
You can learn about far-off places by reading “Japan ABCs: A Book About the People and Places of Japan” by Sarah Heiman, “M is for Maple: A Canadian Alphabet” by Mike Ulmer, and “Capital! Washington D.C. from A to Z” by Laura Krauss Melmed. Or learn more about your home state with “C is for Cornhusker: A Nebraska Alphabet” by Rajean Luebs Shepherd. In this book, the features of Nebraska are described with brief rhymes as well as longer explanatory text.
Many other subjects have also been turned into alphabet books. “G is for Googol: A Math Alphabet Book” by David M. Schwartz explains the meaning of mathematical terms which begin with the different letters of the alphabet. “The Construction Alphabet Book” by Jerry Pallotta explains many different pieces of equipment that a construction worker might use. “I is for Idea: An Invention Alphabet” introduces modern inventions such as the computer, microwave, and zipper. In “A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing Women” by Lynne Cheney, each letter of the alphabet is represented by an important woman in the history of the United States.
There are non-fiction books in the alphabet book format for the younger, beginning reader also. Each book in the “A to Z” series by Tracy Nelson Maurer contains a photograph on one page illustrating something that begins with a letter of the alphabet, and the facing page contains a simple sentence using that word. The titles in this series include “A to Z of All of Me,” which names different parts of the body, and “A to Z of Ps and Qs,” which is a book about manners. Other simple titles for beginning readers include “Musty-Crusty Animals ABC” and “Ooey-Gooey Animals ABC,” both by Lola M. Schaefer, and “Circus Clown ABC” by Denise M. Jordan.
For a different approach to non-fiction reading, look for these and other alphabet books in the children’s department of the library.