Harold B. Lee Library

Concept Books for Older Readers

March 26, 2010 in Beginning Readers 5-8, Book Lists

An impressive array of concept books encourages all sorts of leaning, from visual acuity to tree identification. Older preschoolers and early readers can help teach the newest family member to learn the alphabet, to count, and to identify shapes while they are learning new information themselves. Here are a dozen books will help the older child see relationships, learn new skills and information, and practice their reading skills while their younger sibling learns the basics.

Alphabet Books

A B Cedar:  An Alphabet of Trees by George Ella Lyon. Orchard, 1989. Ages 5-9.
A beautiful tree identification book that uses hands with leaves and silhouettes of people next to trees to show proportion and scale.

The Airplane Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta, Fred Stillwell and Rob Bolster. Charlesbridge, 1997.   Ages 7-12.
With 20+ alphabet books to his credit, Pallotta uses the letters to organize information on various topics. This time it is airplanes, and young sky watcher and model builders will probably learn something new.

The Hidden Alphabet by Laura Vacarro Seeger. Roaring Brook Press, 2003. Ages 4-8.

Talk to Me about the Alphabet by Chris Raschka. Henry Holt. 2003.  Ages 4-6.

Sound out the letters as you read.

Counting Books

Count by Denise Fleming. Henry Holt, 1992. Ages 2-7.
This classic counting book has readers counting animals from gnus to bees, but with a twist to appeal to older readers. Beginning with 10, readers count by 10s to 50.

How Do You Count a Dozen Ducklings? by In Seon  Chae, illustrated by Seung Ha Rew. Albert Whitman, 2006. Ages 4-9.
Moving beyond basic counting, readers learn basic multiplication by sorting and counting.

One Nighttime Sea by Deborah Lee Rose. Pictures by Steve Jenkins. Scholastic Press, 2003. Ages 6-9.
Explore sea creatures as you count from 1 to 10 and back. An afterword provides more information about each creature.

Teeth, Tails, & Tentacles:  An Animal Counting Book by Christopher Wormell. Running Press, 2004. Ages 3-7.
Colorful linoleum block prints bring readers up close to 20 animals from around the world. Look for Wormell’s other books.

Shape Books and More

Food for Thought: The Complete Book of Concepts for Growing Minds written and illustrated by Saxton Freymann. Scholastic, 2005. Ages 2-9.
Presents fruits and vegetables carved into shapes to teach colors, numbers, letters, shapes, and opposites.

How many? Spectacular Paper Sculptures: a pop-up by Ron Van der Meer. Robin Corey Books, 2007. Ages 5 up.
Intricately designed, multicolored sculptures encourage readers to find and count as many items of a certain shape as they can on each spread.

Shape by David Goodman and Zoe Miller. Abrams, 2008. Ages 3-8.
Find shapes in everyday objects and complete activities such as building and fish mobile and making a house with a tangram.

A Star in My Orange:  Looking for Nature’s Shapes by Dana Meachen Rau. Millbrook Press,

Search for more books like this one at the public library using the subject Geometry in nature–Juvenile Literature

–Marsha D. Broadway, Juvenile Literature Librarian, Brigham Young University

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