Healthy Inside and Out | Health Series Nonfiction

This season, readers can explore the worlds within their bodies from the nervous system to what is on their plates and even how they perceive the world.

Many of us are familiar with self-care, but the foundation of that is knowing oneself from the inside out. This season, readers can explore everything from the worlds within their bodies and the nervous system to what is on their plates and even how they perceive the world. Taking care of teeth, digestive health, and mental wellness are topics of interest across these series. Body books remain a hot commodity for children, but there are some new twists to learning about the body. For teens, hot topics like GMOs are in line with popular titles related to environmental activism and its direct impact on the body through the food supply. With a mix of fun and serious choices, there is something for everyone to learn a little more about what makes the human body tick.



Colich, Abby. Your Brain When You’re Angry. ISBN 9798885241403.
––––. Your Brain When You’re Happy. ISBN 9798885241434.
––––. Your Brain When You’re Sad. ISBN 9798885241465.
––––. Your Brain When You’re Scared. ISBN 9798885241496.
ea vol: 24p. (Brainpower). Jump!/Blue Owl. Jan. 2023. Tr. $26.99.
Gr 2-4 –Answer the question of what is going on inside a person’s brain when they feel strong emotions by looking at each individually and talking through the experiences, both chemical and biological. The families and children depicted across these titles come from diverse backgrounds. Most importantly, the language used provides words for families to describe what they are feeling more precisely and understand each emotion more fully. With the included tips for caregivers and goals for processing emotions, the aim of these titles is demonstrated to be empowerment through understanding of oneself. VERDICT Outstanding choice not only for its inclusion of diverse families but also for the content that gives families the vocabulary for dealing with emotional wellness.

Davis, C.M. Minerals as Necessary Nutrients. ISBN 9781098290030.
Gish, Ashley. Vitamins as Necessary Nutrients. ISBN 9781098290054.
Rea, Amy C. Carbohydrates as Necessary Nutrients. ISBN 9781098290016.
––––. Proteins as Necessary Nutrients. ISBN 9781098290047.
––––. Water as Necessary Nutrients. ISBN 9781098290061.
Ziemann, Kimberly. Fats as Necessary Nutrients. ISBN 9781098290023.
ea vol: 32p. (Necessary Nutrients). Abdo/Kids Core. Jan. 2023. Tr. $34.22.
Gr 3-4 –Styled with short chapters similar to transitional materials, these titles rely on longer sentences and paragraphs to explore more nuanced information related to healthy eating. The art is primarily real photographs of foods that are tied to the specific topics connected to the pages, like protein. Key vocabulary is highlighted and spread across the series by specific topics. There is mixed guidance included here from Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate and the USDA’s MyPlate, especially around dairy. However, there is no preference maintained and the value of each part of a diet is held as equal proportionally without judgment. VERDICT A strong supplement for school libraries to offer for nutritional guidance, often featured in elementary-age curricula standards.

Mansfield, Nicole A. All About Teeth. ISBN 9780756570811.
––––. Going to the Dentist. ISBN 9780756570828.
––––. Keeping Your Teeth Clean. ISBN 9780756571160.
––––. Losing a Tooth. ISBN 9780756570835.
ea vol: 24p. (My Teeth). Capstone/Pebble. Jan. 2023. Tr. $27.99.
K-Gr 2 –Beyond the common “how to brush teeth” and “dentist visit” titles on easy reader shelves, these dental titles answer common questions and concerns readers may have about their teeth. The functional aspects of teeth are explained, from how they grow to how they fall out. Some technical imagery is included, such as diagrams of the maxillofacial and dental structures, as well as diverse depictions of children with and without their teeth. Loss of teeth and missing teeth are normalized through the photographs. VERDICT This takes seriously the experiences of younger readers’ feelings around their teeth and would make a good addition to classroom shelves.

Markle, Sandra. What If You Had Animal Eyes!? ISBN 9781338847321.
––––. What If You Had T. Rex Teeth!?: And Other Dinosaur Parts. ISBN 9781338847314.
ea vol: illus. by Howard McWilliam. 32p. (What If You Had... ?). Scholastic Inc. Feb. 2023. pap. $4.99.
Gr 1-3 –Step into the shoes or the senses of interesting animals to see how they experience the world in their own way. Illustrations are hilariously fantastic, with each featured person mixed with shark jaws or eagle eyes in delightful, cartoonish glory. While there is much entertainment to be had from the art, the information provided draws comparisons between human and animal anatomies. Critical thinking skills will be set to blossom from these pages, and they will teach readers about not only animals, but also their own bodies. VERDICT A fun take on animal and human anatomy books that will fill young readers with joy from the amazing illustrations and fun facts.

Mather, Charis. Breakfast. ISBN 9798885093484.
––––. Dinner. ISBN 9798885093507.
––––. Lunch. ISBN 9798885093514.
––––. Snacks. ISBN 9798885093491.
ea vol: 24p. (Pick a Plate). Bearport/Fusion. Jan. 2023. Tr. $26.99.
Gr 1-3 –Part of healthy living is knowing how to fuel one’s body. Using the USDA MyPlate model, readers are taken on a “build your own plate” story to compare and contrast choices. There is no moral value applied to the foods; they are simply weighed for nutritional and preferential choices by category. A combination of illustrations and real images of dishes are featured, and matched to the appropriate section of the built plate for each meal. VERDICT There is good nutrition science included, and even nice vegetarian options folded in, but it does rely on the USDA rather than the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate, so it may be a controversial choice depending on curricula standards.

Twiddy, Robin. Eyebrows. ISBN 9781534542846.
––––. Eyelashes. ISBN 9781534542884.
––––. Hair. ISBN 9781534542921.
––––. Nails. ISBN 9781534542969.
––––. Teeth. ISBN 9781534543003.
ea vol: 24p. (Brilliant Bodies). Greenhaven/ KidHaven. Dec. 2022. Tr. $26.32.
PreS-Gr 1 –Charming easy readers that utilize areas of the body in focus to teach young readers about themselves in easy-to-comprehend sections. Bodily differences are addressed, and there is also some social-emotional content embedded in the text for the younger audience. Illustrations take up smaller sections of the page to add context and maintain the readers’ interest with minimal distractions. The authors shine a light on what makes each part of the body brilliant and special for each person. ­ VERDICT A body-positive choice that is perfect for young readers who are curious about themselves and what lesser-addressed parts of their bodies, like eyebrows, are for.


Upper Elementary to Middle School

Vonder Brink, Tracy. Circulatory System. ISBN 9781039800199.
––––. Digestive System. ISBN 9781039800175.
––––. Muscular System. ISBN 9781039800168.
––––. Nervous System. ISBN 9781039800182.
––––. Respiratory System. ISBN 9781039800205.
––––. Skeletal System. ISBN 9781039800212.
ea vol: 32p. (Look into the Human Body). Crabtree/Crown. Jan. 2023. Tr. $30.60.
Gr 3-5 –The human body is a collection of interconnected systems that each perform important tasks. Fresh medical vocabulary is spliced throughout the sentences present. The diagrams and medical images assist greatly with the context clues for the vocabulary. Much like the systems described in each title, these books connect and build off each other to give a fuller understanding of what makes up the human body. As an added bonus, simple tips are included to help readers maintain healthy systems and whole bodies. VERDICT These titles complement health topics and would be a great fit for classrooms and school libraries.


Upper Middle School to High School

Hyde, Natalie. Investigating the Digestive ­System. ISBN 9781039806474.
––––. Investigating the Immune System. ISBN 9781039806481.
––––. Investigating the Nervous System. ISBN 9781039806498.
––––. Investigating the Respiratory System. ISBN 9781039806504.
ea vol: 48p. (Investigating Body Systems). Crabtree/Forest. Jan. 2023. Tr. $33.27.
Gr 7-10 –A longitudinal look at health and the human body from ancient times to modern, in which evidence-based medicine is important. Science history and contemporary research build upon each other to explain how things are studied and understood. Large paragraphs are broken up by mixed media art and pop-up facts to keep the reader engaged. The historical discussion allows for a more linear narrative for medical technology innovations. Readers will be familiar with many of the diseases discussed throughout and how they apply to the system in focus. VERDICT This is a great choice for middle and high school libraries as a resource for health and biology coursework.

Morlock, Rachael. Be Smart About Antibiotics, Pesticides, and Hormones. ISBN 9781502665911.
––––. Be Smart About Factory Foods. ISBN 9781502665768.
––––. Be Smart About GMOs. ISBN 9781502665799.
––––. Be Smart About Manufactured Meats. ISBN 9781502665829.
––––. Be Smart About Snack Foods. ISBN 9781502665850.
––––. Be Smart About Soft Drinks. ISBN 9781502665881.
ea vol: 48p. (Truth About Your Food). Cavendish Square. Dec. 2022. Tr. $33.07.
Gr 9 Up –Hot topics like antibiotics, pesticides, and GMOs make up the meat of this series. Filled with dense text and quite a bit of technical detail, these topics will appeal to socially conscious readers looking to dig beyond buzzwords. The GMOs title is particularly well done, as its main aim is to explain the concept and history without using frightening misinformation that one might encounter in other spaces. There are real images, not only of the foods in various stages of development, but also of the laboratories and scientists involved in various stages of production. VERDICT A detailed look under the nutritional hood that is dense at times, but packed with valuable material for readers seeking to make informed eating decisions.


This season, we are looking at how we can better take care of our bodies through informed nutritional choices, understanding their systems, and emotional wellness. The standout series is Brainpower” (Jump!, Inc.), not only for its goal of empowering families regarding emotional health, but also for its diversity, as best highlighted by its inclusion of a Diné family with their traditional Tsiiyéé ­hairstyle--a rare sight in children’s books. Thanks to the careful curation of the creators, many more families will be able to see themselves reflected in the images and emotional situations presented. In addition to this series, “If You Had...?” (Scholastic) is a light and fun series that ties animal and human anatomy together in a silly but educational way that can brighten up any classroom discussion about digits, eyes, or teeth. They are the sort of books that one can pop out to light up a room while also teaching about bodies.


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