Fiction Vs. Nonfiction Books: What’s The Difference?

Books have been around for thousands of years. They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and genres. Plus, they can all range greatly in length and there are books for every age group! Books hold a vast amount of information such as history, cooking recipes, health education, science, mathematics, and languages. They also can contain stories that revolve around mystery plots, romance, thrillers, action, and more.

Reading is a huge tool when it comes to learning for children. It’s so important that they’re exposed to many different kinds of books while they’re growing up. Reading lots of books and being read to exposes them to more words than they would typically hear in conversation. It allows their vocabulary to grow and be reinforced. Kids also love books because it encourages their imagination to take flight, much like when they play with toys!

It’s important that kids know the difference between fiction and nonfiction books so that they can know whether the contents in the book are true facts or made up. That way, they can discern what they read and not assume everything they read has really happened or can really happen. Teaching kids the difference between the two is a way for them to learn more accurately about the world going forward when reading or hearing someone read to them.

Do you think it’s time for your kids to learn the difference between fiction and nonfiction books? If so, then keep reading because below, we’re going to discuss how to help them understand.

What Are Fiction Books?

Do you and your children enjoy getting cuddled up together while reading some books during storytime? The majority of the books that you probably read your little ones during this special time are most likely fiction. In order to explain what fiction books are and how your child can identify the difference between them and nonfiction books, it’s important to understand what they are and the importance of them. 

What are fiction books? Fiction literature is created mainly from and for the imagination. These types of books include genres such as romance novels, mystery, science-fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, and more. Imagination is a huge part of childhood,one that doesn’t die when a child grows to be an adult. It’s important for children to foster their imagination and strengthen it by reading books that are fiction.

So, what are the different types of fiction books and why is it beneficial for your children to read them?

Romance Fiction

Adults aren’t the only ones that love to read romance novels. Kids love the magic behind a romance story like “The Little Mermaid” or “Tangled”. They fall in love with the story of the romance between these princesses and princes. They also read about the chivalry in these love stories and imagine what it would be like to be a princess swept off her feet or saved from trouble. Or they imagine what it would be like to be a prince and be brave enough to save their princess in distress. 


This genre of fiction happens to be the most popular and for good reason. These suspenseful books will keep your kids engaged and wanting to read more! They also get your kids’ minds thinking in order to try and solve the mystery and this really helps to keep their brains active. Although these storylines may be made up, they sure do feel real when you’re reading them!


Kids love the excitement and creativity behind science-fiction books. Does your child love things like time travel, aliens, parallel universes, and space? These are just a few examples of science-fiction books, and the imagination behind these concepts is consistently fascinating, especially for children. These books are even more fun to read when reading them together and imagining all the details unfold! 


These books are made up of stories that have taken place at different times in history. The authors of these books write stories that have taken place in time periods that have actually happened and create stories using their imagination. 

Do your kids love cowboy western stories or stories that give a sense of understanding of certain events in history like the World Wars? If the answer is yes, then historical-fiction books are a great genre to share with your kids.


Fantasy fiction is typically a genre that kids gravitate to. These stories revolve around magical elements and creatures that are usually related to mythology and folklore. These books use so much imagination to come alive since the majority of their contents are not from the real world. Kids love how different and magical they can be, and they act as an escape from the real world, where everything is unique and anything is possible. 

Benefits To Reading Fiction

Not only are fiction books so fun for kids to read, but they are also beneficial to their learning and development. Fiction books require a child to use their imagination. As said before, it’s important for children to exercise their ability to use their imagination so that it comes naturally to them when they grow up to be adults. 

Alongside helping your child grow their imagination, reading fiction also helps your children to learn to be more empathic. How does that happen? When a child reads a story that sharesthe characters in an emotional light, they’re able to connect to them and understand them better than if they read a story of events that took place in nonfiction books.

Interestingly enough, reading fiction also helps your child develop a stronger ability to comprehend other people’s intentions. This is a huge benefit to reading these “made up” stories. Being able to discern what someone else’s motivations might be can be really important as your child is growing, maturing, and socializing with others.

These books also help your child to remain open-minded when reading and taking in information. This is super important for decision-making and processing information. These are all but just a few benefits to having your children read fiction books, and there are plenty more. 

Has your child read each genre mentioned here? If not, try to introduce a book from a genre they haven’t read yet and see what they think of it!

What Are Nonfiction Books?

Do your children love reading educational books and enjoy learning more about something or someone after they finish reading? If so, they probably love nonfiction books. There are so many to choose from and most importantly, so much knowledge to gain from them. 

What are nonfiction books? Nonfiction literature is created from true facts. These are books that are filled with facts and real events that have taken place. These types of books include genres such as science, history, biographies, cooking, health and fitness, art, music, and more. These books inform your children about different areas concerning important topics and can help them develop critical thinking skills.

That said, what are the different types of nonfiction books and why is it beneficial for your children to read them?


Reading nonfiction science books is so good for your child to be able to understand the world around them. Science books cover an array of topics like how the weather and climate work, how plants grow, how all of the different animals are special and unique, how electricity works, and what planets orbit around the sun. Of course, these are only a few of the many topics that science books cover and explain to kids. Reading science books helps kids understand these topics in more depth and fills their little brains with lots of interesting, important information.


If you’re wondering what books are especially important for kids to read, it’s history books. They are packed with loads of information about life-changing events and discoveries that have happened throughout history. One reason it’s important to know what has happened in the past over the last few hundreds of years is so that the same mistakes aren’t repeated. We have the knowledge of past events for a reason and it’s important to prioritize understanding and learning about that history. 


Much like history, it’s good to know important people that have lived and died throughout history. Biographies give a glimpse into who someone was and what their lives were like. They share how they grew up, what accomplishments they made, and how they impacted the world. 

Reading biographies is a great way to inspire your children to want to live a life that makes a difference and helps the world be a better place. Thse types of books represent the imporant notion that each person is valuable and even one person can make a difference.


Does your child love to watch you cook? Do they offer a helping hand in the kitchen? Cooking books are great for your kids to get into and inspire them to want to cook with you. Do they love baking? Get them a recipe book and watch their excitement blossom as they figure out what to start making! These books encourage them to try something new and grow in independence while doing it.

Health And Fitness

These books are great for learning about the importance of health and how our bodies work. There’s certainly no shortage of books for kids that can teach them how to take care of their bodies and why physical exercise is so good for them. However, it’s important for kids to read for themselves about why being healthy and eating healthy foods is good for their body and not just hearing it from mom and dad. 


Have you ever read through an art book before? Art books are not only fun to read through because of the beautiful artwork inside, but also because they have a tendency to inspire the reader to be creative and try different types of art for themselves. Inspire your child’s artistic side by sharing the different types of art that exist and how they can make their own! Children love to be creative and art is a great subject to have them spend time reading and learning about.


One subject that isn’t read about enough, especially as kids are growing up, is music. It’s shown that learning music helps children grow in all areas of development and increases their IQ. Learning music starts with reading about it and reading about it inspires children to want to explore all the different possibilities that it has to offer. 

Is your child interested in picking up an instrument? Give them a simple book that talks about the different kinds of instruments and how they’re played. See which one sticks out to them and help them see where the best place to start is.

Benefits To Reading Nonfiction

We know that reading nonfiction is good for kids to learn about important topics like history, science, and more. Nonfiction books are tools that give your children knowledge and intellect, but whatelse can reading nonfiction do for your child?

When a child reads nonfiction books, they’re aiding in their own development of critical thinking skills. Critical thinking skills help a child analyze the information they’re taking in, interpret that information, make conclusions about it, communicate about it, and solve problems with it. These skills are essential for strong development and autonomy as your child grows and matures. 

Along with these amazing benefits, nonfiction reading helps offer solutions to real-world problems. From reading science books, for example, your child can see that global warming is affecting our planet and will be encouraged to take active steps to help take care of our planet.

Nonfiction books also teach children more about the world they live in. This is helpful because as a parent, it can become hard to explain everything that happens around the world and throughout history. It’s important for kids to know about current events and these books can help do that. 

The Difference Between Fiction And Nonfiction

One thing we hope we’ve covered by now is that reading books, fiction or nonfiction, is good for your child and their brain. Every child has an imagination and books help it come alive. They also serve to teach children about any and all topics they could possibly think of. Books are a resource that will always be around and will always be needed.

As mentioned before, fiction books are created by and for the imagination. They inspire kids to think outside the box and are meant to entertain kids’ imaginations. Fiction books incorporate made-up elements like time travel, mythical creatures, and fairytales.

Nonfiction books are created from facts. They teach kids about real-life events, people, places, and things. They help a child understand the world around them and provide knowledge about the earth, the human body, how the United States came to be, how to bake chocolate chip cookies, who Martin Luther King Jr. was, and so much more.  

Explaining what fiction and nonfiction books are and the differences between them will help them understand what they’re reading going forward. When they pick up a fictional book, they can understand that what they’re reading didn’t necessarily happen in real life but that it’s fun to imagine it happening. This will give your child more power to distinguish what’s real from what’s not.

How To Get Your Kids Reading More

One way to introduce more books is by having more available for them to read. Caribu offers countless books for you and your children to dive into. What’s their favorite subject or genre to read? Caribu has all of them and more!

If your child has never read a science book before, give them one about the planets or how the flowers grow and see if they enjoy reading it! There are so many different kinds and sometimes you just have to see what your child likes by encouraging them to read different ones.

If your child doesn’t seem interested in reading, don’t worry; it’s never too late to learn to love reading! Most kids just need to find which books they really love to read and then it becomes a habit. Try reading with them to startand see how they do with each book. You’ll eventually get an idea of which books they gravitate towards and which ones they don’t really care for. 

The more books you encourage them to read, the more likely they are to discover which ones they really enjoy and they’ll want to be reading more in no time! Sometimes kids also just want to read with you, someone they care about. As a child, hearing your parents’ voice can be comforting. If there’s a book they really want to read but are having difficulty reading and pronouncing the words in it, it’s a great idea to have you lead the way and read it with them.

Caribu also has more than just books. We also provide thousands of fun, educational games and coloring activities to choose from. If your child needs help learning how to read, we have plenty of great options that will help a child learn their words and how to have fun while doing it!

We hope this was helpful and gave you direction on how to share the differences between these types of books with your children. And if anything, we hope it’s inspired you to read with your kids and have fun telling stories!


What is the difference between “fiction” and “nonfiction”? | Hoover Public Library

6 Benefits of Reading Fiction That Will Help Your Child Succeed | Friends’ Central School 

The Case for Reading Fiction | Harvard Business Review 

The Benefits of Music Education | Parenting… | PBS KIDS for Parents

Defining Critical Thinking | The Foundation For Critical Thinking 

5 Reasons Children Need More Non-Fiction Books | Room to Read