Tag Archives: It’s Disgusting and We ate it!

30 TIPS for Writing Delightful Children’s Books Day 8


When I joined the children’s book industry professionally in 2015, I thought nonfiction was a special genre for writing textbooks or other books for school. It sounded absolutely boring to me and I thought I would never go near that genre.

Fast-forward a few years and it is becoming one of my favorite genres. What changed?

One day, I realized that as a history buff, most of the bits of information I have about world history came from nonfiction books and those books were NOT textbooks. They were actually interesting and fun, some had amazing illustrations and most were relatable. At age 9, I had gone through all the volumes of the big fat red, Encyclopedia Britannica. And that my friends was nonfiction at its worst (well, most voluminous). These days, nonfiction is more interesting. The creation of more subgenres (types) has made it even more interesting for children.  

By the way, nonfiction is really literature which provides verifiable information based on facts. Some good examples are biographies, memoirs,how-to books, etc.

Types of Nonfiction.

  • This is the most popular form of nonfiction. It is particularly loved by writers of fiction because it utilizes the same structure and elements as fiction. Some examples: memoirs, biographies, description of past events, etc. All the picture books on my list below as well as the middle grade book by best-selling author Soontornvat are examples of Narrative Nonfiction.

Other types are: Expository, Traditional, Active and Browsable. For more information, read this article by Melissa Stewart


  • Know the type of nonfiction that you are interested in
  • Read Read Read as many nonfiction books as you can lay your hands on. Ensure that this book is also
  • Research Research and Research some more. Know your subject like the back of your hand.
  • Do find a theme/ through line for your book: remember, the theme is the heart of the story.
  • Remember the elements of fiction, try to use them as much as possible. Think of your subject (human, plant, animal, place) as the character. Your subject’s habitat or the place where the primary event(s) take place is your setting. Find an emotional angle to your story and you’ve found your theme. And then determine the cause of events in your subject’s story: plot. Who describes your subject to the reader? POV

Need a refresher on the elements of fiction. Look at the Tip #4: Elements of Fiction here.


Picture Books

  • Berrne, Jennifer. On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein. Chronicle Books, 2016.
  • Brown, Monica. Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos. NorthSouth Books, 2017.
  • Flemming, Candace. HoneyBee: The Busy life of Apis Mellifera. Neal Porter Books, 2020.
  • Hannah-Jones, Nikola and Renee Watson. 1619 project: Born of the Water. Kokila, 2021.

Chapter Book

Kola-Lawal Constance Omawumi. My Nigeria: Early History. Farafina Tuuti.

Middle Grade

  • Soontornvat, Christina. All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team. Candlewick, 2020.

  1. Action: Look at the tips above and try to go through them one after the other. Read (like a reader, i.e. for fun) as many nonfiction books as you can find.

2. Read (Like a Writer)

Determine the type of nonfiction you would like to try and read as many books in that subgenre as you like. Remember to identify the age group also. For example, if you want to write narrative nonfiction (i.e. maybe a biography of an important person) for younger children, 4 – 8, then read nonfiction picture books.

For every book you read, note the craft element that appealed to you in the book and note how the author used it.  

Want to write a story for children, don’t know where to start? Tell me all about it and we can figure out the theme and some mentor texts for you!

Get the next tip in your inbox. Click on the link below to subscribe to my newsletter!!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

It’s Disgusting and We ate it!


Title: It’s Disgusting and We ate it!

Author: James Solheim

Publisher: Aladdin

Number of pages: 48

Type of Book: Non- Fiction

Age: 6-12

Available here: http://www.amazon.com/Disgusting-Facts-Around-Throughout-History/dp/0689843933

Price: $9.99


What would you rather eat for lunch? A steaming piece of pizza, a bowl of bugs, a live oyster or a fish’s head? You might be surprised to learn that many people in the world will not answer ‘PIZZA”.

This book features the silliest, strangest, sickest meals the world has ever known from frog legs in China, to roasted giant spiders, raw long white earthworms dug from rotten logs in Australia, raw fish, raw squid and seaweed sushi in Japan to minced rattle snake meat made in the US. Divided into three parts, it looks at exotic foods around the world today (like earthworm soup eaten by the Chinese); exotic dishes in history (rat stew eaten by sailors) and a rather scary behind the scenes look at the contents of the food items in our fridge today! (Like the bacteria and fungi that make up cheese and mushrooms).

I distinctly remember eating roasted crickets (abuzu) and fried termites (aku) as a child. While I thought they were delicious, the average American kid would probably throw up while watching me eat them, esp. during the rather noisy sucking of the delicious, soft, white, juicy liquid in the aku’s stomach.

The ‘delicacies’ in this book give a whole new meaning to the line “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”!


UP: Everything!! It’s a well-researched, beautifully illustrated book that entertains while educating. It has lots of facts delivered in the most interesting way possible!

For example, did you know that roasted giant spiders are a greater source of protein than beef? One ton of beef has 394 pounds of protein whereas one ton of spiders has 1268 pounds of protein! Did you also know that the world’s costliest spice comes from flowers? A pound of this spice, Saffron, used to make rice, etc., costs up to $4,000 (Over N1m!)

The dishes made of reptiles like snakes, insects like termites, crickets and grasshoppers and other animals like fishes, spiders, earthworms, even flowers will keep you either horrifically horrified or smacking your lips!

The book also features a bibliography at the end for kids who want to do some more digging on true food facts around the world! A must have in any curious mind’s library!

DOWN: None


5 Stars


  1. What is cheese? Milk curdled by bacteria.
  2. The world’s costliest spice is made from? Saffron
  3. One of the world’s most edible fungi? Mushrooms!
  4. Process of milk production? Cows chew grass and weed, swallow them into the first two stomachs, burp the grass up, chew more grass, mush them all up and send the mush up through the last two stomachs. Then the milk comes out through the udder, a giant sweat gland! Anyone for a glass of fresh milk?
  5. Some delicacies eaten in Africa mentioned in the book? Fried termites, roasted crickets and grasshoppers.
  6. What is sushi? A Japanese rice dish made up of raw fish, raw squid, seaweeds and rice.

For some truly disgusting recipes from around the world: http://www.jamessolheim.com/worlds-weirdest-recipes.html#.VoKIkbT6La4

CHALLENGE: It’s Disgusting and We ate it!


  1. List 2 truly disgusting animals/insects/plants eaten in the Northern, Eastern, Western and Southern Parts of Nigeria? (6-8 year olds)


  1. Write a recipe for the most disgusting meal you have ever eaten. Include a picture of the meal. (9-12 year olds)


  1. Write a poem on ‘One man’s meat is another man’s poison’. (9-12 year olds)

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 6-12 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.  

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Sunday, January 2nd 2016

Next Book of the Week: