Bookbug Detective: Introducing Story Books

The Bookbug Detective is here to help you with any questions you have about books and reading for your little one. Thank you to everyone who has sent in their questions so far. The Detective has selected a question to answer below. If you'd like some book recommendations or advice send the Bookbug Detective an email, or post your question in the comments below!

My 4-year-old son will only read non-fiction books. I’ve tried everything to try to get him to read story books but nothing’s working. Can you help?

Please don’t be concerned that your son only wants to read non-fiction books – this is not a bad thing! Rather than trying to dissuade him I would actually encourage it, as he seems really interested.

Reading non-fiction is a great way of building your knowledge and increasing your fascination with the world around you and how things work, whether it’s a book about Kings and Queens, bugs you can find in the garden, dinosaurs or trains. The possibilities are endless.

With non-fiction you don’t have to worry too much about what age a book is aimed at. I remember poring over enormous encyclopedias and atlases when I was little – children can still get a lot out of them even without understanding all the words. The important thing is that he’s becoming familiar with how to use and explore a book and this will make him more comfortable with reading when he’s older and also more likely to read fiction too.

Just the fact that he’s reading is the key thing. Here at Bookbug we’re advocates for the idea that reading matter doesn’t matter. Reading the side of a cereal packet, a road sign when you’re out and about or the football scores in a newspaper all help build children’s literacy and also helps them understand that print and reading isn’t just found in books.

Having said all that, here are a few suggestions of books that are almost a halfway house between non-fiction and fiction and may encourage him to make up his own stories or read fiction in the future if he chooses to do so:

Or if he really likes books about trains for example, why not try reading The Little Red Train books or Thomas the Tank Engine? Most of all, please be assured that there is nothing to worry about. Happy reading!

Do you have a question for the Bookbug Detective? Email it to

Catch up on the previous Bookbug Detective blogs for advice on everything from songs and rhymes for little ones to buying books as a gift.