Recommended Nonfiction Kids' Books About Tornadoes

These 5 nonfiction kids' books about tornadoes include one for ages 6 to 10 and four for ages 8 to 12. All provide basic information about tornadoes, as well as tornado safety information. You should be able to find all of these books at your public or school library.

Recommended for: Ages 8 to teens, as well as adults
Overview: ​Mary Kay Carson is also the author of  and numerous other informational books for kids. Visual learners will be particularly impressed by the number and variety of visual images to illustrate the book, including photographs, diagrams, maps, and charts. There's also a tornado experiment for kids to try.

Recommended for: 8 to 12-year-olds
Overview: Using the actual experiences of children to engage readers' interest, the author provides an account of several major tornadoes, including ones in Fargo, North Dakota in 1957, Birmingham, England in 2005 and Greensburg, Kansas in 2007. Along with the eyewitness accounts are photographs of the damage and details, including statistics, maps, a glossary, tips on keeping safe, an index and more. There is also information about how the town of Greensburg, which was virtually destroyed by the tornado, chose to rebuild to make it the "greenest" town in the US, including powering the entire town using wind energy.

Recommended for: Ages 8 to 12
Overview: Unlike the other books, this one is not illustrated with color photographs but with pen and watercolor, making it less scary for those kids who'd be horrified by actual photographs of some of the destruction from tornadoes. Gibbons provides a particularly good overview of the Enhanced Fujita Tornado Scale that's used to classify tornados, with an illustration of a "before" and "after" scene at each level. There's also a helpful double-page spread, with 8 illustrated panels, that covers what to do when a tornado is approaching. The book also includes information and diagrams on the origin of tornadoes.

Recommended for: Kids reading at the Grade 3.0 level, particularly those eager to read on their own and those who are already familiar with the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. The book can also be used as a read aloud for younger kids who are not yet independent readers but who enjoy the Magic Tree House series or informational books. The publisher recommends the book for ages 6 to 10.
Overview: Twisters and Other Terrible Stories is the nonfiction companion to Twister on Tuesday (Magic Tree House #23), a chapter book set in the 1870s, which ends with a tornado on the prairie. This Fact Tracker does not just cover tornadoes. Instead, it presents a lot of information about weather, wind, and clouds to set the context for a discussion of tornadoes, hurricanes, and blizzards. The authors include information on storms, safety, storm prediction, and additional sources of information, from recommended books and museums to DVDs and websites.

Recommended for: Ages 8 to 12
Overview: This book uses one college exchange student's experience during the Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak in 2008 to capture the reader's interest. The author uses a great many photographs, along with a few maps and diagrams to tell about how tornadoes form and the damage they can do. There is a page on famous tornadoes, one on tornado safety, a glossary and a bibliography. The author also includes an explanation of the Enhanced Fujita Scale and a chart about it. Kids will be amazed by the double-page spread of photographs titled "Bizarre Sights," which includes a photo of a pickup truck tossed and crushed against a building by a tornado.