27 of the Best Picture Books to Support Inquiry-Based Learning
Explore over 25 inquiry books to use alongside inquiry-based learning in your classroom. They illustrate characters with natural curiosity, going through the inquiry process.
Inquiry Based Learning
Children have a natural curiosity, giving them a head start in being effective inquirers. Inquiry skills develop the research skills your students need through their academic life and beyond. Inspire inquiry in your classroom by reading about characters who are independent and effective thinkers who make connections and problem solve.
In a previous post, High-Quality Resources for Inquiry Based Teaching, I put together books, videos and online resources.
Inquiry Books for Inquiry Based Learning
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Use these suggested inquiry books to see inquiry in action with characters who:
- think critically, creatively and reflectively
- build on prior knowledge
- research and gather information, independently
- analyse their findings and those of others
- interpret data
- learn from others
- create new understandings
- understand there may be more than one answer
- present and communicate their findings, explaining their learning
- refine their finding and start the inquiry process again
Most of the characters go through an inquiry process and make surprising discoveries along the way.
This is a long list of inquiry books and not all will be relevant for the age for your students or your purpose. Use your own judgement before using them in the classroom.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
The Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter
Going Places by Peter H Reynolds
Izzy Gizmo by Pip Jones
Marvelous Mattie by Emily Arnold McCully
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei by Peter Sis
What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox
Wolves by Emily Gravett
Would You Rather? by John Burningham
Inquiry Discussion Questions
- Is there a connection between being curious and being good inquirers?
- What does it mean to be an inquirer?
- Did [character] ask the right questions to further their understanding of the situation? Can you think of any others?
- Did [character] have any good inquiry skills you can use?
- Is there a connection between being an inquirer and asking questions?
- How do you know [character] was being an inquirer?
- How did the inquiry process help [character]?
- How do you know the [character] was going through an inquiry process?
- How were the [character’s] inquirers?
- Were any of the [character’s] curious? How do you know?
- Describe how a character used their curiosity/inquiry process to solve a mystery. Could they have done anything differently?
How do you promote inquiry and curiosity in your classroom? Tell me about your favourite inquiry books in the comments!
Remember to check out High-Quality Resources for Inquiry Based Teaching for a wide selection of online resources, videos and books.
- High-Quality Resources for Inquiry Based Teaching
- 7 Reasons Why Wordless Picture Books are so Powerful
- Discover the Benefits of Picture Books for Older Readers
- Children’s Books & Resources for the IB Learner Profile Traits
- An Overview of the Benefits of Early Reader Books
- 6 Powerful Strategies on How to Choose Books to Read
- 5 Stages of Reading Development
- How to Use Picture Books to Teach Cause and Effect