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Nonfiction for Middle Grade Readers

A selection of non-fiction titles for readers in grades 5-8.

Cover of African Icons: Ten People
Hillary D. Wilson

A fascinating look at some of the early history of Africa.  The book is a collection of short biographies of figures in pre-colonial African history. The book highlights the immense cultural, scientific, and intellectual contributions of people from across the continent.  Full color illustrations help bring the stories to life. 

Cover of Pride: an Inspirational Hi
Season of Victory

This easy to read book gives a brief history of LGBTQ+ pride from ancient times up to today. Each of the seven chapters has a short piece of history, profiles of famous LGBTQ+ people, and a “Why I have Pride” essay written by a young person telling why they are proud to be part of the LGBTQ+ Community. 

Cover of The Wonders We Seek: Thirt
Saadia Faruqi and
Aneesa Mumtaz
Saffa Khan

Short profiles and colorful illustrations introduce readers to 30 important Muslims who have made important contributions to the world.  Athletes, scientists, and thinkers to inspire us all.

Cover of Crash From Outer Space: Un

What do you think really happened in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947?  This book gives readers a comprehensive look at lots of evidence - much of it conflicting.  Photographs and document reproductions add to the tale. 

Cover of Rolling Warrior: The Incre
Judith E Heumann and
Kristen Joiner

Judy shares her journey of battling for equal access in an unequal world—from fighting to attend grade school after being described as a “fire hazard” because of her wheelchair, to suing the New York City school system for denying her a teacher’s license because of her disability.

Cover of Kids on the March: 15 Stor
Michael G.

This collection documents youths’ roles in social change movements, beginning with the 1903 March of the Mill Children, and ending in 2020 with youth protestors leading and organizing marches to protest the deaths of George Floyd.  Many photos are included as well as tips for how to engage in action for social change. 

Cover of History Smashers: the Unde
Kate Messner and
Gwendolyn Hooks
Damon Smyth

Sometimes there is more to the story - and the History Smashers series aims to get to the real story.  With a mix of sidebars, illustrations, photos, and graphic panels, and text you will learn about how the Underground Railroad really worked.  Other books in the series include The Titanic, Plagues and Pandemics, and Women's Right to Vote.

Cover of The Woman Who Split the At

A biography of Lise Meitner, a Jewish Austrian nuclear physicist, exploring the significance of her research, demonstrating her passion and commitment, and investigating the impact that sexism, antisemitism and personal betrayal had on her work.

Cover of Seen and Unseen: What Toyo
Lauren Tamaki

This book spotlights three photographers - with very different perspectives - who documented the experiences of those of Japanese descent who were imprisoned at Manzanar, California, during World War II. Illustrations, photographs and powerful text bring this bitter chapter of American history to life. 

Cover of One Land, Many Nations: Vo
Traci Sorelle and
Lee Francis IV
Jesse T. Hummngbird and Michelle Sisneros

Native American Nations exist on the lands called the United States.  This book, aided by beautiful illustrations and photographs, invites readers to learn about the Pueblo of Laguna and the Cherokee Nation.  Readers learn the history of their people, famous citizens, traditional stories, as well as details about tribal life today--including their system of government, education, and commerce.  First volume of a series.

Cover of The Genius Under the Table

Eugene Yelchin gives us a glimpse of what it was like growing up in Cold War Russia.  Living in a small apartment, he spends much of his time under the table, drawing, searching for a way to make life better for himself and his family. 

Cover of Just Jerry: How Drawing Sh

Jerry Pinkney, Caldecott Medal winner and illustrator of over one hundred books, tells the story of his childhood and how he developed his artistic talent.

Cover of Chinese menu: The History,

The origin stories of each Chinese dish told using the framework of Chinese cuisine-oftentimes based in folklore, both ancient and contemporary.

Cover of The Mona Lisa Vanishes: A
Brett Helquist

A narrative nonfiction about how the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre, how the robbery made the portrait the most famous artwork in the world-and how the painting by Leonardo da Vinci should never have existed at all.

Cover of The Monkey Trial: John Sco

Arrested? For teaching? John Scopes's crime riveted the world, and crowds flocked to the trial of the man who dared to tell students about a forbidden topic--evolution. The year was 1925, and discussing Darwin's theory of evolution was illegal in Tennessee classrooms. Lawyers wanted to challenge the law, and businessmen smelled opportunity. But no one imagined the firestorm the Scopes Trial would ignite--or the media circus that would follow. All were fascinated by the bitter duel between science and religion, an argument that boiled down to the question of who controls what students can learn--an issue that resonates to this day.

Cover of More Than a Dream: The Rad
Yohuru Williams and
Michael G. Long

Six decades ago, on August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom--a moment often revered as the culmination of this Black-led protest. But at its core, the March on Washington was not a beautiful dream of future integration; it was a mass outcry for jobs and freedom NOW--not at some undetermined point in the future. It was a revolutionary march with its own controversies and problems, the themes of which still resonate to this day. Without diminishing the words of Dr. King, More Than a Dream looks at the march through a wider lens, using Black newspaper reports as a primary resource, recognizing the overlooked work of socialist organizers and Black women protesters, and repositioning this momentous day as radical in its roots, methods, demands, and results. From Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long, the acclaimed authors of Call Him Jack, comes a classic-in-the-making that will transform our modern understanding of this legendary event in the fight for racial justice and civil rights.

Cover of Your Freedom, Your Power:
Allison Matulli and
Clelia Castro-Malaspina

A nonpartisan, unbiased look at the First Amendment and how it informs our daily lives, this book clearly explains the fundamentals of American politics to middle grade readers.