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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 Who Was the Voice of the P

Do you enjoy the Who Was? series?  Now there is a Who HQ Graphic Novel series too!  This one follows Cesar Chavez and the National Farm Workers Association, as they set out on a difficult 300-mile protest march in support of farm workers' rights. Other titles in the series include, Who Was the Girl Warrior of France?: Joan of Arc, Who Sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott?: Rosa Parks, and Who Was the Greatest?: Muhammad Ali.

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 Yummy: a History of Desser
Victoria Grace

What’s not to love about a book about dessert? In this graphic novel, Peri (a sprite) and friends take us around the world to learn all about the origins of ice cream, how brownies were invented by mistake, how mooncakes helped lead to the Ming Dynasty, and more. In some instances, both the legend and facts are presented. There are even a few recipes in case you get inspired to try making dessert for yourself.

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 Questions for Rebel Girls
Abby Sher, Maithy Vu and
Sarah Parvis

Not only is this little book packed with over 300 questions to get you thinking and talking with friends, it also will introduce you to some fabulous real life rebel women.  For example, “Celia Cruz is the Queen of Salsa music. Beyoncé is a pop superstar. Roxanne Shante is an amazing rapper. And Joan Jett is all about rock and roll. If you could be a singing sensation, what type of music would you sing? If you could perform a duet with anyone in the world, who would you pick?”  The questions are fun for everyone - not just girls.

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.