Best Nonfiction Books for Kids

Some kids prefer true stories -- history, biography, memoir, science -- to made-up ones. For kids who'd rather read about how to code, space exploration, the layers of rock and vegetation in the Grand Canyon, or the achievements of Alexander Hamilton than pick up a novel, we've got a great list of titles to check out. For even more fact-filled choices, check out our lists of Biographies, Books About the American Revolution, and World War II Books for Kids.

Browse Best Nonfiction Books for Kids

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear Book Poster Image
Moving story of bear that inspired Winnie-the-Pooh.
By Lindsay Mattick
(2016)
(2015)
Continue reading
Grandmother Fish: A Child's First Book of Evolution Book Poster Image
Sound science made simple in kid-friendly book on evolution.
By Jonathan Tweet
(2016)
(2016)
Continue reading
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race Book Poster Image
Picture book intro to important, inspirational story.
By Margot Lee Shetterly, Winifred Conkling
(2018)
(2018)
Continue reading
Locomotive Book Poster Image
Gorgeous story of train journey is exciting, fact-packed.
By Brian Floca
(2013)
(2013)
Continue reading
Mama Built a Little Nest Book Poster Image
Lively, poetic takes on different birds' nesting habits.
By Jennifer Ward
(2014)
(2014)
Continue reading
Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 Book Poster Image
Masterful retelling captures magic, mystery of moon mission.
By Brian Floca
(2010)
(2009)
Continue reading
Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos Book Poster Image
Beautifully illustrated book introduces kids to Carl Sagan.
By Stephanie Roth Sisson
(2014)
(2014)
Continue reading
Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine Book Poster Image
Fascinating bio of remarkable 19th-century female inventor.
By Laurie Wallmark
(2016)
(2015)
Continue reading
Freedom in Congo Square Book Poster Image
Slaves' lives, jazz roots shown in stunning nonfiction book.
By Carole Boston Weatherford
(2017)
(2016)
Continue reading
I Am Jane Goodall: Ordinary People Change the World Book Poster Image
Endearing, lively illustrated bio packs positive messages.
By Brad Meltzer
(2017)
(2016)
Continue reading
Over and Under the Pond Book Poster Image
Lovely book about wildlife teeming in and around a pond.
By Kate Messner
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell Book Poster Image
Lively, inspiring bio of America's first female doctor.
By Tanya Lee Stone
(2013)
(2013)
Continue reading
Gandhi: A March to the Sea Book Poster Image
Lovely, poignant look at key moment in Indian history.
By Alice B. McGinty
(2013)
(2013)
Continue reading
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls Book Poster Image
Inspiring, kid-friendly tales of extraordinary women.
By Elena Favilli, Francesca Cavallo
(2017)
(2016)
Continue reading
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark Book Poster Image
Inspiring bio of Supreme Court justice empowers girls.
By Debbie Levy
(2016)
(2016)
Continue reading
Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything Book Poster Image
Lively, frank portrait of Jefferson, flaws and all.
By Maira Kalman
(2014)
(2014)
Continue reading
Nelson Mandela Book Poster Image
Stellar art portrays key aspects of Mandela's life for kids.
By Kadir Nelson
(2013)
(2013)
Continue reading
The Youngest Marcher: The True Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Right Activist Book Poster Image
Charming, inspiring tale of 9-year-old protester.
By Cynthia Levinson
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
Beauty and the Beak: How Science, Technology, and a 3D-Printed Beak Rescued a Bald Eagle Book Poster Image
Amazing bird rescue tale shows teamwork, high-tech science.
By Deborah Lee Rose
(2018)
(2017)
Continue reading
Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies Book Poster Image
Fascinating profiles celebrate women of American Revolution.
By Cokie Roberts
(2014)
(2014)
Continue reading
Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History Book Poster Image
Beautifully illustrated bio of abolition's greatest hero.
By Walter Dean Myers
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
Grand Canyon Book Poster Image
Informative, imaginative, gorgeous intro to natural history.
By Jason Chin
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
I Am George Washington: Ordinary People Change the World Book Poster Image
Cute, engaging bio applauds having the courage to be first.
By Brad Meltzer
(2017)
(2016)
Continue reading
I Am Martin Luther King, Jr.: Ordinary People Change the World Book Poster Image
Kid-friendly bio a strong, accessible intro to King's life.
By Brad Meltzer
(2016)
(2016)
Continue reading
My Journey to the Stars Book Poster Image
Exciting memoir rockets future astronauts to space.
By Scott Kelly
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History ... and Our Future! Book Poster Image
Artful profiles of groundbreakers are fresh, inspiring.
By Kate Schatz
(2015)
(2015)
Continue reading
Chasing Space Young Reader's Edition Book Poster Image
Stellar memoir of an elite athlete and astronaut's journey.
By Leland Melvin, Laurie Caulkhoven
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
DK Eyewitness Books Series Book Poster Image
Great reference books on many topics for young readers.
By Juliette Clutton-Brock
(2016)
(2014)
Continue reading
The Founding Fathers!: Those Horse-Ridin', Fiddle-Playin', Book-Readin', Gun-Totin' Gentlemen Who Started America Book Poster Image
History this lively should be required reading in school.
By Jonah Winter
(2015)
(2015)
Continue reading
Hidden Figures Young Readers' Edition Book Poster Image
Powerful true story of African-American women at NASA.
By Margot Lee Shetterly
(2017)
(2016)
Continue reading
Her Right Foot Book Poster Image
Inspiring, fresh take on the welcoming Statue of Liberty.
By Dave Eggers
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth Book Poster Image
Inspirational and informative intro to an American hero.
By Ann Turner
(2015)
(2015)
Continue reading
Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes Book Poster Image
Picture book offers inspiring bios of Latino Americans.
By Juan Felipe Herrera
(2014)
(2014)
Continue reading
Women Who Broke The Rules: Coretta Scott King Book Poster Image
A detailed, accessible biography of a civil rights icon.
By Kathleen Krull
(2016)
(2016)
Continue reading
Who Was Alexander Hamilton? Book Poster Image
Exciting, easy-to-read bio expands on Broadway hit.
By Pam Pollack, Meg Belviso
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
Astrotwins — Project Blastoff: Astrotwins, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Serious science, engaging tale for space-loving kids.
By Mark Kelly, Martha Freeman
(2015)
(2015)
Continue reading
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village Book Poster Image
Unique, brilliant, award-winning history book.
By Laura Amy Schlitz
(2008)
(2007)
Continue reading
Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America Book Poster Image
Captivating storytelling makes these heroes relatable.
By Andrea Davis Pinkney
(2013)
(2012)
Continue reading
Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World Book Poster Image
Wonderful intro to 27 musicians and their unique styles.
By Robbie Robertson, Jim Guerinot, Sebastian Robertson, Jared Levine
(2013)
(2013)
Continue reading
Alexander Hamilton: The Making of America Book Poster Image
Succinct, kid-friendly bio of America's trendiest founder.
By Teri Kanefield
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court Book Poster Image
Thoughtful memoir by basketball star and civil rights icon.
By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Raymond Obstfeld
(2018)
(2017)
Continue reading
Best Shot in the West: The Adventures of Nat Love Book Poster Image
Gripping nonfiction graphic novel brings Old West to life.
By Patricia C. McKissack, Frederick L. McKissack
(2012)
(2012)
Continue reading
Brown Girl Dreaming Book Poster Image
Captivating poems depict coming-of-age in tumultuous 1960s.
By Jacqueline Woodson
(2014)
(2014)
Continue reading
Girls Who Code:  Learn to Code and Change the World Book Poster Image
Lively, engaging how-to empowers girls to love coding.
By Reshma Saujani
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
Grover Cleveland, Again! A Treasury of American Presidents Book Poster Image
Lively, engaging intro to each U.S. president through Obama.
By Ken Burns
(2016)
(2016)
Continue reading
Human Body Theater Book Poster Image
Fact-filled and funny comic outlines human biology.
By Maris Wicks
(2016)
(2015)
Continue reading
I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World Book Poster Image
Inspiring memoir of teen Nobel laureate shot by Taliban.
By Malala Yousafzai, Patricia McCormick
(2014)
(2014)
Continue reading
Lincoln's Grave Robbers Book Poster Image
Fascinating nonfiction account of little-known conspiracy.
By Steve Sheinkin
(2013)
(2013)
Continue reading
Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West Book Poster Image
Lively, thought-provoking look at showman and his era.
By Candace Fleming
(2016)
(2016)
Continue reading
Roses and Radicals: The Epic Story of How American Women Won the Right to Vote Book Poster Image
Exciting history of women winning voting rights.
By Susan Zimet
(2018)
(2018)
Continue reading
Streetcar to Justice: How Elizabeth Jennings Won the Right to Ride in New York Book Poster Image
Inspiring story of resisting segregation in 1850s New York.
By Amy Hill Hearth
(2018)
(2018)
Continue reading
Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March Book Poster Image
Vivid recollections of a teen girl in the Selma march.
By Lynda Blackmon Lowery, Elspeth Leacock, Susan Buckley
(2015)
(2015)
Continue reading
Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961 Book Poster Image
Vivid photos, clear text bring heroic protest to life.
By Larry Dane Brimner
(2018)
(2018)
Continue reading
Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team Book Poster Image
Thrilling account of early gridiron history.
By Steve Sheinkin
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
March Forward Girl: From Young Warrior to Little Rock Nine Book Poster Image
Must-read memoir of a childhood in the segregated South.
By Melba Pattillo Beals
(2018)
(2018)
Continue reading
The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights Book Poster Image
Little-known disaster gets overdue, in-depth treatment.
By Steve Sheinkin
(2014)
(2014)
Continue reading
Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History Book Poster Image
Engaging profiles of 40 amazing women in 31 countries.
By Kate Schatz
(2016)
(2016)
Continue reading
The Way Things Work Now Book Poster Image
Captivating look at the things that power our world.
By David Macaulay
(2016)
(2016)
Continue reading
Bomb: The Race to Build -- and Steal -- the World's Most Dangerous Weapon Book Poster Image
Complex, suspenseful story of developing The Bomb.
By Steve Sheinkin
(2013)
(2012)
Continue reading
Chew on This Book Poster Image
Fast Food Nation for kids is quite meaty.
By Charles Wilson, Eric Schlosser
(2006)
(2006)
Continue reading
Crash: The Great Depression and The Fall and Rise of America Book Poster Image
Compelling history brings the Great Depression to life.
By Marc Favreau
(2018)
(2018)
Continue reading
The Family Romanov:  Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia Book Poster Image
Vivid, sometimes violent tale of Russia's last royal family.
By Candace Fleming
(2014)
(2014)
Continue reading
Fun Science: A Guide to Life, the Universe and Why Science Is So Awesome Book Poster Image
YouTube superstar makes learning about the cosmos fun.
By Charlie McDonnell
(2016)
(2016)
Continue reading
Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done Book Poster Image
Inspiring true story of teen coders' video game success.
By Andrea Gonzales, Sophie Houser
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
The Great American Dust Bowl Book Poster Image
Evocative illustrated nonfiction, great for history buffs.
By Don Brown
(2013)
(2013)
Continue reading
Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case Book Poster Image
Powerful true tale of mixed-race couple's fight for justice.
By Patricia Hruby Powell
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
March: Book One Book Poster Image
Powerful graphic novel captures spirit of desegregation.
By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
(2013)
(2013)
Continue reading
Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War Book Poster Image
Gripping nonfiction account of Vietnam-era whistle-blowing.
By Steve Sheinkin
(2015)
(2015)
Continue reading
Tommy: The Gun That Changed America Book Poster Image
Unbiased "biography" of gun loved by bootleggers, gangsters.
By Karen Blumenthal
(2015)
(2015)
Continue reading
Unbroken (The Young Adult Adaptation): An Olympian's Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive Book Poster Image
YA version of POW bio is a poignant tale of perseverance.
By Laura Hillenbrand
(2015)
(2014)
Continue reading
Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers Book Poster Image
Riveting story of art, mental illness, brotherly devotion.
By Deborah Heiligman
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
The 57 Bus Book Poster Image
True story of teens' fateful encounter and its aftermath.
By Dashka Slater
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary Book Poster Image
Challenging but engaging bio of the complex Founding Father.
By Martha Brockenbrough
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans Book Poster Image
Intense nonfiction graphic novel chronicles 2005 disaster.
By Don Brown
(2015)
(2015)
Continue reading
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Book Poster Image
Funny, gritty, and powerful novel of growing up on the rez.
By Sherman Alexie
(2007)
(2007)
Continue reading