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)
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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)
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Locomotive Book Poster Image
Gorgeous story of train journey is exciting, fact-packed.
By Brian Floca
(2013)
(2013)
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Mama Built a Little Nest Book Poster Image
Lively, poetic takes on different birds' nesting habits.
By Jennifer Ward
(2014)
(2014)
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Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 Book Poster Image
Masterful retelling captures magic, mystery of moon mission.
By Brian Floca
(2010)
(2009)
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Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine Book Poster Image
Fascinating bio of remarkable 19th-century female inventor.
By Laurie Wallmark
(2016)
(2015)
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Freedom in Congo Square Book Poster Image
Slaves' lives, jazz roots shown in stunning nonfiction book.
By Carole Boston Weatherford
(2017)
(2016)
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I Am Jane Goodall: Ordinary People Change the World Book Poster Image
Endearing, lively illustrated bio packs positive messages.
By Brad Meltzer
(2017)
(2016)
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Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere Book Poster Image
Exciting story of launching 1930 deep-sea diving tank.
By Barb Rosenstock
(2018)
(2018)
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Over and Under the Pond Book Poster Image
Lovely book about wildlife teeming in and around a pond.
By Kate Messner
(2017)
(2017)
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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)
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The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest--and Most Surprising--Animals on Earth Book Poster Image
Richly layered, fascinating book kids will enjoy for years.
By Steve Jenkins
(2013)
(2013)
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Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote Book Poster Image
Lively tales of 10 who led fight for women's voting rights.
By Kirsten Gillibrand
(2018)
(2018)
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Gandhi: A March to the Sea Book Poster Image
Lovely, poignant look at key moment in Indian history.
By Alice B. McGinty
(2013)
(2013)
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The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin Book Poster Image
Upbeat rhymes tell amazing tale of scientist with autism.
By Julia Finley Mosca
(2019)
(2017)
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Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls Book Poster Image
Inspiring, kid-friendly tales of extraordinary women.
By Elena Favilli, Francesca Cavallo
(2017)
(2016)
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I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark Book Poster Image
Inspiring bio of Supreme Court justice empowers girls.
By Debbie Levy
(2016)
(2016)
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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)
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Muslim Girls Rise: Inspirational Champions of Our Time Book Poster Image
Lively bios of remarkable Muslim women inspire, entertain.
By Saira Mir
(2019)
(2019)
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Nelson Mandela Book Poster Image
Stellar art portrays key aspects of Mandela's life for kids.
By Kadir Nelson
(2013)
(2013)
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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)
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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)
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Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies Book Poster Image
Fascinating profiles celebrate women of American Revolution.
By Cokie Roberts
(2014)
(2014)
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Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History Book Poster Image
Beautifully illustrated bio of abolition's greatest hero.
By Walter Dean Myers
(2017)
(2017)
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Grand Canyon Book Poster Image
Informative, imaginative, gorgeous intro to natural history.
By Jason Chin
(2017)
(2017)
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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)
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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)
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Ida B. Wells: Discovering History's Heroes Book Poster Image
Inspiring biography of courageous civil rights pioneer.
By Diane Bailey
(2020)
(2019)
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My Journey to the Stars Book Poster Image
Exciting memoir rockets future astronauts to space.
By Scott Kelly
(2017)
(2017)
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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)
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What's the Big Deal About Elections Book Poster Image
Info-packed, kid-friendly look at voting in the USA.
By Ruby Shamir
(2018)
(2018)
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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)
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Counting the Stars: The Story of Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician Book Poster Image
Beautiful, detailed Katherine Johnson bio for older kids.
By Lesa Cline-Ransome
(2019)
(2019)
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DK Eyewitness Books Series Book Poster Image
Great reference books on many topics for young readers.
By Juliette Clutton-Brock
(2016)
(2014)
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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)
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Hidden Figures Young Readers' Edition Book Poster Image
Powerful true story of African American women at NASA.
By Margot Lee Shetterly
(2017)
(2016)
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Her Right Foot Book Poster Image
Inspiring, fresh take on the welcoming Statue of Liberty.
By Dave Eggers
(2017)
(2017)
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Kid Activists: True Tales of Childhood from Champions of Change Book Poster Image
Inspiring, relatable look at young lives of adult activists.
By Robin Stevenson
(2019)
(2019)
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Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World Book Poster Image
Inspiring bios of female artists and scientists worldwide.
By Vashti Harrison
(2018)
(2018)
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Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History Book Poster Image
Inspirational bios of trailblazing African American women.
By Vashti Harrison
(2017)
(2017)
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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)
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Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes Book Poster Image
Picture book offers inspiring bios of Latino Americans.
By Juan Felipe Herrera
(2014)
(2014)
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Stephen Curry: Epic Athletes, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Breezy biography tracks the rise of an NBA superstar.
By Dan Wetzel
(2019)
(2019)
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Who Was Alexander Hamilton? Book Poster Image
Exciting, easy-to-read bio expands on Broadway hit.
By Pam Pollack, Meg Belviso
(2017)
(2017)
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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)
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What Is the Story of? Series Book Poster Image
Surprisingly deep, interesting look at beloved characters.
By Who HQ, et al.
(2019)
(2019)
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What Was? Series Book Poster Image
Exceptional, relevant series brings history to life.
By Who HQ, et al.
(2019)
(2018)
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Where Is? Series Book Poster Image
Interesting, fun facts about natural and human-made places.
By Who HQ, et al.
(2019)
(2015)
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Who Was? Series Book Poster Image
Exceptional biography series teaches history, culture, too.
By Who HQ, et al.
(2019)
(2014)
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Astrotwins — Project Blastoff: Astrotwins, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Serious science, engaging tale for space-loving kids.
By Mark Kelly, Martha Freeman
(2015)
(2015)
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Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village Book Poster Image
Unique, brilliant, award-winning history book.
By Laura Amy Schlitz
(2008)
(2007)
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Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America Book Poster Image
Captivating storytelling makes these heroes relatable.
By Andrea Davis Pinkney
(2013)
(2012)
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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)
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Never Caught, the Story of Ona Judge: George and Martha Washington's Courageous Slave Who Dared to Run Away; Young Readers Edition Book Poster Image
Riveting bio is a great resource for teaching about slavery.
By Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Kathleen Van Cleve
(2019)
(2019)
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Alexander Hamilton: The Making of America, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Succinct, kid-friendly bio of America's trendiest founder.
By Teri Kanefield
(2017)
(2017)
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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)
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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)
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Brown Girl Dreaming Book Poster Image
Captivating poems depict coming-of-age in tumultuous 1960s.
By Jacqueline Woodson
(2014)
(2014)
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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)
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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)
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Human Body Theater Book Poster Image
Fact-filled and funny comic outlines human biology.
By Maris Wicks
(2016)
(2015)
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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)
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Lincoln's Grave Robbers Book Poster Image
Fascinating nonfiction account of little-known conspiracy.
By Steve Sheinkin
(2013)
(2013)
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Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist Book Poster Image
Inspiring memoir of trailblazing Latina rocket scientist.
By Sylvia Acevedo
(2018)
(2018)
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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)
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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)
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Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematican Katherine Johnson Book Poster Image
Must-read true story of trailblazing NASA mathematician.
By Katherine Johnson
(2019)
(2019)
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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)
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Susan B. Anthony: The Making of America, Book 4 Book Poster Image
Inspiring bio of a courageous champion of women's rights.
By Teri Kanefield
(2019)
(2019)
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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)
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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)
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Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team Book Poster Image
Thrilling account of early gridiron history.
By Steve Sheinkin
(2017)
(2017)
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We Had to Be Brave: Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport Book Poster Image
Must-read true story of courage, heroism, and heartbreak.
By Deborah Hopkinson
(2020)
(2020)
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Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World Book Poster Image
Lively, illustrated bios encourage girls to pursue STEM.
By Rachel Ignotofsky
(2016)
(2016)
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1919 The Year That Changed America Book Poster Image
Riveting tale of racial, labor protests, women's vote, more.
By Martin W. Sandler
(2019)
(2019)
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Allies Book Poster Image
Gripping, must-read novel follows young soldiers on D-Day.
By Alan Gratz
(2019)
(2019)
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Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl Book Poster Image
Inspiring wartime journal reveals teen's inner life.
By Anne Frank
(2011)
(1947)
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It's Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood Book Poster Image
Comic's engaging memoir of growing up under Apartheid.
By Trevor Noah
(2019)
(2019)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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Refugee Book Poster Image
Harrowing page-turner sheds light on child refugees.
By Alan Gratz
(2017)
(2017)
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The Way Things Work Now Book Poster Image
Captivating look at the things that power our world.
By David Macaulay
(2016)
(2016)
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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)
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Boots on the Ground: America's War in Vietnam Book Poster Image
Powerful, intimate must-read account of the Vietnam War.
By Elizabeth Partridge
(2018)
(2018)
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Chew on This Book Poster Image
Fast Food Nation for kids is quite meaty.
By Charles Wilson, Eric Schlosser
(2006)
(2006)
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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)
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Dragon Hoops Book Poster Image
Cartoonist tracks winning season in riveting graphic novel.
By Gene Luen Yang
(2020)
(2020)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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The Great American Dust Bowl Book Poster Image
Evocative illustrated nonfiction, great for history buffs.
By Don Brown
(2013)
(2013)
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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)
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Making Our Way Home: The Great Migration and the Black American Dream Book Poster Image
Compelling history of an epic journey that changed America.
By Blair Imani
(2020)
(2020)
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March: Book One Book Poster Image
Powerful graphic novel captures spirit of desegregation.
By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
(2013)
(2013)
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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)
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The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh Book Poster Image
Riveting bio reveals the dark side of an American hero.
By Candace Fleming
(2020)
(2020)
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Tommy: The Gun That Changed America Book Poster Image
Unbiased "biography" of gun loved by bootleggers, gangsters.
By Karen Blumenthal
(2015)
(2015)
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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)
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Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers Book Poster Image
Riveting story of art, mental illness, brotherly devotion.
By Deborah Heiligman
(2017)
(2017)
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We Are Not Yet Equal: Understanding Our Racial Divide Book Poster Image
A must-read history of racism and oppression in America.
By Carol Anderson, Tonya Bolden
(2018)
(2018)
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The 57 Bus Book Poster Image
True story of teens' fateful encounter and its aftermath.
By Dashka Slater
(2017)
(2017)
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Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary Book Poster Image
Challenging but engaging bio of the complex Founding Father.
By Martha Brockenbrough
(2017)
(2017)
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Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance Book Poster Image
Uplifting memoir of teen Olympic medalist, ex-foster kid.
By Simone Biles, Michelle Burford
(2017)
(2016)
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Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans Book Poster Image
Intense nonfiction graphic novel chronicles 2005 disaster.
By Don Brown
(2015)
(2015)
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The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees Book Poster Image
Compassionate graphic novel account of refugees' struggle.
By Don Brown
(2018)
(2018)
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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)
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Girls Resist!: A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution Book Poster Image
Empowering practical guide to becoming a social activist.
By Kaelyn Rich
(2018)
(2018)
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The Rap Year Book: The Most Important Rap Song from Every Year Since 1979, Discussed, Debated, and Deconstructed Book Poster Image
Smart, funny, and informative chronology of rap history.
By Shea Serrano
(2015)
(2015)
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We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World Book Poster Image
Powerful first-person accounts put faces to refugee crisis.
By Malala Yousafzai
(2019)
(2019)
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