I’m excited to share with you 18 great nonfiction books. I hope you check out the book about eels, weird animal names, ninjas, and fairies, just to name a few. I also love the knitting and braiding books, the dog and cat friendship book, and the atlases, too.
Look for a checkmark to indicate books that I think are essential to have on your bookshelves. These include the 20201 Almanac and updated atlases from National Geographic Kids. I think they’re well done and highly recommend them.
Also, I’m now providing another buying option to Bookshop which is an online bookstore that supports independent bookstores.
Middle-Grade Nonfiction Books for Ages 9 – 12
The Superpower Field Guide Eels by Rachel Poliquin, illustrated by Nicholas John Frith
Filled with fascinating facts written in a conversational voice, this next book in the series brims with pizazz! Follow the story of Olenka, an amazing eel of secrets and superpowers. Full-color illustrations, humor, facts, so many facts, you won’t be able to put this book down.
The Screaming Hairy Armadillo and 76 Other Animals with Weird, Wild Names by Matthew Murie and Steve Murrie, illustrated by Julie Benbassat
Get ready for funny names, magical names, fierce names, delicious names, and weird names. But even better is the ANIMALS with these unusual names. Like the striped pyjama squid which is a cool-looking stripped squid. Or the yeti crab which is a crustacean with hairy arms. My favorite weird creature is the Tasseled Wobbegong! Permanent facts (species, habitat, and interesting details) are written in a text box with a well-written elaboration of about a page describing the animal’s looks, behavior, habitat, abilities, and more. Each animal has at least one illustration, sometimes more than one, and sometimes a photograph. Fantastic!
Modern Art Explorer by Alice Harman, illustrated by Serge Bloch
I love the conversational narrator who makes the information about the artwork interesting and relatable. Regarding the Bicycle Wheel, the author writes, “Can you believe it? Someone’s dumped a pile of junk in the middle of this art gallery…That’s what Marcel Duchamp wanted people to feel like. He was trying to show us that anything could be art and anyone could make it.”
The Nature Explorer’s Sketchbook: For the Art of Your Discoveries by Jean Mackay
A wonderful combination of art and science, this book encourages observation of nature — its shapes and colors — with prompts and blank pages. For example, “Draw all the insects you can find in 30 minutes.” I highly recommend for families and classrooms.
Fetch! National Geographic Kids
We love this book because we have two rescue dogs who we’re in the process of training. Three levels of training, beginning, advanced, and expert share step by step instructions for teaching dogs everything from shake to fetch to ring the bell. Also learn how to problem-solve issues like jumping up, peeing in the house, and chewing. Impressive information in an eye-catching layout! This is a must-own for every dog owner.
Pounce! National Geographic Kids
You can train cats?! Tips and strategies beyond litter box training will astonish you. Roll over, beg, high-five? Who knew!? This book is chock-full of great information and ideas plus problem solving and enrichment. Full-color photos, beautiful layouts, plus a wealth of information make this an engaging, all-encompassing book that every cat owner needs.
Almanac 2021 National Geographic Kids
With schooling at home and more families homeschooling, the National Geographic Almanac is a must-own resource for families. Practice your nonfiction reading comprehension skills as you learn about animals, space, science, history, geography, and much more. Each page is designed to entertain and educate with stunning layouts and eye-popping photographs.
Kids Knit: 20 Projects with Fun Techniques to Learn by Kerry Kimber
I absolutely love and recommend this book — it’s the best kids book on knitting that I’ve read. And I’ve read a lot trying to get patterns for my kids — and for my own beginning only-can-knit-rectangles skills. This book starts slowly and shows kids how to make easy patterns with rectangles — a pouch, a frog, fingerless mittens, a cup cuddle, a bean bag, and more. In other words, these are actually doable projects!
Everything Awesome About Sharks and Other Underwater Creatures! by Mike Lowery
OCEAN ANIMALS – SHARKS
The Everything Awesome book series continues with SHARKS! Handwriting and kid-like fonts plus lots of comic illustrations and colors make this a visual feast for the eyes. (Or distracting, it can go either way.) But, it’s filled with a wealth of facts about the ocean, underwater creatures, and of course, sharks. From information about ocean zones to prehistoric sharks and kelp forests, this book covers ocean information in a fun, often hilarious, way.
Beginners United States Atlas National Geographic Kids (2020)
A MUST HAVE BOOK! Updated for 2020, this is a gorgeous, easy-to-use oversized atlas perfect for ages 4 to 12. Each state gets a two-page spread with a large map, a small map showing full-color photographs, the state’s location in the U.S., important facts, land and water features, history about the state. Organized by region, it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. The text is simple and readable, perfect for primary grades like 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades.
United States Atlas National Geographic Kids (2020)
Here’s an atlas that will be your go-to resource for many years. BUY THIS FOR YOUR BOOKSHELVES! It’s actually hard to summarize how much information is packed into this appealing atlas — it’s a lot with plenty of information on each state in addition to the maps — flags, stats, facts, photos, land and water, nature, population, economy, and much more. I really like that the atlas shows the entire United States map with different focuses such as climate, natural hazards, population, and more. You will not need any other atlas but this one — it’s perfect for school and home.
So You Want to Be a Ninja? by Bruno Vincent, illustrated by Takayo Akiyama
Engaging and entertaining, full of facts, trivia, quizzes, and fun, this is the essential illustrated guide for ninjas-in-training. Three friends travel back in time to 1789 Japan where they’re taught by famous ninjas.
A Natural History of Fairies by Emily Hawkins, illustrated by Jessica Roux
Extensive information about the life of fairies from the anatomy, life cycle, wings, camouflage, habitats, fairies of the world, and so much more — a lot more! Illustrated in earthy colors and filled with handwritten notes and beautiful layouts this is a superbly rendered tome.
Disney Maps: A Magical Atlas of the Moview We Know and Love
Famous Disney movie starting with Snow White and ending with Coco, each movie gets a lush two-page map spread followed by two subsequent pages share moments to remember, a synopsis, characters, and other trivia. If you’re studying more whimsical maps and love Disney, this is a great choice.
Show-How Guides: Hair Braiding: The 9 Essential Braids Everyone Should Know by Keith Zoo
Ok, full disclosure — I tap out at basic braids and basic ponytails. Meaning both my kids and I need this small but helpful book! Red and black illustrations show how to makes different braids step by step. Learn how to make dutch braids, cornrows, a fishtail braid, a waterfall braid, and more!
Our Wild Tails: The Adventures of Henry & Baloo by Cynthia Bennett
DOGS AND CATS
Dog and cat lovers, you will fall in love with this amazing story!! The author and photographer’s family adopts Henry and he becomes their mountain dog who loves to hike and camp with them. But, he has severe separation anxiety — hyperventilating and refusing water and food—severe. After three years of this, the family decides to give Henry a companion, a kitten named Baloo. The dog and kitten become the best of friends, hiking together, sleeping together, and playing together. Baloo often rides on Henry’s back — which is adorable! Primarily filled with gorgeous photographs as well as some quotes and narration, you can’t read this without wanting to adopt a dog and kitten together and hope they become best friends like Henry and Baloo.
Condor Comeback by Sy Montgomery, illustrated by Tianne Strombeck
You’ll need to be a good reader for this nonfiction narrative book — it’s a pretty detailed, dense book that walks readers through the journey to get California condors back in the wild. Full-color photos show the condors and the biogologsts who work hard to do research and change the legislation.
Who’s Who in the Marvel Universe
An encyclopedia of sorts perfect for Marvel fans. Read about your favorite heroes and villains — their powers and back story as well as read a short narrative of the character interacting with other characters.