In school, 11-year-old readers (in 6th grade) are reading more nonfiction books than ever. Which means they need practice in excellent books. Here’s a list of nonfiction books that are so good, your kids will learn a lot AND still enjoy the reading experience.
Nonfiction Books for 11-Year-Olds (6th Grade)
Accidental Archeologists: True Stories of Unexpected DIscoveries by Sarah Albee, illustrated by Nathan Hackett
Albee consistently writes exceptional, appealing nonfiction books and this latest one is no exception. The writing hooks you from the first page and the stories of accidental archeological discoveries are compelling. She includes black and white photographs, informational insets, and present-day updates. I thoroughly loved learning about the discovery of The Rosetta Stone, a fought-over golden Buddha statue, a 5300-year-old mummy, and the other discoveries; you will, too.
Wild Outside Around the World with Survivorman by Les Stroud illustrations by Andres P. Barr
Les Stroud recounts exciting personal adventure stories of exploration and survival in all sorts of places around the world. Fascinating stories are accompanied by photos, illustrations, maps, and informational insets. I couldn’t put this book down and HIGHLY recommend it.
Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert
Excellent! The book shows both Annie and Helen’s strengths and weaknesses as well as really significant character arcs. If you don’t know the story, or even if you do, read this book. You’ll be entranced with how laborious it was to teach Helen and how Annie’s persistence paid off in the end.
Two Truths and a Lie by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson, illustrated by Lisa K. Weber
This book is GENIUS! Kids to read and figure out what is true and what is a lie. Know that readers will not just be reading and thinking deeply, but they’ll also doing research while they’re immersed in the book… (Because 11-year-old readers must know if a prehistoric dinosaur named “Bambi” exists, if the slyrking will take over your picnic, or if doctors really can implant a stimoceiver in the brain to control your behavior.)
It’s Up to You, Abe Lincoln: How I Made the Biggest Decisions of My Life by Tom & Leila Hirschfeld
Written in the second person point of view, this book puts you squarely in the driver’s seat as Abe Lincoln. It describes your life starting from childhood with photos, fun facts, and quizzes of “What Would You Do?” For example, when you’re considering marrying Mary What Do You Do? You’ll be given a list of four choices, each with elaboration. The choices, in this case, are: A. Break up with Mary. B. Date other women. C. Marry fast, before your feet get even colder. D. Consult a pastor. Then, you’ll read the reveal — what choice you made. (A. Break up with Mary.) The writing flows smoothly, the layout is eye-catching, and the information is interesting and historically important.
Awesome Achievers in Technology by Alan Katz, illustrated by Chris Judge
Kids will zip through this excellent middle-grade biography because the author makes the information relevant and relatable. The writing is conversational, the author is totally hilarious (especially when he talks about his own ridiculous inventions or the questions he asks Siri) and there are illustrations, quizzes, fast facts, and activities plus a wealth of fascinating information about each inventor’s life. You’ll read about the inventors of video games, the television remote control, the cell phone, windshield wipers, the first web browser, and the microwave oven. I appreciate that the book includes both men and women inventors! Also of note is that Katz takes us through the process of how each inventor got their idea as well as the final product.
Do You Know Where the Animals Live? by Peter Wohlleben
This book is organized around questions about animals. For every question, find the answers in a two-page spread of photographs and text. Lovely layouts with full-color photographs, quizzes, at-home applications, and interesting and informative information make this is a unique but worthy animal tome that will appeal to most readers. Questions include: Can animals survive on plants alone? Do animals dream? Why do elephants stomp their feet?
The How and Wow of the Human Body: From Your Tongue to Your Toes and all the Guts in Between by Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz, illustrated by Jack Teagle
From the hosts of the Wow in the World podcast comes a beautifully designed, fact-filled, engaging book all about the body. Starting at the top of your body (the head) then moving on to the outside parts like the skin and nails to the insides like the immune and digestive system, you can’t help but learn a ton of information as you read the diagrams, facts, jokes, texts, quizzes, cartoons, and activities. Take your time because there’s a lot to learn and love on each page.
Search for a Giant Squid: Pick Your Path by Amy Seto Forrester & Andy Chou Musser
I love this choose your own adventure format and so will kids. Join an expedition on a dive to the deepest ocean depths to search for a giant squid. Choose which pilot to be, the submersible you’ll use, and the dive site, and then start your undersea adventure. What will you discover? What will you do with mechanical problems or bad weather?
How to Go Anywhere (And Not Get Lost): A Guide to Navigation for Young Adventurers by Hans Aschim, illustrated by Andres Lozano
FANTASTIC! Engaging informational writing guides readers through the history of navigation to the development of more precision, new technology, and better maps. Illustrated activities throughout the book will help readers apply their new knowledge. for example, “Make Your Own Stick Chart” helps you make an ancient system of mapping the ocean and “Visualizing Declination” shows you the difference magnetic declination can make. Use this all year long in your homeschool or science classroom or throughout the summer as you spend time in nature.
Science Comics Coral Reefs Cities of the Ocean by Maris Wicks
An adorable yellow fish narrates this informative book about his habitat, coral reefs. It’s all facts though so it’s not the kind of book that most kids (or adults) will want to sit down and read in one sitting. Read it in chunks and you’ll soon be an expert on coral reefs.
Survivors of the Holocaust: True Stories of Six Extraordinary Children by Kath Shackleton, illustrated by Zane Whittingham
Holocaust survivor stories like these MUST be told. Because these six children started just like any of the kids reading their stories, they were ordinary kids who experienced the hardest things a child could face…being torn from their homes, separated from family, captured as a prisoner, and/or forced to hide. Graphic storytelling with unique artwork supports the clear, compelling narratives that will stay with you. It’s pretty sad to witness the tragedies in these children’s lives. Powerful, emotional, deeply disturbing that leaves us with a sense of loss, even with these children’s survival. We need more books like this. We must never forget. Buy this book for your classrooms and libraries!
The Ultimate Art Museum by Ferren Gipson
WOW — this is the MOST impressive, well-organized, and beautifully designed art history book for children that I’ve EVER read. It’s a curated book that takes children chronologically through 18 galleries from geographical regions and cultures such as the Far East, Ancient Egypt, Medieval Europe, and Byzantine period. Colorful borders and design, photographs and paintings with descriptions. Gorgeous — I highly recommend this incredible book!
Beavers: The Superpower Field Guides by Rachel Poliquin, illustrated by Nicholas John Frith
Meet Elmer who, like other beavers, has superpowers. Each of the 10 superpower sections is fact-filled, funny, and illustrated. After you zip through this engaging nonfiction book, Elmer will be your new favorite kind of animal — and you’ll be a beaver expert, too.
Race Against Death by Deborah Hopkinson
Zippy pacing with dialogue from first-person accounts, character arcs, and a true story arc makes this nonfiction book read like a narrative story. It’s well organized and meticulously researched about what happened in the Philippines during World War II. When the Phillippines fell to the Japanese, the US and Philippine soldiers and citizens were taken into horrific Prisoner of War camps. Notably, this book shares the contributions of women, including their underground resistance, which many books ignore. Note: This is about the violence of war and includes soldier language (damn, bastards), but it’s not detailed or salacious and is appropriate for middle-grade readers who aren’t bothered by either.
The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Rome by Jonathan W. Stokes
The Thrifty Guides Handbooks for Time Travelers are irresistible, wildly imaginative romps through history. These books are filled with tongue and cheek hilarity while also being boldly informative about their historical topics. If Ancient Rome is your preferred destination, you’ll need your handy handbook close by to make sure you survive — which seems to be unlikely since, since as the book says, “Rome is an absolute deathtrap.” Throughout these thrifty travel guides, you’ll read letters from your “Corporate Overlord at Time Corp“. These, as you may expect, are hilarious! The guides are published by Time Corp in the year 2164 to help vacationing tourists with the most practical information for their time travel trips. Information such as:
- Where to find a decent hotel room
- How to dress (Ancient fashions are tricky — read the guide because you don’t wear a candy corn hat when you’re supposed to wear a tricorne hat! And if you’re in Rome, here’s a helpful tip: “While any chump can wear a tunic, only free Roman citizens are allowed to wear togas… If you think you can pass as a citizen and you’re planning to wear a toga, just know that it’s been bleached white using stale urine.“)
- What’s going on when you arrive
- Who is important
- Helpful hints (“What to Do If You Are Enslaved in Rome“)
- Who to take out to lunch
- Pranks to pull (“Install a metal detector at the Roman Senate in 44 BC and you can completely prevent Caesar’s assassination by knife-wielding Senators. Caesar will feel grateful, and it doesn’t hurt to have the most powerful man in the world as your new best friend.“)
- Charts (“Cleopatra’s Perfectly Normal Family Tree“)
- Maps (“All the Land Caesar Conquers in Europe, 58 – 51 BC”)
Squidtoons: Explore the Ocean with Comics by Garfield Kwan and Dana Song
The pages are all illustrated so it’s a graphic novel with comic-style illustrations containing dialogue, different colored and sized typeface text, and seemingly random topics from the weedy seadragon to the California mantis shrimp. My daughter devoured this book, finding both the information and presentation engaging. I struggled to find an organization to the book while reading about the different sea creatures — and the particular typeface used wasn’t appealing to my grown-up eyes. However, I see that this book is densely packed with great information. If kids like it, hooray! If they learn from it, even better.
How to Be a Scientist (DK) by Steve Mould
Girls Solve Everything: Stories of Women Entrepreneurs Building a Better World by Catherine Thimmesh, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Mesmerizing writing about problem-solving businesswomen! Plus, Melissa Sweet’s cool illustrations elevate these women’s stories and add visual appeal. If readers aren’t budding entrepreneurs before reading this, they might be after. Read how Jeroo Billimoria founded an emergency phone line for street kids in India, or how Jane Chen developed a low-cost incubator for premature babies in developing countries, and how Nadia Hamilton created an app with step-by-step instructions for daily tasks for autistic folks. Highly recommended.
The National Geographic Almanac is an engaging, 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.
Can You Crack the Code? A Fascinating History of Ciphers and Cryptography by Ella Schwartz, illustrated by Lily Williams
This book is perfect for children who love to solve puzzles and think deeply. Even better, it’s very well written, flowing with information that makes sense so you’ll want to keep reading. This book intersperses activities, puzzles, insets of information, bolded words, biographies and more throughout the text — I’m very impressed! I can see homeschoolers using this book as a teaching tool or families reading it together just for fun.
Never Caught, The Story of Ona Judge: Young Readers Edition by Erica Armstrong Dunbar and Kathleen Van Cleve
This is a VERY well-written narrative nonfiction book but to be honest, I felt sick reading about the world into which Ona was born and raised…and that George Washington owned human beings. The authors set the scene and context of the world into which Ona is born. At age 10, Ona becomes Martha Washington’s personal slave. After 13 years of this thankless work with no pay, no days off, no freedom to have a feeling,…many of those years in Philadelphia, Ona learns that Martha plans to send Ona as a “gift” to Martha’s unkind granddaughter. Ona escapes north with the help of other freed slaves living in the city. Washington is so mad he wants to break his own law —the fugitive slave act— by capturing her without a trial and returning her to his wife. But that doesn’t happen and even though Ona lives in poverty with many losses, she lives free.
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!
Why Is Art Full of Naked People? by Susie Hodge
My 11-year-old artistically-inclined daughter thinks this is the BEST book! In fact, she says it’s been much better than this year’s not-so-great art teacher at her school. You’ll find out so many useful facts to questions you probably didn’t even know you had such as: Why is everything blurry? Do artists copy each other? Why is art so expensive? This book takes common kid questions and helps children understand and appreciate art in a deeper way. Very interesting!! I’m glad we own it.
Black Heroes of the Wild West by James Otis Smith This exceptional graphic novel contains three compelling biographies of little-known historical black individuals who lived during the Old West. Smith is an exceptional storyteller and you’ll be pulled into the stories immediately. Read about Stagecoach Mary, a former slave who had the most interesting life that included many jobs, and Bob Lemmons whose horse training skills helped him capture a wild mustang stallion.
Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks
Human Body Theater: A Nonfiction Revue by Maris Wicks
This nonfiction graphic novel ROCKS! It should be required reading for students studying the human body because the information presented this way is so memorable and understandable. I love Skeleton’s narration and the awesomely cute illustrations of every body system from the smallest cell parts to the biggest organs.
O Captain, My Captain: Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln, and the Civil War by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Sterling Hundley
Fascinating and important! I learned so much history that I didn’t know about both Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman. Whitman observed Lincoln as a candidate and later as the President. The Civil War affected Whitman deeply, he hated the suffering and visited wounded soldiers regularly. It’s not a typical picture book because it is dense with information but would be great for the upper grades.
How Old is a Whale? Animal Life Spans from the Mayfly to the Immortal Jellyfish by Lily Murray, illustrated by Jesse Hodgson
Beginning with the mayfly, whose life spans 3 minutes to 24 hours, and ending with the immortal jellyfish whose life span is forever unless it’s eaten, you’re going to be fascinated with the facts in this life span book. So prepare to be astounded and surprised — because you’ll learn that the trapdoor spider lives for 20 to 40 YEARS! I mean, what!? And that the Orange Roughy fish lives over 100 years. Holy moly. Each animal gets its own two-page spread with information about their life and a muted illustration in earth tones. Love it! (The text is fairly difficult, so I’d recommend this for strong middle-grade readers.)
The Dictionary of Difficult Words by Jane Solomon, illustrated by Louise Lockhart
Want a mesmerizing book that is even better than a word-a-day calendar? This oversized dictionary contains the coolest selection of 400 words that kids will love to learn beginning with abecedarian (someone who is learning the alphabet) continuing to Zeppelin. Each letter gives readers about 15 new words to learn. This includes the word, pronunciation, part of speech, and definition. You’ll find haberdashery, ichthyologist, luddite and mugwump, mulligrubs, mumpsimus, and mishpocha. Read one of these words (or more) every day. Then try to use it at least a few times in a sentence. It won’t be too onerous and you won’t be ramfeezled; in fact, learning new words might just be a salubrious experience because you’ll soon become a sesquipedalian.
A Black Woman Did That: 42 Boundary-Breaking, Bar-Raising, World-Changing Women by Malaika Adero, illustrated by Chante Timothy
In this book, you’ll meet women and girls who will inspire you. Read about fascinating and admirable women who are scientists, models, athletes, politicians, dancers, and more. Fascinating writing and fascinating people with impactful, vivid illustrations.
Rise Up: Ordinary Kids With Extraordinary Stories by Amanda Li, illustrated by Amy Blackwell
A must-own book and favorite from this list! Kids will love the colorful layouts, exceptional writing, and wealth of information about SO many amazing role model kids. Learn about Poorna Malavath from India who climbed Mt. Everest, Desmond Doss, a WWII hero from the U.S., and Molly Kelly from Australia who escaped from forced resettlement for Aboriginal children. The writing grabs you from the first sentence — and makes these children’s true stories exciting and dramatic as if you were reading an adventure story.
So You Want to Be a Roman Soldier? by Philip Matyszak, illustrated by Takayo Akiyama
This is a kid-friendly somewhat irreverent guide to being a Roman starting with an example entrance exam and application form. Learn how to train, collect weapons, prepare for war, and even storm a city.
Girls Think of Everything Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women by Catherine Thimmesh, illustrated by Melissa Sweet I really loved this expanded and revised edition because Melissa Sweet’s design and illustrations make the book so special. The author writes the biographies like a fictional narrative story with action and suspense but it’s all true. These biographies are about women who solved problems by inventing the solution. What great models for entrepreneurs, inventors, and having a growth mindset.
What Color is My World? The Lost History of African-American Inventors by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld, illustrated by Ben Boos & A.G. Ford
Twins, Herbie and Ella, move into a new house where they meet Mr. Mital, a handyman who surprises the kids with fascinating information about African-American scientists. Throughout the narrative are non-fiction lift-the-flap sidebars and two-page spread biographies of people like James E. West who invented a compact microphone used in race cars or Frederick McKinley Jones, Dr. Percy Lavon Julian, George Crum, Dr. Valerie L. Thomas, and many others. The large size of the book, the fold-out parts, and bright illustrations make it an appealing design for kids.
Becoming RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Journey to Justice by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Whitney Gardner
Introduce young readers to the fascinating life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg with this clearly-written graphic novel that shows about her life from childhood to adulthood including her family life. You’ll see how women were treated differently than men and the challenges that a trailblazer like Ginsburg faced. She experienced discrimination first hand. For example, discrimination affected where she went to law school (some schools didn’t allow women) and even though she was top of her class, she found that she wasn’t getting any job offers. Based on her experiences and quest for fairness, Ginsburg became passionate about civil liberties, specifically gender discrimination. Not only was she a lawyer and judge but she also became a Supreme Court Justice. Readers will see how Ginsburg was true to her self and her goals and persisted despite difficulties and used her career to fight for equal rights. Well-crafted and highly recommended.
The Book of Ingeniously Daring Chemistry 24 Experiments for Young Scientists by Sean Connolly
FASCINATING! I love the writing in this book because it makes chemistry really understandable and interesting. You’ll read about an element on the periodic table then do a related experiment. For example, you might learn how iron oxidizes by submerging steel wool in vinegar. Or learn about magnesium with an Epsom salts crystalizing experiment.
Insect Superpowers 18 Real Bugs that Smash, Zap, Hypnotize, Sting, and Devour! by Kate Messner, illustrated by Jillian Nickell
Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan, illustrated by John Rocco My kids can’t stop reading and rereading this enormous volume of Greek myths, retold Riordan style — I’m talking laugh-out-loud style. Remember all the hilarious chapter titles in Riordan’s Percy Jackson books? And the witty, sarcastic voice of Percy? Yup. All here. 11-year-olds will GET this humor.
James Rhodes’ Playlist: The Rebels and Revolutionaries of Sound illustrated by Martin O’Neill
Totally Amazing Facts About Military Vehicles by Cari Meister
We Are Artists: Women who Made Their Mark on the World by Kari Herbert
I’m loving this book so much — it shares with well-written biographies (about 3- 5 pages for each woman) about so many female artists from different countries, each with their own unique style and life experience. From Yayoi Kusama of Japan to Alma Thomas of the U.S. to Amrita Sher-Gil of India and Hungary, discover incredible, passionate artists with long-lasting influence.
Rad Women Worldwide by Kate Schatz, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl
Once I started reading these biographies (which I flipped and read in random order), I got very hooked. Hopefully, this book will inspire kids as much as it did me. Plus, it’s really interesting to read about other people, ordinary people who did amazing things.
National Geographic Why’d They Wear That: Fashion as the Mirror of History by Sarah Albee
Engrossing from front to back. Albee writes fantastic chapter titles and headings: (Notice a theme? Nonfiction is getting GOOD, people!) “Caulk like an Egyptian,” “Putting the “Protest” in Protestant,” and “Hazardous Hemlines.” The book is formatted so that you can pick and choose interesting sections such as Corsets, Dressed to Compress because the corset photo is so intriguing or the inset of information has such a tantalizing title, “Why Did Napoleon Always Have His Hand in His Coat?“
The Book of Heroines by Stephanie Warren Drimmer
Little Dreamers Visionary Women Around the World by Vashti Harrison
Harrison’s artwork is stunning– framable I think. This book features the biographies 35 women; women like Ada Lovelace, Marie Curie, and Grace Hooper. Each biography is one page paired with an illustration. The information shares more about the woman’s contributions to the world like the physicist who experimented with subatomic particle decay.
Totally Wacky Facts About History by Cari Meister
This reminds me of the Strange But True books only about history and from a different publisher. And, I LOVE IT! This little book makes history interesting to kids — it’s filled with colorful photos and illustrations and yes, wacky facts. Here are a few to get you started:
Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science by Jeannine Atkins
Three girls lives, Maria Merian, Mary Anning, and Maria Mitchell, are showcased in this beautiful verse. Each girl’s interest is explained and elaborated. We see how these interests grew into something more, into the passions and discoveries that become their life’s work. I love the flow of the poems and the celebration of these ground-breaking women.
She Spoke: 14 Women Who Raised Their Voices and Changed the World by Kathy MacMillan and Manuela Bernardi, illustrated by Kathrin Honesta
The best part of this picture book is that you can hear the actual voices of these 14 women. Press the button on the side and listen. I particularly love Maya Angelou’s deep, rich voice. Each two-page spread features a short biographical paragraph as well as a quote from that person, whether Dolores Huerta or Dr. Temple Grandin or Hillary Rodham Clinton. The pages also include an illustration, quick facts, and a call to action. For example, Leymah Gbowee is a peace activist from Liberia. On her page, the “Your Turn to Speak Up” section asks you how YOU can use anger for good, just like she did.
The Doodle Book of Feel Good: A Doodle/Coloring Book for All Ages by Charise Mericle Harper
Pure fun and inspiration great you on every page in this coloring book. Each design has a saying like these: happy is the best flavor, you can say no thank you, and hooray day. Love these!
Issac The Alchemist Secrets of Issac Newton, Reveal’d by Mary Losure
This well-written biographical book grabs your attention and holds it. I’m impressed! Newton had a difficult childhood but his curiosity and genius were always present throughout his life. After living at an apothecary, for several years he had a chance to go to the university and eventually Newton became one of the world’s most well-known scientists, the father of physics. I highly recommend this for a narrative nonfiction reading choice for 6th graders.
Wild Boy: The Real Life of the Savage of Aveyron by Mary Losure
Based on a true story, this is a historical recounting of a wild boy the early 1800s found in France. I found the life fascinating as the author takes us on the journey of his life. He’s studied as a beast, less than person. In fact, scientists of the time believed he was not a human but something other. This book will make you think.
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.
365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts by R. J. Palacio
If you’re like us and love quotes, this is the book for you. Even if you haven’t read the book Wonder, you will still find the quotes ch chosen here (precepts) meaningful and thought-provoking from Anne Frank, Martin Luther King Jr., Confucius, Goethe, Sappho—and over 100 readers of Wonder who sent R. J. Palacio their own precepts.
Whoppers: History’s Most Outrageous Lies and Liars by Christine Seifert
I read this nonfiction book aloud to my kids — it was SO fun because it prompted great discussion and interaction. They couldn’t believe that people would make up such outrageous lies. Learn these incredible wild whoppers — from people you’ve heard of like Charles Ponzi to people you’ve never heard of like George Psalmanazar who convinced people he was a native from his made-up island of Formosa.
Mercy The Incredible Story of Henry Bergh: Founder of the ASPCA and Friend to Animals by Nancy Furstinger
This little nonfiction chapter book packs a big punch — it’s the absolutely fascinating life of a rich (and formerly lazy) man named Henry Bergh who devoted his life and his money to saving maltreated animals in the late 1800s. (He also is persuaded to start campaigning for children as well — they were often treated just as badly or worse!) This is one of my favorite narrative nonfiction books ever. One of the reasons I like this book so much is that the writing is excellent and the author paints a complete picture of a man who is flawed. The print is big (yeah!) and the illustrations throughout add to the narrative. FANTASTIC and I highly recommend this narrative nonfiction chapter book for schools and libraries!
Biggest and Smallest! Guinness World Records Over 300 Fun Facts by Christy Webster
Photos accompany fun facts about the biggest and smallest of so many things — food, instruments, and more. Fun for 11 year olds (6th grade) who love facts.
Wacky and Wild! Guinness World Records by Calliope Glass
The smallest living horse, a girl with the biggest collection of Hello Kitty items (one 4,000!), and the fastest snowman to run a marathon — all of these wacky facts are fun to read!
The Real Princess Diaries by Grace Norwich
My daughters and I love this fascinating book. It gives us a glimpse into the lives of a variety of international princesses. From historical princesses like Theodora of the Byzantine Empire to current princesses like Sikhanyiso of Swaziland or Victoria of Sweden, each has her own section including basic facts, cool facts, and big achievements. Special sections on royal pets, royal duties, hairdos, princes, and fashion add extra juicy tidbits for kids to enjoy.
The Double Dangerous Book for Boys by Hal Iggulden
Remember the wildly popular book, The Dangerous Book for Boys? This is the long-awaited sequel! Styled to look like a book from my own childhood, this is a dense volume of SO MUCH CONTENT to read and absorb! You’ll find
- information (12 Ceasars)
- directions (finding the height of a tree)
- experiments (The Fire Snake)
- stories, tips (solving a Rubic’s cube)
- activities (the endless card)
- games (The Moon is Round)
- how-tos (how to write a thank you letter)
- quotes (quotes from Shakespeare)
- puzzles (math puzzles)
- book recommendations
- and more
I can’t even begin to cover the scope of this book — I, myself, have barely cracked the surface of all the content inside. Ditch the phones and pick up this book. It will entertain and educate children for more hours than I can predict.
Noise Makers: 25 Women Who Raised Their Voices & Changed the World by Kazoo Magazine
Readers who like comics will love the format of these short biographies. Not only are the bios told in comic form, the two-page spread for each individual gives readers why the woman is famous and what time period they’re from (Fossil Hunter / Mary Annino / 1799 – 1847) as well as how YOU might be like the famous woman… (“I like to hike, I’m patient, I like to draw pictures,…”) Get informed and inspired by reading about Bessie Coleman, Julia Child, Hedy Lamarr, Mary Shelley, Josephine Baker, and others. An accessible, interesting tome that celebrates females who’ve made a difference in the world.
Women Athletes Who Rule! Sports Illustrated Kids
This book is set up so kids can flip through to find photographs and topics that interest them. Each page asks a question which it then answers. For example: Who has won the most beach volleyball tournaments of all time? or Who is the only American woman to win six medals in one Olympics? or Who was the first woman to play pro baseball? Find a question you like, then read the answer. I predict you’ll love learning about these amazing athletes. The variety of sports is impressive, too from hockey to diving to NASCAR and plenty more. Get inspired as you read about record-breakers, trailblazers, superstars, and champions!
The Notorious Benedict Arnold by Steve Sheinkin
If only all nonfiction books for children were this engaging and well-written! This reads like a story, a narrative. Thank you, Mr. Sheinkin!
Bomb: The Race to Build –and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
Another knock-out nonfiction book from the talented Steve Sheinkin! I’m so impressed by how Sheinkin makes this story come ALIVE like it’s an adventure/mystery/thriller and not facts. Well, they do say truth is stranger than fiction. But usually, it’s written like it’s duller than dirt. This book is a great exception — totally engaging and kept my interest.
Untamed The Wild Life of Jane Goodall by Anita Silvey, forward by Jane Goodall
This is not your average biography for kids with small font and ugly black and white photos. No, it’s so much better! Untamed is an excellent depiction of Jane Goodall’s life with kid-friendly language using kid-appealing layouts of colorful photos. Interesting insets throughout describe tips for kids and information such as sign language. I love the Gombe Family Scrapbook at the end with some of the significant chimps in Jane’s life. I also found it really interesting to learn how this English girl read about Africa as a child and fell in love with it.
The Disney Book: A Celebration of the World of Disney (DK)
My oldest daughter loves anything Disney and proclaimed that this is the best book ever written. 🙂 While I’m not sure about that, it is a dense fact-filled tome from the early years to the present day.
Genius! The Most Astonishing Inventions of All Time by Deborah Kespert
A visually appealing graphic layout makes it easy to access the invention information — in fact, it’s down-right enticing! Who knows I’d care about the Archimedes Screw and want to read all about it. Or the Elephant Clock — yes, that was a real thing which was super cool. You’ll learn about these early inventions and more modern inventions such as the space rocket. This is a well-done, readable nonfiction book.
Treasury of Norse Mythology: Stories of Intrigue, Trickery, Love, and Revenge by Donna Jo Napoli, illustrations by Christina Balit
This is a large, kid-friendly collection of Nordic myths with colorful illustrations and informative insets explaining more about subjects such as the Berserkers and the Norse diet. Excellent for 11- year old 6th graders doing research or who just love mythology.
Fashion Rebels: Style Icons Who Changed the World of Fashion by Carlyn Cerniglia Beccia
If you have an interest in fashion, you’ll love this fascinating book of biographies and style tips. Learn how Coco Chanel loved to visit graveyards and how to make your own Frida Kahlo style outfit. This was a hit for me because it was so engaging and well-written with fun, colorful illustrations.
The Way Things Work Now From Levers to Lasers, Windmills to Wi-Fi, a Visual Guide to the World of Machines Revised and Updated by David Macaulay with Neil Ardley
You won’t believe how much there is in this illustrated 400-page informational guide to the inner workings of machines and devices! It starts with simple machines and move on to more complex machines and technology such as helicopters, digital videos, electric circuitry, automatic transmission, even the Internet. I’m thinking it would take months, if not years, to read everything in this enormous, updated book. A must-own for schools and libraries.
Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome by Brad Montague & Robby Novak
Robby, the Kid President, and his brother-in-law, Brad Montague, started Kid President videos to put something positive into the world. Robby embodies this. He went through countless surgeries and broken bones due to his brittle bone disease and kept a positive attitude. So when Robby says, “You were made to be awesome. Keep going,” He knows. He’s been there and kept going. The book is filled with ways to be awesome and spread awesomeness in the world.
The Book of Kings: Magnificent Monarchs, Notorious Nobles, and Distinguished Dudes Who Ruled the World by Caleb Magyar and Stephanie Warren Drimmer
Starting with Hammurabi, the famous Babylon king whose code influenced all of history up to the present day, this encyclopediac book of monarchs and leaders from cultures and civilizations around the world gives readers valuable historical perspective and understanding. But it doesn’t stop there. Surprisingly, this book also contains mythical kings (Aragon) as well as kings of creativity, action, change, and knowledge, including people like Babe Ruth, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Carl Sagan.
NonFiction Books for 11 Year Olds (6th Grade)