Best Nonfiction Kids Books

Quick Ideas for grades 3-5: New for your book baskets! Build background knowledge with new nonfiction.

ANIMALS
Bugs and Bugsicles: Insects in the Winter
by Amy S. Hansen
What happens to insects in winter? Introduce your students to seven different insects: a praying mantis, a field cricket, a ladybug, a honeybee, a pavement ant, a monarch butterfly, and an Arctic woolly bear caterpillar, and discover how they survive and thrive in freezing temperatures.

Bubble Homes and Fish Farts

by Fiona Bayrock
Bubbles may seem delicate and fragile, but they play a key role in animal sur­vival. Discover how 16 animals, from juniper spittlebugs to whales, use bubbles in a variety of ways.

Can an Old Dog Learn New Tricks? And Other Questions About Animals
by Buffy Silverman
Can 17 common animal adages stand up to science? Find out in this colorful book that will appeal to reluctant readers and animal lovers alike.

Ready, Set . . . Wait!

by Patti R. Zelch
People are forewarned of the arrival of a hurricane and have time to prepare. But what about animals? This picture book explains how animals can forecast trouble and prepare for a hurricane.

SCIENCE
Magic Up Your Sleeve; Amazing Illusions, Tricks, and Science Facts You'll Never Believe
by Helaine Becker
Explore the science behind the magic of math, chemistry, and physics in dozens of easy-to-follow tricks that will keep your students spellbound. The tricks are clearly explained and use a handful of common household materials.

The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe

by Loree Griffin Burns
Follow four scientists into the field as they try to discover why millions of bees mysteriously vanished, and why their disappearance matters to humans.

CIVIL RIGHTS
Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down
by Andrea Davis Pinkney
The story of four college students who integrated a Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1960. Told in free verse with delicious food metaphors served up with an informative Civil Rights timeline.

Child of the Civil Rights Movement

by Paula Young Shelton
Written by the daughter of a Civil Rights leader, this memoir shows what it was like growing up during the Civil Rights movement.

SPACE
Cars on Mars: Roving the Red Planet
by Alexandra Siy
Take a ride on Spirit and Opportunity, two rovers that have been sending back data to earthlings since 2003.

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11

by Brian Floca
Go along for the ride with NASA's Apollo 11, the mission that put the first astronauts on the moon. Those who want to delve into the mission in more detail can read the amended note at the end.

Older Than the Stars
by Karen C. Fox
The big bang theory is explained in rhyme to satisfy younger readers, while sidebars showcase ­language that's appropriate for older readers.

WOMEN IN HISTORY
Phillis Sings Out Freedom: The Story of Phillis Wheatley and George Washington
by Ann Malaspina.
When General George Washington was feeling discouraged in the fall of 1775, Phillis Wheatley knew just how he felt. Wheatley, an African-American poet who had fought for her own freedom, wrote the soon-to-be president a poem to boost his spirits.

She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story
by Audrey Vernik
In the early 1900s, most folks would have said, "Baseball's no place for a woman." But Effa Manley didn't listen. She bought and managed the Newark Eagles, a baseball team in the Negro National League. When she fought to have her players included in the Baseball Hall of Fame, she never dreamed that she would one day be inducted right along with them.

Soar, Elinor!
by Tami Lewis Brown
Young Elinor Smith didn’t listen when people said only men could fly airplanes. She became America’s youngest pilot ever, flying underneath all four of New York City’s East River bridges.

INVENTORS
The Boy Who Invented TV: The Story of Philo Farnsworth
by Kathleen Krull
Follow a young boy’s journey from farm hand to inventor of one of the planet’s most famous machines, the television. Farnsworth’s fascination with machines and electricity will inspire your students to examine the link between science and technology.

The Day-Glo Brothers
by Chris Barton
In the 1930s, brothers Joe and Bob wanted to enhance Joe’s magic act. They ended up coloring our world with their trial-and-error invention of fluorescent colors.

Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci
by Gene Barretta
Who invented the robot? What about tanks? Contact lenses? Answer: Leonardo da Vinci, 500 years before these ideas ever came into being. Truly a man born before his time, Leo’s story inspires the importance of thinking big.

MATH
Pythagoras and the Ratios
by Julie Ellis
Explore ratio and proportion with a young Pythagoras in this Math Adventures series. Includes a historical note and instructions for making an instrument using Pythagorean ratios and glasses of water.

Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature

by Sarah C. Campbell
Invite your students to explore patterns with the Fibonacci sequence, where each number in the pattern is the sum of the two preceding numbers. Photos illustrate how the sequence is found in nature, from the petals of a flower to pinecones to a nautilus shell.
 

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