Nonfiction Books for Curious Middle Schoolers

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Tiffani Willis

Staff Writer

Tiffani C. Willis spends as much as time as she is able to traveling the universe by book and sometimes by, plane, train, boat, or car. When she’s not off on an adventure in a faraway land or trying to solve a mystery like a detective, Tiffani uses her powers as an academic librarian to help students survive school as they learn how to do research and write research papers. She spends her spare time rambling, raving, and ranting about books on her blog Passport Books, camping out in bookstores, and obsessively watching HGTV, usually with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine nearby. Twitter: @PassportBooks

Do you have an inquisitive middle schooler? Perhaps a budding scientist or an amateur historian? If so, here are 23 nonfiction books for middle schoolers who are more than curious. Publishers’ age recommendations are included, along with the type of nonfiction (science, history, etcetera).

Nonfiction for Sixth Graders

Kitchen Science Lab for Kids: 52 Family Friendly Experiments from Around the House By Liz Lee Heinecke

(science; ages 8–12)
Science and craft experiments kids can do in their kitchen.

Nonfiction Books For Middle Schoolers: Science, History, and More | BookRiot.comOutdoor Science Lab for Kids: 52 Family-Friendly Experiments for the Yard, Garden, Playground, and Park By Liz Lee Heinecke

(science; ages 8–12)

Science and craft experiments kids can do in their own backyard.

Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes By Juan Felipe Herrera and Raul Colón

(history & biography; ages 8–12)
Features short profiles of twenty Hispanic and Latino American men and women who have made contributions to the arts, politics, science, humanitarianism, and athletics.

I Got This: To Gold and Beyond by Laurie Hernandez

(sports memoir; ages 8–12)

Memoir of Olympic champion Laurie Hernandez.

Bones Never Lie: How Forensics Helps Solve History’s Mysteries By Elizabeth MacLeod

(science; ages 9–12)

In examining the deaths of seven historical royal figures whose demise was suspicious, kids learn how scientists use autopsy results, DNA testing, bone fragments, and even bugs to determine a cause of death.

Animals in the House: A History of Pets and People By Sheila Keenan

(animals; ages 9–12)
Explores the history of pets through the ages including the history of the animals in the wild, their domestication, and famous pets and their owners.

The Great Brain Book by H. P. Newquist, Illustrated by Keith Kasnot

(science; ages 9–12)
Explores the anatomy of the brain.


Terrible But True: Awful Events in American History by Dinah Williams

(history; ages 9–12)
Discover bizarre events from America’s past, like the country’s first serial killers and vampire-like diseases.

Nonfiction for Seventh Graders

Leon’s Story By Leon Walter Tillage, illustrated by Susan L. Roth

(memoir; ages 8–14)
Memoir of an African-American man who grew up during segregation, told in a series of vignettes.

Portraits of Jewish-American Heroes by Malka Drucker & Elizabeth Rosen

(history & biography; ages 10–13)
Profiles of journalist Daniel Pearl, Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and 19 other Jewish-American women and men.

Fannie Never Flinched: One Woman’s Courage in the Struggle for American Labor Union Rights by Mary Cronk Farrell

(history & biography; ages 10–14)
Chronicles Fannie Sellins’ life as a garment worker, organizer, and martyr for workers’ rights at the turn of the 20th century.

All Heart: My Dedication and Determination to Become One of Soccer’s Best by Carli Lloyd and Wayne Coffey

(memoir; ages 10–14)
In this young reader’s adaption of her memoir When Nobody Was Watching, Carli Lloyd details her journey from elementary school soccer player to World Cup athlete.

When the Sky Breaks: Hurricanes, Tornadoes, and the Worst Weather in the World by Simon Winchester

(science-weather; ages 10–14)
Explains how, when, where, and why hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones, and tornadoes start, grow, and what happens when these storms hit.

Alexander Hamilton: The Making of America by Teri Kanefield

(history & biography; ages 10–14)
A brief biography of America’s first Secretary of Treasury.

Strong Inside (Young Readers Edition): The True Story of How Perry Wallace Broke College Basketball’s Color Line by Andrew Maraniss

(history & biography; ages 10 and up)
The story of the first African-American to play college basketball in the deeply segregated Southeastern Conference.

Nonfiction for Eighth Graders

Eye of the Storm: NASA, Drones, and the Race to Crack the Hurricane Code by Amy Cherrix

(science-weather; ages 8–14)
Great for budding meteorologists who want to learn about the latest meteorological research involving hurricanes.

Gutsy Girls: Young Women Who Dare by Michele Schuerger and Tina Schwager

(general nonfiction; ages 11–18)
Collection of 26 essays by young women who have overcome a variety of odds to achieve their dreams.

Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin

(history & biography; ages 10–16)
Explores the U.S. government’s persecution of Native Americans through the lens of Jim Thorpe’s journey to becoming an Olympic gold medalist and all-around sports legend.

Elon Musk and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (Young Readers’ Edition) by Ashlee Vance

(science & biography; ages 11–14)
Young reader edition of the bestselling biography of entrepreneur Elon Musk.


Life in Motion by Misty Copeland and Brandy Colbert

(memoir; ages 11–16)
Young reader edition of the bestselling memoir of the American Ballet Theatre’s first African-American principal dancer, Misty Copeland.

Sonia Sotomayor: A Biography by Sylvia Mendoza

(biography; ages 12–14)
Explores the personal and cultural values that shaped Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and third woman to serve as a justice on the Supreme Court.

Death on the River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Amazon Adventure by Samantha Seiple

(history & biography; ages 12–16)
Follow 55-year-old former President Theodore Roosevelt’s adventure in the Amazon jungle.

Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done by Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser

(biography & gaming; ages 12–17)
Memoir of the teens who created the web video game “Tampon Run.”

Hit the comments to share your favorite nonfiction books for middle schoolers. For more recommendations of nonfiction books for adults and children, check out True Story, Book Riot’s newsletter about the world of nonfiction books.