New educational standards (known as the Common Core) are making big changes in the kinds of books teachers introduce in their classrooms and ask their students to explore in homework. The Common Core’s new emphasis on reading nonfiction creates an opportunity for kids and families to explore an enormous variety of wonderful books.

Stop by your local library to browse the thousands of engaging nonfiction books for kids! Here are some ideas to get you started…

For Kindergarten – Elementary grades


“Animal Eggs: An Amazing Clutch of Mysteries & Marvels!” by Dawn Cusick & Joanne O'Sullivan (grades 2-5)

“Suryia Swims! The True Story of How an Orangutan Learned to Swim” by Bhagavan Antle (grades K-3)

“Frenemies for Life: Cheetahs and Anatolian Shepherd Dogs” by John E. Becker (grades 3 – 5)

“Just Ducks” by Nicola Davies (grades K-2)

“Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm” by Jon Katz (grades 1-3)

“Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas” by Molly Bang & Penny Chisholm (grades 3-5)

“Step Inside! A Look Inside Animal Homes” by Catherine Ham (grades K-2)

“Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator” by Sarah Campbell (grades 2-4)

“You are the First Kid on Mars” by Patrick O’Brien (grades 2-6)

HISTORY/BIOGRAPHY “A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis” by Matt de la Pena (grades 3-5)

“Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books” by Susan L. Roth and Karen Leggett Abouraya (grades 3-6)

“Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills” by Renee Watson (grades K-3)

“Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor” by Emily Arnold McCully (grades K-3)

“Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11” by Brian Floca (grades 2-5)

“Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace” by Jen Cullerton Johnson (grades 2-4)

“What to do about Alice? How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove her Father Teddy Crazy!” by Barbara Kerley (grades 2-4)


“My Art Book: Amazing Art Projects Inspired by Masterpieces” by DK Publishing (grades 3-8)

“Diego Rivera: His World and Ours” by Duncan Tonatiuh (grades K-3)

“Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature” by Joyce Sidman (grades K-3)

For Middle and High School

SCIENCE “Biomimicry: Inventions Inspired by Nature” by Dora Lee (gr. 5 – 7)

“The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs: A Scientific Mystery” by Sandra Markle (gr. 5 – 7)

“Quest for the Tree Kangaroo: An Expedition to the Cloud Forest of New Guinea” by Sy Montgomery (gr. 5 – 9)

“How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate: Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming” by Lynne Cherry and Gary Braasch (gr. 4 – 8)


“Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust” by Doreen Rappaport (grades 6-adult)

“Drawing from Memory” by Alan Say (grades 4-12)

“Flesh & Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and its Legacy” by Albert Marrin (grades 6-adult)

“Mao’s Last Dancer” by Li Cunxin (grades 7-adult)

“The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and Treachery” by Steve Sheinkin (grades 6-adult)

“The Secret of Priest’s Grotto: A Holocaust Survival Story” by Peter Lane Taylor (grades 6-adult)

“Spies of Mississippi: The True Story of the Spy Network That Tried to Destroy the Civil Rights Movement” by Rick Bowers (grades 6-10)

“Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem” by Rosalyn Schanzer (grades 7-9)


“Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories” edited by Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones (grades 9-adult)

Contract Publishing

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