Most children love a good fable or fairytale before bed, but there are plenty of wonderful nonfiction books for kids out there that can be equally entertaining, as well as informative. These might include biographies, history stories, or science texts.
If you are the type who prefers to read about specific science topics or historical facts, here is a list of great titles you may want to check out:
Nonfiction Books for Kids (Ages 6–10)
Introduce your kids or students to the lives of some of history’s most prominent figures with these biographies, geography books, and history books for kids.
1. Joan of Arc by Diane Stanley
This excellently-told and illustrated story will enchant every child with the challenges and triumphs of Joan of Arc. The story opens with Joan’s childhood and gives an insightful glimpse into her beliefs and what drove her to fight for her country.
2. Good Queen Bess by Diana Stanley
This biography of Queen Elizabeth will give children an insightful look into the life of the good queen that loved her people dearly and led them well.
You will see a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth’s personality as well as her devoted subjects in this unique biography in picture-book form.
3. Benjamin Franklin by Ingri D’Aulaire
This excellent introduction to the life of Benjamin Franklin opens the imagination while also sharing important truths about this great leader.
4. George Washington by Ingri D’Aulaire
This picture book biography offers a great introduction to the life of George Washington without watering down all the important aspects of his life.
5. Who Was Ferdinand Magellan? by Sydelle Kramer
Learn about the first circumnavigation of the globe in this insightful story of Ferdinand Magellan. Read how Magellan first started on his quest to find the Spice Islands by sailing west, and see the challenges that his treacherous journey brought.
6. The Way Things Work by David Macaulay
This excellently illustrated science book is jam packed with how different things work. Young readers will enjoy not just the descriptions, but also the detail that goes into the hand-drawn images.
7. Lost in Outer Space: The Incredible Journey of Apollo 13 by Tod Olson
The 1970 journey of the Apollo 13 to the moon was hindered by an explosion—which led to the suspensful mission of simply getting back to Earth alive. This novel retelling uses diagrams and photoraphs to help children understand the magnitude of this survival story.
8. Around the World in a Hundred Years by Jean Fritz
For the history enthusiast, this book is a great collection of stories across different cultures and throughout a hundred years in history. Jean Fritz is an excellent storyteller that makes these stories come alive for young readers.
9. A Child’s History of the World by Virgil Hillyer
This excellently narrated history of the world helps children get a birds’ eye view of important events in history. The short chapters make this book a relaxing but very informative read.
10. Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin
This collection of short stories retells the true stories of famous people in history. The length of each story makes them great for relaxed reading while also learning about important events across the world.
Books for Kids (Ages 10–13)
These biographies, history books, and science books are great for kids aged 10–13.
11. The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
This autobiography is the perfect glimpse into the life of blind and deaf author and activist Helen Keller, and how she overcame the odds. Children love reading about how she learned to read and write despite her disability, and still achieved great things in life.
12. A Passion for the Impossible: The Life of Lilias Trotter by Miriam Huffman Rockness
This book inspired the movie about the Christian woman who surrendered her life of privilege, leisure, and art to live humbly in Algeria. Her nearly 40 years of life ministering, mingled with her love for Christ, art, and literature.
13. Sally Ride: A Photobiography of America’s Pioneering Woman in Space by Tam O’Shaughnessy
This rich biography uses an amazing visual tapestry to describe the life of the academic underachiever who became the first American woman to make it to space, as well as an inspiring advocate for gender equality.
14. Finding the Edge: My Life on the Ice by Karen Chen
This memoir tells the life of Karen Chen, whose parents were Taiwanese immigrants, and how she learned to figure skate at the age of 5 and reached the Olympics by 15 years old. Her early years are enchantingly captured in this book.
15. Irena’s Children: A True Story of Courage by Tilar Mazzeo and Mary Cronk Farell
This is the story of a young woman who courageously helped smuggle hundreds of children out of the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. The Young Readers’ version makes this a good read even for a younger audience.
16. Florence Nightingale: The Courageous LIfe of the Legendary Nurse by Catherine Reef
The woman who became a legendary nurse during the Crimean War not only went against all Victorian expectations, but she also ended up revolutionizing nursing standards. Read about her life in this entrancing biography.
17. Always Inventing: A Photobiography of Alexander Graham Bell by Tom Matthews
This National Geographic paints a great picture of the life of Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone. The images add extra appeal to this detail-rich resource.
18. Michael Faraday, Father of Electronics by Charles Ludwig
This fictionalized biography shows great insights into the father of the dynamo, the electric motor, the generator, and the transformer. The author effectively shows Faraday’s strong Christian adherence to great moral standards.
19. A Child’s Geography: Explore the Holy Land by Ann Voskamp and Tonia Peckover
This geography book is a great read not only as a homeschool resource, but also for children who love learning about foreign lands. The narrative form takes the reader into Middle Eastern countries and gives them a glimpse of cultural nuances as well as interesting things to see.
20. What the World Eats by Faith D’ Aluisio and Peter Menzel
This compilation of the typical meals that families across the world eat gives children a good picture of differences in cultures.
The book contains a family profile made up of full-color photographs, information about the quantity and cost of the family’s food consumption, as well as a world map to pinpoint where each family lives.
21. The Elements by Theodore Gray
For children interested in chemistry, this visual guide will certainly entertain them for hours: each element is presented in visual form and contains interesting descriptions about where they occur in nature and in technology.
22. Archimedes and the Door of Science by Jeanne Bendick
Learn about Archimedes and his important role in the development of scientific thought in this excellently-crafted biography. You will see some of his work and the resulting knowledge that came from his discoveries.
23. Science Lab in a Supermarket by Bob Friedhoffer
This book shows children how physics is at play all around us: in riding our bicycles and skateboards, baking food, playing the guitar or piano, and even turning on the shower. It also contains exciting experiments you can do at little or no expense.
24. The Wonder Book of Chemistry by Jean-Henri Fabre
This classic science text makes for a wonderful introduction to chemistry, without sounding like a textbook, for children. The author was a physicist, botanist, chemist, entomologist, and a teacher, helping to make his books a lively explanation of basic chemistry facts.
25. Augustus Caesar’s World by Genevieve Foster
Learn about the 7 major civilizations of world history through these captivating accounts of important figures who lived from 4500 BC to 14 AD. You will also get a glimpse of what was going on in other places like China, India, and Persia during these years.
New Skills for Kids
Whether your child is interested in writing or coding, there’s a book out there that’s perfect for their interests.
26. Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly by Gail Carson Levine
Who says children can’t write? This craft book introduces young writers to the form and function of story, helping them practice with a collection of writing prompts.
27. Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter
Inspired by letters sent in from fans, the authors set out to write this definitive guide to encourage and equip young writers.
The book includes anecdotes to inspire, as well as guidance for the practical application of important skills every writer needs, such as developing a voice, creating characters and plot, and overcoming writer’s block.
28. Coding for Kids: Python by Adrienne Tacke
This fun book makes learning to code just like practicing an instrument or learning a new sport. Designed for ages 10 and up, kids will learn the basic foundations of programming, and even have a chance to create their own fun games.
29. Easy Paper Projects by Maggy Woodley
With this collection of 60 crafts, kids will never get bored, and instead end up with great gift items or things they can actually wear and use! The crafts in this book include origami bookmarks, paper pendants, paper puppets, and even ornaments.
30. Baking Class: 50 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Bake by Deanna Cook
Get started with baking with this basic book of recipes designed for ages 8 to 12. The recipes featured here are easy for children to follow, especially with the photos showing the step-by-step process of kneading dough, decorating cookies, and making the perfect pie.
Best Nonfiction Books for Kids
Books are some of the best ways to learn new things, and raising up children who love to learn is a reward in itself.
Get your young ones started with one of the books in this list.
What kinds of nonfiction books do your children or students love? Share them in the comments below.
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Yen Cabag is the Blog Writer of TCK Publishing. She is also a homeschooling mom, family coach, and speaker for the Charlotte Mason method, an educational philosophy that places great emphasis on classic literature and the masterpieces in art and music. She has also written several books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her passion is to see the next generation of children become lovers of reading and learning in the midst of short attention spans.