Nonfiction Favorites

Nonfiction Favorites
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Nonfiction Favorites 

(May 1, 2014)

NEH Nonfiction Booklist for Young Readers

As part of our fiftieth anniversary, we want to celebrate the work we've done for children, such as the Youth Grants, Summer Seminars and Institutes to train teachers, and a perennial favorite: our Summertime Favorites reading list. 

We recently took another look at the list and realized that very little of the list qualified as informational texts.  In order to fulfill the need for high-quality children's nonfiction, we scoured nonfiction awards lists and crowdsourced recommendations, consulting with a panel of respected education and library science experts.  After extensive review and consultation, we have put together a list of books covering many of the wide range of projects we have funded over the last half century.

We welcome your feedback.  Email usfollow @NEHgov on Twitter, or like us on Facebook

If you would like to download the poster as a PDF, please click here for Page 1 and here for Page 2.

The entire Nonfiction Booklist appears below. You can also view the list by age group:


Recommended for ages 5-8, either for reading by children or for reading to them.

A Life Like Mine UNICEF
Artist in Overalls John Duggleby
Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring Jan Greenberg and Sarah Jordan
Ballons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade Melissa Sweet
The Camping Trip That Changed America Barb Rosenstock
Dave the Potter; Artist, Poet, Slave Laban Carrick Hill
Eleanor Barbara Cooney
Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia Carmen Lomas Garza
Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington Jabari Asim
Founding Mothers Cokie Roberts
Frida Jonah Winter
From the Good Mountain James Rumford
George Did It Suzanne Jurmain
Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Gym Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball John Coy
The House That George Built Suzanne Slade
How the Sphinx Got to the Museum Jessie Hartland
In the Bag: Margaret Knight Wraps It Up Monica Kulling
John Muir Kathryn Lasky
José! Born to Dance: the Story of José Limón Susanna Reich
Lightship Brian Floca
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers Mordicai Gerstein
Martin's Big Words: The Life of Martin Luther King Doreen Rappaport
Moses: When Harriett Tubman Led Her People to Freedom Carole Weatherford
My Hands Sing the Blues: Romare Bearden's Childhood Journey Jeanne Walker Harvey
Passage to Freedom: the Sugihara Story Ken Mochizuki
Pirates: Robbers of the High Seas Gail Gibbons
Rosa's Bus: the Ride to Civil Rights Jo Kittinger
The Secret World of Walter Anderson Hester Bass
Sequoyah: The Cherokee Man Who Gave His People Writing James Rumford
Side by Side Monica Brown
Soar, Elinor! Tammy Lewis Brown
A Splash of Red Jen Bryant
Starry Messenger: a Book Depicting the Life of a Famous Scientist, Mathematician, Astronomer, Philosopher, Physicst: Galileo Galilei Peter Sís
To Fly: the Story of the Wright Brothers Wendie Old
We the Kids: the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States David Catrow
When Marian Sang Pam Muñoz Ryan
When Thunder Comes J. Patrick Lewis
The Worst of Friends Suzanne Jurmain



Action Jackson Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan
And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? Jean Fritz
Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshall Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
Eleanor, Quiet No More Doreen Rappaport
Electric Ben: the Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin Robert Byrd
The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy) Barbara Kerley
Flight: the Journey of Charles Lindbergh Robert Burleigh
The Grand Mosque of Paris: a Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews During the Holocaust Karen Ruelle and Deborah Desaix
Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad Ann Petry
Harvesting Hope: the Story of Cesar Chavez Kathleen Krull
The House Baba Built Ed Young
Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express Margaret Wetterer
Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic Robert Burleigh
The Poppy Lady: Molina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans Barbara Elizabeth Walsh
Pyramid David Macaulay
Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down Andrea Davis Pinckney
Snowflake Bentley Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Teammates Peter Golenbock
Walt Whitman: Words for America Barbara Kerley
War Boy: A Country Childhood Michael Foreman
What to Do About Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy! Barbara Kerley
William Shakespeare and the Globe Aliki
Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman Kathleen Krull



14 Cows for America Carmen Agra Deedy
Amelia Lost: the Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart Candace Fleming
Black Elk's Vision: a Lakota Story S.D. Nelson
Bloody Times James Swanson
Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past James Deem
Brooklyn Bridge Lynn Curlee
Buffalo Hunt Russell Freedman
Candy Bomber: the Story of the Berlin Airlift's "Chocolate Pilot" Michael Tunnell
Carver: a Life in Poems Marilyn Nelson
Castle David Macaulay
Children of the Wild West Russell Freedman
The Children We Remember Chana Byers Ables
Chuck Close Up Close Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice Phillip Hoose
Drawing from Memory Allen Say
The Duel: the Parallel Lives of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Judith St. George
Eleanor Roosevelt: a Life of Discovery Russell Freedman
The Fairy Ring: Or, Elsie and Frances Fool the World Mary Losure
Fossil Feud: the Rivalry of the First American Dinosaur Hunters Thom Holmes
Freedom Riders: John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on the Front Lines of the Civil Rights Movement Ann Bausum
Freedom Walkers: the Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott Russell Freedman
Heart and Soul: the Story of America and African Americans Kadir Nelson
The Great Molasses Flood Deborah Kops
Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Horrible Histories Terry Deary
In Defense of Liberty: the Story of America's Bill of Rights Russell Freedman
It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw Don Tate
The Journey That Saved Curious George: the Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey Louise Borden
Kennedy Through the Lens Martin Sandler
Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor Russell Freedman
Lafayette and the American Revolution Russell Freedman
Leonardo da Vinci Diane Stanley
The Life and Death of Crazy Horse Russell Freedman
Lincoln: a Photobiography Russell Freedman
Lincoln Shot!: a President's Life Remembered Barry Denenberg
Looking for Life in the Universe Ellen Jackson
Lost Star: the Story of Amelia Earhart Patricia Lauber
The Many Rides of Paul Revere James Cross Giblin
Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary Elizabeth Partidge
More About Boy Roald Dahl
Noah Webster: Weaver of Words Pegi Deitz Shea
Photo by Brady Jennifer Armstrong
Red Bird Sings: the Story of Zitkala-Ša—Native-American Author, Musician, and Activist Gina Capaldi and Q.L. Pearce
Small Worlds: Maps and Mapmaking Karen Romano Young
Spies of Mississippi Rick Bowers
Surviving Hitler: a Boy in the Nazi Death Camps Andrea Warren
Sweethearts of Rhythm: the Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World Marilyn Nelson
Terezin: Voices from the Holocaust Ruth Thomson
Through My Eyes Ruby Bridges
Titanic: Voices from the Disaster Deborah Hopkinson
Vincent van Gogh Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan
The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights Russell Freedman
The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain Peter Sís
The War to End All Wars: World War I Russell Freedman
We Are the Ship: the Story of Negro League Baseball Kadir Nelson
We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History Phillip Hoose
Wideness and Wonder: the Life and Art of Georgia O'Keefe Susan Goldman Rubin
The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane Russell Freedman
The Year of Goodbyes Debbie Levy



An American Plague: the True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 Jim Murphy
Auschwitz: Voices from the Death Camp James Deem
Birmingham Sunday Larry Dane Brimner
Black & White: the Confrontation Between Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene "Bull" Connor Larry Dane Brimner
Black Potatoes: the Story of the Great Irish Famine 1845-1850 Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Bomb: the Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon Steve Sheinkin
Burma Chronicles Guy Delisle
Charles and Emma Deborah Heiligman
Chasing Lincoln's Killer James Swanson
Children of the Dust Bowl: the True Story of the Children at Weedpatch Camp Jerry Stanley
The Circuit Francisco Jiménez
Clara Schumann: Piano Virtuoso Susanna Reich
e e cummings: a Poet's Life Catherine Reef
Extraordinary Explorers and Adventurers Judy Alter
Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton
Family of Man Edward Steichen
The Forbidden Schoolhouse Suzanne Jurmain
George Washington, Spymaster Thomas Allen
Harriet Tubman, Secret Agent Thomas Allen
If Stones Could Speak: Unlocking the Secrets of Stonehenge Marc Aronson
Jane Austen: a Life Revealed Catherine Reef
The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler James Cross Giblin
The Longitude Prize Joan Dash
March John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
Maus I & II Art Spiegelman
Mister Lincoln's High-Tech War Thomas B. Allen and Roger MacBride Allen
The Notorious Benedict Arnold: a True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and Treachery Steve Sheinkin
Painting the Wild Frontier: the Art and Adventures of George Catlin Susanna Reich
The Port Chicago 50 Steve Sheinkin
The President Has Been Shot James Swanson
Reconstruction and the Aftermath of the Civil War Lisa Colozza Cocca
The Secret of the Yellow Death Suzanne Jurmain
Secrets of a Civil War Submarine: Solving the Mysteries of the H.L. Hunley Sally Walker
Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: the Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and the Endurance Jennifer Armstrong
Sir Walter Raleigh and the Quest for El Dorado Marc Aronson
Six Days in October: the Stock Market Crash of 1929 Karen Blumenthal
They Called Themselves the KKK: the Birth of an American Terrorist Group Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Truce: the Day Soldiers Stopped Fighting Jim Murphy
Warriors Don't Cry Melba Pattillo Beals
Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland Sally Walker



1968 Michael Kaufman
Anne Frank: the Diary of a Young Girl Anne Frank
Assault in Norway Thomas Gallagher
Bad Boy Walter Dean Myers
The Day the World Exploded: the Earthshaking Catastrophe at Krakatoa Simon Winchester
Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock David Margolick
Flesh and Blood So Cheap: the Triangle Disaster and its Legacy Albert Marrin
God Grew Tired of Us John Bul Dau
Guest of Honor: Booker T. Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and the White House Dinner That Shocked a Nation Deborah Davis
Hole in my Life Jack Gantos
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Rebecca Skloot
In Cold Blood Truman Capote
Into Thin Air Jon Krakauer
Kaffir Boy Mark Mathabane
Life in a Jar Jack Mayer
Lipstick Jihad Azadeh Moaveni
Malcolm X Andrew Helfer and Randy DuBurke
Nelson Mandela Umlanda Wezithombe/The Nelson Mandela Foundation
The Other Wes Moore Wes Moore
Persepolis Marjane Satrapi
The Photographer Guibert Lefevre Lemercier
She Would Not Be Moved: How We Tell the Story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott Herbert Kohl
Stitches David Small
Sugar Changed the World Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos
With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman's Right to Vote Ann Bausum
The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution Linda Monk


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