Nonfiction Favorites (2023)

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5-8 7-10 9-13 11-15 14-17

(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: ourSummertime Favoritesreading 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 us,follow @NEHgovon Twitter, orlike us on Facebook!

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

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

  • 5-8 year olds
  • 7-10 year olds
  • 9-13 year olds
  • 11-15 year olds
  • 14-17 year olds


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

A Life Like MineUNICEF
Artist in OverallsJohn Duggleby
Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian SpringJan Greenberg and Sarah Jordan
Ballons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's ParadeMelissa Sweet
The Camping Trip That Changed AmericaBarb Rosenstock
Dave the Potter; Artist, Poet, SlaveLaban Carrick Hill
EleanorBarbara Cooney
Family Pictures/Cuadros de FamiliaCarmen Lomas Garza
Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. WashingtonJabari Asim
Founding MothersCokie Roberts
FridaJonah Winter
From the Good MountainJames Rumford
George Did ItSuzanne Jurmain
Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Gym Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented BasketballJohn Coy
The House That George BuiltSuzanne Slade
How the Sphinx Got to the MuseumJessie Hartland
In the Bag: Margaret Knight Wraps It UpMonica Kulling
John MuirKathryn Lasky
José! Born to Dance: the Story of José LimónSusanna Reich
LightshipBrian Floca
The Man Who Walked Between the TowersMordicai Gerstein
Martin's Big Words: The Life of Martin Luther KingDoreen Rappaport
Moses: When Harriett Tubman Led Her People to FreedomCarole Weatherford
My Hands Sing the Blues: Romare Bearden's Childhood JourneyJeanne Walker Harvey
Passage to Freedom: the Sugihara StoryKen Mochizuki
Pirates: Robbers of the High SeasGail Gibbons
Rosa's Bus: the Ride to Civil RightsJo Kittinger
The Secret World of Walter AndersonHester Bass
Sequoyah: The Cherokee Man Who Gave His People WritingJames Rumford
Side by SideMonica Brown
Soar, Elinor!Tammy Lewis Brown
A Splash of RedJen Bryant
Starry Messenger: a Book Depicting the Life of a Famous Scientist, Mathematician, Astronomer, Philosopher, Physicst: Galileo GalileiPeter Sís
To Fly: the Story of the Wright BrothersWendie Old
We the Kids: the Preamble to the Constitution of the United StatesDavid Catrow
When Marian SangPam Muñoz Ryan
When Thunder ComesJ. Patrick Lewis
The Worst of FriendsSuzanne Jurmain


Action JacksonJan 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. MarshallVaunda Micheaux Nelson
Eleanor, Quiet No MoreDoreen Rappaport
Electric Ben: the Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin FranklinRobert Byrd
The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy)Barbara Kerley
Flight: the Journey of Charles LindberghRobert Burleigh
The Grand Mosque of Paris: a Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews During the HolocaustKaren Ruelle and Deborah Desaix
Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground RailroadAnn Petry
Harvesting Hope: the Story of Cesar ChavezKathleen Krull
The House Baba BuiltEd Young
Kate Shelley and the Midnight ExpressMargaret Wetterer
Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the AtlanticRobert Burleigh
The Poppy Lady: Molina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to VeteransBarbara Elizabeth Walsh
PyramidDavid Macaulay
Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting DownAndrea Davis Pinckney
Snowflake BentleyJacqueline Briggs Martin
TeammatesPeter Golenbock
Walt Whitman: Words for AmericaBarbara Kerley
War Boy: A Country ChildhoodMichael 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 GlobeAliki
Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest WomanKathleen Krull


14 Cows for AmericaCarmen Agra Deedy
Amelia Lost: the Life and Disappearance of Amelia EarhartCandace Fleming
Black Elk's Vision: a Lakota StoryS.D. Nelson
Bloody TimesJames Swanson
Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the PastJames Deem
Brooklyn BridgeLynn Curlee
Buffalo HuntRussell Freedman
Candy Bomber: the Story of the Berlin Airlift's "Chocolate Pilot"Michael Tunnell
Carver: a Life in PoemsMarilyn Nelson
CastleDavid Macaulay
Children of the Wild WestRussell Freedman
The Children We RememberChana Byers Ables
Chuck Close Up CloseJan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward JusticePhillip Hoose
Drawing from MemoryAllen Say
The Duel: the Parallel Lives of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron BurrJudith St. George
Eleanor Roosevelt: a Life of DiscoveryRussell Freedman
The Fairy Ring: Or, Elsie and Frances Fool the WorldMary Losure
Fossil Feud: the Rivalry of the First American Dinosaur HuntersThom Holmes
Freedom Riders: John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on the Front Lines of the Civil Rights MovementAnn Bausum
Freedom Walkers: the Story of the Montgomery Bus BoycottRussell Freedman
Heart and Soul: the Story of America and African AmericansKadir Nelson
The Great Molasses FloodDeborah Kops
Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's ShadowSusan Campbell Bartoletti
Horrible HistoriesTerry Deary
In Defense of Liberty: the Story of America's Bill of RightsRussell Freedman
It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to DrawDon Tate
The Journey That Saved Curious George: the Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. ReyLouise Borden
Kennedy Through the LensMartin Sandler
Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child LaborRussell Freedman
Lafayette and the American RevolutionRussell Freedman
Leonardo da VinciDiane Stanley
The Life and Death of Crazy HorseRussell Freedman
Lincoln: a PhotobiographyRussell Freedman
Lincoln Shot!: a President's Life RememberedBarry Denenberg
Looking for Life in the UniverseEllen Jackson
Lost Star: the Story of Amelia EarhartPatricia Lauber
The Many Rides of Paul RevereJames Cross Giblin
Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow WearyElizabeth Partidge
More About BoyRoald Dahl
Noah Webster: Weaver of WordsPegi Deitz Shea
Photo by BradyJennifer Armstrong
Red Bird Sings: the Story of Zitkala-Ša—Native-American Author, Musician, and ActivistGina Capaldi and Q.L. Pearce
Small Worlds: Maps and MapmakingKaren Romano Young
Spies of MississippiRick Bowers
Surviving Hitler: a Boy in the Nazi Death CampsAndrea Warren
Sweethearts of Rhythm: the Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the WorldMarilyn Nelson
Terezin: Voices from the HolocaustRuth Thomson
Through My EyesRuby Bridges
Titanic: Voices from the DisasterDeborah Hopkinson
Vincent van GoghJan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan
The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal RightsRussell Freedman
The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron CurtainPeter Sís
The War to End All Wars: World War IRussell Freedman
We Are the Ship: the Story of Negro League BaseballKadir Nelson
We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. HistoryPhillip Hoose
Wideness and Wonder: the Life and Art of Georgia O'KeefeSusan Goldman Rubin
The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the AirplaneRussell Freedman
The Year of GoodbyesDebbie Levy


An American Plague: the True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793Jim Murphy
Auschwitz: Voices from the Death CampJames Deem
Birmingham SundayLarry Dane Brimner
Black & White: the Confrontation Between Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene "Bull" ConnorLarry Dane Brimner
Black Potatoes: the Story of the Great Irish Famine 1845-1850Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Bomb: the Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous WeaponSteve Sheinkin
Burma ChroniclesGuy Delisle
Charles and EmmaDeborah Heiligman
Chasing Lincoln's KillerJames Swanson
Children of the Dust Bowl: the True Story of the Children at Weedpatch CampJerry Stanley
The CircuitFrancisco Jiménez
Clara Schumann: Piano VirtuosoSusanna Reich
e e cummings: a Poet's LifeCatherine Reef
Extraordinary Explorers and AdventurersJudy Alter
Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African SavannaJoseph Lemasolai Lekuton
Family of ManEdward Steichen
The Forbidden SchoolhouseSuzanne Jurmain
George Washington, SpymasterThomas Allen
Harriet Tubman, Secret AgentThomas Allen
If Stones Could Speak: Unlocking the Secrets of StonehengeMarc Aronson
Jane Austen: a Life RevealedCatherine Reef
The Life and Death of Adolf HitlerJames Cross Giblin
The Longitude PrizeJoan Dash
MarchJohn Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
Maus I & IIArt Spiegelman
Mister Lincoln's High-Tech WarThomas B. Allen and Roger MacBride Allen
The Notorious Benedict Arnold: a True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and TreacherySteve Sheinkin
Painting the Wild Frontier: the Art and Adventures of George CatlinSusanna Reich
The Port Chicago 50Steve Sheinkin
The President Has Been ShotJames Swanson
Reconstruction and the Aftermath of the Civil WarLisa Colozza Cocca
The Secret of the Yellow DeathSuzanne Jurmain
Secrets of a Civil War Submarine: Solving the Mysteries of the H.L. HunleySally Walker
Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: the Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and the EnduranceJennifer Armstrong
Sir Walter Raleigh and the Quest for El DoradoMarc Aronson
Six Days in October: the Stock Market Crash of 1929Karen Blumenthal
They Called Themselves the KKK: the Birth of an American Terrorist GroupSusan Campbell Bartoletti
Truce: the Day Soldiers Stopped FightingJim Murphy
Warriors Don't CryMelba Pattillo Beals
Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial MarylandSally Walker


1968Michael Kaufman
Anne Frank: the Diary of a Young GirlAnne Frank
Assault in NorwayThomas Gallagher
Bad BoyWalter Dean Myers
The Day the World Exploded: the Earthshaking Catastrophe at KrakatoaSimon Winchester
Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little RockDavid Margolick
Flesh and Blood So Cheap: the Triangle Disaster and its LegacyAlbert Marrin
God Grew Tired of UsJohn Bul Dau
Guest of Honor: Booker T. Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and the White House Dinner That Shocked a NationDeborah Davis
Hole in my LifeJack Gantos
The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksRebecca Skloot
In Cold BloodTruman Capote
Into Thin AirJon Krakauer
Kaffir BoyMark Mathabane
Life in a JarJack Mayer
Lipstick JihadAzadeh Moaveni
Malcolm XAndrew Helfer and Randy DuBurke
Nelson MandelaUmlanda Wezithombe/The Nelson Mandela Foundation
The Other Wes MooreWes Moore
PersepolisMarjane Satrapi
The PhotographerGuibert Lefevre Lemercier
She Would Not Be Moved: How We Tell the Story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus BoycottHerbert Kohl
StitchesDavid Small
Sugar Changed the WorldMarc Aronson and Marina Budhos
With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman's Right to VoteAnn Bausum
The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the ConstitutionLinda Monk
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