They are reading more nonfiction books in 6th grade than ever before. Which means they need to read books that are good for practice. Nonfiction books that are so good, your kids will learn a lot and still enjoy reading them.
Nonfiction Books for 11-Year-Olds (6th Grade)
Accidental Archeologists: True Stories of Unexpected DIscoveries by Sarah Albee, illustrated by Nathan Hackett
Albee always writes great nonfiction books, and this one is no exception. There are stories about accidental archaeological discoveries that are very interesting. The writing is very good, and the stories are very good, too. She adds black and white photos, informational insets, and updates for the present day. I had a lot of fun learning about the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, a fought-over golden Buddha statue, a 5300-year-old mummy, and other things. You’ll enjoy it, too.
Wild Outside Around the World with Survivorman by Les Stroud illustrations by Andres P. Barr
Les Stroud has a lot of personal stories about how he went on trips and survived in all kinds of places around the world. Photos, illustrations, maps, and informational insets help make the stories even more interesting. I couldn’t stop reading this book, and I think it’s great.
Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert
Excellent! Both Annie and Helen have both good and bad things about them in the book. It also shows a lot of big changes in their personalities. If you don’t know the story, or even if you do, read this book. Even if you do. When you hear how hard it was to teach Helen and how Annie’s persistence paid off in the end, you’ll be in awe.
Two Truths and a Lie by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson, illustrated by Lisa K. Weber
I love this book because it’s so smart! Kids should read and figure out what is true and what isn’t. People who read and think about your book will also do research while they’re reading and thinking about it. (Because 11-year-old readers must know if a prehistoric dinosaur named “Bambi” exists, if the slyrking will take over your picnic, or if doctors really can implant a stimoceiver in the brain to control your behavior.)
The Girl Who Drew Butterflies How Maria Marian’s Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman
Detailed illustrations and photos of Maria’s actual drawings and the insects and plants she saw are included in the book, as well as informational insets about the world around her when she was alive. These include things like the first museums, the roles of women, and science before photography, to name just a few. Maria’s love of nature, especially insects, led her to be one of the first naturalists to record a butterfly’s change from a caterpillar to a butterfly. Her story is both interesting and inspirational. 🙂 I love this book 🙂 Added to the list of the best biographies for Women’s History Month:
It’s Up to You, Abe Lincoln: How I Made the Biggest Decisions of My Life by Tom & Leila Hirschfeld
As Abe Lincoln, you’re in charge of the car in this book. It’s written from the point of view of a second person. It tells your story from when you were a child with pictures, fun facts, and “What Would You Do?” quizzes. Suppose you’re thinking about getting married to Mary. A list of four choices will be given to you with a description for each of them. You can choose from: A. Split up with Mary. B. Go out with other women. This is the best way to get married quickly, before your feet get even colder. D. Talk to a pastor. Then, you’ll learn what you did. Break up with Mary. The writing is easy to read, the layout is eye-catching, and the information is interesting and important to history.
Awesome Achievers in Technology by Alan Katz, illustrated by Chris Judge
It’s easy for kids to read this great middle-grade biography because the author makes the information relevant and relatable, which makes it more interesting. The author is very funny when he talks about his own silly inventions or the questions he asks Siri. There are illustrations, quizzes, fast facts, and activities, as well as a lot of interesting information about each inventor’s life. In this book, you’ll learn about the people who made video games, TV remote controls and the cell phone. You’ll also learn about windshield wipers, the first web browser, and the microwave oven. I like that the book has both men and women inventors in it! Other than that, Katz shows us how each inventor came up with their idea and how they made their product.
Do You Know Where the Animals Live? by Peter Wohlleben
How is this book organized? It is based on questions about animals. Every time you have a question, look for the answer in a two-page spread with photos and text. This is a book about animals that isn’t like any other. It has beautiful layouts with full-color photos, quizzes, at-home applications, and a lot of interesting and useful information. Animals can live on plants alone, but can they? No, they don’t. So that their feet can be heard.
The How and Wow of the Human Body: From Your Tongue to Your Toes and all the Guts in Between by Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz, illustrated by Jack Teagle
From the Wow in the World podcast hosts comes a beautiful, fact-filled, and fun book about the body. When you read about your body, you can’t help but learn a lot. You start at the top, with your head, and work down to the outside parts like your skin and nails, to the insides like your immune and digestive systems. Each page has a lot to learn and love.
How to Go Anywhere (And Not Get Lost): A Guide to Navigation for Young Adventurers by Hans Aschim, illustrated by Andres Lozano
FANTASTIC! Using interesting informational writing, readers learn about the history of navigation and how it has changed over time. They also learn about new technology and better maps. Readers will be able to use what they learn in the book by looking at examples of how to do things. For example, “Make Your Own Stick Chart” helps you make an ancient way to map the ocean, and “Visualizing Declination” shows you how magnetic declination can make a big difference. In your homeschool or science class, you can use this all year long. You can also use it during the summer when you spend time in nature.
Science Comics Coral Reefs Cities of the Ocean by Maris Wicks
An adorable yellow fish is the narrator of this interesting book about coral reefs. It’s all facts, so most kids (or adults) won’t want to read it in one sitting. The best way to learn about coral reefs is to read it in chunks.
Survivors of the Holocaust: True Stories of Six Extraordinary Children by Kath Shackleton, illustrated by Zane Whittingham
These Holocaust survivor stories must be told, and they must be told well. Because these six children started just like any of the kids reading their stories, they were ordinary kids who experienced the hardest things a child could face…being torn from their homes, separated from family, captured as a prisoner, and/or forced to hide. Graphic storytelling with unique art helps you remember the clear, compelling stories that will stay with you. A lot of these kids have had a lot of bad things happen in their lives. Even though these kids are still alive, we still feel like we’ve lost something even though they did. We need to read more books like this. We can’t forget. Buy this book for your school and library!