Non-Fiction Summer Reading for Grades 2 – 8

Summer is upon us, along with summer reading lists! While there are plenty of fiction recommendations to go around, we wanted to share some non-fiction picks as well. According to one study, the average child spends less than minutes a day reading informational text, compared to the 20 minutes they spend reading fiction (Rideout, Foehr, & Roberts, 2010). Let’s work to change that this summer by introducing our kids to some awesome non-fiction books!

Grades 2 – 3

Castle: How It Works
by David Macaulay & Sheila Keenan

Experience life in a medieval fortress. Every part of the castle has a function. Walls keep the enemy out. Towers protect the lord and the soldiers. From the moat and portcullis to the great hall and dungeon, see how a castle works as an enemy army tries to storm the walls.

I See a Kookaburra! Discovering Animal Habitats Around the World
by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page

I See a Kookaburra! presents a look at the many different environments animals adapt to, letting readers search for an oyster-catcher, an elephant shrew, and a fierce snapping turtle in the places where they live.

The Story of Snow
by Mark Cassino & Jon Nelson

How do snow crystals form? What shapes can they take? Are no two snow crystals alike? These questions and more are answered in this visually stunning exploration of the science of snow.

Grades 4 – 5

Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard
by Loree Griffin Burns

Anyone can get involved in gathering data for ongoing, actual scientific studies. Just get out into a field, urban park, or your own backyard. You can tally woodpeckers or sweep the grass for ladybugs. This book will show you how.

by Patricia Hruby Powell

In exuberant verse and stirring pictures, Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson create an extraordinary portrait for young people of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world.

What Was the March on Washington?
by Kathleen Krull

On August 28, 1963, more than 200,000 people gathered in Washington, DC, to demand equal rights for all races. It was there that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, and it was this peaceful protest that spurred the momentous civil rights laws of the mid-1960s. With black-and-white artwork throughout and sixteen pages of photographs, the March is brought to life!

Grades 6 – 8

Brown Girl Dreaming
by Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement.

Primates: the fearless science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas
by Jim Ottaviani & Maris Wicks

Primates is an accessible, entertaining, and informative look at the field of primatology and at the lives of three of the most remarkable women scientists of the twentieth century.

Women in Science
by Rachel Ignotofsky

A charmingly illustrated and educational book, New York Times best seller Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from the ancient to the modern world.


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