Saturday, March 13, 2021

Middle Grade March: Nonfiction

I'm back today with 15 of my favorite nonfiction middle grade books for you to enjoy during Middle Grade March! 

All Thirteen... I just talked about this book here but I really can't stress enough how much I loved this book! This is the story of the rescue of the Thailand boys soccer team trapped in a flooded cave for two weeks. It is so well-written and moving.

Amelia Lost... I I requested this middle grade nonfiction as a library book by mistake. I was looking for a grown-up book on Amelia Earhart and this one came in instead. I almost returned it without reading it but decided to give it a try and was so glad that I did! You should be aware that Amelia Earhart had an affair and that is talked about in this book but it was still so well-done and I really enjoyed it.

Best Friends Forever... this book does fall on the lower end of this age spectrum but I just loved it so much! All of the stories in it were interesting but the story of Koko the gorilla was so fascinating to me and got me on a very strong Koko kick. I have since red several other stories about this fascinating gorilla and I'm so excited for my kids to read this one too.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind... This is such a cool story about a young man in Africa who fought through starvation and other tribulations to change his family's and village's lives forever. William Kambkwamba created a windmill out of scraps found in the junkyard and used that to power his village which brought his family income and saved the villagers in several ways. This book is filled with so much inspiring STEM information without meaning to and the perseverance, loyalty, and friendship displayed here were all so moving. I was so impressed with this book.

Brown Girl Dreaming... Jacqueline Woodson tells her story here of what life was like for her as an African American child in the '60s and '70s. The civil rights era is a time period I am always very interested in reading about so this one was a really great read for me. It is written in verse but I have found that that doesn't bother me at all anymore.

Candy Bomber... What would a Sara Bell list be without at least one WWII story, right? This is the story of Gail Halverson, the candy bomber who dropped chocolate out of his plane as he flew over restricted areas after the war. This is a very uplifting read unlike so many WWII stories. There are also some great picture books on this subject but I adored this middle grade nonfiction and hope anyone who likes WWII stories will give it a whirl. 

CS Lewis: Master Storyteller... This biography by Geoff and Janet Benge is apparently written in a very different style from their others in this series, but I have not read those so can't compare yet. I really enjoyed learning more about CS Lewis and his fascinating life/work.

Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport... Oh, look! Another WWII book! This was my first time hearing about the kindertransport and I was very fascinated by the concept. This one does not have the same cheerful and heart-warming feel that candy bomber does so I mostly only recommend this one to those who can handle sad subject matter well and are extra fascinated by WWII stories.

The Griffin and the Dinosaur... This is a really cool story for would-be paleontologists. This is a story about an exploration of dinosaur bones in years past and an attempt at understanding if certain mythical creatures like the griffin were actually imagined because of found fossils before dinosaurs were known as dinosaurs.

Lost on a Mountain in Maine... When I read this fascinating account of a young boy scout who got separated from his troop and was lost on a mountain in Maine I was so impressed and moved. I immediately handed this short book to my husband who also read it in one sitting and then said "that is one tough kid."

Love Does for Kids... I love this middle grade devotional, or maybe collection of essays is a better description, so much! My whole family loves this book and I talked about it on episode 1 of The Christian Bookworm Podcast as well. I just saw two days ago that Everybody Always for Kids is either out or coming out and I am so excited to try that one too! 

A Pioneer Sampler... I was torn between listing this book as a fiction or a nonfiction because it is both! This is a nonfiction account of pioneer life-- what it was like, how things were made, how things were done-- with a fictionalized pioneer family and their stories added in to bring it all to life. This is the classic definition of a "living book" in that I learned so much and I'm bringing so much of this knowledge to our own little homestead but also had a blast doing it.

Soul Surfer... This is probably best for the higher end of the age spectrum. This is the story of Bethany Hamilton, professional surfer who was attacked by a shark while surfing as a 12 or 13 year old. She lost her arm and had of course quite the struggle but went on to do great things and inspire many. I really loved Bethany's sweet spirit and inspiring outlook, and I loved her stories of perseverance and faith. This book was also a cool look at Hawaiian culture too.

I Survived: Five Epic Disasters... The I survived series is fictionalized accounts of disasters and wars and I actually do like quite a few of them (though not all of them,) but this is the nonfiction version of those stories. This is essentially the author's compilation of research used before writing the fictionalized accounts and I think they are all so fascinating. This author has a really great way of bringing hope and light into these sad / scary stories and I am very impressed. These nonfiction accounts, while still dealing with upsetting subject matter, are not quite as sad / scary as some of the fictionalized versions are.

Where is the Bermuda Triangle... The Bermuda Triangle is one of those weird subjects I kind of geek out about so I was super excited when I saw this book had released. I read it during one nap time and really enjoyed it. This is a cool look at multiple stories of Bermuda Triangle disappearances from multiple angles and there was a lot of history and science mixed in here in a way that was still fascinating and engaging.

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