The Best Nonfiction Books for 7th Graders (12-Year-Olds)

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Are you a little unsure about what your tween should be reading? Do you feel overwhelmed by the emotional angst of your 7th grader? Do you need to find a much needed distraction for your 7th grader to enjoy? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ve come to the right place: a glimpse into some good nonfiction books for 7th graders.

Do you think reading nonfiction books can help your 7th grade survive the awkward tween years? Yep, it sure can!

Nonfiction books that inspire critical thinking can certainly be pivotal for a 7th grader. This list provides includes some high interest nonfiction books for middle schoolers to hopefully encourage a love of reading.

Keep reading to discover the best nonfiction books for 7th graders!

Why Reading Nonfiction is Important for 7th GradersWhy Reading Nonfiction is Important for 7th Graders

The middle school years are the worst years for many students, and 7th grade might be the most awful of the middle school years. Stuck in the middle, 7th graders are too young for the cool 8th graders, but too mature for 6th graders. Stuck in this weird in-between place, 7th graders need a creative outlet to engage with.

Reading provides an appropriate outlet to engage with. Whether the genre is fiction or nonfiction, reading is such an invaluable and life-changing opportunity. Reading is a gift that you give yourself—your emotions and your mind.

When it comes to nonfiction, this genre is often neglected in the educational system. In recent years, there has been a push to include more nonfiction works of merit into the curriculum, it is never too early or late to begin encouraging students to read nonfiction on their own time.

We’ve compiled a list of the best nonfiction books for 7th graders, so keep reading!

Award Winning Nonfiction Books for 7th Graders

Award Winning Nonfiction Books for 7th Graders

1. The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found by Martin W. Sandler

Martin W. Sandler’s The Whydah: A Pirate Feared, Wrecked, and Found is a YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Finalist and a popular book for 7th grade book for anyone interested in Blackbeard—or pirates. Sandler writes about the popularity of pirates from 1650-1730, a time when Blackbeard was known to have ruled the ocean waves. The Whydah, the ship which Black Sam Bellamy commandeered, sank in 1717 off the coast of Cape Cod. Sandler’s text traces the life of Blackbeard and the treasure that was found aboard by archeologists in 1984. This is a good nonfiction book for any 7th grade pirate lover!

On Sale
The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found
The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found
  • Sandler, Martin W. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 176 Pages - 03/12/2019 (Publication Date) - Candlewick (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-04-15


2. The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming

Winner of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia is a compelling, mysterious, and interesting nonfiction book for 7th graders. The story of the Romanov family comes to life within the pages, and the chilling Rasputin lurks throughout the story. Candace Fleming’s book is accessible and engaging, making it a popular book for 7th graders. Filled with maps, pictures, and family trees, this is a good nonfiction book for 7th graders interested in World History!

Last update: 2021-04-16


3. Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings By Margarita Engle

Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings is an Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction Award Finalist and the author, Margarita Engle, writes about her two different homelands. She writes about being raised in Los Angeles and flying to Cuba to spend the summer months. When the Cuban revolution begins, Margarita struggles to understand the tension between her two homelands. This memoir is a perfect nonfiction book that inspires critical thinking for 7th graders!

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Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir
  • Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Engle, Margarita (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-04-16


4. Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi

In Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card, Sara Saedi writes about being a teenaged, undocumented immigrant from the Middle East. Saedi writes about being undocumented in America, and shares about her family’s hard work and dedication to provide a better life for her and her sister. Both funny and serious, this is an example of a great nonfiction book that inspires critical thinking, prompting 7th graders to think about life differently. Sara Saedi’s book is a good nonfiction book for 7th graders to learn more about the immigrant experience.

Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card
Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card
  • Saedi, Sara (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 03/26/2019 (Publication Date) - Ember (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-04-16


The Best Arts Nonfiction Books for 7th Graders

The Best Arts Nonfiction Books for 7th Graders

5. The Creativity Project: An Awesometastic Story Collection by Colby Sharp

The Creativity Project: An Awesometastic Story Collection is the ultimate nonfiction book for 7th grade art fanatics. Colby Sharp pioneered the project of more than forty collaborative artists—photographers, poets, artists, writers, illustrators, and more! This book is phenomenal for any lover of illustrations, drawings, poetry, and prose, and it will inspire any and all 7th graders to interact with various artforms for appreciatively. Colby Sharp’s collection will no doubt be a high interest nonfiction book for middle schoolers and 7th grade art lovers.

On Sale
The Creativity Project: An Awesometastic Story Collection
The Creativity Project: An Awesometastic Story Collection
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 09/03/2019 (Publication Date) - Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-04-16


6. The Future Architect’s Handbook by Barbara Beck

For the 7th grader aspiring to create buildings, or maybe even become an architect, The Future Architect’s Handbook is the ultimate guide to the job. Barbara Beck walks readers through an architect’s work by describing the process of designing and building a house. Beck focuses on four main drawings, which are the foundation to architectural training. The book is a compilation of pen-and-ink drawings, which will certainly inspire any 7th grader to enjoy how buildings are made. This is one of the best nonfiction books for 7th graders when it comes to art and future career thinking!

On Sale
The Future Architect's Handbook
The Future Architect's Handbook
  • Hardcover Book
  • Beck, Barbara (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-04-16


7. Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World by Robbie Robertson, Jim Guerinot, Sebastian Robertson, and Jared Levine

For the 7th grader music lover, this book details the stories and achievements of the musical greats—Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, and Bob Dylan (to name a few.) Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World is a great biography book for 7th graders, because it not only includes two accompanying CDs, but it also gives in-depth background information about the various musicians and their experiences. The authors certainly make this book exciting and engaging by including a celebration of twenty-seven musical geniuses. This is a good book for 7th graders who love classic rock!

On Sale
Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World
Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Robertson, Robbie (Author)

Last update: 2021-04-16


8. National Geographic The Photo Ark Limited Earth Day Edition: One Man’s Quest to Document the World’s Animals by Joel Sartore

For the curious, animal loving 7th grader, this nonfiction book is a captivating read filled with photographs of the world’s animals. Joel Sartore’s mission is to capture and document ever animal—specifically those animals that are endangered species and facing extinction. Writer Douglas Chadwick comes alongside Sartore’s photographs, offering intriguing stories about the animal kingdom and showing reverence towards both the smallest and largest animals. Sartore’s text is a popular nonfiction book for 7th graders!

Last update: 2021-04-16


9. Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners by Naomi Shihab Nye

Award-winning poet and teacher, Naomi Shihab Nye writes about peace, humor, empathy, and hope. The poems are beautiful and heartfelt, and most importantly, accessible to a 7th grade reader. If you have an aspiring poet, the words of Naomi Shihab Nye’s Voices in the Air: Poems of Listeners, is poetry collection is a good nonfiction book for 7th graders to fall in love with.

On Sale
Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners
Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners
  • Hardcover Book
  • Nye, Naomi Shihab (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-04-16


The Best History Nonfiction Books for 7th Graders

The Best History Nonfiction Books for 7th Graders

10. Votes for Women!: American Suffragists and The Battle for the Ballot by Winifred Conkling

For the 7th grader who loves American history, Votes for Women!: American Suffragists and The Battle for the Ballot is a great nonfiction book about women protesting the right to vote. Women were prohibited the right to vote for 150 years, and this book provides an in-depth look at the key figures who were pivotal in advocating for women’s rights in the 1900s. Winifred Conkling illustrates the hope that this movement created, while also displaying the brutality many women faced during Women’s Suffrage. This is a good nonfiction book for 7th graders interested in learning more about women’s right to vote and American history!

On Sale
Votes for Women!: American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot
Votes for Women!: American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot
  • Conkling, Winifred (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 01/07/2020 (Publication Date) - Algonquin Young Readers (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-04-16


11. Chasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin by James L. Swanson

For the 7th grader who loves history and mystery, Chasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin is a poignant nonfiction narrative about Martin Luther King Jr.’s Civil Rights Activism and the end of his life. Focusing primarily on King’s killer—James Earl Ray—James L. Swanson captures how tragic the loss of King was to America. Elaborating on the racist prison escapee, Swanson illustrates just how crazy Ray was in an effort to remind readers how radical and vital King’s leadership and activism was. This a good nonfiction book that inspires critical thinking about race and politics, and it is a good book for 7th graders who are wanting to learn more about American history!

On Sale
Chasing King's Killer
Chasing King's Killer
  • Hardcover Book
  • Swanson, James L. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-04-16


12. Four Perfect Pebbles: A True Story of the Holocaust by Liza Perl and Marion Blumenthal Lazan

Four Perfect Pebbles: A True Story of the Holocaust a devastating account of Marion Blumenthal Lazan’s experiences during the Holocaust. A gut-wrenching memoir, Lazan writes about the horror of being a refugee in prison camps, and describes the persistence she needed to make it to the United States. This book contains forty archival photographs, in addition to other bibliographic information. This is a powerful nonfiction biography book for 7th graders, which can help them reconsider their understanding of world history.

Four Perfect Pebbles: A True Story of the Holocaust
Four Perfect Pebbles: A True Story of the Holocaust
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Perl, Lila (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-04-16


13. Red Scarf Girl by Ji-li Jiang

In this poignant memoir, Ji-li Jiang writes about her experience during the Cultural Revolution in China during Mao Ze-dong’s reign. In 1966, Jiang is twelve-years old and the world is bright before her in Communist China. Then, the Cultural Revolution begins. Ji-li Jiang’s writing is very personal and engaging, and it will certainly appeal to readers of all ages. However, it is a fantastic book for 7th graders, because this nonfiction book is extremely accessible. Be sure to pick up a copy of this nonfiction book for your history-buff 7th grader!

On Sale
Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution
Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution
  • HarperTrophy
  • Jiang, Ji-li (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-04-16


The Best Science Nonfiction Books for 7th Graders

The Best Science Nonfiction Books for 7th Graders

14. A Dog in the Cave: The Wolves Who Made Us Human by Kay Fydenborg

Is your 7th grader a devoted dog lover? This book might be the nonfiction book for them then! A Dog in the Cave: The Wolves Who Made Us Human is an in-depth look into the evolution of dogs, considering how they have become man’s best friend. According to Kay Fydenborg, dogs are the animals in which humans communicate best with. For the animal loving kids, this is a good nonfiction book for 7th graders who love dogs!

On Sale
A Dog in the Cave: The Wolves Who Made Us Human
A Dog in the Cave: The Wolves Who Made Us Human
  • HMH
  • Hardcover Book
  • Frydenborg, Kay (Author)

Last update: 2021-04-16


15. Everything You Need to Ace Science in One Big Fat Notebook by Workman Publishing

This book works in conjunction with Common Core State Standards, which is important, but the book itself is also interesting. The book includes a number of topics from the Periodic Table to energy to the Solar System to anatomy. Everything You Need to Ace Science in One Big Fat Notebook is a must-have nonfiction book for kids who love science—or for those who need some extra science help. Be sure to check out this popular 7th grade book about science!

Last update: 2021-04-16


16. Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Catherine Thimmesh

Women have been the creators of more inventions than they have received credit for. In Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women, Catherine Thimmesh writes about the inventions and innovations that have changed everyday life and the technological world. For girls who need some inspiration, this book about scientific discovery is a good nonfiction book for the middle-age girl geniuses around you! This is one of the best books for the 7th grade girls!

On Sale
Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women
Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women
  • Hardcover Book
  • Thimmesh, Catherine (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-04-16


17. Maker Lab: 28 Super Cool Projects by Jack Challoner

In Maker Lab: 28 Super Cool Projects, Jack Challoner provides step-by-step instructions for each activity, providing an estimated time of completion. Each activity is ranked as easy, medium, or hard, and many of the activities require household items. Photographs are included of each activity, and there is a “why” and “how” to detail how the various projects function and operate. This is a great nonfiction book to encourage students to take an interest in science. Any 7th grader would enjoy this high interest nonfiction books!

On Sale
Maker Lab: 28 Super Cool Projects
Maker Lab: 28 Super Cool Projects
  • Includes 28 awesome experiments & activities that will get young inventors' wheels turning
  • Help kids find their inner inventor and create winning projects for science fairs & school projects
  • Each activity is appropriate for children ages 8-12

Last update: 2021-04-16


18. Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill by Heather L. Montgomery

Have you ever been interested by a flattened rattlesnake on the side of the road? Heather L. Montgomery has, which is what inspired her to write this book, Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill. Montgomery is a wildlife researcher, and exploring the American South, she finds myriad roadkill animals that she can poke, prod, and dissect. For the curious kid, this nonfiction book is awesome for any creepy, crawly 7th grader!

On Sale
Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill
Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill
  • Hardcover Book
  • Montgomery, Heather L. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-04-16


The Best Biography Nonfiction Books for 7th Graders

The Best Biography Nonfiction Books for 7th Graders

19. The Boy Who Became Buffalo Bill: Growing Up Billy Cody in Bleeding Kansas by Andrea Warren

The Boy Who Became Buffalo Bill: Growing Up Billy Cody in Bleeding Kansas is all about the childhood of Buffalo Bill, or rather, Billy Cody. Before he became Buffalo Bill, Billy Cody was forced to grow up quickly after his father was brutally murdered. He was responsible for taking care of the farm, but when the Civil War began to affect Kansas, Billy Cody joined the Jayhawkers, and became a soldier and spy by the time he was seventeen years old. For those who love adventure and grit, this is a motivating biography book for 7th graders!

The Boy Who Became Buffalo Bill: Growing Up Billy Cody in Bleeding Kansas
The Boy Who Became Buffalo Bill: Growing Up Billy Cody in Bleeding Kansas
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Warren, Andrea (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-04-16


20. Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman

The camaraderie of brothers Vincent and Theo Van Gogh is a special story. The two brothers shared everything with each other—stories of friends, lovers, work, accomplishments and failures. Author Deborah Heiligman draws on the 658 letters Vincent wrote to Theo as well as other intensive research. For middle age readers who enjoy reading about family dynamics, this is a good biography book for 7th graders!

On Sale
Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers
Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers
  • Heiligman, Deborah (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 464 Pages - 10/08/2019 (Publication Date) - Square Fish (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-04-16


The Best Sports Nonfiction Books for 7th Graders

The Best Sports Nonfiction Books for 7th Graders

21. Throw Like a Girl: How to Dream Big Believe in Yourself by Jennie Finch

In this sports biography, Jennie Finch focuses on how sports strengthen girls into strong, undefeatable young women. A compilation of real life experience and scientific research, Finch discusses what it means to be a female athlete, all the while encouraging young women to find their passion and to invest in their athleticism. Though this book specifically targets young girls, this is a great high interest nonfiction books for middle school boys and girls alike!

On Sale
Throw Like a Girl: How to Dream Big & Believe in Yourself
Throw Like a Girl: How to Dream Big & Believe in Yourself
  • Throw Like a Girl How to Dream Big Believe in Yourself
  • Finch, Jennie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-04-16


22. Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance by Simone Biles

Olympic-gold medalist and American Gymnast Simone Biles writes about the road to her success in her memoir, Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance. Winner of nineteen gold medals, Simone Biles’ memoir traces her work ethic and dedication along the way to winning the Olympics. She also expresses how invaluable her family and faith have been in helping her maintain confidence, courage, and consistency throughout the hardships of her Olympic journey. This is a good nonfiction book for 7th graders who enjoy gymnastics or the Olympics!

On Sale
Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance
Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance
  • Zondervan
  • Hardcover Book
  • Biles, Simone (Author)

Last update: 2021-04-16


23. Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

With a slightly complicated childhood, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was raised by a strict father and battled debilitating shyness. In addition to struggling to fit in, he struggled against racism and prejudices, but basketball was his safe haven. Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a great read for any basketball fans or starts. This is a good nonfiction book for 7th graders who enjoy basketball or sports of any kind!

On Sale
Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court
Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court
  • Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 11/06/2018 (Publication Date) - Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-04-16


24. Kobe Bryant: The Inspiring Story of One of Basketball's Greatest Shooting Guards (Basketball Biography Books) by Clayton Geoffreys

Clayton Geoffreys is best known for his work in sports biography, and Kobe Bryant: The Inspiring Story of One of Basketball’s Greatest Shooting Guards (Basketball Biography Books) is part of Geoffreys’ Basketball Series. Geoffrey traces Kobe Bryant’s early years up to his basketball legacy with the Lakers. This is an awesome biography book for 7th grade sports fans!

Kobe Bryant: The Inspiring Story of One of Basketball's Greatest Shooting Guards (Basketball Biography Books)
Kobe Bryant: The Inspiring Story of One of Basketball's Greatest Shooting Guards (Basketball Biography Books)
  • Geoffreys, Clayton (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 179 Pages - 10/30/2014 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-04-16


FAQ When Buying Nonfiction Books for 7th Graders

FAQ When Buying Nonfiction Books for 7th Graders

Middle age readers can be a tricky crowd to buy for. 7th graders fall in a weird in-between space. Some 7th grade readers might be more advanced and ready to take on more challenging books, while other 7th graders might need more time reading simple, less-advanced texts. It is important to consider your 7th graders reading capacity before buying a nonfiction book.

Overall, nonfiction books should be fun and interesting, but it is important to consider content and accessibility, too. Keep reading for more information on buying nonfiction books for 7th graders!

What’s the Best Way to Find the Reading Level of a Book?

There are a few techniques when it comes to determining the reading level of a book. Check out the front or back cover of a book; if that doesn’t work, skim the copyright page. If a book doesn’t have the reading level on or inside the book, there are a few other methods, too.

To identify the appropriate reading level, you can skim the book’s pages. Other options can include research or browsing book lists. The New York Public Library has a great list of age-appropriate books with their reading levels. The best nonfiction books for 7th graders should be accessible, yet challenging.

What’s the Average Reading Rate for a 7th Grader?

Researchers anticipate that a 7th grade student can read approximately 170-220 words per minute. Dr. Beth M. Frye from Appalachian State University in North Carolina created calculation to configure word speed based on a time limit and page numbers. You can find the link here with the estimate and reading rate chart breakdown. The best books for a 7th grader to read are often slightly above their average reading level.

Is 7th Grade a Good Time to Introduce More Nonfiction to a young Reader?

Now. Soon. Anytime. Reading should certainly be cultivated at a young age, but it is never too early or late to begin reading habitually. Introducing your 7th grader to nonfiction can also be a great way to give them agency in the material they choose to educate themselves on.

By encouraging a 7th grader to gain an interest in nonfiction or biography books, you should understand their interests, passions, and hobbies. There are nonfiction books for nearly every genre possible, which makes it easier to find a book that connects with your 7th grader.

What Makes a Good Nonfiction Book for a 7th Grader

A good nonfiction book for 7th graders is one that allows them a choice in what they are learning. While school is important, many students learn better by having autonomy in deciding what information they would like to learn and engage with. Content and reading level are necessary to consider, yet 7th graders should also find a nonfiction book that connects with their own personal interests.

Although the classroom is often where students are taught, many self-taught skills are vital to creating a well-rounded learner and student. Reading nonfiction is one of those skills. A good nonfiction book for 7th graders is certainly one that they have picked out, or one that they have an interest or investment in.

Wrapping Things Up: The Best Nonfiction Books for 7th Graders

There are far too many nonfiction books even to begin to include all of them on this list, but the texts on this list are reflective of various genres, histories, and ideas. Encourage 7th graders to engage with different styles and stories. This way, 7th graders can discover new ideas, while also experimenting with what it means to learn on their own.

Motivate your 7th grader to be independent by introducing nonfiction books that are diverse, exciting, and engaging. The best nonfiction books for 7th graders are ones that they have an interest in, too. Reading nonfiction books should be fun!

Did you enjoy this post? Then you may also like our posts on the best 6th grade non-fiction books and 8th grade non-fiction books.

We also go over the best middle school books of all time here.

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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