The Best Nonfiction Books for Middle School of 2021

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It’s not always easy to get middle schoolers to read nonfiction, but you can definitely learn a lot and have fun doing it. You just need to find the right books that your middle schooler is going to enjoy. So, we’ve come up with a list of recommended nonfiction books for middle school students.

These middle-grade nonfiction books are going to cover a variety of different topics and in many different ways. All you need to do is find something that your middle schooler is going to enjoy. Because once they get the hang of nonfiction, they might change their mind about trying other topics as well. That’s where it’s really going to get fun for everyone.

If you want to just get back to studying, get our top pick for nonfiction books for middle school here.
Our Top Favorite
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
Our Top Runner Up
Dragon Hoops
Our Top Value Pick
The Finest Hours (Young Readers Edition): The True Story of a Heroic Sea Rescue (True Rescue Series)
Just Mercy
Dragon Hoops
The Finest Hours
Our Top Favorite
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
Just Mercy
Our Top Runner Up
Dragon Hoops
Dragon Hoops
Our Top Value Pick
The Finest Hours (Young Readers Edition): The True Story of a Heroic Sea Rescue (True Rescue Series)
The Finest Hours

Last update: 2021-09-01

Our Favorites for Best Nonfiction Books for Middle School

We’re going to start with the books that we think are the absolute best. These are the ones that your middle school student should read no matter what. They’re some of the best nonfiction reading for middle school, and they’re about topics that they definitely should know. Not to mention they’re written in a way that they’re really going to like (as long as they give it a chance).

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Just Mercy is a young adult version of another book by the same name and an adaptation of a movie and documentary film as well. Stevenson approaches concepts that are definitely not unique to adults, such as discrimination, poverty, and wrongly convicted individuals, in a way that is designed to help young adults better understand the world they live in. Just Mercy focuses on ways that young people can understand but also take action to fight for justice in these and other areas.

With Just Mercy, some of the proceeds are donated to charities that are designed to help achieve justice for those in need. Not only that, but Just Mercy shows what the world looks like from the side of fighting for justice. Stevenson is an attorney in the fight and approaches the aspects of Just Mercy from his own point of view.

What Makes it Unique:

  • This book presents essential issues on social justice in a middle school reading level
  • Shows young people how they can make a difference in social justice

Why Choose this Nonfiction Book for Middle Schoolers:

  • Just Mercy looks at poverty, discrimination and wrongful conviction as problems that can be solved
  • Encourages young readers to get involved
On Sale
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
  • Spiegel Grau
  • Stevenson, Bryan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-09-01


Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand 

Hillenbrand already wrote Unbroken for adults, but this version is designed for younger readers. The idea is to provide the story that has inspired and captivated so many for a younger audience who can still learn a great deal. Unbroken teaches courage, fortitude, cunning, and fighting against the odds, which makes it an excellent option for middle school students who are facing their own struggles.

Hillenbrand presents the story of a young lieutenant who started off with a not-so-stellar life of crime and trouble but managed to turn his life around in many different ways. He became an Olympian and a soldier, and somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, he managed to become a model of endurance that young adults and even children of all ages can definitely admire.

What Makes it Unique:

  • Unbroken presents a not-so-perfect figure who grows throughout his life that makes it more relatable
  • This book expresses traits and skills that teens and younger would be able to use in their lives

Why Choose this Nonfiction Book for Middle Schoolers:

  • An interesting and exciting read that keeps them interested along the way
  • This book is easier to understand version of the original story with all the same lessons

Last update: 2021-09-01


Runner Ups for Best Nonfiction Books for Middle School

These books aren’t quite as great as our favorites. They still have a whole lot of great features, and they have plenty to offer, but they might not be quite as interesting, or the topic isn’t presented in quite the best way. But your middle schooler is still going to enjoy them, and they’re still going to learn a lot. These are still great books to get them interested in nonfiction.

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

Yang focuses on his own story for once in Dragon Hoops, discussing how he came to be a part of the Dragons, the men’s varsity basketball team where he teaches. Of course, he’s not playing, but even though he never had an interest in basketball when he was younger, he finds himself more than a little interested now. And that’s what Dragon Hoops is all about.

Yang writes in a graphic novel style, which makes Dragon Hoops even more interesting to read. But it’s still a true story about the team and about himself and his family in the process. Dragon Hoops talks about some of the most significant issues facing the world today in a way that’s relatable and easy to understand for children and teens of all ages.

What Makes it Unique:

  • Written in a graphic novel format for an exciting look and style
  • Discusses some of the most critical issues facing the world today

Why Choose this Nonfiction Book for Middle Schoolers:

  • This book is short and easy to read for younger middle school readers
  • Written by an author that many middle schoolers already know and admire
On Sale
Dragon Hoops
  • Hardcover Book
  • Yang, Gene Luen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-09-01


Case Closed by Susan Hughes

Unsolved mysteries can be fun, and that’s what Case Closed is about. Or rather, Case Closed is about things that used to be considered unsolved mysteries but have been resolved through the use of science. Hughes has definitely woven a fascinating read for students who love science and discovery and who have long been captivated with history and mysteries.

Case Closed looks at stories of all types, from the disappearance of the first female pharaoh of Egypt to the disappearance of Ubar and even the Sir John Franklin expedition to the Northwest Passage. Each of these unique mysteries is approached from what modern science can tell us and just how new technology continues to crack the case on additional stories and vanishing acts throughout history.

What Makes it Unique:

  • Case Closed explores some of the most unique mysteries throughout history
  • Looks at ways that science and modern technology has changed the way we look at these situations

Why Choose this Nonfiction Book for Middle Schoolers:

  • This book is great for kids interested in science and history
  • Gets kids interested in reading nonfiction by drawing them in with unique facts and stories
Case Closed?: Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science
  • Hughes, Susan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 88 Pages - 09/01/2013 (Publication Date) - Kids Can Press (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-09-01


Value Pick for Best Nonfiction Books for Middle School

Finally, we’re going to take a look at some value picks. These are going to be shorter books or lesser-known books, but they’re definitely still good. And they’re going to be inexpensive, which makes them a great choice if you’re looking to pick up something new for your middle schooler to try out (especially if they’ve never been into nonfiction books before.

The Finest Hours by Michael J. Tougias & Paul Casey Sherman

The Finest Hours actually has several different versions that are geared toward various age groups because it’s such a compelling option for examples of narrative nonfiction books for anyone to read. The story of a daring sea rescue, The Finest Hours, is a story that will attract readers of different ages and get them even more interested in nonfiction. That’s becauseTougias and Sherman weave a story that’s full of action, adventure, and suspense.

The Finest Hours is a story of bravery and heroism and makes sure that any reader feels like they’re right in the middle of everything that’s happening. Not only that, but it’s the start of a full series that gets readers right into the middle of the action again and again. There’s even a movie version of The Finest Hours now available from Disney.

What Makes it Unique:

  • The Finest Hours puts young readers directly into the action and the suspense of the story to keep them interested
  • Young adult adaptation of the full adult version of the story with the same lessons

Why Choose this Nonfiction Book for Middle Schoolers:

  • Harrowing story that keeps you at the edge of your seat
  • True story of bravery and heroism to attract those who aren’t as interested in non-fiction stories or reading
On Sale
The Finest Hours (Young Readers Edition): The True Story of a Heroic Sea Rescue (True Rescue Series)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Tougias, Michael J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-09-01


How to Choose the Best Nonfiction Books for Middle School for You?

Are you ready to start choosing some additional nonfiction books for middle schoolers? Well then, you’re going to want to look at this section so you can pick out some great books that your child will enjoy. These tips will make it easy to head to the library or the book store and pick out a book that your child will actually want to read, rather than one that they have to read for school. And that’s the whole point.

What Are Some Good Nonfiction Books Do We Recommend for 7th Graders?

When it comes to finding nonfiction books for 7th graders, you’ll want to start by looking at the options we’ve mentioned above. Each of them will be good for middle school readers of all ages and especially those who are interested in some adventure.

Other books that your 7th grader might like include The Final Four, Wonder, and No Better Friend. Each of these books is designed to approach friendship, leadership, personal growth, and love in different ways that help anyone to become the person they want to be and also help them come to enjoy reading (even nonfiction).

Are You Searching for Any Particular Topic? History, Biography, or Science

One of the big things to think about is the topic. Everyone has an interest in something. Maybe it’s history or biographies or science. Perhaps it’s space or art or sports. No matter what it is, if you find a nonfiction book that’s related to that topic, you’re going to have a much easier time getting your child to read the book.

Wrapping Things Up: The Best Nonfiction Books for Middle School

Here’s a consolidated table of the best nonfiction books for middle school we reviewed:

Our Top Favorite
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
Our Top Runner Up
Dragon Hoops
Our Top Value Pick
The Finest Hours (Young Readers Edition): The True Story of a Heroic Sea Rescue (True Rescue Series)
Just Mercy
Dragon Hoops
The Finest Hours
Our Top Favorite
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
Just Mercy
Our Top Runner Up
Dragon Hoops
Dragon Hoops
Our Top Value Pick
The Finest Hours (Young Readers Edition): The True Story of a Heroic Sea Rescue (True Rescue Series)
The Finest Hours

Last update: 2021-09-01

If you’re looking for the best books out of each of these categories, we can help you out. When it comes to our absolute favorites, Just Mercy is the one to start with, as a story of social justice and a fight for everyone.

In our runner-up category, you’ll want to check out Dragon Hoops, which presents a nonfiction story in a different format, which makes it a whole lot more interesting for new nonfiction readers. Our favorite value pick is, of course, The Finest Hours, which tells the story of heroism and bravery in an exciting way for readers of all ages.

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

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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