Middle Grade Nonfiction Narratives

Booklist 2-5

Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin

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In the midst of WWII, German scientists discover the potential to unleash massive amounts of energy from a nuclear chain reaction and the race is on to build the world’s most destructive weapon. Under the strictest call for secrecy in a converted school in New Mexico, America’s best physicists come together in a tireless effort to outwit the Germans and build the first atomic bomb.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Young Readers Addition) by William Kamkwamba

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William lives in Africa where famine is common and education is out of reach for most families. To satisfy his craving for information, William spends his spare time reading science books at the local library. He puts that knowledge to use and ends of building a windmill that brings electricity to his family’s tiny thatch-roofed house and gains him international fame.

Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton

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Bethany Hamilton lives to surf. She’s one of the best young surfers in the world when she is attacked by a shark and loses an arm. Instead of giving up, she gets back on her board and fights her way back to the world championships.

I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World (Young Readers Edition) by Malala Yousafzai

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When the oppressive Taliban takes over Swat Valley, Pakistan in 2009, one girl stands up for her right to an education. In retaliation, she is shot in the head and nearly dies. She survives and her story goes global. Inspirational story of one person taking a stand against the odds.

The Great Fire by Jim Murphy

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This is a telling of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 in real-time, as it happens. It begins with the fire in the O’Leary barn and describes its spread from the perspectives of witnesses who were there. The suspense builds as the fire expands and hundreds of thousands of people are forced to flee.

Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges

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Ruby Bridges is an icon and witness to the early days of the Civil Rights Movement. In 1960, when she is only 6 years old, she is escorted by US marshalls into a newly desegregated elementary school. She is taunted and subjected to humiliation as people throw eggs and rocks. Ruby Bridges herself recounts those events from her perspective.

Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and the Endurance by Jennifer Armstrong

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In 1914, Shackleton and his 27 crew members leave England on an expedition to sail across Antarctica. Five months in, their ship becomes locked in ice and eventually sinks. Realizing no hope for rescue, Shackleton and 5 men set out in a life boat across 800 miles of open ocean to fetch a rescue boat for the remaining crew.

Within Reach: My Everest Story by Mark Pfetzer

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Mark Pfetzer is 13 years old when he decides he wants to climb Mt. Everest. It takes several years of training and practice on other mountains before he finally attempts the tallest mountain in the world. He is there in 1996 when the famous Everest blizzard claims the lives of eight men and he has to turn back.

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