Middle School Boys: Nonfiction
"Afraid of the Water" (Series):
Natalie Lunis. Blue-Ringed Octopus: Small But Deadly. (Bearport, 2010)
Natalie Lunis. Boxed Jellyfish: Killer Tentacles. (Bearport, 2010)
Meish Goldish. Moray Eel: Dangerous Teeth. (Bearport, 2010)
Snakes. Snakes underwater. Huge snakes underwater, with big teeth that curve in so no prey can
escape. They blend into their surroundings so you don't know they are there, until it's too late! Moray
eels are just one of the nightmare creatures lurking in the deep in the series "Afraid of the Water"!
Natalie Lunis. Portugese Man-of-War: Floating Misery. (Bearport, 2010)
Meish Goldish. Shark: The Shredder. (Bearport, 2010)
Meish Goldish. Stonefish: Needles of Pain. (Bearport, 2010)
Sarah Albee, illustrated by Robert leighton. Poop Happened: A History of the World from the Bottom
Up. (Walker Company, 2010)
If this book teaches you anything, it’s that if you try to ignore this… stuff… it doesn’t go away, it just
keeps piling up!
Susan Campbell Bartoletti. They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist
Group. (Houghton Mifflin, 2010)
We sometimes wish we could brush some of our history under a rug and try to forget it. We know we
shouldn't, but sometimes our history hurts too much. The Ku Klux Klan is one of our darkest, most
terrifying memories. Men draped in sheets riding through the night to terrorize the innocent is the
stuff of horror films and nightmares. Do yourself a favor and shine a light on those memories with
Susan Campbell Bartoletti's They Called Themselves the K.K.K.
Cindy Blobaum. Awesome Snake Science!: 40 Activities for Learning About Snakes. (Chicago Review
Here's a book for the real reptile lover, or just the science nut. Written very scientifically, but at an
accessible level, it honors the serious nature lover. And good news for parents: no real snakes
Benson Bobrick. A Passion for Victory: The Story of the Olympics in Ancient and Early Modern
Times. (Knopf, 2012)
A thankfully non-idealized look at the Olympics as sports, history, and culture. That means it will have
some appeal to those interested in any of those aspects, but might be dissappointing to a hard-core
sports or history buff. But with it being an Olympic year, this should be a real draw, especially
compared to the standard sickeningly sweet Olympics books for kids.
Suzy Beamer Bohnert. Learning Basketball’s Lingo. (B&B Publishing)
From the “Game Day Goddess” comes a book on the language of basketball for the complete novice.
What makes this book special? It covers not just the official terms, but slang as well. Where else are
you going to find a definition of a “ticky-tack foul”? A bit simplistic for the sports buff, but for anybody
who wants to sit down next to dad and watch a game, this is the dictionary for you.
Sylvia Branzei. Animal Grossology. (Price Stern Sloan, 2004)
Sylvia Branzei. Grossology. (Price Stern Sloan, 2002)
Sylvia Branzei. Grossology and You. (Price Stern Sloan, 2002)
Sylvia Branzei. Hands-On Grossology. (Price Stern Sloan, 2003)
Ed Butts, art by Scott Plumbe. Bodyguards!: From Gladiators to the Secret Service. (Annick Press,
Presidents have them. Kings too. Businessmen, gangsters, celebrities, even kids have body guards.
Samurai, Secret Service, guard dogs, even guard geese. These are the stories of the guards that
saved, the ones that failed, and the ones who turned on those they were sworn to protect.
Timothy Decker. For Liberty: The Story of the Boston Massacre. (Calkins Creek, 2009)
For those elementary and middle school kids who remember their picture book days as the last time
they loved reading, here is a powerful take on a grimly fascinating event. This is "small" history;
fifteen minutes that changed the world, and the drama is enhanced by stark, black and white
illustrations that evoke both David MacAulay and the Manga form. Perhaps its greatest gift is to
individualize the players, making the tragedy all the more human. This is history that comes alive.
"Disaster Survivors" (Series)
Stephen Person. Struck By Lightning! (Bearport, 2010)
Person manages to give a great deal of very real information without losing the wonder, the awe, the
raw power of nature unleashed in bolts of pure energy that can travel more than 20 miles in the blink
of an eye. This is the perfect setting for the big five questions: who does lightning strike? Where?
When? How often? And most importantly, why? It's all here in a slim volume with some spectacular
photography and easily accessible text. Give a kid twenty minutes with this book and he will be
running to the computer to find more, diving for another book in the series, or looking for a kite and a
Joyce L. Markovics. Blitzed By a Blizzard! (Bearport, 2010)
Stephen Person. Devastated By a Volcano! (Bearport, 2010)
Jessica Rudolph. Erased By a Tornado! (Bearport, 2010)
Laura DeLallo. Hammered By a Heat Wave! (Bearport, 2010)
Adam Reingold. Leveled By an Earthquake! (Bearport, 2010)
Miriam Aronin. Slammed By a Tsunami! (Bearport, 2010)
Claire Eamer, artwork by Sa Boothroyn. The World in Your Lunchbox: The Wacky History and Wierd
Science of Everyday Foods. (Annick Press, 2012)
Hey whatcha eating? Floor sweepings and germ burps. No, really? It looks like a hot dog on a bun.
Why don't they serve chocolate in prison? Because it makes you break out. And who the heck first
thought of scooping up curdled milk and eating it? Everyone, and I mean everyone, eats the stuff in
this book, so you might as well know where it somes from, how it works, and a few jokes to tell your
friends when you eat it.
"Extreme Cuisine" (Series):
Meish Goldish. Baby Bug Dishes. (Bearport, 2009)
Meish Goldish. Bug-a-licious. (Bearport, 2009)
From cricket lollipops to roasted ants in the movie theatre, here are the stories of bug foods from
around the world. Part cook book, part social study, and all queasy, this is a fun nonfiction written at a
very accessible level.
Meish Goldish. Mammal Menu. (Bearport, 2009)
Dinah Williams. Shocking Seafood. (Bearport, 2009)
Dinah Williams. Slithery, Slimy, Scaly Treats. (Bearport, 2009)
Meish Goldish. Spider-tizers and Other Creepy Treats. (Bearport, 2009)
Paul Fleisher. Parasites: Latching On to a Free Lunch. (Twenty-First Century Books, 2006)
Ralph Fletcher, Guy-Write: What Every Guy Reader Needs to Know. (Henry Holt, 2012)
Simple message: you don't have to be a professional writer, or an adult, or a girl, to write. This is not a
book about boys and writing but a book written to boys about their writing, their way. Ralph Fletcher
writes great books for kids, but reading this you might almost think he was a boy once himself.
Kelly Milner Halls and William Graham Sumper. Saving the Baghdad Zoo: A True Story of Hope and
Heroes. (Greenwillow Books, 2009)
War destroys lives, and not just human lives. A handful of brave people, led by an American Army
officer, took on the challenge of saving the animals in zoos all over Baghdad during the Iraq War. With
bullets flying around them, they wrangled lions, alligators and many more animals. Heroes come in
some surprising shapes.
Thomas R. Holtz and Luis V. Rey. Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for
Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages. (Random House, 2007)
Tanya Lloyd Kyi. 50 Poisonous Questions: A Book With Bite. (Annick Press, 2011)
Half this book is about cool poisons in nature, fangs, warts, and clicking mandibles. Very cool. The
other half is about the poisons we humans put into the world and use on each other. Infuriating. All of
it is worth the read.
Sandra Markle. Outside and Inside Mummies. (Walker & Company, 2005)
Joy Masoff. Oh Yuck!: the Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty. (Workman, 2000)
Joy Masoff. Oh Yikes!: History's Grossest, Wackiest Moments. (Workman, 2000)
Jennifer Morse. Guiness Book of World Records 2009. (Scholastic Reference, 2008)
Jim Murphy. The Giant and How He Humbugged America. (Scholastic, 2012)
Oh those silly, gullible people of the 1800's. In the age of Facebook, it is worth noting that the
technology may have changed, but we are still fooled in much the same way, so long as some people
are willing to decieve, and a whole lot of people are willing to believe. One observer noted a,
"peculiarly American superstition that the correctness of a belief is decided by the number of people
who can be induced to adopt it." Read any good posts lately?
Jim Murphy and Alison Blank. Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a
Cure. (Clarion Books, 2012)
The human race is at war, and has been for thousands of years. More people have died in this war
than all the ones ever fought with guns. The enemy? A microbe too small to see. Do you think we won
the war against Tuberculosis, the greatest of all biological weapons? Think again…
Kadir Nelson. We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball. (Jump at the Sun, 2008)
H.P. Newquist. Here There Be Monsters: The Legendary Kraken and the Giant Squid. (Houghton
The only thing more exciting than a monster of myth is when the monster turns out to be real. This
nonfiction, picture book format includes every known picture of the giant and colossal squids, as well
as many of the fanciful pictures of the legendary Kraken. For everyone who likes real life adventure
stories, as well as those fans of a good creature feature.
Nathaniel Philbrick. Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex. (Putnam, 2002)
Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht. The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook. (Chronicle Books,
Joshua Piven, and David Borgenicht. The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Extreme Edition.
(Chronicle Books, 2005)
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Special Edition 2009. (Scholastic, 2008)
Michael J. Rosen, with Ben Kassoy. No Dribbling the Squid: Octopush, Shin Kicking, Elephant Polo,
and Other Oddball Sports. (Andrew McMeel, 2009)
Competitive spitting, shovel racing, backward bicycling, basketball on unicycles, and Octopush
(underwater hockey); there are some really strange sports out there, and they are all in this one little
book, with plenty of pictures of all the zanyness. Two or three pages on each sport, complete with
statistics, rules, and probably too many bad puns makes this a quick, fun read. No need to read it
cover to cover; flip it open to any page and enjoy. (Hint: Kudu Dung spitting on p. 72)
Michael Sandler. "Fast Rides" (Series):
Dynamic Drag Racers. (Bearport, 2011)
Electrifying Eco-Race Cars. (Bearport, 2011)
It's where gear-heads, speed-freaks, tree-huggers, and techno-nuts meet to say... "Wow!"
Hot Hot Rods. (Bearport, 2011)
Jet Powered Speed. (Bearport, 2011)
Michael Sandler. "X-Moves" (Series):
Cool Snowboarders. (Bearport, 2010)
Daring BMXers. (Bearport, 2010)
Gnarly Skateboarders. (Bearport, 2010)
Mighty MotoXers. (Bearport, 2010)
For the early gear-head crowd, here is a quick, highly visual tour of the motocross world. The stop-
action photos of every step of a trick are particularly stunning.
Rally Car Dudes. (Bearport, 2010)
Super Surfers. (Bearport, 2010)
"Scary Places" (Series)
Dinah Williams. Abandoned Insane Asylums. (Bearport, 2008)
Sarah Parvis. Creepy Castles. (Bearport, 2008)
Michael E. Goodman. Dark Labyrinths. (Bearport, 2008)
Sarah Parvis. Ghost Towns. (Bearport, 2008)
Sarah Parvis. Haunted Hotels. (Bearport, 2008)
Dinah Williams. Haunted Houses. (Bearport, 2008)
Dinah Williams. Spooky Cemeteries. (Bearport, 2008)
Steven L. Stern. Wretched Ruins. (Bearport, 2010)
"The Science Of..." (Series)
Mike Flynn. The Ultimate Survival Guide. (Macmillan Children's Books, 2010)
Ever since Piven and Borgenicht's "Worst Case Scenario" series, there has been a rash of survival
books, most disappointingly tame and little-related to the great outdoors. This is the real thing, a guide
that talks about real life survival situations from your back yard to the harshest environments on
earth. Complete with activities like building a solar water purifier and a bit of British humor, this is the
book for all those boys who were sorely disappointed by The Dangerous Book for Boys.
Georgina Phillips. Ouch!: Extreme Feats of Human Endurance. (Macmillan Children's Books, 2010)
Dave Reay. Your Planet Needs You!: A Kid's Guide to Going Green. (Macmillan Children's Books, 2009)
Steve Sheinkin. Bomb: the Race to Build – and Steal – the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon. (Roaring
Brook Press, 2012)
The atomic bomb would, without doubt, determine the outcome of World War II, and shape the world
that would follow. America’s future depended on building the bomb before the Germans, and keeping
the secret away from the Soviets. So the story of the bomb is not just one of scientists unlocking one
of nature’s greatest secrets, but of daring commando raids and cloak-and-dagger spies that would
put James Bond to shame.
James Solheim. It's Disgusting and We Ate It!: True Food Facts from Around the World and
Throughout History. (Simon & Schuster, 1998)
Andrew Solway. What's Living in Your Bedroom? (Heinemann, 2004)
Stephen Spignesi. The Weird 100: A Collection of the Strange and the Unexplained. (Citadel Press,
Sally M. Walker. Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917. (Henry Holt, 2011)
What is the connection between the city of Halifax in Canada, World War I, and the Christmas tree in
Boston, Massachusetts? Two thousand deaths in the largest man-made explosion before the atomic
bomb, that's what.
Chris Woodford, et al. Cool Stuff and How it Works. (Dorling Kindersley, 2005)
Chris Woodford and Jon Woodcock. Cool Stuff 2.0 and How it Works. (Dorling Kindersley, 2007)
Chris Woodford. Cool Stuff Exploded. (Dorling Kindersley, 2008)
Chris Woodford and Jon Woodcock. The Gadget Book: How Really Cool Stuff Works. (Dorling
Chris Woodford. How Cool Stuff Works. (Dorling Kindersley, 2008)
|Books For Boys
Suggestions by Michael Sullivan
|The Web Home of Michael Sullivan
teacher, librarian, chess instructor, author, storyteller, expert on boys and reading.