Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids 2023: Nonfiction for Older Readers

October 30, 2023

Nonfiction for Older Readers

95. Alone: The Journey of Three Young Refugees by Paul Tom, ill. Mélanie Baillairgé, translated by Arielle Aaronson

What is it like to leave your family and even your country to travel completely on your own? Follow the stories of three kids who did it in this powerful and uplifting collection. Call Number: x305.23086 Tom.P


96. Chinese Menu: The History, Myths, and Legends Behind Your Favorite Foods by Grace Lin

Take a tasty historical tour of the food found in Chinese restaurants. Lin packs her informative book with retellings of myths and legends about each yummy dish. Call Number: x641.5951 Lin.G


97. The Deep!: Wild Life at the Ocean’s Darkest Depths by Lindsey Leigh

Sink deep deep below the waves to meet the creatures that dwell where nothing else can live. A fantastic voyage filled with humor and facts we can guarantee you never knew before! Call Number: x591.77 Leigh.L


98. The Miracle Seed by Martin Lemelman

Everyone knows that the Judean date palm went extinct in the 1700s, right? But when scientists were given 2,000 year old seeds, they decided to see if they’d grow. A tale of history, science, and delicious dates. Call Number: JGraphic Lemel.M


99. The Mona Lisa Vanishes: A Legendary Painter, a Shocking Heist, and the Birth of a Global Celebrity by Nicholas Day, ill. Brett Helquist

How did the world’s most famous painting get casually stolen on a Monday morning? Easy: She wasn’t famous yet. Take a trip into the past and witness the Mona Lisa heist in this funny and fantastic work of narrative nonfiction. Call Number: x364.162 Day.N


100. Mysterious GLOWING Mammals: An Unexpected Discovery Sparks a Scientific Investigation by Maria Parrot–Ryan

When exposed to ultraviolet light, there are some mammals that glow in gorgeous colors. But why? Learn about biofluorescence and the scientists who are trying to figure out why this occurs. Call Number: x599 Parro.M


101. Unseen Jungle by Eleanor Spicer Rice, ill. Rob Wilson

Whether you’re an up-and-coming young scientist or just want a book with the grossest stuff in it, there’s a lot to love in this compendium of microbes and their unseen, highly disgusting, world. Call Number: x579 Spice.E


Return to the full list of 101 Great Books for Kids here.

Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids 2022: Nonfiction for Older Readers

October 21, 2022

Nonfiction for Older Readers

  1. American Murderer: The Parasite That Haunted the American South by Gail Jarrow

What made workers in the American South so tired and feeble during the 19th and early 20th centuries? This exciting medical mystery uncovers the secrets of the parasitic hookworm. Call Number: x616.9654 Jarro.G

  1. Hardcourt: Stories from 75 Years of the National Basketball Association by Fred Bowen, ill. James E. Ransome

Basketball. Its personalities, rivalries, and moments of sheer remarkable physicality. All the drama is on display in this quick synopsis of its greatest moments, with stunning watercolors that capture the soul of the game. Call Number: x796.323 Bowen.F

  1. Honeybee Rescue: A Backyard Drama by Loree Griffin Burns, photos by Ellen Harasimowicz

Uh-oh. Bees have moved into a rickety old barn. Who will move them to a safe spot before the winter? It’s Mr. Nelson, the bee rescuer! An informative and fun look at finding honeybees a brand new home. Call Number: x638.1 Burns.L

  1. How to Build a Human in Seven Evolutionary Steps by Pamela S. Turner, ill. John Gurche

How do you make a human? How many “cousins” are on our family tree? The mysteries of evolution abound in this funny, fascinating, and completely up-to-date deep dive into humanity’s origins. Call Number: x599.938 Turne.P

  1. Killer Underwear Invasion! How to Spot Fake News, Disinformation & Conspiracy Theories by Elise Gravel

How do you know what to believe when you read something online? Using the fake news that underwear can kill you, this book breaks down all the different ways to figure out if news is trustworthy or not. Call Number: x070.4 Grave.E

  1. Muhammad Najem, War Reporter: How One Boy Put the Spotlight on Syria by Muhammad Najem and Nora Neus, ill. Julie Robine

What can one boy do in the face of a nation at war? When Muhammad Najem started reporting live from Syria, his bravery brought attention to his country’s plight like never before. A harsh, hopeful story. Call Number: JGraphic Najem.M

  1. Seen and Unseen: What Dorothea Lange, Toyo Miyatake, and Ansel Adams’s Photographs Reveal About the Japanese American Incarceration by Elizabeth Partridge, ill. Lauren Tamaki

When your country makes a horrible mistake, how do you document that failure? Three great photographers saw the internment of Japanese American during WWII from different angles. Look through their eyes and determine where the truth lies, and where the lies start to sound like the truth. Call Number: x940.5317 Partr.E

  1. Trapped in Terror Bay: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Franklin Expedition by Sigmund Brouwer

How did Inuit knowledge keepers, historians, archaeologists and forensic scientists solve the mystery of the ship known as the HMS Terror? Find out for yourself what caused a historical disaster. Call Number: x917 Brouw.S

  1. The Waiting Place: When Home is Lost and a New One Not Yet Found by Dina Nayeri, photography by Anna Bosch Miralpeix

The Waiting Place wants everyone in it to stay. Meet the children who fight back against the interminable boredom and tension of living in a refugee camp, refusing to be forgotten by the rest of the world. Call Number: x305.906914 Nayer.D


Return to the full list of 101 Great Books for Kids here.

Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids 2021: Nonfiction for Older Readers

October 18, 2021

Nonfiction for Older Readers

94. Escape at 10,000 Feet (Unsolved Case Files) by Tom Sullivan / Jailbreak at Alcatraz (Unsolved Case Files) by Tom Sullivan

In 1962 three men made an impossible escape from the notorious island prison Alcatraz. The case remains unsolved. Later in 1971 a man hijacked a plane and stole $200,000 before parachuting out. He was never found. Read their stories and try to solve the mysteries for yourself!  x364.15 Sulli.T & x365.641 Sulli.T

95. The Genius Under the Table: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Eugene Yelchin 

Poor Yevgeny. Growing up in Cold War Russia, all he wants is to find his talent, the way his figure-skating older brother has. But nothing Yevgeny does ever seems to turn out well. Will he ever find his genius gift? xBiog Yelch.E Yelch.E

96. Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood by Gary Paulsen

The author of Hatchet recounts the true tale of his own survival. A gripping story of formative experiences and, ultimately, hope. xBiog Pauls.G Pauls.G

97. How to Change Everything: The Young Human’s Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other by Naomi Klein

A terrific, incendiary book that tells it like it is! Complex issues get broken down, showing what young people around the world are doing to protect the environment for future generations to come. x363.73874 Klein.N

98. Planet Ocean: Why We All Need a Healthy Ocean by Patricia Newman, photos by Annie Crawley

From the Coral Triangle near Indonesia and the Salish Sea in the Pacific Northwest to the Arctic Ocean at the top of the world, find out how local people are leading the way to reverse the ways in which humans have harmed the ocean. x551.46 Newma.P

99. Race Against Time: The Untold Story of Scipio Jones and the Battle to Save Twelve Innocent Men by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace

In 1919, twelve innocent Black men sat on death row, their fate sealed. In this gripping thriller, it took the smarts and resourcefulness of African-American lawyer, Scipio Jones, to free them. A pulse-pounding look at history with a happy ending. x976.788 Walla.S

100. A Shot in the Arm! (Big Ideas That Changed the World) by Don Brown

From smallpox to measles, from polio to COVID-19, we owe vaccines a lot. Take a trip back in time to see where they came from, how they work, and why we need them right now more than ever. JGraphic Brown.D

101. While I Was Away by Waka T. Brown

Waka’s plans for the summer are completely uprooted when her mom sends her off to Japan to live with her grandmother. Worse, can you imagine spending your whole summer in school? A funny, fantastic memoir.J Brown.W


Return to the full list of 101 Great Books for Kids here.



Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids 2020: Nonfiction for Older Readers

November 6, 2020

Nonfiction for Older Readers


95. All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat.

In 2018, saving twelve boys and their soccer coach trapped in a Thai cave became a worldwide rescue effort. This account chronicles how the plan came together and offers a rewarding Thai perspective along the way. Call Number: x796.525 Soont.C


96. The Bird in Me Flies by Sara Lundberg, translated by B.J. Epstein.

Berta may be just a farm girl, but she desperately yearns to be an artist. But in 1920s Sweden, a dream like that is impossible . . . or is it? Call Number: J Lundb.S


97. Darwin’s Rival: Alfred Russel Wallace and the Search for Evolution by Christiane Dorion, ill. Harry Tennant.

Living a life of adventure and exploration, this canny scientist helped Darwin unlock the secrets of evolution, though his name is practically lost to history today. Call Number: xBiog Walla.A Dorio.C

98. The Eagle Huntress: The True Story of the Girl Who Soared Above Expectations by Aisholpan Nurgaiv with Liz Welch.

The long tradition of Kazakh eagle training has always been handed down from father to son. Now meet Aisholpan, the girl who lives to defy expectations. Call Number: xBiog Aisho.N Aisho.N

Want to see the documentary they made about Aisholpan? You can check out the DVD here.


99. A Sporting Chance: How Ludwig Guttmann Created the Paralympic Games by Lori Alexander, ill. Allan Drummond.

In the mid-1900s, a time when disabled people with spinal injuries had little hope, doctor Ludwig Guttmann discovered ways to help them not only survive but thrive. His efforts led to the creation of the wildly popular Paralympic Games. Call Number: xBiog Guttm.L Alexa.L


100. The Talk: Conversations About Race, Love & Truth, edited by Wade and Cheryl Willis Hudson.

Thirty excellent authors and artists from different backgrounds talk about how to be anti-racist in a series of powerful short essays, stories, poems, and illustrations. Call Number: x305.8 Talk


101. Tracking Pythons: The Quest to Catch an Invasive Predator and Save an Ecosystem by Kate Messner.

It’s a master of disguise, can swallow an entire baby deer, and is rapidly devouring the Florida natural wildlife. How do you stop an invasive species that’s practically invisible? These scientists may have found the answer. Call Number: x597.9678 Messn.K


You can find the full 101 Great Books for Kids 2020 list here.

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