Nonfiction History Books for Kids: The Extraordinary Lives Series by Kane Miller Books


I am thrilled to introduce a new series that I am hosting, which explores nonfiction history books for kids. This is all we read in our house, and I’ve learned so much, so I am jazzed to dive deeply into some of the texts on the blog.

I want to start off by sharing a phenomenal series by Kane Miller: The Extraordinary Life of… series. You’ll want to get your hands on these.

Summary: A bold new series for young readers focusing on the lives of inspirational historical and modern figures.

Review: We have fallen in love with the Extraordinary Lives series. My first grader can’t get enough nonfiction. He could spend a full 12-hour day looking through the nonfiction section of the library. He devoured information about the election, reads history books that are above his age range, and just asks for more, more, more. When I learned about the Extraordinary Lives series, I knew it would be a good fit. What I didn’t realize was that my preschooler and I would get just as much joy from the series as my first grader.

Here’s one picture I caught of my son reading them:

Here’s a closer look at the books:

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Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: These books would be wonderful for use in book groups. I would be thrilled if my kids were in a classroom in which the teacher allowed them to choose the text of a person they were interested in studying. For instance, I LOVED learning about Mary Seacole. That particular book really captured me (although they were all fascinating to read). My sons each had their own favorites, and I imagine this would be the case in a classroom. Students might then present to their peers to teach about the person they chose. Choice is so important in the classroom, and this series offers such wonderful opportunities for learning.

Discussion Questions: 

  • Which book did you choose and why?
  • What did you learn?
  • How did the author create engaging content to help you learn more about the person?

Flagged Passage from the Katherine Johnson Text: 

Read This If You Love: Nonfiction books, history books, biographies, Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, Schomburg: The Man Who Built the Library by Carole Boston Weatherford, Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe, Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra by Andrea Davis Pinkney, We March by Shane W. Evans, Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills by Renee Watson, Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford

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