Have you ever read a fiction title and immediately thought of a non-fiction title it would pair well with? Or does everyone’s brain not work like that? Several teachers have asked for a list of middle grade fiction and non-fiction pairings, and my brain was so happy to oblige! On this list, you’ll find 20 books (or 10 pairings) of middle grade fiction and non-fiction titles with a shared theme. The idea behind pairings is both books complement each other and provide readers with a well-rounded view of the topic at hand. I hope you’ll enjoy these picks!
10 Best Middle Grade Fiction and Non-Fiction Pairings
Here are 10 of the best middle grade fiction and non-fiction pairings:
Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart | The Amelia Six
Amelia Lost is a non-fiction middle grade book about the life and mysterious disappearance of Amelia Earhart. In Kristin L. Gray’s middle grade mystery, six girls work together to solve the mystery of Earhart’s goggles. This book also weaves in lots of history about Earhart’s life and career.
My Name Is Tani . . . and I Believe in Miracles | Not An Easy Win
Tani Adewunmi’s memoir documents his inspiring journey from refugee to chess prodigy. In the same vein, young Lawrence has to work through many struggles, including poverty, homelessness, and an incarcerated parent, until he finds belonging in chess.
BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends): A Girl’s Guide to Happy Friendships | Dear Friends
Friendship is hard in the tween years, but Jessica Speer’s BFF or NRF provides a helpful guide to enjoying happy friendships. In Lisa Greenwald’s middle grade fiction, Dear Friends, young Eleni learns what it means to be a good friend.
Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet | A Rover’s Story
Mars is getting more and more buzz! If your kids are into space and all things Mars, this pairing will do the trick. Welcome to Mars walks kids through the planet’s quirks, and in A Rover’s Story, kids can follow Res, a Mars rover on his adventure from the lab to Mars.
On the Horizon | Soul Lanterns
On the Horizon tells the story of people whose lives were lost or forever altered by the twin tragedies of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. In Soul Lanterns, a memorial lantern-floating ceremony changes the way a young Japanese girl’s sees the historic and tragic bombing of Hiroshima.
This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality | The Long Ride
Kids can learn about the experience of integrated schools after years of segregation. This Promise of Change is brilliant narrative non-fiction, but The Long Ride is fiction and also explores how the friendship between three girls changes when they’re chosen to be part of a desegregated school in the seventies.
Total Garbage: A Messy Dive into Trash, Waste, and Our World | One Kid’s Trash
Who knew garbage could be so fascinating! Rebecca Donnelly’s new non-fiction title explores our trash, why we have so much of it, and how we can be more thoughtful about generating waste. In Jamie Sumner’s One Kid’s Trash, Hugo uses his classmates’ trash to learn more about them and gain a bit of popularity. This book is less a study of trash in the environmental context. If you’d rather that, check out Donnelly’s middle grade fiction, The Friendship Lie explores this better!
Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement | Go with the Flow
We can’t have enough of middle grade books about periods and puberty because this is such an integral part of the tween years! These are two books that explore this topic. Go With the Flow is a graphic novel.
Long Walk to Water | Thirst
These two titles have an obviously similar theme: the search for water. Both are moving and realistic, even if just one is non-fiction.
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir | Isla to Island
These two books (one non-fiction free verse, the other an almost wordless graphic novel) explore the feeling of being between two worlds.
There they are: 10 great middle grade fiction and non-fiction pairings. Which of these pairings would you like to try? Any suggested or tried and true pairings? I’d love more recommendations!
More Middle Grade Book Lists
- My favorite middle grade books of 2022
- Middle grade books about robots
- The best non-fiction books for tweens
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