Most Fun History Books for Middle-Grade Readers

History creates a window into the past and equips kids with the tools to thrive in their future. But sometimes, kids think of history less as story and more as snorey

If your child would rather eat a whole head of broccoli than crack open a book about history, Literati has just the solution: fun, engaging books that make history seem more like an adventure than a homework assignment.

Literati’s favorite history books for middle-grade readers let kids explore the past and question our present. These inventive stories will build your child’s reading comprehension, critical thinking skills, and historical knowledge. Ready to discover the best history books for your middle grader? Here we go!

Fantastic Failures: True Stories of People Who Changed the World by Falling  Down First: Reynolds, Luke: 9781582706641: Books

Fantastic Failures: True Stories of People Who Changed the World by Falling Down First

Fourth, fifth, and sixth grades can be challenging for children. At this age, they might experience failure on a larger scale, whether it’s flunking a math test, face-planting during a game of kickball, or getting turned down by their crush. Learning how to bounce back on their feet might be one of the most important lessons a middle-grade reader can learn!

In Fantastic Failures: True Stories of People Who Changed the World by Falling Down First, author Luke Reynolds celebrates how historical figures survived and flourished after they crashed and burned. 

Reynolds tells the story of 34 people (and one horse) who used their experience with failure as a source of insight and inspiration. Your child can learn more about the epic fails that led to epic triumphs—and maybe learn how they can do the same for themselves!

What we love about this book:

  • Reynolds explores well-known figures like Albert Einstein as well as some people you’ll wish you had heard of sooner!
  • The people in this book belong to multiple eras, so your child gets to glimpse various fascinating historical times. 
Women Who Dared: 52 Stories of Fearless Daredevils, Adventurers, and Rebels  (Biography Books for Kids, Feminist Books for Girls): Skeers, Linda,  Gosling, Livi: 9781492653271: Books

Women Who Dared: 52 Stories of Fearless Daredevils, Adventurers, and Rebels

The daring and adventurous women who have shaped the world are often missing from history textbooks. Supplement your kid’s education with these stories of 52 women who fearlessly pushed boundaries.

Your reader will learn about women like Helen Gibson, the first professional stuntwoman, Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, and even Annie Edison Taylor, the first person who dared to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel!

You may want to invest in a helmet and some elbow pads for your adventurer once they finish this essential anthology of history’s toughest ladies!

What we love about this book:

  • From action scenes to astronomical heights, this book covers a multitude of fields and interests. So no matter what your child loves to do, they’ll definitely be inspired to challenge themselves!
  • If your kid longs for their old picture book days, they’ll love this book’s colorful illustrations of daring women.
Strange but True: 10 of the world's greatest mysteries explained: Hulick,  Kathryn: 9781786037855: Books

Strange But True: 10 of the World’s Greatest Mysteries Explained

If your preteen has ever watched an episode of Ancient Aliens or has been intrigued by one of the world’s many historical quandaries, their appetite for history books might have expanded into a fascination with mystery or sci-fi.

Good news: we have just the weird and wonderful book for them.

Whether they’re a reluctant historian or a full-blown buff, your child will be captivated by Kathryn Hulick’s Strange But True: 10 of the World’s Greatest Mysteries Explained. Hulick takes readers on a fact-first journey from UFOs to krakens, with a pit stop in Atlantis. The author provides psychological and scientific explanations behind these mysterious phenomena to help your child learn how science can illuminate histories and myth.

What we love about this book:

  • Is it Bigfoot? Or is it a guy in a fuzzy suit? Hulick invites your reader to think scientifically and expand their critical thinking skills.
    In Hulick’s pursuit of factual explanations for strange phenomena, she covers a wide variety of historical and scientific topics—your reader will learn a little bit of psychology, geography, and even some marine biology!

History Comes to Life With Literati

After your reader finishes learning about Einstein’s failures, an adventurous stuntwoman, and the secret of Atlantis, they’ll certainly be on the hunt for more of the best history books for kids. With a Literati Kids book subscription, you’ll have your own Library of Alexandria in no time. 

Our subscription book club includes specially-curated books for your child’s age group, as well as fun surprises like art and personalized bookplates. 

Literati’s Club Phoenix (for ages 9-12) brings the marvels of the past to your doorstep.

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