Pile of Children's non-fiction books

Fascinating Non Fiction Books for Kids (Ages 6-12)


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We absolutely love non-fiction books for kids here at Grow Adventurously. Our genres tend to navigate towards the natural world, science, geography, history…and adventure, of course!

This article features our absolute favourite children’s non-fiction books for curious and adventuring minds that we have discovered over the last few years. It will be maintained as a living list and be added to as and when we believe another book deserves a mention in it. So, do bookmark it!

We only recommend books that we have read and truly loved, or that are on our reading list (or under the Christmas tree; given the time of year!). If we haven’t read it yet; it has been highlighted in the review accordingly.

While most book reviews have been written by me, a couple of them have actually been written by my now-12 year old daughter. Check them out below as she definitely writes better reviews than me!

The information about a book’s reading age isn’t always easy to gather from official sources. Hence, I’ve collected this information either from www.booktrust.org.uk (Interest Age & Reading Age) or Amazon (Reading Age only).

I’ve included two affiliate links where available to give you the choice as to where to shop. To shop from Bookshop.org click the “BUY THIS BOOK” button. Alternatively, click the “Shop on Amazon” button to check the price on Amazon.

Great Adventurers

Alastair Humphreys has picked over 20 explorers who have inspired him for his own adventures. Kevin Ward’s illustrations bring the incredible adventures to life and show that adventurers are normal people too.

From Dervla Murphy who rode her bike all the way to India; to Lakpa Rita Sherpa who climbed Everest an astonishing 17 times; to Ibn Battuta who has visited more countries than Marco Polo; to Nelli Bly who travelled around the world in just 72 days. Not only do we learn about their extraordinary adventures; but also gain an insight into how they prepared for them as well as other practical tips.

This book was my children’s first introduction to amazing real adventure stories and thus deserves the top spot on our list.

Interest Age: 7-10
Reading Age: 8+


Sangma Francis’ “Everest” is a beautiful introduction to majestic Mount Everest for children and adults alike! (Anyone else love reading kids’ non-fiction books?)

Over 75 pages, it covers its history, geography, flora and fauna; as well as the history of climbing the mountain, and much more. It’s a very insightful and factual book and Lisk Feng’s exhaustive illustrations allow your imaginations to unfold.

I read it to my youngest when he was 6. It’s a great book to dip in and out of and come back to several times over the years.

Interest Age: 7-10
Reading Age: 8+


This book is compiled of stories that have gone utterly wrong; either through human error or circumstances beyond one’s control. It covers extreme stories about survival where every minute (and every second!) counts and luck (or fate!) plays a huge role, too.

It’s my youngest’s favourite adventure book and it’s not for the faint-hearted. Some stories are squeamish – a doctor who had to operate on himself to remove his appendix – even got me “uuurgh” – but my son wasn’t fazed by any of them.

Interest Age: 7+
Reading Age: 7+

I read it to my son at the age of 5/6 years (my daughter was 8/9 years old when she read it herself) – so, gauge for yourself what you think your child (and you!) can digest.


From the author of “Survivors” comes “Heroes”. It’s a compilation of incredible true stories of courageous animals.

Most of the stories stem from the First and Second World Wars. Set in war-torn places, the stories highlight acts of great courage, bravery, selflessness and camaraderie. It might not be the ideal book for bed-time story time, but it definitely is a great book to learn more about our furry or feathery friends who have saved human lives; as well as about military and war history.

Interest Age: 7-11
Reading Age: 8+


We haven’t read this book yet but it’s under our Christmas tree (shhh!). Hence, here’s the blurb instead of a review:

“Astonishing real-life rescue missions from on, under and above the earth from the award-winning team behind Survivors and Heroes.

How far would you go to save a life? Scrambling from the wreckage of his school after an earthquake, a nine-year-old Sichuan boy rescued two unconscious friends. ‘I was hall monitor,’ he said afterwards. ‘It is my job to look after my classmates.’

Whether dragging a friend from a blazing car, masterminding a search far below the earth’s surface, or recovering astronauts from an aborted space mission, Rescue reveals the ingenuity, courage and doggedness of the human spirit all over the world.

Another unputdownable collection of eye-opening and moving true adventures, both contemporary and historical. Impeccably told by David Long and brought to vibrant life by illustrator Kerry Hyndman.”

Interest Age: 7-11
Reading Age: 8+

The Boy Who Biked The World

This book has been co-reviewed by my 12-year old daughter and me.

What a plan (or lack thereof, at times!), what a journey, what an achievement!

This trilogy is split into three regions: Africa, the Americas, Asia.

At the age of 24, Alistair Humphreys sets off from his home in northern England to cycle around the World. He has saved up £7,000 which is a meagre budget for such a grand endeavour. He writes a trilogy about it afterwards. However, he writes it as a novel with the main character being Tom.

Tom day-dreams all the time in school, and one day he dreams of cycling around the world. His parents send him off and his journey begins. Things go wrong from very early on, but rather than giving up, he perseveres only to encounter other challenges along the way in order to experience the most amazing adventure.

He travels far and wide all the way around the world (hence the title).

I was positively surprised about how educational this trilogy is; since we learned about different cultures, foods & languages, climates, habitats, animals and practical life (ahem, adventure) skills and more.

I love geography; hence the necessity to use an atlas for reference when reading it with my 7-year old son was extra fun for both of us.

Reading Age: 6-12 years

Shackleton’s Journey

This book is probably the most beautifully illustrated book of Shackleton’s attempt to cross Antarctica from sea to sea via the South Pole. We also love how detailed it is. Not only were all of Shackelton’s crew members listed and described, but also all the 69 huskies that accompanied the crew.

This is a great book for children and adults alike and certainly one to keep forever. 

Interest Age: 7+
Reading Age: 7+

The Wolves of Currumpaw

This book describes the heart-breaking story of a wolf that was hunted, captured and finally died of heartache in New Mexico. It took many hunters to finally capture Lobo, The King of Currumpaw.

Seton, who finally captured Lobo, became a changed man after he realised that wolves were misunderstood. He devoted the rest of his life to protecting the wolf species; and the conservation of American wildlife that was so heavily under threat. He never killed a wolf again.

This is one of the most beautiful, although heart-breaking yet inspiring books we’ve ever read.

Interest Age: 8+
Reading Age: 10+

Bandoola: The Great Elephant Rescue

We haven’t read this book yet but if it’s anything like the other two books by William Grill mentioned above, then I’m very much looking forward to reading it with the kids after Christmas (as it’s under the Christmas tree).

Hence, here’s the blurb instead of a review:
“When a world war comes to Myanmar (Burma), one special elephant becomes a hero. As people are forced to leave their home in the Burmese jungle, Bandoola, his keeper Po Toke and war veteran James Howard Williams (Aka Elephant Bill), undertake a journey that will test their courage, taking trust, understanding and bravery to the very limit. Together, they lead a group of 53 elephants and over 200 refugees to safety, scaling 6000ft mountains as they trek from Myanmar to northern India.

In this moving tale based on a true story, award-winning William Grill’s stunning illustrations show the majesty of Myanmar’s forests and mountains, the backdrop to a heart-warming tale about empathy between humans and animals, and the strength that can arise from working together when the world is full of danger.”

Interest Age: 9-11
Reading Age: 9+


Animals on the move. While some animals migrate only for a season, others don’t return until several years later. 

We learn about the migration patterns of Humpback Whales, Caribou, Pacific Salmon, Green Turtle and many others. Who knew that the Arctic Terns migrate from Pole to Pole? Or that millions of Christmas Island Red Crab move together from the forests at the centre of the island to the sea to lay their eggs.

This is a beautifully written and illustrated book to educate us about the wonders of animal migration.

Reading Age: 7-12 years

Atlas of Record-Breaking Adventures

This book’s subtitle “A collection of the BIGGEST, FASTEST, LONGEST, TOUGHEST, TALLEST and MOST DEADLY things from around the World” is certainly a more accurate description of what to expect between the pages. 

This amazing book is structured by continents on which we discover record-breaking animals and plants, amazing natural landscapes and human-made marvels.

Cool off at the World’s largest waterfall, visit the World’s longest erupting volcano, explore the World’s deepest underground city, sniff the World’s stinkiest plant, steer clear of the deadliest island on Earth, and meet the greatest insect builders; amongst other epic adventures.

We learned fascinating facts from this book we didn’t even know existed!

Interest Age: 9-11
Reading Age: 8+

Mountains of the World

If you or your child love all things mountains, you’ll love this book!

This comprehensive book introduces the basics of what mountains are and how they are made, before it covers some of the highest mountain ranges on Earth and then finally highlights a select few peaks and its features. We learn about Mount Fuji, Huang Shan and The Alps to name but a few. We discover glaciers, levels of vegetation as well as wildlife that call mountains their home. Lastly, for the adventurers amongst us, it illustrates the activities that can be performed in the mountains along with the gear needed.

This is one of our absolute favourite children’s non-fiction books.

Reading Age: 6-12

Prisoners of geography

As a lover of all things geography, I absolutely love this book!

In 12 maps, “Prisoners of Geography” showcases how geography has shaped the history of the world. Some of the world’s most significant geo-political issues are highlighted and their consequences explained. This is a book to be read and re-read over several days and weeks in order to be able to fully digest all the comprehensive information provided in it.

The facts are eye-opening at times, yet comprehensible. Why do some countries’ borders have straight lines? Why is the access to the sea so important for a nation? How does the Arctic winter impact Russia’s trade? You’ll find answers to all these and many more questions in this amazingly curated book. It may be aimed at children, but I highly recommend it for adults, too.

Next up, we’ll be listening to the audiobook of the adult version of “Prisoner’s of Geography”. You can listen to it here.

Interest Age: 9-11
Reading Age: 8+

Fantastic Female Adventurers

Reviewed by my then-11-year old daughter:

“This group of amazing women are just what we need to motivate ourselves to be adventurous and take risks to gain breath-taking experiences. Meet women like Ann Daniels, skiing to the North and South poles; to people like Mira Rai, a persevering, bright-minded runner.

Reading these short tales opened a door to the great world out there and to a longing to see it all. I was transported to the depths of Australia when I read the daring adventure of Emma Timmis and the stormy seas of the North Pacific when Sarah Outen first encountered one.

I love the way all of the stories have been written and the descriptions can transport you all over the world.

I would recommend it to children aged 7-12 years but you can decide for yourself if you are going to be able to digest the amazement.”

Reading Age: 7-12

100 Adventures to Have Before You Grow Up

Although this inspiring book is geared towards children; adults would enjoy it, too. I definitely do!

It’s beautifully illustrated and provides great ideas on “how to” do it as well as “top tips” to have some epic adventures.

I’ve colour-coded the columns to tick off not only the kids’ but also the parents’ adventure experiences. 

The World’s Most Pointless Animals

This is the most hilarious book we’ve ever read. It’s funny yet educational.

The natural world is filled with countless weird, wild and wonderful creatures, of all shapes and species.

What mammal does lay eggs? Why is an ostrich’s brain smaller than its eyes? Why is the sloth the world’s slowest mammal? What happened to mummy longlegs? Would you trust a groundhog to predict the weather?

You’ll need tissues when reading this book as you’re bound to burst out laughing!

Welcome To the Museum series:

The books in this series are true pieces of art. The illustrations are created by exceptionally talented artists while the writing is detailed and educational yet concise.

No review would do these books any justice. You’ll simply have to hold one in your hands and browse through the pages to see and feel it for yourself.

Everyone should have a collection of this series in their home. These are beautiful books to dip in and out of; not to mention beyond beautiful just to look at.

Reading Age: 8+
In reality, they’re for 8 to 88 year olds!

Planetarium: (Welcome To The Museum)
The Story of Life: Evolution

Final Words

Feeling inspired? I really hope you are. We adored every single one of these books and have learned a tremendous amount about the natural world, science, geography, history, adventures and much more along the way. Some fascinating conversations have been ignited, too, both hilarious and thought-provoking ones. I hope that also you and your child/ren will enjoy reading some of these amazing books … and make memories together.

Happy reading!

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