New Nonfiction With a lot to ❤️#ReadYourWorld

                       nonfiction kids                  boy nonfiction preteen

There are so many things to love about two new books for preteens and young teens: Stories for Boys Who Dare To Be Different; True Tales of Amazing Boys who Changed the World Without Killing Dragons by Ben Brooks and Never Too Young! 50 Unstoppable Kids Who Made a Difference by Aileen Weintraub. To be honest, I don’t know where to start. The two books have a lot in common, so let’s begin there.


In Stories for Boys Who Dare To Be Different and Never Too Young! diverse reading encompasses

  • culture and geography;
  • different historical periods;
  • personal identity; and
  • all walks of life.

Not only will readers see themselves in the pages of these biographies, but they can connect with these boys, girls, men, and women on a personal level.

Broad Appeal

These anthologies will appeal to all young readers. No gender sorting required. Reluctant readers and kids who don’t like “long stories” will love that each sketch is one page and is paired with an illustration of the featured person.

Although the intended audience is independent readers, the biographic sketches are written in a way that you can read aloud with a younger audience (8 to 10) and they will easily grasp the concepts. Gotta love books that have a long shelf life in your home library.

The Nonfiction Book Hook

True stories are a tried-and-true way of getting kids interested in reading. Young readers are sure to recognize the sports heroes (Serena and Venus Williams, Leonel Messi, Michelle Wie), some pop icons (Jeffree Star, Elvis Pressley, Steven Spielberg) and a few other historical figures (Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Helen Keller), but the majority of people in the spotlight are individuals they’ve probably never heard of.

  • Margaret Knight – worked in a cotton mill during the Industrial Revolution. She was 12 when she created a device that could automatically shut off a loom machine when it malfunctioned. After the Civil War, she created a machine to create what we know as the paper lunch bag. She successfully sued a man who stole her invention (in 1871)! [Never Too Young!, page 51]
  • Christian McPhilamy – at six, decided to grow his hair after seeing a television commercial about kids who would lose their hair and, as a result, their confidence. Despite name calling and other badgering Christian grew his hair for two years so that he could donate the hair to a charity and help these kids regain confidence and stop bullying.
  • Ghyslain Raza – whose video of using a golf club as a Jedi sword resulted in international cyberbullying. The bio goes on to explain how he overcame the crushing damage to his ego, and how he ultimately became a trailblazer in the field of lightsaber choreography.[Stories for Boys, p 112]
  • Rene Silva – a 17-year-old Brazilian who, during a police standoff with drug dealers in his community, posted updates on social media to let the world know just how dangerous things were. This was not his first foray into journalism. At 11, he created Voz de Comunidade, a community newspaper. [Never Too Young!, page 71]

Between the two books, there are more than 125 mini-biographies. The best news? There are only three people who overlap: Louis Armstrong, Louis Braille, Ryan Hreljac. Pretty amazing, if you think about it.

What’s Different

Odds are, these stories will inspire readers to read more about the person featured or the subject that is highlighted. Even if it doesn’t, your child has expanded their knowledge and learned more about the world around them.

Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different is an alpha-organized collection. There is an extensive Table of Contents, and the biographies fill the rest of the book. That’s it. Despite having a wonderful collection of inspiring stories, there is no “next step” to encourage readers. I even searched the Internet hoping I might find a discussion guide or bibliography.

If there is a pattern to the way Never Too Young! is organized, I didn’t figure it out. It’s not alphabetical, which encourages unstructured exploring. After the last biography, readers are asked “What now … Are YOU ready to make a difference?” Within that narrative are a series of questions that guide readers to think about their talents, passions, and community needs. There is also a two-page bibliography. it doesn’t match with every person featured, but it is at least a start.

Never Too Young!
50 Unstoppable Kids Who Made a Difference

by Aileen Weintraub; illustrated by Laura Horton
Sterling Children’s Books, 2018

Genres: Anthology, Biography, Illustrated Nonfiction
Audience: Junior High / Middle Grade

Buy at Amazon | Find on WorldCat

boy nonfiction preteen
Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different
True Tales of Amazing Boys Who Changed the World without Killing Dragons

by Ben Brooks; illustrated by Quinton Winter

Running Press Kids, 2018

Genres: Anthology, Biography, Illustrated Nonfiction
Audience: Junior High / Middle Grade

Buy at Amazon | Find on WorldCat