KS2: Years 5 and 6 Non-fiction

By Kerry McGuire, Assistant Editor

Many of you are returning to school this week after the Easter holiday (welcome back!) and you’re probably asking your pupils what they’ve been reading during their break. With SATs looming for Year 6, this could be a great time to encourage them to read some non-fiction. It is one way of getting them to revise without a mention of the word “revision”!

Here are some suggestions of series and books we’ve quizzed for AR that are relevant to the National Curriculum. This time the focus is on the upper years of Key Stage 2; Years 5 and 6.

You can find these, along with all the other books we have quizzed, on AR Bookfinder. 
(Use the “Advanced Search” tab to search by Interest Level or Topic).


Classifying Living Things series by Various authors
This six-part Heinemann Library series looks at amphibians, birds, fish, insects, reptiles and mammals, and asks what makes these classifications different from others. Each book also offers an overview of an animal’s life cycle.
Book Levels 5.7-6.6

A Journey Through Space by Steve Parker
Packed with facts and lively illustrations, this is a great book for exploring the basics of space.
Quiz # 232273. Book Level 4.3

When Forces and Motion Collide by Chris Oxlade
This shorter read offers simple explanations of some of the trickier physics concepts such as, the effects friction and other forces have on objects.
Quiz # 232778. Book Level 3.9

The Circulatory System: Where Do I Get My Energy? by Chris Oxlade
Readers can learn about the circulatory system by discovering how we get bursts of energy from the food we eat.
Quiz # 225885. Book Level 5.8

Animalympics series by Isabel Thomas
In this fun, eye-catching Raintree series all about adaptation, children can read about the different skills animals learn to help them survive. Animal Gymnastics, as an example, focuses on the skills of balance and coordination.
Book Levels 5.2-5.4



Great Civilisations series by Various authors
This seven-part Franklin Watts series takes an in-depth look at the lifestyle of the ancient Egyptian, Maya, Indus Valley, Sumer, Shang Dynasty, Benin Empire and Early Islamic civilisations. The books contain detailed text plus plenty of photographs of artefacts and buildings. The timeline feature helpfully points out related developments elsewhere in the world which allows children to compare and contrast. We have currently quizzed 2 titles of this series and the rest are on the way.
Book Levels 6.5-7.2

Graphic Library series by Various authors
These graphic novel/comic style books are mini biographies of the famous historical figures Anne Frank, Pope Francis, Leonardo Da Vinci and Nelson Mandela. This Raintree series may appeal to the more reluctant readers as it contains a lot of pictures.
Book Levels 4.1- 4.7

Women In Science: 50 Fearless Women Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
This book highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from the ancient to the modern world. It has a large amount of text making this is a great book for students to read parts of together as a class, or over a period of time.
Quiz # 233516. Book Level 7.5

Awesome ATAs and Fly, May, Fly! by Kathryn White
Taken from Ransom’s Neutron Stars series, these two Hi-Lo books appeal to the slightly older reader but still use simple text for those who read at lower levels. Children can learn about the female ATA pilots who flew planes during the Second World War, and about May who delivered a plane to an airfield before battle.
Book Levels 2.2-2.3

Disgusting History series by Various authors
A five-part series from Raintree which takes a comical but detailed look at the unpleasant side of the lives of Pirates, ancient Egyptians and Vikings as well as the Roman Empire and Middle Ages.
Book Levels 4.6-5.2



Geography Now series by Jen Green
A six-part Wayland series examining coastlines, deserts, islands, rivers, mountains and volcanoes all over the world. The books discuss how these places form, how plants and animals survive there, and any potential dangers the habitats pose.
Book Levels 6.7-6.8

Impact of Environmentalism series by Various authors
This thought-provoking Raintree series looks at the way changing ideas about the environment and sustainability have affected people’s attitudes about conservation, urban ecology, renewable energy and agriculture. The five-part series covers conservation, food and farming, the landscape, towns and cities and transport.
Book Levels 7.8-9.2

Weatherwise series by Various authors
This four-part Wayland series explores the positive effects of rain, snow, sunshine and wind as well as the more extreme, negative sides to these weather conditions.
Book Levels 4.6-5.0

Countries Around the World series by Various authors
We have quizzed all 48 books from this comprehensive Raintree series! Each title describes the geography, culture, history, economy and government of the country in question. The books include maps, graphs, recipes, foreign phrases, timelines and fact files to help children learn about the countries from different angles.
Book Levels 5.6-7.3

Other topics of interest


Cool Competitions series by Various authors
Gamers and technology lovers will enjoy reading about these unusual competitions held around the world. They include drone-racing, role-playing, video-gaming and robot building!
Book Levels 2.7-4.2

Football School Season 1: Where Football Explains the World by Alex Bellos
At football school, every lesson is about football! This book combines true stories, real science, facts and pictures.
Quiz # 233013. Book Level 6.7

Kunkush: The True Story of a Refugee Cat by Marne Ventura
This is the true story of the cat that became separated from his family when they fled Iraq for refuge in Europe. With a happy ending and beautiful illustrations, this will appeal to most children.
Quiz # 233209. Book Level 3.8

The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary: The Next Chapter by Jeff Kinney
Get those children who are obsessed with the Wimpy Kid series reading something a little different! Jeff Kinney gives a behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Long Haul film. It includes script pages, storyboard sketches and costume designs.
Quiz # 233117. Book Level 6.3

All in the Mind by Claire Morgan
This is taken from Badger’s Wow! Facts series. How we learn fear and whether we can trust our memory are but two of the questions addressed. It describes some famous experiments of the past and why their methods are no longer considered ethical. This is a great introduction to psychology for children.
Quiz # 229048. Book Level 5.5


Remember, it’s just as important to request non-fiction texts as fiction for quizzing!
Suggest a book to be quizzed.


Kerry McGuire
Assistant Editor

Posted on 18 April 2018 at 2:58 pm
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