Accessible, Eye-Catching Reads | Hi-Lo Series Nonfiction

This season’s new and forthcoming Hi-Lo series stand out for their unique subject matter, excellent infographics and text features that enhance the reader experience.


Hi-lo (high interest, low reading level) books combine age-appropriate, engaging topics with accessible text to meet readers where they are. Emphasizing readability, these titles are written at a lower reading level and often feature controlled vocabularies alongside shorter sentences and page counts. This accessible text is presented with exciting, high-interest topics and eye-catching images to appeal to striving readers. Ultimately, these books help build reading fluency and comprehension while encouraging a love of reading. The new and forthcoming hi-lo series highlighted below stand out for their unique subject matter, ranging from historical tricksters to world records, excellent infographics, and text features that enhance the reader experience.



Keppeler, Jill. It’s Not Supposed to Snow Here!ISBN 9781538287989.
Lombardo, Jennifer. It’s Raining Frogs!ISBN 9781538287958.
McAneney, Caitie. Struck by Lightning!ISBN 9781538288016.
Morlock, Rachael. It’s a Volcano Tornado!ISBN 9781538287927.
Nelson, Kristen Rajczak. That’s a Moonbow!ISBN 9781538288047.
Shea, Therese M. What’s a Haboob?ISBN 9781538288078.
ea vol: 24p. (Wildly Weird Weather). Gareth Stevens. Aug. 2023. Tr $24.27.
Gr 3-5–This series offers readers the chance to explore the wild world of weather. Focusing on extreme weather events like volcano tornadoes and snow in warm places, each book describes the science behind these meteorological occurrences, examples of them happening, and what to do if you find yourself in one. The series goes quite in-depth with the scientific aspects, and provides diagrams explaining how these weather phenomena form. Written at a third grade reading level, the text is on the lengthier side for books intended for an upper-elementary audience, and the more technical subject matter may make these less approachable for striving readers. Climate change as a cause for extreme weather is briefly mentioned at the end of each book, but more information would be helpful. Page layouts include photographs alongside bold title text. VERDICT While a promising concept, Wildly Weird Weatherwould benefit from shorter, more accessible text.

Storm, Marysa. Bull Sharks.ISBN 9781623107888.
––––. Goblin Sharks.ISBN 9781623107895.
––––. Great White Sharks.ISBN 9781623107901.
––––. Hammerhead Sharks.ISBN 9781623107918.
––––. Sand Tiger Sharks.ISBN 9781623107925.
––––. Tiger Sharks.ISBN 9781623107932.
ea vol: 24p. (World of Sharks). Black Rabbit/Bolt Jr. Jul. 2023. Tr $35.70
K-Gr 3–Designed for elementary readers, this series takes a deep dive into all things sharks. Over three chapters written at a first grade reading level, each title focuses on one species of shark with information on their physical appearance, diet, life cycle, and where they live. Due to their short length, the books provide a fairly broad overview of each type of shark. However, the series does feature many text elements that elevate the content, including size comparison charts, diagrams, and maps. The definition for bold words is helpfully provided on the same page. Page layouts are colorful and feature full-page photographs of sharks that are sure to thrill shark fans. Back matter includes a section with bonus facts and additional resources. VERDICT Covering the ever-popular topic of sharks, this series could be used by both beginning readers and slightly older students needing hi-lo materials.


Upper Elementary to Middle School

Abdo, Kenny. Accidental Records to Make You Go Oops!ISBN 9781098281359.
––––. Adventure Records to Get Your Heart Racing!ISBN 9781098281366.
––––. Animal Records to Dig Your Claws Into!ISBN 9781098281373.
––––. Body Records to Pump You Up!ISBN 9781098281380.
––––. Eating Records to Chew On!ISBN 9781098281397.
––––. Sports Records to Make You Cheer!ISBN 9781098281403.
ea vol: 24p. (Broken Records). Abdo/Fly!. Sept. 2023. Tr $31.36.
Gr 2 Up–Feats of eating, sports, and more are celebrated in this new series. Each slim book presents a different type of world record, with an emphasis on sensational and thrilling achievements. The text is written at a second grade reading level with one-to-three sentences per page. The readable text and high-interest subject matter is well-designed for hi-lo readers. However, the books could benefit from more information or supplementary text features like charts and graphs, as in the well-known world records books many readers gravitate toward. Page layouts are eye-catching, with full-page color photographs and attractive graphics. A QR code linking to Abdo Booklinks provides additional web resources for each book. VERDICT While not comprehensive, the combination of accessible text and the ever-popular topic of broken records will attract striving readers.

Golkar, Golriz. Alex Morgan.ISBN 9798886874617.
––––. Chloe Kim.ISBN 9798886874624.
––––. Cristiano Ronaldo.ISBN 9798886874631.
Pettiford, Rebecca. Aaron Judge.ISBN 9798886874600.
––––. Josh Allen.ISBN 9798886874648.
––––. Kevin Durant.ISBN 9798886874655.
ea vol: 24p. (Sports Superstars). Bellwether Media/Torque. Aug. 2023. Tr $26.95.
Gr 3-7–This series shares the stories of athletes from the worlds of soccer, football, snowboarding, and more. Each title takes a player and presents their biography and career highlights. The text is written at a third grade reading level with one-to-two brief paragraphs per page. The books successfully balance accessible, readable language with comprehensive information, and titles are chock-full of facts about the athletes. Layouts include full-page color photographs as well as engaging graphics. The titles have strong text features, such as a career time line, map of where each athlete played, and a “trophy shelf” highlighting honors they have received. VERDICT With in-depth information and engaging features, this series is a recommended addition to collections needing biographical hi-lo material.

Loh-Hagan, Virginia. Famous False Accusations.ISBN 9781668927717.
––––. Imposters Among Us.ISBN 9781668927687.
––––. Scam Artists.ISBN 9781668927694.
––––. Sports Cheats.ISBN 9781668927731.
––––. Traitors.ISBN 9781668927700.
––––. War Tricks.ISBN 9781668927724.
ea vol: 32p. (Lies and Liars Throughout History). Cherry Lake Publishing/45th Parallel Pr. Aug. 2023. Tr $32.07.
Gr 5-8–Notorious figures from throughout history are presented in this series, which tells the stories of cheaters, traitors, and more. The majority of each title focuses on cases profiling different people and shares their stories. Subjects explored are from early history through modern times. These are typically no more than two pages, and the text is written at a third grade reading level. There are also some fun, additional features, such as cold cases and tips on how readers can commit these crimes. The subject matter generally leans into the sensational; however, Famous False Accusations stands out for delving into more serious examples, such as Emmett Till and Japanese internment camps, and providing context for how bias plays into false accusations. Page layouts are attractive, but could benefit from more primary source images. VERDICT This engaging series will appeal to history buffs.

Lowell, Barbara. Karts.ISBN 9781623106676.
––––. Sports Cars.ISBN 9781623106706.
––––. Stock Cars.ISBN 9781623106713.
Sipperley, Keli. 4x4 Trucks.ISBN 9781623106645.
––––. ATVs.ISBN 9781623106652.
Terp, Gail. Hot Rods.ISBN 9781623106669.
––––. Monster Trucks.ISBN 9781623106683.
––––. Motocross Cycles.ISBN 9781623106690.
ea vol: 32p. (Wild Wheels). Black Rabbit Books/Bolt! Jul. 2023. Tr $37.10.
Gr 4-6–Explore the high-octane world of vehicles, from sports cars to ATVs to monster trucks. The text focuses on each machine’s uses, features, types, and racing events. However, it is the extensive graphics and bold layouts that make this series stand out, and various charts and diagrams are featured throughout the books. These provide readers with key details and are very specific to the topic being discussed; for example, there are safety gear diagrams, a chart comparing kart engines, and a list of Monster Jam world records. These features are brightly colored and visually appealing, helping break up the text for striving readers. The text is written at a second grade reading level and features one short paragraph per page. Page layouts also include close-ups of the machines vehicle enthusiasts will appreciate. VERDICT With high-interest subject matter and excellent infographics, this series is a recommended purchase for elementary collections.


Sabelko, Rebecca. Amargasaurus.ISBN 9798886875027.
––––. Dilophosaurus.ISBN 9798886875034.
––––. Pachycephalosaurus.ISBN 9798886875041.
––––. Therizinosaurus.ISBN 9798886875058.
ea vol: illus. by James Kuether. 24p. (The World of Dinosaurs). Bellwether Media/Epic. Aug. 2023. Tr $26.95.
Gr 3-7–The latest additions to “ The World of Dinosaurs” series profile some lesser-known species of dinosaurs like Therizinosaurus and Amargasaurus. Each book provides a comprehensive look at its prehistoric subject, exploring when they lived, unique features, diet, defenses, fossils, and extinction. Dinosaur fans will pore over the plentiful graphics, which include size charts, fossil maps, era time lines, and labeled diagrams. These additional text features are well distributed throughout the books. This helps break up the text, which is written at a second grade reading level. While the writing is designed to be accessible, these titles can also be enjoyed by younger readers who do not need hi-lo materials. Books include bold covers and illustrations showing what the dinosaurs would have looked like. Additional print and web resources are provided. VERDICT The combination of quality graphics, thorough content, and accessible text make these well-crafted titles suitable for a wide range of readers.

Troupe, Thomas Kingsley. Brave Knights.ISBN 9781039809468.
––––. Brutal Spartans.ISBN 9781039809482.
––––. Fierce Gladiators.ISBN 9781039809451.
––––. Noble Samurai.ISBN 9781039809475.
––––. Savage Vikings.ISBN 9781039809499.
––––. Stealthy Ninjas.ISBN 9781039809505.
ea vol: 32p. (Ancient Warriors). Crabtree/Branches. Sept. 2023. Tr $30.60.
Gr 3-8–This series investigates the lives of knights, samurai, and other combatants throughout history. Each book takes an ancient fighter and presents their historical context, customs, clothing, and weapons, as well as the modern perspective on them. The content is thorough and entertaining, and the readable text, which is written at a third grade reading level, effectively distills down the information to make it accessible. Bold cover art and images throughout are well suited to the fierce subject matter, and page layouts include two short paragraphs per page. Tips for caregivers and teachers, including comprehension questions and extension activities, are provided, as well as some additional web resources to learn more. VERDICT This series packs a punch; a quality purchase that will be appropriate for a wide age-range of striving readers.

Twiddy, Robin. Absurd Animals.ISBN 9798888220160.
––––. Bizarre Bodies.ISBN 9798888220177.
––––. Funny Food.ISBN 9798888220184.
––––. Strange Space.ISBN 9798888220191.
ea vol: 32p. (Totally Silly Science). Bearport/Roar! Aug. 2023. Tr $29.95.
Gr 4-6–Take a deep dive into unbelievable science, from brain freezes to how space toilets work, in this winning new series. Each title takes a topic, such as animals or space, and presents a series of fun facts woven together with the real science behind them. The books live up to their “silly” titles, with googly eyes on the covers and a fun mixture of photos and cartoons in the pages. The high-interest visuals are combined with accessible text, written between a second and third grade reading level, and there are typically no more than four sentences per page. Additional web resources on each topic can be found through the Factsurfer website, which is shared via a QR code on the back of the book. VERDICT High on kid-appeal, this series effectively combines absurd facts with real science; a strong addition to upper-elementary hi-lo collections.


Upper Middle School to High School

Schlesinger, Emily. Astrobiology.ISBN 9781638892496.
––––. Marching Band.ISBN 9781638891949.
––––. NFTs.ISBN 9781638891970.
––––. Sports Law.ISBN 9781638891925.
––––. Surfing.ISBN 9781638891932.
ea vol: 60p. (Blue Delta Nonfiction). Saddleback Educational. Oct. 2023. Tr $12.95.
Gr 6 Up–This new series covers compelling topics in science, technology, sports, and more. Each title features eight chapters and starts with a short narrative about the subject before diving into more detailed information.The content is extremely comprehensive and includes details about the historical context, present-day status, and future trends of each topic. Complicated subjects such as astrobiology and NFTs are explained in a way that is easy-to-understand and engaging. The text, which is at a second grade level, is written with readability in mind and features one-to-three short paragraphs per page. Fast facts, charts, and infographics are sprinkled throughout the text. Page layouts feature a modern and contemporary design, and are age-appropriate for readers at the secondary level. VERDICT Rich with information, this series is recommended for middle and high school collections seeking nonfiction for striving readers.


This season’s hi-lo offerings utilize entertaining, approachable writing and striking graphics to support readers needing texts at a lower reading level. Saddleback’s “Blue Delta Nonfiction” presents captivating, often complicated topics in a way that is still understandable and compelling for middle and high school students. With a playful touch, “Totally Silly Science” (Bearport) uses unbelievable facts backed up by real science to create an entertaining experience for readers. Bellwether’s “Sports Superstars” explores the stories of athletes across the world of sports. These series use a thoughtful approach to engage hi-lo readers, making them valuable additions to library collections.



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