Many years ago, my daughter’s perceptive and nurturing first grade teacher said he felt that his primary charge as an educator was not to do anything to quash the intrinsic curiosity that children had when they walked in the door each September. Young people’s passion for reading nonfiction reflects this insight. They may groan over homework or dislike the way certain subjects are taught in school, but offer them superlative nonfiction books like the ones below, and their innate drive to explore and acquire knowledge will be clearly evident.

Learning about people’s lives is deeply reassuring, offering hope when you feel lonely or misunderstood and showing the many ways there are to be human. The following three books demonstrate the power of literature to show how others overcome challenges and create something meaningful in the aftermath:

Braver Than I Thought: Real People. Real Courage. Real Hope. by Luke Reynolds (Beyond Words/Aladdin, Sept. 13): The title of this book says it all. Reynolds’ profiles show the many ways there are to cope with trauma, offering meaningful, reassuring role models.

Play Like a Girl by Misty Wilson, illustrated by David Wilson (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, Sept. 27): The author (assisted by her illustrator husband) shares sympathetic, cathartic memories from seventh grade, including playing football with boys and facing changing social and gender expectations.

The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat, illustrated by Joanna Cacao, colors by Amanda Lafrenais (Graphix/Scholastic, Nov. 1): This graphic memoir compassionately highlights the struggles of a biracial middle schooler in small-town Texas, navigating challenges with friendship, identity, and more. (Listen to the author on a recent episode of the Fully Booked podcast.)

The world is full of fascinating facts to be marveled over. Young readers love to collect and recite mind-boggling facts, and there’s an endless demand for books that feed this desire to master the known world and ponder the unknown. These two books will not disappoint:

Crash From Outer Space: Unraveling the Mystery of Flying Saucers, Alien Beings, and Roswell by Candace Fleming (Scholastic Focus, Oct. 4): Beloved veteran author Fleming returns with an intriguing, well-researched account that is sure to make readers wonder what we have yet to learn about UFOs.

Full of Life: Exploring Earth's Biodiversity by Isabel Thomas, illustrated by Sara Gillingham (Phaidon, Oct. 5): Stellar graphics and a well-organized, readable approach to its expansive subject matter make this volume stand out; it’s sure to evoke awe for the natural world.

Many books for young readers describe changemakers who, despite facing adversity, stood up for causes they believed in. Well-known heroes are important cultural reference points, and the value of their stories is enhanced by learning about less well-known people past and present like the two below:

Unlawful Orders: A Portrait of Dr. James B. Williams, Tuskegee Airman, Surgeon, and Activist by Barbara Binns (Scholastic Focus, Oct. 18): This inspiring biography highlights racism in the medical field by introducing readers to a Black veteran who had an impact on the civil rights movement through steadfast, courageous advocacy.

We’re in This Together: A Young Readers Edition of We Are Not Here To Be Bystanders by Linda Sarsour (Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster, Nov. 29): A Palestinian American activist honestly and relatably shares her story of coming to understand—and being moved to work against—systemic injustices of many kinds.

Laura Simeon is a young readers’ editor.