The first one is the third one in a series about famous people as kids. This one is called "Kid Artists" by David Stadler. (the first two were "Kid Presidents" and "Kid Athletes"). The artist one is just as great as the first two were. It follows the same format-short chapters about different famous artists as they were growing up. The stories usually tell an interesting but kind of unusual story about the subject that gives you an idea of what kind of artist they would become without telling the entire life story. There are funny little cartoony illustrations along the way that break up the text. There is an interesting variety of artists too, from far back in history (Leonard da Vinci) to more modern (Andy Warhol). The first about Presidents and Athletes are rarely in my library, because they get checked out almost the minute they come back. I can see this happening with "Kid Artists" too!
The second one is also an historical book. It's called "Awesome America" by Time for Kids. The title should give you an indication of what it's going to be like-lots of gorgeous photographs and text features like text boxes, captions, and graphical elements and it's going to be simply written without too much depth on any one topic, but broad overview. This one is meant to spark the reader's imagination and hopefully have them do more research to find out more, not a definitive tome on any one topic. It does that beautifully and it will certainly have a place in my elementary school library.
This last one is science rather than history based. It's called "Monster Science" by Helaine Becker. It looks like it will be scary, and it is, a little bit, but this book uses monsters as a hook to teach kids about science. Each chapter focuses on one monster (some are specific monsters, like Frankenstein and some are categories, like zombies). It starts off with an introduction of the monster from both a historical and sometimes a literary perspective, which sounds like it might be boring, but the pieces of text are short and fairly compelling to read (they ARE about monsters, after all). After the introduction is complete, there is information about the different kinds of science that might be involved in this monster. For example, in the chapter about Frankenstein, there is information about electricity (and the scientists Volta and Galvani) as well as a discussion about electricity in the body, how neurons work, and organ transplants. Each of the topics is short with fun little cartoonish pictures and I think they are very engaging. I think kids are going to like this one a lot.