Archive for the ‘nonfiction’ Tag
This week there’s not much rhyme or reason to the new books I want to highlight. They are just brand new to the Shorewood Library and have shiny new stickers on them that say 1/13! It’s a new year, people!
This is a very different and very fresh take on the post-apocalyptic theme that comes up again and again in YA books. In a world that has been devastated, in which the environment has been so degraded that trees no longer grow, 17-year0ld Banyan is a tree builder. He scavenges and hoards bits of scrap metal and other waste to create a replacement forest, one that does not shift or change. He’s never seen a real tree in his life, but he’s hear the stories about the old world. When Banyan stumbles across a clue to the possibility of real, growing trees, his world is irrevocably changed and he must seek them in spite of the danger.
Sneak Peek! “They figured me too young for a tree builder. I could see it in their eyes. Bunch of rich freaks, staring at me like I needed to impress them. But I did need to. That was the problem.” (Text copyright © 2012 by Chris Howard)
A brand new historical fiction novel that takes us to vibrant and mysterious Renaissance Italy. Giulia, the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman with what would seem to be a predetermined fate, finds something altogether different when her forced cloistering at a convent leads her into a world of painting. A warning that came just before she left – to be careful what she desires her fate to be – haunts her as she finds romance, friendship, and skill in the art of painting. Does she know what she desires? Can she be the master of her own destiny?
Sneak Peek! “Milan, Italy, Anno Domino 1487. The clouds broke apart and sunlight flooded down, burnishing the rough bark of the apple trees and tossing their shadows across the grass. Giulia caught her breath at the sudden beauty of it, her charcoal stick racing across the paper on her knee as she tried to capture the moment before it vanished.” (Text copyright © 2012 by Victoria Strauss)
And now for something completely different…
This book is a real life diary from Wartime Chicago, rich with all the fascinating details of what it was like to grow up and be a teenager at that time. It’s daily life, it’s just like yours, but it’s so, so different. Joan’s daily record of the political atmosphere as America watches the world succumb to Hitler’s war and then finally becomes involved after the bombing at Pearl Harbor. Joan is 14-20 years old through the course of the diary. It’s entertaining, amazingly well-written and beautifully thought-out.
Sneak Peek! “Saturday, December 28, 1940. The world’s not going to come back the way it was…London is brave somehow – burning and huddled in shelters, yet walking also into the unlighted streets…London is Troy.” (Copyright ©2013 Susan Signe Morrison)
Situation: you’re reading the textbook for your history/social studies class when suddenly you realize you’re practically asleep and have no idea what you just read for the last hour. You yawn. You look at your cell phone and check Facebook. You cry a little inside at the fact that your grade is tied to how successfully you can get through this dry-as-dry-cereal textbook. You curse all of history for causing you such deep boredom.
Yep, history can sure be boring. But that’s really only because a lot of boring history books have been written. And so we tend to think that all of history is truly boring.The truth is, it’s boringly-written history books, not history itself, that tends towards the, ahem, less-than-interesting end of things.
I’m here to tell you that history is ridiculously fascinating if you read the right book. You can learn about history – I mean really learn about it! – from both well-researched fiction and well-written factual, or non-fiction, books. There is this under-explored genre called narrative non-fiction that I highly recommend: narrative non-fiction combines the best elements of fiction – plotline, well-developed characters, dialogue – with good research, primary source documents (like newspapers and photographs), and just plain fact.
Be prepared to expand your mind and travel back in time with a few of these historical fiction and historical fact titles from the library:
Set sail on the high seas and shiver yer timbers with…
Pirates! The True and Remarkable Adventures of Minerva Sharpe and Nancy Kington, Female Pirates by Celia Rees (Call number: YA REES)
A Thousand Years of Pirates by William Gilkerson (Call number: Youth Non-fiction X 910.4 G474)
Take a journey to France and see a side of World War II you might not have heard about with…
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Call number: YA WEIN)
A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France by Caroline Moorehead (Call number: Adult Non-fiction 940.5344 M825)
Go East to Cambodia and check out a crucial 20th century story in…
Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick (Call number: YA MCCORMI)
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung (Call number: Adult Non-fiction 959.6042 U57)
For a list of more historical fiction and really readable non-fiction, come to the library and check out the display of Fact and Fiction.
This week let’s take a look at some of the fab new non-fiction you can now find on the shelf at Shorewood Library.
First off: I know what you’re thinking. Non-fiction is super boring. It’s textbooks, and homework, and boring stuff like history. Not true! The non-fiction you will find in the YA section (and much of the youth and adult non-fiction, too) is mostly what is called “narrative non-fiction” which means it is written in a narrative style like fiction. It’s telling you a story, just like fiction, but the story is very much true. Plus, the books feature background information, timelines, recommendations for where to find out more, maps, quotes, pictures, images of old newspapers and other cool stuff like that. Got a time period, event, or person you need to study for school? Check out some great narrative non-fiction to have fun while learning. Or, if you just want to expand your brain in a terribly satisfying manner, narrative non-fiction is good for that, too.
Without further ado, three new highly recommended books:
To The Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement by Charlayne Hunter-Gault
For those fiction lovers who love realistic stories about strength in the face of diversity. Laced with moving images and unbelievable stories of hardship and strength, this is a must-read for anyone interested in our nation’s history. The author takes a really unique perspective and leads us backwards through history, rather than forwards as is usually the trajectory of history books. Thus, the story begins in 2008 with the election of the United States’ first black president, Barack Obama. The book is chock full of full-page spreads showing newspaper headlines from the eras discussed, sharp black-and-white images of crucial people and events, and a totally engrossing writing style that will make you forget you’re reading about history.
Master of Deceit: J. Edgar Hoover and America in the Age of Lies by Marc Aronson
More of a spy thriller fan? Aronson’s thrilling true tale has got you covered. The book takes you through Hoover’s CIA – from the Cold War, through the Civil Rights movement – and his power-hungry reign over the American intelligence industry, with tons of insight into what made Hoover tick. Think of this as underground history. Who knew that J. Edgar Hoover, one of the most powerful men of the 20th century, had such a dramatic, twists-and-turns kind of life? You’ll be on the edge of your seat. Simply fascinating!
The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure by Martin W. Sandler
If you’re an adventure reader, you’ll find plenty of real-life action in this book. The Arctic – harrowing, cold, ice-filled, stormy and wet – provides a perfect backdrop for one incredible adventure. In 1897, three whaling ships were trapped in the Alaskan ice when a series of storms wreaked havoc. President McKinley ordered an overland rescue of them to be undertaken by several men, two herds of reindeer (to feed the trapped whalers) and a fleet of sled dogs, and the rest was amazing, adventurous history.
So, non-fiction doesn’t sound so boring anymore, right?
While not every week brings a delightful shower of new books with their glistening covers and super crisp pages, this week does. Here’s a highlight of a few that sound extra special!
A bit of historical fiction for you lovers of that genre. Set in the 1920s, our heroine Garnet is a girl with little freedom. Her life is planned for her, and perhaps that’s why she so admires birds, who have the freedom to fly where they wish. When Garnet is sent to a small Minnesota town to spend the summer with relatives, she finds herself able to spread her wings and explore. Fans of Jennifer Donnelly and Julie Anne Peters will find a lot to love here!
If you’re already a fan of Pratchett, run don’t walk to this book. In Dodger, Pratchett takes on the character of the Artful Dodger from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, but brings him to life in a different way: Dodger is a young street urchin whose adventures are fraught with hilarity. Along the way, he meets a variety of fictional and real characters from Victorian London including Dickens himself, the mad barber Sweeney Todd, and the politician Benjamin Disraeli. Pratchett proves history and humor can coexist!
In this steampunk-ish novel, heroine Vespa Nyx dreams of spending her life working in her father’s Museum of Unnatural Things (don’t you wish that existed for real?) in New London, but is under pressure to behave as a proper young lady should by getting married and settling down. But Vespa might be a witch in a time and place when witchcraft is the greatest crime, so things are anything but proper. Her fate is tied to that of Tinker Syrus Reed, and their unraveling of intrigue may mean saving their entire world.
And for those nonfiction buffs, or anyone looking for something hilariously fun to read (and do) please check out:
This book is awesome. Ideas for being unbored include: training your parents to be ninjas, making a secret book safe, becoming a yarn bomber, and making a stop-motion movie. This book gets extra cool points for being super informative on both topics that really matter (recycling, eating healthy, doing good things for the world and people in it), and stuff that is just cool (cryptozoology). Guaranteed you’ll be less than just “unbored” with this book.
Can you write your life story in six words? Lots of teens have and these abbreviated memoirs have been collected in I Can’t Keep My Own Secrets: six-word memoirs by teens famous & obscure edited by Smith magazine. This great collection of funny, quirky, and often sad memoirs are from teens around the world.
Want even more six word memoirs? Check out Six-word memoirs on love & heartbreak or Not quite what I was planning : six-word memoirs by writers famous and obscure.
I bet you’ll be inspired to write your own six word memoir…