Archive for the ‘Non-fiction’ Category

New Books Highlight: Get Factual

The last few posts about our new books here at Shorewood Library have been all about summer reads – which is to say, fiction of all sorts. This week there are some fantastic and awesome new non-fiction titles chilling on the shelves. Pick one up and cool on down.

The How-To Handbook: Shortcuts and Solutions for the Problems of Everyday Life by Martin Oliver and Alexandra Johnsonthe how to handbook

Ever wanted to know how to do a lot of stuff? Need to be the one to fix something when it breaks or have the answer to the question? This book is for you. From finding your way around the kitchen, to finding your way around a minor emergency, this book has helpful tips and pro instructions galore!

Friend Me! 600 Years of Social Networking in America by Francesca Davis DiPiazzafriend me

I know what you’re thinking: 600 years of social networking?! But Facebook has not been around for that long! Even MySpace isn’t 600 years old. Well, author DiPiazza takes you back, way back. Back when social networking meant what happened when people talked face to face or communicated via telegram or whatever. Yep, people are social creatures, so social networking is pretty old! This is a really fascinating look at how people communicated before IM, made friends before “Friend” was a verb, and built networks before we were all networked with the Internet. Of course, it also looks at how we do all these things now!

Women Aviators: 26 Stories of Pioneering Flights, Daring Missions and Record-Setting Journeys by Karen Bush Gibsonwomen aviators

Admit it: before reading this title you had no idea there even were 26 women aviators! There are and they are all amazing to read about. This book basically gives you a mini-bio of each, showcasing what they did to change the course of flight history and women’s history, too. If you loved Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, this book will take you into the real lives of women like Maddie and Queenie who did real, daring things.


New Books Highlight: Random Awesome Picks

This week, in honor of the joyous chaos that is the END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR (OMG!!), I’ve got three recommendations for three brand new books that are just randomly awesome. They’re a little something different to help you kick off the summer time.

The Language Inside by Holly Thompsonlanguage inside

This novel-in-verse is completely captivating. If you’re a fan of Ellen Hopkins or Carol Lynch Williams, check this one out! 10th grader Emma was raised in Japan and feels strong ties there, even when her family is uprooted back to her “home” country, the U.S.A. Her mother is ill – hence the move across the world – and so Emma has more to deal with than the average teenager struggling to fit in in a new place. Emma can’t help but feel displaced, even though she’s supposed to feel at home in a country where her native tongue is spoken daily. Her friends back in Japan are reeling from the devastating tsunami, and Emma is torn between wanting to be with them and needing to be with her ailing mother. To take her mind off things, her grandmother helps her find a volunteer position through which she makes friends and begins to adjust to life stateside. But when she gets the chance to return to Japan, she finds she has grown roots in America – will she leave or stay?

Sneak Peek!

“Third time it happens

I’m crossing the bridge

over a brown-green race of water

that slides through town

on my way to a long-term care center

to start volunteering



to get my courage up” (Text copyright 2013 by Holly Thompson)

Winger by Andrew Smithwinger

You might remember Andrew Smith from the haunting, twisted sci-fi books The Marbury Lens and Passenger. In Winger, Smith does something completely different. This is classic realistic fiction from a male perspective, with a similar style to John Green. Ryan Dean West’s life is complicated. He’s in love with his best friend, who treats him like a little brother. His roommate is scary. And his boarding school is…well, boarding school – lots of drama and high expectations and rugby. Always, there will be rugby. Ryan Dean West makes mistakes, but who wouldn’t in a situation like that? Fortunately for us, his mistakes are honest to life and hilarious to read about.

Sneak Peek! “I said a silent prayer. Actually, silent is probably the only type of prayer a guy should attempt when his head’s in a toilet.” (Text copyright 2013 by Andrew Smith)

Rapture Practice: My One Way Ticket to Salvation by Aaron Hartzlerrapture

This is a true story. Aaron Hartzler grew up in a home where every day was filled with thoughts of the imminent Rapture – Jesus’s second coming/the end of the world. But as Aaron got older, he grew more attached to his life on Earth, and less excited about the Rapture and the prospect of Heaven. In short: he has a crisis of faith during his teenage years. Aaron tells the story of his conflict and the adventures he finds himself on as he moves from merely conflicted to full-on rebel, learning lessons that aren’t found in the Bible. For anyone who has faith, questions about faith, or doesn’t practice or even believe: a true and believably funny story about finding your way.

Sneak Peek! “Something you should know up front about my family: We believe that Jesus is coming back.” (Text copyright 2013 by Aaron Hartzler)

New Books Highlight: Just the Facts

I have said it before and I’ll say it again (and again and again!): non-fiction can be seriously cool. How cool, you ask? In the average day, you probably interact with non-fiction, or “informational,” texts in pretty typical ways like through listening to, watching or reading the news, reading a textbook for a class, etc. Those basic types of informational texts are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fact-based writing! There are also: insanely cool you-can’t-believe-it’s-real-life adventure stories, biographies of change-making people you only thought you knew, how-to guides to help you achieve something awesome, and more! Here are a few choice informational picks from the Shorewood Library new YA books shelves:

Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader edited by Cassandra Clareshadowhunters

Are you completely obsessed with the Mortal Instruments series? Feed your need for all things Cassandra Clare with this super-smart book about the world of Mortal Instruments. It’s kind of hard to describe, but if you are both a huge Mortal Instruments fan and the kind of person who needs to go behind the scenes, this book is a must for you. It will get you thinking about how your favorite pleasure reading books are incredibly informative, well-informed, and make you smarter. Because you are.

Sneak Peek! Instead of featuring the first line of this book, because each chapter is sort of an essay about an aspect of the book I will treat you to some of the chapter headings (and their authors…): Why the Best Friend Never Gets the Girl by Kami Garcia, The Importance of Being Malec by Sara Ryan, and, my favorite, What Does That Deviant Wench Think She’s Doing: Or, Shadowhunters Gone Wild by Sarah Rees Brennan. (Chapter titles copyright © 2013 Kami Garcia, Sara Ryan, and Sarah Rees Brennan respectively)

Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthalsteve jobs

You want a story about an unlikely, somewhat unlikable, but completely brilliant underdog hero whose rock star ways save the world? Yeah, I thought so. Look no further than the real, true story of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and all-around genius. Jobs was adopted, a college dropout, and always pushed the boundaries. Did you know he was fired from Apple and then rose back up through the ranks? If you’re attached at the fingertips to your iOS devices, or even just to a regular old PC, you NEED to read this biography. It is awesome.

Sneak Peek! “On a warm June day in 2005, Steve Jobs went to his first college graduation – as the commencement speaker. The billionaire founder and leader of Apple Computer wasn’t just another stuffed-shirt businessman. Though only fifty years old, the college dropout was a technology rock tar, a living legend to millions of people around the world.” (Text copyright © 2012 by Karen Blumenthal)

Holy Spokes! A Biking Bible for Everyone by Rob Coppolilloholy spokes

Green to a fault? Cycling nut? This small book really has all the bits of information you could need, in one convenient place. Tips on bike maintenance, safety, travel cover the basics and beyond. Plus chapters on jobs that use your cycling skills, a history of the bicycle, and bike racing, will help you find and pursue bike dreams you didn’t know you had.

Sneak Peek! “For many years now, most cycling enthusiasts have attributed the first bicycle design to Leonardo da Vinci, one of the original Renaissance men, at around 1500 CE.” (Text copyright © 2013 by Rob Coppolillo)

New Books Highlight: Chance Encounters

This week I picked out three new books – new books that are just DYING to be taken home and read – that are all about chance encounters and are all very different from each other. Don’t you just love that as a plot element? Think about it: The Fault in Our Stars, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Shine by Lauren Myracle…the list of books that hinge on wonderful chance encounters between two characters is practically endless! But then I started thinking, in some ways, aren’t all books about chance encounters in some ways? That’s deep.

Three Little Words by Sarah N. Harvey

Sid has grown up happy in a quiet, contented sort of way, on a remote island with loving foster parents who have never made him long for his real parents. When Fariza, a new young girl arrives and becomes part of his foster family, things begin to change for Sid. Then, in the midst of an otherwise normal summer, a stranger lands on the island with something to say. Sid’s mother and a half-brother he is just now learning about, have gone missing and he is compelled to help find them and reconnect with the family he might wish he never had.

Sneak Peek! ” Sid, this is Fariza.” Sid looks up at the sound of Megan’s voice. She is standing in the kitchen doorway, her hand resting lightly on a little girl’s head.” (Text copyright © 2012 Sarah N. Harvey)

After Hello by Lisa Mangum

Amateur photographer Sara thinks she is just accompanying her father on a totally regular trip to New York City until Sam wanders in front of her camera lens.  Intrigued by his strangeness, she agrees to accompany him as he wanders around the city on a series of missions, trading information and items for others. Along the way during their day-long journey around the city, they meet artists and other interesting people. Sara’s world is undeniably altered…

Sneak Peek! “I shouldn’t have noticed him. I wasn’t even looking in his direction at first.” (Text copyright © 2012 Colored Paper Clips)

Discovering Wes Moore by Wes Moore

At first glance, this title might sound like a pretty boring name for a memoir. Author Wes Moore discovers himself? Actually, it’s more interesting than that. By chance, author Wes Moore discovered another person with the same name as him, but a very different story. The author’s life wasn’t perfect: his father died, a move to a new city shook him up and he started skipping school and getting into trouble, but thanks to his own determination and his mother’s hard work and love, he excelled in life. When he was a successful senior in college, he read about a man named Wes Moore who was serving a life sentence for murder. Moore realized the story could have been his own. He contacted him and so began a strange friendship.

Sneak Peek! “Nikki and I were chasing each other around the living room. Every time she caught me I’d scream, but I loved every second. I was three.” (Text copyright © 2012 Wes Moore)

New Books Highlight: New this month!

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!

Rootless by Chris Howard

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)

Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss

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…

Home Front Girl: A Diary of Love, Literature, and Growing Up in Wartime America by Joan Wehlen Morrison

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)

New Books Highlight: New Books, New Year, New You!

This week I’m showcasing some new nonfiction at SPL that has to do with self-betterment/inspiration, just because it’s that time of year when we all think about such things. Yeah, I know: no one really keeps their New Year’s resolutions. But, it’s still worth it to start the year off with an inspiring book or two. Who knows, maybe this really will be the year you achieve your dreams! YOLO!

New Year’s Resolution #1: Write. You should read…

Just Write, Here’s How! by Walter Dean Myers

Myers’ slim volume of writing advice – Myers is, by the by, one of the biggest YA authors of the 90s-2000s – packs a punch. Myers gives you some great prompts and practical tips, while also filling you in on a little bit of his own experience and what works for him.

New Year’s Resolution #2: Volunteer and get involved more. You should read…

A Random Book About the Power of Anyone by Talia Y. Leman

High school student Talia Leman shares her random and awesome experiences in harnessing the power of herself and kids like her. When she was in the 5th grade she got inspired by the tragedies in the wake of way that Hurricane Katrina affected the people of the south, and took action to raise over $5 million with the help of other kids around the U.S. She was in 5th grade, you guys! Her wonderful writing is really off-beat and funny, and she will inspire you.

New Year’s Resolution #3: Understand others, understand yourself. You should read…

The Letter Q: Queer Writers Notes to Their Younger Selves edited by Sarah Moon

Queer writers from all genres and types of books come together in this anthology to share their experiences and their worlds through writing letters about the future to their younger selves. This is the ultimate “It gets better…” read and will help you find your path to hope and understanding this year, whether or not you are LGBTQ.

So read on and challenge yourself to keep those resolutions!

History in Fact & Fiction

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.

New Books Highlight: Non-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?