Archive for the ‘nonfiction’ Tag

Science + Fiction

There’s a new display in the Teen Space at the library – all about science and science fiction. If you’re into sci fi, you will know that while it is fiction and thus “made up” most of it has as its basis real science. Cold, hard science. Usually, even if the sci fi is based in a far future (which much sci fi is) and thus the author must rely on their imaginations to present the science that will be prevalent at that future time, what happens is not  too different from things we see today. Climate change, natural disasters, pandemics, genetic engineering, computer hacking, cyber-terrorism, and more: sounds like sci fi. And these are things you can hear, see and read in the news every day.

Delve into the science behind science fiction with these lists of non-fiction about real science, coupled with fiction which explores that real science in a made-up world. Whether you’re a bio geek, a hacker, an engineer or just a fan of a good story, you’ll find a book on this list to suit you.

Natural Disasters & Climate Change


 Genetic Engineering




New Books Highlight: Manga & Graphic Novels

We have a huge manga following in Shorewood, and a lot of readers of graphic novels, too. I post frequently about what’s new in that section because of those fans!

Here’s what’s hot on the manga/graphic novel shelves this week:

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure by Hirohiko ArakiJojo's Bizarre Adventure Volume 4

On the recommendation of some manga fans, we now have Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure! We will eventually have Volumes 1-7, but for now you can get started in the middle with Vol. 4 or Vol. 7. This is an older Shonen Jump manga from way back in 2006. Jojo is possessed by an evil spirit – and that’s why it’s a bizarre adventure.

Battling Boy by Paul PopeBattling Boy by Paul Pope

Roll Percy Jackson and Superman together and you’ve got Battling Boy. Paul Pope is a comics genius, too, so this is an awesome read. Battling Boy – a demigod – is sent into Acropolis to see what he can do about a little child-snatching ghoul problem they are having. Along the way, his godly status and manhood are tested by problems both normal – an overbearing father and a meddling young lady – and not so normal – uncontrollable superpowers granted by his magical t-shirts.

The Great American Dust Bowl by Don BrownThe Great American Dust Bowl by Don Brown

Yes, this is non-fiction. But this epic saga of American life from the early twentieth century is made more epic by the fact that it’s told as a graphic novel. The Dust Bowl is anything but dusty history when told this way – with clear imagery, cite-able facts (you can use it for research!) and compelling narrative both visual and textual. It’s a really fun way to learn your history.

New Books Highlight: More Great Graphic Novels

Are you a graphic novel fan? And I don’t mean manga – that is its own thing. Or comics – that’s another separate entity. Comics are usually published in issues, they’re shorter and have an ongoing storyline like a series book (i.e. Superman. Or any other superhero you can think of. Or Calvin & Hobbes). Manga is Japanese comics. Same idea: ongoing storyline, etc. Graphic novels is a name that usually refers to stories told in pictures and words, typically one-off or non-series stories (or sometimes short series like a trilogy), with unique characters (not Batman), etc.

Graphic novels cross audiences: they’re typically realistic or fantasy fiction, so could easily be read by fans of those genres, but they are told visually, so could be read by fans of visual story forms like manga and comics.  But it seems to me that neither of these fan groups really find the graphic novels. I’m here to tell you that you are both missing out!

Start with these three new graphic novels that pack a punch:

Little Fish by Ramsey Beyerlittle fish

A sort of semi-fictionalized memoir, this book tells the story of Beyer’s freshman year at an art college. She’s far from home, exploring her art form, making new friends, and learning who she is. And she conveys this story in a completely brilliant way: through lists, drawings, panels of comic-strip-type action, and more. It’s like a scrapbook that tells a wonderful story of some big life moments, something we can all relate to.

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliffdelilah

You will love Delilah Dirk if you love feisty lady protagonists like Katsa (from Graceling by Kristin Cashore). She’s like Indiana Jones, but a young lady in the early 19th century! Delilah seeks and finds adventure, but that adventure has landed her in prison. When she makes her escape, Delilah decides to take along a lieutenant who is decidedly her opposite. Selim, despite being quite a proper gentleman who prefers staying in to going out, actually makes a great partner for daredevil Delilah as the two gallivant across the world. Action and adventure await!

Freshman: Tales of 9th Grade Obsessions, Revelations and Other Nonsense by Corinne Muchafreshman

This is a little like Diary of a Wimpy Kid for those of you in middle and high school who have already grown out of that series. Annie and her friends are not the popular crowd. Not that life is much easier for those people – everyone is a freshman and being a freshman is not always fun. But it is a constant learning experience, and as Annie and her crew learn, that learning extends far outside of the four walls of the classroom. And it is sometimes really awesome.

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: Graphic Novels

There are some awesome new graphic novels hitting your Shorewood Library YA shelves this week! New graphic novels can be hard to spot because we don’t shelve them with the other new books. Instead, they go right onto the graphic novels shelves where they are usually very quickly scooped up.  Grab these ones soon!

Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledgecover image of Will and Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge

Will (Wilhelmina) is afraid of the dark so when Hurricane Whit comes to town causing a blackout, Will finds herself being tested, again. She already lost both her parents in an accident in the last year, so she’s been keeping a low profile in life while she tries desperately to recover from that trauma. Will’s journey to cope in the dark without the light and strength of her family is told with a unique, flowing layout to the text and drawings. A great read for fans of realistic fiction by authors like John Green and A.S. King.

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shencover image of Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen

A high school battle for popularity, class elections, and overall standing like nothing you’ve seen before. Best pals Nate and Charlie suddenly find themselves on opposite sides of an all-out war when Nate’s geeky robotics crew goes after the cheerleaders that jock Charlie is…fond of. Only one group can get the funding they need, so both groups resort to  rip-roaring pranks causing near total destruction. Nothing can possibly go wrong.

Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas by Jim Ottavianicover image of Primates by Jim Ottaviani

Part biography, part intro to primate biology, all graphic novel. Cool! This is a brief look at the lives and groundbreaking work of three of the 20th centuries most important animal scientists. It’s a quick read that will inspire you to dig deeper into the lives of these three women.

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)

Bestselling Author Wes Moore in Milwaukee Thursday

Wes Moore, activist and author of The Other Wes Moore and Discovering Wes Moore both about his experience as a privileged person encountering someone who shared his name but for whom life had not gone so well – is in Milwaukee tomorrow (Thursday, March 14) to speak at MATC. Discovering Wes Moore is a recent YA title, which you can read more about in an earlier blog post.discovering

He’ll speak from 6-7pm on “Empowering Our Youth” in Cooley Auditorium (Room M203) at the downtown MATC campus, and will sign his books from 7:30-9 in room 605 of the central building of MATC Downtown. Find out more about the visit here!

If you’re a reader of this blog, you’re the (probably) the youth about which Moore will be speaking, but you’re also possibly luckier than some of the kids he’ll talk about. Why not check out this great learning experience and chance to meet a best-selling author!

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)

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?