Staff Picks Youth Nonfiction

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April 2024

The Playbook: 52 Rules To Aim, Shoot, And Score In This Game Called Life

by Kwame Alexander

The Playbook: 52 Rules To Aim, Shoot, And Score In This Game Called Life by Kwame Alexander – Kwame Alexander, author of The Crossover and other prolific poetry and sports books, brings an approachable self-help book excellent for reluctant readers. Featuring lovely illustrations and using the game of basketball as a model for real life, Alexander gives kids guidance on several of the tough questions they will face or have already. Alexander’s short, rhythmic poetry and rhymes flow with such ease that the book will fly by and the lessons he brings truly shine. With motivational quotes from prolific athletes such as LeBron James and public figures such as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, this quick read will give your readers that little push they need to step up to the free throw line and keep pushing whether their shot is a swish or short.

Recommended by: Alexander Pappas, Youth Services, Reference Librarian I

Posted in: Youth Nonfiction


January 2024

A Year of Good News

by Martin Smatana

This book was a pleasure to read as it is filled with happiness and positivity! These 52 true short stories are derived from all over the world.  Reading good news has a tremendous impact on both mental and physical health by increasing feelings of joy and hope.  It also demonstrates how kids can show kindness and make a difference in their own world! The illustrations are so creative and well done and made from recycled fabric.  If you want to put a smile on your face, read a few of these good deeds!
Recommended by: Lenore Garoufalis, Youth Services Assistant

Posted in: Youth Nonfiction


November 2023

Secret Schools True Stories of the Determination to Lear

by Heather Camlot

Can you imagine not being able to go to school?  What if you had to keep it a secret and it meant hiding, sneaking out late at night or risk going to prision!! This book explores hidden classrooms all over the world. These true stories of courage introduce readers to the important person who played a role in each secret school. It shows the power of education and throughout history how far some have had to go to access it. Great lesson for middle school readers.

Recommended by: Lenore Garoufalis, Youth Services Assistant

Posted in: Youth Nonfiction


August 2023

Underground Fire: Hope, Sacrifice, and Courage in the Cherry Mine Disaster

by Sally M. Walker

The town of Cherry, Illinois still exists and is the setting for the latest non-fiction book written by Sally M. Walker. On Saturday November 13, 1909 a fire began in part of the mine that eventually killed hundreds of men. The rescue efforts continued for eight days until the mine was sealed. Walker’s account relates the tragedy from the miners’ efforts to survive as well as the rescuers’ efforts to save them. The Cherry Mine Disaster remains one of the worst coal mining disasters in United States. The disaster led to changes in mining and labor regulations.

Recommended by: Joan Stoiber, Youth Services Reference Librarian 1

Posted in: Youth Nonfiction


July 2023

Who’s the Bendiest?

by Emilie Dufresne

This Animal vs Animal nonfiction book series by Emilie Dufresne is sure to capture the attention of readers who love Jerry Pallotta’s Who Would Win? series or Kieran Downs’ Animal Battles series. Who’s the Bendiest? explores six “contenders,” the rat, cat, ferret, octopus, hagfish, and California Sea Lion. They are paired off in rounds where facts and pictures are shared with readers to determine who is the bendiest and why. At the end of the book, there is a “Hall of Fame” of honorable mentions, a quiz, an activity suggestion, and a glossary. Each book in the series is structured this way to make for a super fun reading experience! Grab a copy of Who’s the Bendiest? today to find out which animals can twist, squeeze, and squish the most to win the title!

Recommended by: Erin Cady, Youth Services References Librarian

Posted in: Youth Nonfiction


May 2023

Peace is a Chain Reaction: How World War II Japanese Balloon Bombs Brought People of Two Nations Together

by Tanya Lee Stone

A not well-known fact from World War II is the basis of this book. During this war the Japanese were looking for ways to attack Americans on their own soil. They came up with the idea of balloon bombs that would travel across the Pacific and detonate in the United States. Not many of them were successful in their mission but, tragically, one was. A minister and his wife were on a picnic with some school-age children in Oregon. When the children went exploring, they came across a downed balloon. Somehow the attached bomb was triggered and 6 people were killed, one adult and 5 children. Years later a Japanese American man, Yuzuru Takeshita, spoke with a woman who worked in the factory in Japan where these balloons were made. He began a peace connection between her and others involved in the balloon manufacturing with the families of those killed. 

Recommended by: Becky McCormack, Youth Services Assistant Manager

Posted in: Youth Nonfiction


March 2023

The Floating Field: How a Group of Thai Boys Built Their own Soccer Field

by Scott Riley

Young Prasit Hemmin and his friends loved soccer but because their small island home of Koh Panyee, off the coast in Thailand had so little land there was no room for even a small field. The boys played on sandbars at low tide, but as soon as the tide came in, the game was over. Set in 1986, this inspiring true story of determination and teamwork tells of Prasit and his friends’ wild plan to use scrap lumber to build a floating soccer field.

This book is available in the library and on OverDrive/Libby as an ebook.

Recommended by: Joan Stoiber, Youth Services Reference Librarian

Posted in: Youth Nonfiction


The Elephants Come Home: A True Story of Seven Elephants, Two People, and One Extraordinary Friendship

by Kim Tomsic

This touching true story portrays conservationist Lawrence Anthony’s relationship with a frightened, hunted elephant herd that found a home at his reserve in South Africa, Thula Thula. Anthony and his wife, Françoise, had a no-hunting rule at Thula Thula, but still the uneasy rescued elephants broke out of their enclosure. When they came back, a gentle Anthony carefully reassured the animals that they were safe, and they came to love their new home and him.

Recommended by: Joan Stoiber, Youth Services Reference Librarian

Posted in: Youth Nonfiction


October 2022

The Spirit of Springer: The Real-Life Rescue of an Orphaned Orca

by Amanda Abler

This is a true story about Springer, an orphaned orca, who was found alone in Puget Sound in 2002. She was in poor health due to skin sores, starvation, and loneliness- since her call was not what other orcas in the area responded to. Scientists found where orcas like her were living. After being healed, she was released near them with the hope that they would accept her into the pod.

Recommended by: Joan Stoiber, Youth Services Reference Librarian

Posted in: Youth Nonfiction


June 2022

The Woman in the Woods and Other North American Stories

by Kate Ashwin

Several indigenous authors and illustrators, who identify as trans, binary or other, have created a collection of stories based on folklore from Indigenous North American Nations, such as Navajo or Odawa. These short stories are in a graphic novel format with panels of black and white illustrations. This is the fifth book in the Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales series.

Posted in: Youth Nonfiction


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