New Narrative Nonfiction at CA Library

The Common Core State Standards emphasis on narrative nonfiction (see Sara Mosle’s New York Times opinion piece “What Should Children Read?”), particularly in the secondary grades, has prompted an increase in the number of nonfiction titles we are adding to the CA Library collection.

Here are some recent additions that are excellent examples of engaging and informative narrative nonfiction:

  • The Amistad Rebellion : An Atlantic Odyssey Of Slavery And Freedom / Marcus Rediker – “Rediker details the dynamics of the relationships between the Amistad Africans, the abolitionists, and their slave-trading opposition, offering a totally enthralling account of the Amistad rebellion and its place in the broader American story of revolt against a great threat to liberty.” – Booklist starred review
  • The Queen Of Katwe : A Story Of Life, Chess, And One Extraordinary Girl’s Dream Of Becoming A Grandmaster / Tim Crothers — Based on a popular ESPN Magazine article, this is the astonishing true story of Phiona Mutesi, a teenager from the slums of Kampala, Uganda, who, inspired by an unlikely mentor, a war refugee turned missionary, becomes an international chess champion. “The author necessarily talks about the social and economic challenges that Phiona encountered in Uganda – most girls her age had no bigger dreams than simply surviving – but his focus remains centered on Phiona herself…who, against all odds, stands poised to become a chess grand master.” – Booklist
  • Killing Kennedy : The End Of Camelot / Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard – A riveting historical narrative of the shocking events surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the follow-up to the author’s bestseller Killing Lincoln. “Immersively written… O’Reilly and Dugard succeed in investing a familiar national tragedy with fresh anguish…A powerful historical précis.”  – Janet Maslin, The New York Times
  • The $60,000 Dog : My Life With Animals / Lauren Slater – As a psychologist, a reporter, an amateur naturalist, and, above all, an enormously gifted writer, Lauren Slater draws us into the stories of her love for the animals that are so much more to her than pets. “Dogs, wasps, and bats also figure in a poetic narrative that gives the reader a melodic look into a deeply considered life.” – Booklist
  • The World Until Yesterday : What Can We Learn From Traditional Societies? / Jared Diamond – Diamond draws extensively from his decades of field work in the Pacific islands – as well as evidence from Inuit, Amazonian Indians, Kalahari San people, and others – and finds that their solutions to universal human problems have much to teach the contemporary world. “[Diamond] conveys a sense of urgency concerning the need to address modern social problems and find useful solutions.” – Library Journal
  • People Who Said No : Courage Against Oppression / Laura Scandiffio – These inspirational profiles of people who followed their moral compass make for riveting stories as well as excellent starting points for discussions about ethics and morality. Subjects include Sophie and Hans Scholl, Andrei Sakharov, Rosa Parks, Oscar Romero, Helen Suzman, Aung San Suu Kyi and, collectively, the people of Egypt. “Given Scandiffio’s writing style, sometimes the book reads like good historical fiction…for reluctant readers, it can be a useful introduction to nonfiction works.” – School Library Journal
  • Muck City : Winning And Losing In Football’s Forgotten Town / Bryan Mealer — In a town deep in the Florida Everglades, where high school football is the only escape, a haunted quarterback, a returning hero, and a scholar struggle against terrible odds. “This is another version of Buzz Bissinger’s Friday Night Lights (1990), and since both are less about football than they are about family, community, and the horrific struggle to rise above poverty, each boasts a unique set of characters who are well worth knowing.” – Booklist starred review
  • Food : The New Gold / Kathlyn Gay – Explores the economical, political, and environmental issues related to food; discusses reasons starving population do not have food despite surpluses in other regions; and looks genetic engineering of plants and animals. “An informative, well-documented resource on a timely topic.” – Booklist starred review
  • Bomb : The Race To Build And Steal The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon / Steve Sheinkin – The story of the plotting, the risk-taking, the deceit, and genius that created the world’s most formidable weapon – the atomic bomb. A 2012 National Book Awards finalist for Young People’s Literature. “In his highly readable storytelling style, Sheinkin weaves together tales of scientific and technological discovery, back-alley espionage, and wartime sabotage in a riveting account of the race to build the first atomic weapon. A must-read for students of history and science.” – Publishers Weekly
  • Running For My Life : One Lost Boy’s Journey From The Killing Fields Of Sudan To The Olympic Games / Lopez Lomong with Mark Tabb – Lomong chronicles his inspiring ascent from a barefoot lost boy of the Sudanese Civil War to a Nike-sponsored athlete on the US Olympic Team. Though most of us fall somewhere between the catastrophic lows and dizzying highs of Lomong’s incredible life, every reader will find in his story the human spark to pursue dreams that might seem unthinkable, even from circumstances that might appear hopeless. “Lopez Lomong’s story is one of true inspiration. His life is a story of courage, hard work, never giving up, and having hope where there is hopelessness all around.” – Michael Johnson, Olympic gold medalist
  • The Longest Race : A Lifelong Runner, An Iconic Ultramarathon, And The Case For Human Endurance / Ed Ayres – Among endurance runners, there are those who have run very long distances, and then there are those who have run very long distances for a very long time. Ed Ayres exemplifies the latter; having run in over 600 races across fifty-five years, he is arguably the most experienced American distance runner still competing today. This is his urgent exploration of the connection between individual endurance and a sustainable society. “Revealing, savvy, and fast-paced, Ayres’s eloquent book on marathon running is a master class on the priceless life lessons of enduring and conquering obstacles to victory.” – Publishers Weekly
  • Outcasts United : The Story Of A Refugee Soccer Team That Changed A Town / Warren St. John – Clarkston, Georgia, was a typical Southern town until it was designated a refugee settlement center in the 1990s, becoming the first American home for scores of families in flight from the world’s war zones—from Liberia and Sudan to Iraq and Afghanistan. The town also became home to Luma Mufleh, an American-educated Jordanian woman who founded a youth soccer team to unify Clarkston’s refugee children and keep them off the streets. “Respecting cultural differences, building a global community, and the importance of getting involved are powerful, motivating messages that will resonate with teen readers, not just soccer fans.” – School Library Journal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *