Nonfiction (History and Social Science)


Andrew Maraniss. Games of Deception: The True Story of the First U.S. Olympic Basketball Team at the 1936 Olympics in Hitler’s Germany (Philomel, 2019)

Follows the game of basketball from its invention to the first Olympic tournament 45 years later, set against the harrowing backdrop of of the rise of the Nazis in Germany and Hitler’s attempt to use the 1936 Berlin Olympics to sell the world on the accomplishments of his brutal regime. The story flows from the racism athletes faced, not just in Germany but the United States as well, to the burning question of the day: should, or even can, sports and politics be separated? Can a bunch of factory and odd-jobs workers take the court at the worlds greatest sports event and just play ball?

Steve Sheinkin, Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team. (Roaring Brook Press, 2017)

Quick, name the greatest football player and coach combination ever to play the game… Think innovations so great that the rules would be changed every time they started something new; think hurry up offense and dynasty. No, not Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the New England Patriots. Brady never punted the ball 60 yards, ran under it and caught it in the air, broke four tackles and scored on the return; that wouldn’t even be legal today! If you are a football fan, or a history buff, this story of the Carlisle Indian School, Jim Thorpe, and Pop Warner will take you from the Civil War through World War I, and you’ll meet the likes of Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and Omar Bradley on the way.


Sarah Albee, illustrated by Robert leighton. Poop Happened: A History of the World from the Bottom Up. (Walker Company, 2010)
If this book teaches you anything, it’s that if you try to ignore this… stuff… it doesn’t go away, it just keeps piling up!

Susan Campbell Bartoletti. They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group. (Houghton Mifflin, 2010)
We sometimes wish we could brush some of our history under a rug and try to forget it. We know we shouldn’t, but sometimes our history hurts too much. The Ku Klux Klan is one of our darkest, most terrifying memories. Men draped in sheets riding through the night to terrorize the innocent is the stuff of horror films and nightmares. Do yourself a favor and shine a light on those memories with Susan Campbell Bartoletti’s They Called Themselves the K.K.K.

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Ann Bausum. Stubby the War Dog: the True Story of World War I’s Bravest Dog. (National Geographic, 2014)
A grizzled veteran in a uniform dripping with medals marches in a parade for a war long since ended. Kids who weren’t even born when he fought, took a hunk of shrapnel in the chest, single-handedly captured an enemy soldier, and saved a comrade in the middle of a fierce battle strain to see. He marches in step with his unit, snaps his head around on the command “Eyes right”, and stops and salutes the superior officer
reviewing the parade. Then he drops back to all four feet, his tongue hangs out, and the most famous mutt to fight in World War I marches on.

Jeff Belanger. Who’s Haunting the White House?: The President’s Mansion and the Ghosts Who Live There. (Sterling, 2008)
Harry Truman saw them. Winston Churchill felt their presence. Mary Todd Lincoln actually called them forth, and Abraham Lincoln is one of them. Dolly Madison tried to stop the workmen from digging up her garden to plan the Rose Garden sixty years after she died. These are the specters that lurk in one of the most historic, and haunted, buildings in America.

Benson Bobrick. A Passion for Victory: The Story of the Olympics in Ancient and Early Modern Times. (Knopf, 2012)
A thankfully non-idealized look at the Olympics as sports, history, and culture. That means it will have some appeal to those interested in any of those aspects, but might be dissappointing to a hard-core sports or history buff. But with it being an Olympic year, this should be a real draw, especially compared to the standard sickeningly sweet Olympics books for kids.

Suzy Beamer Bohnert. Learning Basketball’s Lingo. (B&B Publishing)
From the “Game Day Goddess” comes a book on the language of basketball for the complete novice. What makes this book special? It covers not just the official terms, but slang as well. Where else are you going to find a definition of a “ticky-tack foul”? A bit simplistic for the sports buff, but for anybody who wants to sit down next to dad and watch a game, this is the dictionary for you.

Don Brown. Henry and the Cannons: An Extraordinary True Story of the American Revolution. (Roaring Brook Press, 2013)
The British soldiers living in Boston during the Revolutionary War got one of the nastiest surprises in history. One morning, a soldier cried that there was a line of cannons looking down at them! Nonsense, said an officer, there aren’t any cannons for 300 miles. Then he looked up…

Ed Butts, art by Scott Plumbe. Bodyguards!: From Gladiators to the Secret Service. (Annick Press, 2012)
Presidents have them. Kings too. Businessmen, gangsters, celebrities, even kids have body guards. Samurai, Secret Service, guard dogs, even guard geese. These are the stories of the guards that saved, the ones that failed, and the ones who turned on those they were sworn to protect.

Davide Cali, illustrations by Gabriella Giandelli. Monsters & Legends. (Flying Eye Books, 2013)
Like nonfiction, but fantasy too? Love stories of monsters and strange creatures, but you are aren’t buying it for a second? Love to see the world for what it is, but still wish there was a little magic left in it? Then I have a book for you. Here are all the things that go bump in the night, all the supernatural beasties that people have believed in – and feared – for ages, as well as the most likely explanations for why people believed in them.

Timothy Decker. For Liberty: The Story of the Boston Massacre. (Calkins Creek, 2009)
For those elementary and middle school kids who remember their picture book days as the last time they loved reading, here is a powerful take on a grimly fascinating event. This is “small” history; fifteen minutes that changed the world, and the drama is enhanced by stark, black and white illustrations that evoke both David MacAulay and the Manga form. Perhaps its greatest gift is to individualize the players, making the
tragedy all the more human. This is history that comes alive.

Claire Eamer, artwork by Sa Boothroyn. The World in Your Lunchbox: The Wacky History and Wierd Science of Everyday Foods. (Annick Press, 2012)
Hey whatcha eating? Floor sweepings and germ burps. No, really? It looks like a hot dog on a bun. Why don’t they serve chocolate in prison? Because it makes you break out. And who the heck first thought of scooping up curdled milk and eating it? Everyone, and I mean everyone, eats the stuff in this book, so you might as well know where it comes from, how it works, and a few jokes to tell your friends when you eat it.

“Extreme Cuisine” (Series):
Meish Goldish. Bug-a-licious. (Bearport, 2009)
From cricket lollipops to roasted ants in the movie theatre, here are the stories of bug foods from around the world. Part cook book, part social study, and all queasy, this is a fun nonfiction written at a very accessible level.
Meish Goldish. Baby Bug Dishes. (Bearport, 2009)
Meish Goldish. Mammal Menu. (Bearport, 2009)
Dinah Williams. Shocking Seafood. (Bearport, 2009)
Dinah Williams. Slithery, Slimy, Scaly Treats. (Bearport, 2009)
Meish Goldish. Spider-tizers and Other Creepy Treats. (Bearport, 2009)

Ralph Fletcher, Guy-Write: What Every Guy Reader Needs to Know. (Henry Holt, 2012)
Simple message: you don’t have to be a professional writer, or an adult, or a girl, to write. This is not a book about boys and writing but a book written to boys about their writing, their way. Ralph Fletcher writes great books for kids, but reading this you might almost think he was a boy once himself.

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Nancy Bo Flood, photography by Jan Sonnenmair. Cowboy Up!: Ride the Navajo Rodeo. (Wordsong, 2013)
How do you get a handle on the big, crazy world of rodeo? One rider, one bull, one bucking bronco at a time. From kindergartners on bucking sheep to the clowns that face down raging bulls, here is one day in one rodeo with pictures so close you can feel the thousand-pound bull’s breath.

Dennis Brindell Fradin & Judith Bloom Fradin, illustrated by Eric Velasquez. The Price of Freedom: How One Town Stood Up to Slavery. (Walker Books, 2013)
Some are willing to risk their own freedom to secure the freedom of others .In America’s darkest hour, the lead up to the Civil War, some very regular people made an extraordinary sacrifice, standing up to say all people should be free when many of their countrymen, and the law, did not agree.

Russell Freedman, illustrated by Peter Malone. The Boston Tea Party. (Holiday House, 2012)
Can you start a war without soldiers or firing a shot, but with humor, costumes, and what was basically a big party instead? America did it; find out how.

Aaron Frisch. Zombies. [That's Spooky] (Creative Education, 2013)
Hey, it’s “My first zombie book”. Start your future horror reader off right with this little primer on the walking dead. Gently scary, and some classy, and campy, black and white illustrations for older fans.

Joe Funk. An Inside Look at the U. S. Navy SEALs. (Scholastic, 2011)
A first look at the men, machines, weapons, vehicles, and missions of the best of the best elite fighting forces in the world, including a look at how they took down Osama bin Laden.

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Susan E. Goodman, illustrated by Elwood H. Smith. Gee Whiz! It’s All About Pee. (Viking Juvenile, 2006)

Susan E. Goodman, illustrated by Elwood H. Smith. The Truth About Poop. (Viking, 2004)

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Kelly Milner Halls and William Grahasm Sumper. Saving the Baghdad Zoo. (Greenwillow Books, 2009)
War destroys lives, and not just human lives. A handful of brave people, led by an American Army officer, took on the challenge of saving the animals in zoos all over Baghdad during the Iraq War. With bullets flying around them, they wrangled lions, alligators and many more animals. Heroes come in some surprising shapes.

“Horror Scapes” series:
Michael Burgan. Dracula’s Dark World. (Bearport, 2011)
Natalie Lunis. Tut’s Deadly Tomb. (Bearport, 2011)
Stephen Person. Ghostly Alcatraz. (Bearport, 2011)
Stephen Person. Voodoo in New Orleans. (Bearport, 2011)
Steven L. Stern. Witchcraft in Salem. (Bearport, 2011)

Inside Special Forces (Series):
Peter Ryan. Black Ops and Other Special Missions of the U.S. Air Force Combat Control Team. [Inside Special Forces] (Rosen Central, 2013)
When is a commando more than a commando? When he can call down the entire firepower of the U.S. Air Force on those who stand before him. Air Force Combat Controllers are part Navy SEALs, part paratroopers, part Green Berets, and air traffic controllers to boot. They give special forces teams from all branches of the military the ability to see the battlefield, call in air strikes from fighters, bombers, missiles, and drones, and guide evacuation helicopters into fierce hotspots. They are “multipliers” of
combat effectiveness. This is their story, in bold, technical language for the most military-minded of readers.
Theresa Shea. Black Ops and Other Special Missions of the U.S. Army Green Berets. (Rosen Central, 2013)
Jamie Poolos. Black Ops and Other Special Missions of the U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations Command. (Rosen Central, 2013)
Simone Payment. Black Ops and Other Special Missions of the U.S. Navy SEALs. (Rosen Central, 2013)

Sheila Griffin Lanas. Mo Willems. (ABDO Publishing, 2012)
Doodling his way to the top!

Mary Losure. Wild Boy: The Real Life of the Savage of Aveyron. (Candlewick Press, 2013)
We use the word “wild” all the time when we talk about kids. But what does wild really mean? What of a child who never knew parents, houses, even words? Who lived in the woods and ate what he could dig with his own hands? Would you say he was a savage, or was he free? Two hundred years ago, such a boy was caught and dragged naked into a French town. What could be done with him? What should be done with him? Was he being saved or imprisoned?

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Lisa Miles. Origami Dinosaurs. (Gareth Stevens, 2013)
What better use for your reading skills than to make something cool? Make your own dinosaurs… out of paper! Amaze your friends. Make armies of dinosaurs. From very simple dinosaurs to an impressive T-Rex.

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Marissa Moss, illustrated by Yuko Shimizu. Barbed Wire Baseball. (Abrams, 2013)
There is something freeing about launching a long home run and running easily around the bases and back to home while the ball sails over the fence. But what if the fence is made of barbed wire, and even if the ball can fly away, you can never go home? People scoff at the idea that sports are life, but what if baseball is all you have of your life? This is the true story of a man who played with babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, and then was imprisoned with his whole family, his whole community. His crime? He was Japanese, and America went to war with Japan.

Jim Murphy. The Giant and How He Humbugged America. (Scholastic, 2012)
Oh those silly, gullible people of the 1800′s. In the age of Facebook, it is worth noting that the technology may have changed, but we are still fooled in much the same way, so long as some people are willing to deceive, and a whole lot of people are willing to believe. One observer noted a, “peculiarly American superstition that the correctness of a belief is decided by the number of people who can be induced to adopt it.” Read any good posts lately?

Kadir Nelson. We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball. (Jump at the Sun, 2008)

Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce. Ghosts: A Nonfiction Companion to A Good Night for Ghosts. [Magic Tree House Research Guide] (Random House, 2009)
It is always great to get a kid hooked on a series, but so much better to hook them on a series that has both fiction and nonfiction books. We don’t give nonfiction enough credit, nor do we honor the fact that so many boys want to connect their reading with real life. Well, in this case it is real death in the form of real ghost stories, highly illustrated and quickly told. Great for those kids already addicted to the series, and a grand introduction for those who aren’t.

Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce. Leprechauns and Irish Folklore: A Nonfiction Companion to Leprechauns in Late Winter. [Magic Tree House Research Guide] (Random House, 2010)
Who needs a story written ABOUT some of the best stories ever? Why not just enjoy Irish folklore? Revel in the playful, and sometimes not so playful, deeds of the wee folk, whether meeting to dance beneath the stars, tearing apart houses that were built on fairy roads, or spiriting away their little hoards of gold. Learn how to find that gold, how to lift a fairy spell, and what it means when a Banshee wails outside your window.

Dorothy Hinshaw Patent. Dogs on Duty: Soldiers’ Best Friends on the Battlefield and Beyond. (Walker, 2012)
When can a dog be a SEAL? When it is a military Working Dog! Meet these four-legged heroes and see how they are raised and trained, and how they save lives and serve their country.

Nathaniel Philbrick. Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex. (Putnam, 2002)

Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht. The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook. (Chronicle Books, 1999)

Joshua Piven, and David Borgenicht. The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Extreme Edition. (Chronicle Books, 2005)

Arnold Ringstad, illustrated by Kathleen Petelin. Wierd-But-True Facts About the U.S. Military. (The Child’s World, 2013)
U.S. Presidents have been soldiers, one never made it past private, but so have dolphins and pigeons. One weapon today costs more than the entire Revolutionary War, yes, even adjusted for inflation. We didn’t lose a single major battle in one war, but the White House was captured and burned in another. It’s a wacky walk through American warfare.

Michael J. Rosen, with Ben Kassoy. No Dribbling the Squid: Octopush, Shin Kicking, Elephant Polo, and Other Oddball Sports. (Andrew McMeel, 2009)
Competitive spitting, shovel racing, backward bicycling, basketball on unicycles, and Octopush (underwater hockey); there are some really strange sports out there, and they are all in this one little book, with plenty of pictures of all the zanyness. Two or three pages on each sport, complete with statistics, rules, and probably too many bad puns makes this a quick, fun read. No need to read it cover to cover; flip it open to any page and enjoy. (Hint: Kudu Dung spitting on p. 72)

Michael Sandler. “Fast Rides” (Series):
Electrifying Eco-Race Cars. (Bearport, 2011)
It’s where gear-heads, speed-freaks, tree-huggers, and techno-nuts meet to say… “Wow!”
Dynamic Drag Racers. (Bearport, 2011)
Hot Hot Rods. (Bearport, 2011)
Jet Powered Speed. (Bearport, 2011)

“Scary Places” (Series)
Dinah Williams. Creepy Stations. (Bearport, 2013)
Thousands of people pass through train stations every day… and some stay for hundreds of years. Train wreck victims, murder victims, and the only Pony Express rider killed in the line of duty; the various ghosts that are said to inhabit those places where so many people come to move on, and some never do.
Dinah Williams. Abandoned Insane Asylums. (Bearport, 2008)
Sarah Parvis. Creepy Castles. (Bearport, 2008)
Michael E. Goodman. Dark Labyrinths. (Bearport, 2008)
Sarah Parvis. Ghost Towns. (Bearport, 2008)
Sarah Parvis. Haunted Hotels. (Bearport, 2008)
Dinah Williams. Haunted Houses. (Bearport, 2008)
Dinah Williams. Spooky Cemeteries. (Bearport, 2008)
Steven L. Stern. Wretched Ruins. (Bearport, 2010)

James Solheim. It’s Disgusting and We Ate It!: True Food Facts from Around the World and Throughout History. (Simon & Schuster, 1998)

Stephen Spignesi. The Weird 100: A Collection of the Strange and the Unexplained. (Citadel Press, 2004)

Sports Illustrated Kids Big Book of Why. (Sports Illustrated Kids Books, 2012)
So why do baseball managers wear uniforms when coaches in other sports don’t? That’s a great question! And there are many more, like why are there 10 teams in the Big 12 Conference and 12 teams in the Big Ten? Why are three goals a "hat trick"? Why is the San Francisco Giants’ mascot a seal? And why are they the New York Giants and Jets if they play in New Jersey? And if you wonder why
coaches in other sports DON’T wear uniforms, just picture Bill Parcells in Spandex.

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Tanya Lee Stone. Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles, America’s First Black Paratroopers. (Candlewick, 2013)
Who says a soldier has to fight to change history? Can stepping out of a plane into thin air take more courage than facing an enemy? And can an enemy within be as terrible as an enemy on the other side of the battlefield? In World War II, seventeen men, seventeen BLACK men, changed America by boarding a plane knowing they weren’t going to land with it, and became the first African Americans in the most elite
unit in the military.

Sally M. Walker. Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917. (Henry Holt, 2011)
What is the connection between the city of Halifax in Canada, World War I, and the Christmas tree in Boston, Massachusetts? Two thousand deaths in the largest man-made explosion before the atomic bomb, that’s what.

Janet Wilson. Our Rights: How Kids are Changing the World. (Second Story Press, 2013)
Books about inspiring kids often share one fatal flaw. The children involved may be inspirational, but they lack agency. They survive, but action is performed by adults. Wilson’s book has no such flaw. The children she profiles don’t just cry for help, they help. They start banks for other street kids, they put their muscle into getting water to other kids. They put their lives on the lines to protect other kids lives. This nonfiction book about kids, largely told by kids, has real plot. This is a book for kids who don’t read
for pleasure, they read if it helps them do something.

Bill Wise, pictures by Adam Gustavson. Silent Star: the Story of a Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy. (Lee & Low, 2012)
William Hoy was the first major league baseball player to throw out three runners at the plate from the outfield in a single game. More than a hundred years later, only two others have done it. He is still among the top 25 base-stealers in major league history. But don’t cheer for him; he couldn’t hear you. Few are good enough to play pro baseball, but how much harder would it be if you couldn’t hear your coach? Or the
crack of the bat? Or your teammates yelling for the ball? Or even the umpire calling balls and strikes? We often say people with disabilities are just like everyone else. William “Dummy” Hoy wasn’t; he was better.

“The Work of Heroes: First Responders in Action” (Series)
Meish Goldish. Animal Control Officers to the Rescue. (Bearport, 2013)
“When I grow up, I want to be a police officer…or a veterinarian… or a superhero.” Well, why not become a little bit of all three? Find out how in this look at animal control officers.They are a long way from the old dog catchers!
Meish Goldish. Doctors to the Rescue. (Bearport, 2012)
Meish Goldish. Firefighters to the Rescue. (Bearport, 2012)
Nancy White. Paramedics to the Rescue. (Bearport, 2012)
Nancy White. Police Officers to the Rescue. (Bearport, 2012)



Primarily for Teen Boys:

Alex Boese. Electrified Sheep: Glass-eating Scientists, Nuking the Moon, and More Bizarre Experiments. (Thomas Dunne Books, 2012)
Quick, what mad scientist first revived a shock victim using mouth-to-mouth resuscitation? And who was the victim? Answer: The scientist was Ben Franklin, and the victim was a chicken. And that’s just one of the weird stories in this collection.

James Buckley. The Bathroom Companion: A Collection of Facts About the Most-Used Room in the House. (Quirk, 2005)

Alexa Coelho & Simon Quellen Field. Why is Milk White? & 200 Other Curious Chemistry Questions. (Chicago Review Press, 2013)
How’s this for an audience: smart kids who are bored/annoyed/tired of school? (The technical term is curriculum-averse.) Yeah, THOSE kids.This is a book for THOSE kids. Kids that need to see, feel, understand. For those kids, chemistry can be a challenge. What do those little things calmed atoms do? Take one out and a solid becomes a liquid; add one in and it explodes.The first exercise tells you how to make your hands smoke! This isn’t a dumbed-down simplistic science fair book; there is a chapter on
things that stink and one on things that catch fire and go bang. When I was in high school I loved science, but I remember asking my science teacher, if everything is
made up of the same three things (electrons, neutrons, and protons), then why are gold and silver different colors? He started hyperventilating. I passed on advanced chemistry. If I had this book then, I might have taken it.

Jerry Craft and Kathleen Sullivan. Pitching for the Stars: My Season Across the Color Line. (Texas Tech University Press, 2013)
Jerry Craft came home from college in 1959 to a phone call from a manager he had never heard of, asking him to pitch for a semi-pro baseball team he had never heard of. $75 a game was good money, so he said yes. He showed up for the first game intending to ask the big black man when the white team was going to show up. The black man was his new manager. Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947, but in 1959 Texas, there were white teams and colored
teams… until Jerry Craft came to play for the Stars.

Samantha Ettus. The Experts’ Guide to 100 Things Everyone Should Know. (Clarkson Potter, 2004)

Cynthia J. Faryon. Guilty of Being Weird: The Story of Guy Paul Morin. [Real Justice] (Lorimer, 2012)
When a nine year old girl is attacked and killed, we want to punish the person responsible. That is noble and good. When someone is different, strange, and unsocial, we want to think there is something sinister in him. That impulse is not so noble. We would like to think that our justice system is above impulse, that it gets to the truth. But the justice syystem is made up of people. This is the story of how powerful impulses caused the justice system to destroy a man’s life by perverting the truth ion order to
convict someone everyone knew must be guilty of a crime that everyone knew needed avenging.

Maria Goodavage. Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America’s Canine Heroes. (Dutton, 2012)
A journalist takes us inside the lives of military dogs and their handlers, their selection, training, and acts of heroism with plenty of human (and canine) interest stories woven through. An especially unique view of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, this book makes a way of life few of us have ever imagined very real and personal.

David Gram. The Lost City of Z : A Tale of Deadly Obsession. (Doubleday, 2009)
This nonfiction account covers a hundred years of fateful, and even fatal, expeditions into the heart of the Amazon region. It is part adventure tale, part horror story, part ecological treatise, all wrapped up in some amazing storytelling. This is Bill Bryson with teeth! It is a tropical Into Thin Air. Journalist David Gram follows in the footsteps of some of the greatest explorers ever into a land that even the great explorers could not conquer to try to solve a mystery as old as history in the New World. He goes in search of the golden city of El Dorado.

William Gurstelle. The Art of the Catapult: Build Greek Ballistae, Roman Onagers, English Trebuchets, and More Ancient Artillery. (Chicago Review Press, 2004)

William Gurstelle. Backyard Ballistics. (Chicago Review, 2001)

Tanya Lloyd Kyi. 50 Poisonous Questions: A Book With Bite. (Annick Press, 2011)
Half this book is about cool poisons in nature, fangs, warts, and clicking mandibles. Very cool. The other half is about the poisons we humans put into the world and use on each other. Infuriating. All of it is worth the read.

Roland Laird, Taneshia Nash Laird. Still I Rise: A Graphic History of African Americans. ( Sterling , 2009)

Eric LeGrand. Believe: My Faith and the Tackle That Changed My Life. (William Morrow, 2012)
I don’t want to call this book inspirational, because that word seems too public, too outward. This is an honest, personal account of growing up into an elite athlete, and a moment that ended his career, could have ended his life, and should have ended his hope and determination but didn’t.

Stan Mack. Taxes, the Tea Party, and Those Revolting Rebels: A History in Comics of the American Revolution. (Nanter, Beall, Minoustchine, 2012)
Hey, maybe the people who decided that a bunch of backwater colonists could defeat the greatest army ever really were cartoon characters. Their stories seem far more real in this comic history than they ever did in a textbook.

Joy Masoff. Oh Yuck!: the Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty. (Workman, 2000)

Joy Masoff. Oh Yikes!: History’s Grossest, Wackiest Moments. (Workman, 2000)

Benjamin Mee. We Bought a Zoo: The Amazing True Story of a Young Family, a Broken Down Zoo, and the 200 Wild Animals That Change Their Lives Forever. (Weinstein Books, 2008)
Tigers that weigh a quarter ton, escape artist pumas that put Houdini to shame, a jaguar that needs five-inch root canals, and the most freightening beasts of all: lawyers! Just the challenge for a professional writer whose been sipping wine in southern France.I’m sorry,sir, but what are you doing in that tree with a severed bull’s head Your feeding a what? Read the book… see the movie.

H.P. Newquist. Here There Be Monsters: The Legendary Kraken and the Giant Squid. (Houghton Mifflin, 2010)
The only thing more exciting than a monster of myth is when the monster turns out to be real. This nonfiction, picture book format includes every known picture of the giant and colossal squids, as well as many of the fanciful pictures of the legendary Kraken. For everyone who likes real life adventure stories, as well as those fans of a good creature feature.

Deborah Noyes. Encyclopedia of the End: Mysterious Death in Fact, Fancy, Folklore, and More. (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2008)

Doreen Rappaport. Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust. (Candlewick, 2012)
The horror of the Holocaust can leave the impression that the Jews of Europe just waited to be slaughtered. But that isn’t the whole story. All over Europe, Jews organized, helped each other escape the Nazis, made allies, and fought back. Often without help, often without hope, they fought so that the world would know they fought, in towns, ghettoes, fields, forests, and even in the death camps themselves.

Martin W. Sandler. Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II. (Walker Childrens, 2013)
During World War II, a government rounded up an entire race of people and imprisoned them behind barbed wire and armed guards. It wasn’t Germany. Don’t count on what you learned in school about American history. We don’t always want to admit our mistakes.

Nancy Rica Schiff. Odd Jobs: Portraits of Unusual Occupations. (Ten Speed Press, 2002)

Nancy Rica Schiff. Odder Jobs: More Portraits of Unusual Occupations. (Ten Speed Press, 2006)

“The Science Of…” (Series)
Mike Flynn. The Ultimate Survival Guide. (Macmillan Children’s Books, 2010)
Ever since Piven and Borgenicht’s “Worst case Scenario” series, there has been a rash of survival books, most disappointingly tame and little-related to the great outdoors. This is the real thing, a guide that talks about real life survival situations from your back yard to the harshest environments on earth. Complete with activities like building a solar water purifier and a bit of British humor, this is the book for all those boys who were sorely disappointed by The Dangerous Book for Boys.
Georgina Phillips. Ouch!: Extreme Feats of Human Endurance. (Macmillan Children’s Books, 2010)
Dave Reay. Your Planet Needs You!: A Kid’s Guide to Going Green. (Macmillan Children’s Books, 2009)

Adam Selzer. The Smart Aleck’s Guide to American History. (Delacorte, 2010)
The cure for the common history book. This irreverent take on American history digs into such weighty issues as the place of stupid hats at major junctions of history, who was the most boring president we ever had, and why Americans have smelled so bad for so long. Read this along side your real history text book and you might get a few laughs and a little perspective.

Stephen Spignesi. The Weird 100: A Collection of the Strange and the Unexplained. (Citadel Press, 2004)

James L. Swanson. Bloody Times: The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln and the Manhunt for Jefferson Davis. (Collins, 2011)
When General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865, the Union thought that the Civil War was over. Two men, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, and John Wilkes Booth, the soon to be assassin, did not agree. The war would not truly be over until the country buried Abraham Lincoln, and hunted down Jefferson Davis.

James L. Swanson. Chasing Lincoln ‘s Killer. (Scholastic, 2009)

This Book Really Sucks!: the Science Behind Gravity, Flight, Leeches, Black Holes, Tornadoes, Our Friend the Vacuum Cleaner, and Most Everything Else That Sucks. (Planet Dexter, 1999)

Chris Woodford, et al. Cool Stuff and How it Works. (Dorling Kindersley, 2005)

Chris Woodford and Jon Woodcock. Cool Stuff 2.0 and How it Works. (Dorling Kindersley, 2007)

Chris Woodford. Cool Stuff Exploded. (Dorling Kindersley, 2008)

Chris Woodford and Jon Woodcock. The Gadget Book: How Really Cool Stuff Works. (Dorling Kindersley, 2007)

Chris Woodford. How Cool Stuff Works. (Dorling Kindersley, 2008)