An illustrated book about an ocean voyage, a comic-strip biography of a Nobel physicist, and an examination of a controversial period of American history are just some of the new nonfiction titles hitting shelves alongside Marc Aronson’s Trapped.
Feynman by Jim Ottaviani ingeniously uses a first-person narrative and the graphic novel format to present the life of a remarkable man. A brilliant theoretical physicist who worked on the atomic bomb, won the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics, was married three times, played in a samba band, studied drawing, and hung out at topless bars, Richard Feynman approached everything with exuberance and a sense of play. Ottaviani’s and illustrator Leland Myrick’s enthusiasm infuses every aspect of the book — and they’re even able to provide clear explanations of complex physics. (12 years and up)
Karen Blumenthal’s Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition traces Americans’ drinking habits from colonial times to the present day to show how lack of moderation has caused this country to go from one extreme to the other and back again. She explains the social, political, economic, and cultural contexts that produced the Prohibition era. With an ambitious scope that includes anecdotes, quotes, statistics, photographs, and illustrations to complement the larger story, Blumenthal makes the subject matter relevant for modern readers. (12 years and up)
Far from Shore: Chronicles of an Open Ocean Voyage is Sophie Webb’s richly detailed account of her travels on a four-month-long NOAA research cruise studying the impact of fishing on two dolphin populations in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. Combining scientific information, field guide–like illustrations, and a thorough, realistic account of the day-to-day experiences of a field scientist, Webb provides readers with a closer look at the exciting science and the real-life minutiae of spending so much time at sea. (9–12 years)
From Notes from the Horn Book, August 2011