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Archives for August 2015

Review of Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon

Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin (Flash Point/Roaring Brook) While comprehensive in his synthesis of the political, historical, and scientific aspects of the creation of the first nuclear weapon, Sheinkin focuses his account with an extremely alluring angle: the spies. The book opens in […]

Review of The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the 
Fight for Civil Rights

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the 
Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin Middle School    Roaring Brook    190 pp. 1/14    978-1-59643-796-8    $19.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-59643-983-2    $9.99 Sheinkin follows Bomb (rev. 11/12) with an account of another aspect of the Second World War, stemming from an incident that seems small in scope but […]

Books mentioned in the August 2015 issue of What Makes a Good…?

What Makes Good Narrative Nonfiction? Picture Books Applegate, Katherine  Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla Illustrated by G. Brian Karas. 40 pp.     Clarion     2014     ISBN 978-0-544-25230-1 Bang, Molly and Chisholm, Penny  Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth Illustrated by Molly Bang. 48 pp.     Scholastic/Blue Sky      2014     ISBN 978-0-545-57785-4 […]

How to find free and cheap books

I just had an email from Samantha Song, a former student now teaching first grade in Somerville, MA, with a universal question that that I want to pass along to all of you. Here’s what she said: I’d like to pick your brain on an issue I’m having. I was a last minute hire and […]

Seeing yourself in literature

I can’t really remember if I looked for literature with kids like me as a child. Did I read books about quiet, geeky girls because I could relate? Or did I read books about quiet, geeky girls because that’s what was available? Did I search for a character with whom I could identify? Or could […]

Recommended Narrative Nonfiction: Young Adult

Bausum, Ann Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights 120 pp. Viking 2015. ISBN 978-0-670-01679-2 Bausum begins with a detailed, nuanced exposition of the June 1969 Stonewall riots as a galvanizing moment for the gay rights movement, then traces the movement’s evolution (in a somewhat more cursory way) for the second half of […]

Recommended Narrative Nonfiction: Intermediate

Bartoletti, Susan Campbell Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America 230 pp. Houghton 2015. ISBN 978-0-544-31367-5 What was it like to be a servant, an immigrant, a woman in the early twentieth century? Bartoletti weaves the answers into the beginning of “Typhoid Mary” Mallon’s story — using Mary as a […]

Recommended Narrative Nonfiction: Picture Books

Applegate, Katherine Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla 40 pp. Clarion 2014. ISBN 978-0-544-25230-1 Illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Applegate introduces picture-book readers to the true story that inspired her Newbery-winning The One and Only Ivan. In poetic prose she describes gorilla Ivan’s early life in Africa; his dramatic capture; his […]

Five questions for Steve Sheinkin

Steve Sheinkin’s young adult history books — including Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon (a Newbery Honor Book, a National Book Award finalist, and the winner of both the Sibert Award and the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults) and The Port Chicago 50: […]

From the Editor—August 2015

When I was walking around the ALA exhibits in San Francisco earlier this summer, I kept running into publishers eager to show me their “narrative nonfiction.” I knew this was a concept (see Elizabeth Partridge’s article “Narrative Nonfiction: Kicking Ass at Last” and more on narrative nonfiction from The Horn Book) but apparently it had […]