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General knowledge

13½ Incredible Things You Need to Know About Everything
Gr. 4–6, middle school     176 pp.     DK

This browsable compendium serves up random trivia on eighty wide-ranging subjects. Each busy, colorful double-page spread focuses on a topic, including earth science, plants, animals, communication, water, philosophy, ancient civilizations, movies, helicopters, and much more. Crisp photos compete for attention with thirteen numbered bits of information about that topic plus the gimmicky fact #13 ½ (a.k.a fourteen), which “busts a myth and tells you the total truth.” Glos., ind.
Subjects: General Knowledge

DiPiazza, Francesca Davis  Fandom: Fic Writers, Vidders, Gamers, Artists, and Cosplayers
Middle school, high school     120 pp.     Twenty-First Century

A thorough, clear introduction to the concepts of fandom and fanworks, aimed primarily at those new to the subculture. DiPiazza uses plenty of examples from — and quotes from members of — a variety of fandoms, and she doesn’t shy away from discussing controversies such as the misogynistic harassment of Gamergate. Black-and-green graphics and relevant photos break up the text. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: General Knowledge; Books and reading; Writing; Online social networks; Internet; Media; Publishers and publishing

Esbaum, Jill  Little Kids First Big Book of How
Gr. K–3
     128 pp.     National Geographic

Marked by a dynamic, colorful design and multiple eye-catching photographs on each page, this compendium explains how familiar objects, activities, and tools work or are created. Subjects range from body parts to household items to natural phenomena (and more), and each themed chapter ends in a puzzle or game. Both subject choices and clearly written explanations are well pitched to engage their audience. Parent tips appended. Resource list. Glos., ind.
Subjects: General Knowledge; Technology

Murrie, Matt and Andrew R. McHugh  The Book of What If…?: Questions and Activities for Curious Minds
Gr. 4–6     226 pp.     Simon/Aladdin/Beyond Words

This guide for curious tweens promotes critical thinking through a series of very loosely organized questions, accompanied by well-documented trivia, quotes from students, and extension activities. Emphasizing speculation, the book offers springboards for discussion in or outside the classroom. It supports its broad-ranging questions with explanations that make complex topics accessible and may inspire further inquiry.
Subjects: General Knowledge; Behavior—Curiosity; Questions and answers

Platt, Richard  A World of Information
Gr. 4–6, middle school     64 pp.     Candlewick Studio

Illustrated by James Brown. This eminently browsable, nearly poster-size book is a self-described “essential miscellany of fascinating facts.” Platt devotes double-page spreads to each of thirty wide-ranging topics, from knot types to music notation to human organs to the Periodic Table. Brown’s screenprinted, monochromatic illustrations are stylized infographics preceded by informative text that will appeal to all ages and may inspire further, more systematic research.
Subjects: General Knowledge

From the January 2019 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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