Great New Nonfiction!
I’ve been seeing a lot of really great nonfiction recently. I picked three titles to discuss, all of which are for kids in grades 4/5 through middle school and noticed that they’re all from the same publisher–Annick Press out of Toronto in Canada. Annick publishes high quality fiction and nonfiction for children and teens, but the middle grade nonfiction I’ve seen from them is some of the best out there.
Potatoes on Rooftops: Farming in the City by Hadley Dyer is a timely, beautiful, and accessible book about urban gardening that just might inspire some school-based food growing. The many photographs and contemporary design make the book really fun to read. The content touches on cities around the world in developing and developed countries and brings in information about urban populations and the concepts of local food and the empowerment of people living in poverty. Real-world applications will generate excitement among students wanting to try gardening for themselves.
Laura Scandiffio’s People Who Said No: Courage Against Oppression introduces readers to seven individuals who have stood up and fought against injustice. The stories, presented chronologically, include photographs and sidebars that help to explain the social and political unrest that led to the dissent. As she notes in the introduction, the author has woven in scenes and conversations that serve to personalize these stories, while remaining true to history. The book begins with the story of Hans and Sophie Scholl, young siblings who distributed thousands of leaflets protesting the Nazi agenda (and were subsequently executed) and ends with the 2011 uprising against President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, led by the country’s growing population of young people.
In Robbers!: True Stories of the World’s Most Notorious Thieves, by Andreas Schroeder with illustrations by Rémy Simard, we meet some less upstanding characters in eight stories about truly scandalous robberies, beginning with the heist of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911. Simard’s light comic-style drawings complement Schroeder’s humorous text in these well-documented vignettes. The text is divided by subheadings, which help to “chunk” the text into manageable pieces for reluctant or struggling readers, and sidebars provide background information.
Potatoes on Rooftops : Farming in the City by Hadley Dyer. 9781554514243. 2012. Gr 4-7.
People Who Said No : Courage Against Oppression by Laura Scandiffio. 9781554513826. 2012. Gr 5-7.
Robbers! : True Stories of the World’s Most Notorious Thieves by Andreas Schroeder (ill. by Remy Simard). 9781554514403. 2012. Gr 4-7.