This is my final list of favorites for 2015. This one – nonfiction. I’ve been in the field long enough to have witnessed the explosion of creative nonfiction. In fact, sometimes I’m not sure how to shelve the beautifully illustrated nonfiction picture books that come into the Library. A far cry from the generally text heavy (and somewhat dry) nonfiction I grew up reading!
Here are five that I loved this year – two by the same author:
Aaron and Alexander: The Most Famous Duel in American History by Don Brown (Maybe because I was fortunate enough to see the Broadway sensation, Hamilton, this year – but this book is a perfect introduction to a tragic chapter of American history and the high cost of pride. )
Koala Hospital by Suzi Eszterhas (A good gift for young animal lovers. What I love most about this book is that it explains the threats to koalas, but gives kids information about conservation and the steps people are taking to help koalas. And the awesome pictures are a bonus! Here’s one of them:
Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick (The real story of Winnie-the-Pooh, told by the great granddaughter of Captain Harry Colebourn – who originally rescued a bear cub during WWI.)
Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavolva by Laurel Snyder (Pavlova, who grew up poor in Czarist Russia, grew up to be one of the great ballerinas of all times, especially known for the ballet solo, “The Dying Swan” – which she performed nearly 4,000 times. This book is a work of art in itself. The pictures, drawn by Julie Morstad, will inspire and delight every young dancer.)
The fifth book is nonfiction for older readers, ages 12 and over –
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown (A powerful graphic account of the havoc and loss caused by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. A tough, but important, story to know.)
Finally, a few pictures from the last week of school before our holiday break…
Although I’m always happy to help kids find books, there is a special quality to helping them select books for holiday reading. Inly’s avid readers have been loading up in the library, and they are so excited to finally have time to read for pleasure. Here’s one of our students checking out her books – on pajama day!
This is kind of fun. Inspired by Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, a student made a board game called Holiday Rush. Great idea and she included some clever game squares, like: “You opened a present and it was soda and Mentos. Move up 7!”
My favorite part of the game is this. One square reads “Shelley gave you a good Christmas book – move up 5.” But the next square reads “You didn’t like the book – move back 5.” I was relieved when the students told me that usually doesn’t happen!
Another student was the first to read The Girl Who Could Not Dream and made this character named Monster. Look closely at the book cover. Her styrofoam version is pretty close….
Happy Holiday Book Shopping!