Tag Archives: non-fiction

Winnie the Pooh’s Canadian Connection

19 Feb

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Harry Colebourn was a Canadian veterinarian from Winnipeg, though he was born in England. When WWI broke out, like many, he was sent to England first. On the train across Canada, he saw a baby bear in a train Station in White River, Ontario, on the north-eastern side of Lake Superior. He bought the bear for $20, named him after his hometown, and took him on the troop train. Once in London, Harry realized he couldn’t really keep the bear, so he donated it to the London Zoo, where, a little boy named Christopher Robin Milne, loved to come and visit. The rest, is history.

This book is a beautifully written and the illustrations by Jonathon D. Voss are gorgeous,  softly bleeding into the white space surrounding it.

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The endpapers have old, captioned photos of Winnie, Coleburn and Christopher Robin Milne. The Author’s Note at the end gives more specific details on the lives of Harry Colebourn and Winnie and provides sources for further investigation. All around an excellent book.

The CYBILS Awards Announced

18 Feb

With Valentine’s Day and Fiona’s surgery, I almost missed the announcement of the CYBILS Awards. I had the great pleasure to serve as a Round 2 judge for YA non-fiction, and it was a wonderful experience. It was my first opportunity to serve on this sort of committee and I learned a lot about book evaluation and interpreting award criteria. And here is our choice for this year’s YA Nonfiction winner:

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia

by Candace Fleming

Schwartz and Wade Books

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With its breathtaking scope and Fleming’s narrative finesse, The Family Romanov will lure even history-phobic readers deep into this fascinating – and comprehensive – history of the powerful and ill-fated Romanovs – the last ruling monarchy of Russia. Fleming retells the political and personal conflicts that lead up to the Romanovs’ eventual assassination and Lenin’s rise to power with the fluid storytelling of novelist, with sidebar material illuminating the contrasting lives of Russia’s lower castes and their growing frustration with their Tsar. Impeccably sourced and featuring well-selected historical photographs, The Family Romanov is both a wonderful introduction to this tumultuous, pivotal period of Russian history and a riveting tale of wealth, power, and political corruption that sets the record straight about the fascinating Romanovs and the fate of the notorious Grand Duchess Anastasia. With its well documented sources and unusual center photo placement, this title should not be missed in any young adult nonfiction collection.

If you are looking for something really good to read, check out the full list of the CYBILS Award winners.

2015: The Year of the Book Committee

1 Jan

So, this year, I am sitting on two, yes TWO, book committees. Beginning today,I am a round 2 judge for the CYBILS Award in the Nonfiction for Young Adults category. There are 7 books I have to read or reread, between now and mid February when we announce the winner.This is a virtual committee and I am excited to be a part of it. On February 1st, I begin my work on the 2016 William C. Morris Debut Award committee. It is going to be an exciting year!Here’s what I need to read for the CYBILS Nonfiction for Young Adults category. You can see the finalists in the other categories HERE.

Alice + Freda Forever by Alexis Coe

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Be a  Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters

by Laurie Ann Thompson

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Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin

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Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen

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The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming

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The Freedom Summer Murders by Don Mitchell

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

by Steve Sheinkin

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2015 Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award

6 Dec

The 2015 finalists are:

Laughing at My Nightmare written by Shane Burcaw, and published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan’s Children’s Publishing Group;

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This one was not even on my radar, but I now have it on hold at the library.

 

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia written by Candace Fleming, and published by Schwartz & Wade, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books;

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Ida M. Tarbell: The Woman Who Challenged Big Business—and Won! written by Emily Arnold McCully, and Published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers.

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I’ve seen this one around, but hadn’t paid it much attention. It’s now on hold, too.

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights written by Steve Sheinkin, and published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan’ Children’s Publishing Group;

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Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek written by Maya Van Wagenen, and published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group.

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 Check them out if you haven’t done so yet.

Some Non-fiction news

18 Sep

Just guess who has been selected to be a YA Nonfiction round 2 judge for the 2014 Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards  ME!

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The CYBILS, as they are commonly known have a mission:

to recognize the children’s and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and popular appeal. If some la-di-dah awards can be compared to brussels sprouts, and other, more populist ones to gummy bears, we’re thinking more like organic chicken nuggets. We’re yummy and nutritious.

Round 1 judges have to read all the nominated titles in their category and create a list of finalists. Round 2 judges read all the finalist tiles and come to consensus on a winner. I thought my first time through, I’d prefer to be a second round judge because I thought it might be a better place to get my feet wet.

If you have read a children’s or young adult book this year that you really loved, you can nominate it. Public nominations run from Oct. 1-15 every year. The form will be live at http://www.cybils.com at 12:00 a.m. PST on October 1. They’ve tried to make the form mobile-friendly, so you can use your phone to nominate if you prefer.

I’ve been reading 2 YA NF books recently, one of which I finally finished last night. I’m not sure if I am allowed to blog about them or not (I haven’t read the fine print yet) but let me recommend them to you with few words.

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The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming is a look at the end of the Romanov dynasty in Russia.

 

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Babe Conquers the World by Rich Wallace and Sandra Neil Wallace is a biography of Babe Didrickson Zaharias.

Enjoy!

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August 24, 1814

24 Aug

Two hundred years ago today, the White House burned.

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On august 24, 1814, the United States lost a battle to the British on the outskirts of Washington D.C.. Citizens and soldiers fled the city and the British entered the city and burned the Capitol building and the White House.

Jane Sutcliffe has a new book all about it.

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Drawing from primary sources,  The White House is Burning tells the story of this one day in history, through multiple voices. beginning before dawn and moving chronologically through the night, we are skillfully introduced to major players and new technology, like rockets. In my mind Dolley Madison steals the show, with the letter she wrote throughout the day. This is a very readable history of on day during the War of 1812.

 

 

Bad News Bugs

8 Jun

Last week or so (time blurs at the end of the school year) my teaching partner asked me to do her a huge favor: go through the Scholastic and Arrow book orders and spend her 6000 points on books for the kids in her class. I laughed. This wasn’t going to feel like a job at all; this would be a delight.

She has a couple of boys in her class who really like non-fiction, and history in general. One boy, Bryan, has become a biography-nut since our writing unit on biographies. So, for  two of the boys in her class, I chose this book

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Bugged: How Insects Changed History by Sarah Albee is a fun romp through some of the icky and funny parts of human history. With chapter titles like

The Horrible History of Human Hygiene

Medieval Microbes

More Thinking but Still Stinking

It’s All Fun & Games Until Someone Loses an Isle

you know Albee will mix a lot of humor with the gruesome to make it palatable. Figuratively, not literally.  each chapter is broken into parts with headings and the illustrations, some originals by Robert Leighton, some reproductions from the period covered, give readers a sense of what life might have looked like at the time.  Each chapter is amply illustrated and has sidebars that add even more zest to the disgusting facts Albee writes about. Backmatter includes a glossary, further reading and surfing, notes of sources, picture credits and an index.This is a well-researched book that every history teacher should have to spice up their units. Upper elementary and middle school teachers would do well to add this to their classroom libraries. But be prepared for groans and gags from the kids as they read it.

 

 

 

 

 

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