Tag Archives: Steve Sheinkin

This week’s booktalks 11/19-20

21 Nov

I didn’t let a very short week hamper me. I decided to do a fiction-nonfiction pairing on each of the two days of school we had this week.

Monday

Blacklisted: Hollywood, the Cold War, and The First Amendment by Larry Dane Brimner  & The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

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Tuesday

Bomb: The Race To Build – And Steal – the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin & Fallout by Todd Strasser

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The 2015 Cybils WINNERS!

14 Feb

How appropriate that the CYBILs Awards are announced today, Valentine’s Day. The CYBIls are a work of love. You have to love books and the process. It starts late in October with people nominating titles for consideration. Later, a group of people reads the nominees to come up with a list of finalists. Finally, other groups read the finalists and select a winner.

I’ve been honored two years in a row to be a round 2 YA nonfiction judge. Our discussion this year was fantastic and it took a number of votes to end up with a winner. And here is what we chose.

Most Dangerous

Using historical data and interviews, Sheinkin sets a vivid, you-are-there scene, allowing readers to see Daniel Ellsberg move from enthusiastic Department of Defense political analyst to anti-war activist as he realizes that the President would continue sending American soldiers into this unwinnable war. Although Ellsberg is the title character, Most Dangerous is much more than a biography. It covers nearly three decades of US defense and political history, giving readers a front-row seat into the complexity of national security and decision-making.

Compelling, thought-provoking and timeless, Most Dangerous delivers readers not only an historical account of a time period in our history often confusing, but offers readers a critical eye towards the future as well.

Here are a few of the winners in other categories:

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To find out more about these and other CYBILs winners, check out the complete announcement here. I bet you will find something new and excellent to read. I know I will be picking up a few of them.

What I’m Reading Now…mostly

21 Jan

Although I’ve been free range reading a bit in these post Morris Committee days, I still have some required reading.

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I am a round 2 judge in the CYBILS YA Nonfiction category. Fortunately, as a round 2 judge I only have to read the finalists the round 1 judges selected. And these are what I am (mostly) reading these days.

Unknown-1I Will Always Write Back: How One letter Changed Two Lives by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda

Symphony for the CitySymphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad by M. T. Anderson

UnknownTommy: The Gun That Changed America by Karen Blumenthal

Unknown-2Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs and Survivors in World War II Denmark by Deborah Hopkinson

Unknown-4Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist by Jacqueline Houtman, Walter Naegle and Michael G. Long

Unknown-3Give Me Wings: How a Choir of Former Slaves Took on the World by Kathy Lowinger

Most DangerousMost Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin

YALSA’s 2016 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check-in #4

7 Jan

I usually write this post on Sunday, but, I will be in Boston on Sunday, anticipating ALA’s Youth Media Awards.

I finally got a copy of First Flight Around the World: The Adventures of the American Fliers Who Won the Prize by Tim Grove.

First Flight

Publisher’s Summary:In 1924 the U.S. Army sent eight young men on a bold attempt to be the first to circumnavigate the globe by flight. Men from five other countries—Great Britain, France, Portugal, Italy, and Argentina—had the same goal. The race was on!

First Flight Around the World documents the exciting journey of four American planes—the ChicagoBostonNew Orleans, and Seattle—and their crews on a race around the world. The trip held many challenges: extreme weather, tricky navigation, unfamiliar cultures, fragile planes, and few airfields. The world fliers risked their lives for the sake of
national pride.

Based in part on the journal of one of the crew members, First Lieutenant Leslie Arnold, along with commentary, newspaper reports, and archival images, First Flight Around the World is a captivating tale about American ingenuity, gumption, and perseverance.

The first this that struck me as I was reading was that this happened only 21 years after Orville and Wilbur Wright’s first flight, making this, to my mind, a truly audacious plan.

To be honest, this was my least favorite of the five finalists for the 2016 Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award. In part, this is due to my interest in the topic, in part because it seems to skew a bit toward the younger end of YA.

My prediction is that Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War  by Steve Sheinkin will win, but, having served on a committee now for a year, I know that anything could happen. I’ll have to wait until Monday to find out.

…Hello 2016

1 Jan

Lucy and I welcomed the New Year, snuggled in bed.

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Before falling asleep, she told me that her 2016 resolution was to refrain from sleeping in the middle of the bed to give me more room. I hope she keeps it!

She wasn’t feeling very well last night, and I am now in debate mode: do I take her to the emergency vet or wait until tomorrow to see my regular vet? I wish she could tell me what is wrong.

I am especially worried because, one week from today, I am off to the ALA’s 2016 Midwinter meeting in Boston and I don’t want to worry about Lucy being unwell while I am gone. I am excited about the events I am scheduled to attend. I don’t anticipating having to ship home another box like I did at the Annual meeting.

Today also marks the official start of my second year as a round 2 CYBILs judge for YA Nonfiction.

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The announcement of the finalists in all categories has been made and I can now tell you that the finalists I will be reading are

Symphony for the City Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad by M. T. Anderson

Most DangerousMost Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin

Unknown-1 I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda with Liz Welch

UnknownTommy: The Gun That Changed America by Karen Blumenthal

Unknown-2Courage and Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in World War II Denmark by Deborah Hopkinson

Unknown-3Give Me Wings: How a Choir of Former Slaves Took on the World by Kathy Lowinger

Unknown-4Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist by Jacqueline Houtman, Walter Naegle and Michael G. Long

 

YALSA’s 2016 Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check-in #2

27 Dec

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The rereading of the Morris Award finalists continues. I can’t believe it is only 12 days until I go to Boston.

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I finished Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War  by Steve Sheinkin. It is interesting that it all took place during my childhood. I remember bits of it in the news, but never really put it all together.

Most Dangerous

I also read This Strange Wilderness: The Life and Art of John James Audubon by Nancy Plain.

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I never really gave Mr. Audubon much thought. Although I’ve read a few novels in which he is featured, I just sort of imagined him in a studio, painting. This Strange Wilderness really sheds light on the struggles he had to simply make the paintings and what it took to get the book published. This book feels much more like a  traditional biography than Most Dangerous, but it is very well-written and researched and, reading it, I got a real feel for the times in which Mr Audubon lived.

I have two of the other three books checked out from the library.I’ve already read these, but will reread them with a more critical eye. The third is on hold ad, of course, it is the one I haven’t read. I’m hoping to get it this week.

YALSA’s 2016 Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check-in

20 Dec

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School ended Friday and now I have two fantastic weeks stretching out before me. I have some plans to knit myself a pair of gloves, read a stack of books and generally lounge about.

Yesterday, I started reading Steve Sheinkin’s Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War.

Most Dangerous

Like the other books Sheinkin has written, this is extremely readable nonfiction, which I suppose is why it is a YALSA nonfiction finalist, a National Book Award for Young People’s Literature finalist and on several end of the year “best” lists.

Publisher’s Summary: From Steve Sheinkin, the award-winning author of The Port Chicago 50 and Bomb comes a tense, exciting exploration of what the Times deemed “the greatest story of the century”: how Daniel Ellsberg transformed from obscure government analyst into “the most dangerous man in America,” and risked everything to expose the government’s deceit. On June 13, 1971, the front page of the New York Times announced the existence of a 7,000-page collection of documents containing a secret history of the Vietnam War. Known as The Pentagon Papers, these documents had been commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Chronicling every action the government had taken in the Vietnam War, they revealed a pattern of deception spanning over twenty years and four presidencies, and forever changed the relationship between American citizens and the politicans claiming to represent their interests. A provocative book that interrogates the meanings of patriotism, freedom, and integrity, Most Dangerous further establishes Steve Sheinkin as a leader in children’s nonfiction.

I think what makes this even more compelling is the fact that  Sheinkin wraps it up by bringing the issues central to the Vietnam War crisis up to the present day story of Edward Snowden. Yeah, I peeked at the ending. But, to justify my peeking, the back of the arc I have says

“Forty years before Edward Snowden and Julain Assange were household names, Daniel Ellsberg became the first large-scale government whistleblower. He would be called a hero, a traitor, and, by some, “the most dangerous man in America”.

If you, or someone you know, enjoys nonfiction, this is an excellent choice.

The National Book Award Longlist

17 Sep

Well, they’ve been announced and here are the nominees for YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE.

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  • Becky Albertalli, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins Children’s Books)
  • M.T. AndersonSymphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad (Candlewick Press)
  • Ali BenjaminThe Thing About Jellyfish (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
  • Rae Carson, Walk on Earth a Stranger (Greenwillow/HarperCollins Children’s Books)
  • Gary Paulsen, This Side of Wild: Mutts, Mares, and Laughing Dinosaurs (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)
  • Laura RubyBone Gap (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins Children’s Books)
  • Ilyasah Shabazz, with Kekla Magoon, X: A Novel (Candlewick Press)
  • Steve SheinkinMost Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War (Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
  • Neal ShustermanChallenger Deep (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
  • Noelle StevensonNimona (HarperTeen/HarperCollins Children’s Books)

I’ve only read three of these so it looks as though I will have to make some adjustments to my “to read” pile…again.

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.

Memorable reads for Memorial Day

25 May

Growing up in Canada, we didn’t celebrate Memorial Day. Right around this weekend, though we had Victoria Day, celebrated on the last Monday before May 25, in honor of Queen Victoria’s’s birthday. She reigned so long, the holiday stuck! Like Memorial Day, Victoria Day marks the beginning if the summer season. 

Since I’m in the US and Victoria day was last weekend, I thought it appropriate to write a bit about some books that would be appropriate for Memorial Day.

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The Harlem Hellfighters,  a graphic novel by Max Brooks, illustrated by Caanan White tells the story of a little know piece of World War 1 history.

Goodreads summary: In 1919, the 369th infantry regiment marched home triumphantly from World War I. They had spent more time in combat than any other American unit, never losing a foot of ground to the enemy, or a man to capture, and winning countless decorations. Though they returned as heroes, this African American unit faced tremendous discrimination, even from their own government. The Harlem Hellfighters, as the Germans called them, fought courageously on—and off—the battlefield to make Europe, and America, safe for democracy.  

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The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights is the latest YA non-fiction book from Steve Sheinkin. It, too focuses on a little known aspect of US military history.

Goodreads Summary: On July 17, 1944, a massive explosion rocked the segregated Navy base at Port Chicago, California, killing more than 300 sailors who were at the docks, critically injuring off-duty men in their bunks, and shattering windows up to a mile away. On August 9th, 244 men refused to go back to work until unsafe and unfair conditions at the docks were addressed. When the dust settled, fifty were charged with mutiny, facing decades in jail and even execution. This is a fascinating story of the prejudice that faced black men and women in America’s armed forces during World War II, and a nuanced look at those who gave their lives in service of a country where they lacked the most basic rights.

Both of these are relatively short, engaging reads that added a lot to my knowledge of both World Wars. You might be busy barbecuing today, in honor of the day. But I hope you take the time to get your hands on these two books.

 

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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