non-fiction

How This Book Was Made by Mac Barnett

How This Book Was Made: an illustrated tiger, hamburger, and storm cloud are in the center with pages and paper all aroundThe first draft of this book was not so good. Neither was the second draft. Or the third. Or the twelfth.

Want to learn how this book got made? Here we go! There are tigers, editors, pirates, illustrations, astronauts, machines, lots of waiting, and an eagle. You got all that? But even after all that, it’s still not a real book. Can you guess what’s still missing?

“How This Book Was Made” is a great read-aloud for parents to share where reality and fantasy collide, making this book just plain fun. Introducing the basics and expectations for aspiring writers and readers as to how books come about, this ‘instructional’ is far from boring!

Find How This Book Was Made in the Library

Naomi, Kids World

Guess who, Haiku! by Deanna Caswell

Guess Who Haiku book cover: illustartions of various creatures peaking out around a cloud which holds the title text“two hands hold a book / guessing animals’ puzzles / written in haiku”

This playful treat of a picture book offers the simplest of haiku riddles to younger readers. The answer to each is an animal and each animal then gives the next set of clues. The pastel colors and soft images have a classic nursery sensibility. The author’s endnote explains the elements and origin of haiku in a friendly tone and even suggests another way to read the mini poems.

Toddlers and their grown up readers will share the excitement of words and guessing games. The kiddos will be rewarded for their careful listening and thinking with each page turn.

Find Guess who, Haiku! in the Library

Mary Jo, Kids World

Some Writer by Melissa Sweet

Some Writer book cover: Images of book spines and one book facing out with a man feeding a pig featured onit"Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. Wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day."
"I would rather wait a year than publish a bad children's book, as I have too much respect for children."

If you've ever wondered how a writer becomes a writer, how a writer decides to write children's books, or where ideas for some of your favorite classic children's books came from, you need to read Some Writer! Follow Elwyn Brooks White's journey from his childhood summers spent on a lake in Maine to his years writing for a new (at the time) magazine, The New Yorker, to his inspiration and decision to write books for children. Peppered with quotations from E. B. White's journals, which he kept throughout most of his life, you will get both the inside and outside view of the man, the myth, the writer.

This book is recommended for readers in grades 2-6 who have enjoyed the various works of E. B. White, or who aspire to be writers themselves.

Find Some Writer! in the Library

Brittany, Kids World

The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game by Nancy Churnin

William Hoy story book cover: an illustration of a baseball player sliding onto base with an umpire's arms out to the sides behind him"His mother waved her arms. She was applauding him."

Have you ever wondered what made baseball umpires start using signs? Find out in this informational picture book!

Not many people knew sign language back in the 1880s and that led to problems for William when trying to pursue his dream of playing baseball professionally. From being paid less than other players to not being able to read the umpire's lips, William couldn't seem to find a way to compete even though he was a great ball player. Remembering his mother waving her arms in applause when he practiced at home, William came up with a solution: the common baseball signs you see used in the game today. William went on to set records in the National and American Leagues playing on many different teams (even the Chicago White Stockings!) and baseball was changed forever... for the better.

With the World Series over but not forgotten, many readers may be interested in learning more about baseball's rich history. This title on the topic would suit readers in 1st grade and up who are interested in baseball, history, or deafness and how to be inclusive to people with disabilities.

Find The William Hoy Story in the Library

Brittany, Kids World

Head Lice by Elise Gravel

Head Lice book cover featuring a cartoon bug with a speech bubble saying "Hey There!"“They lived happily ever after and had many, many, waaaay too many children.”

Early readers will giggle their way through this quick read, a hybrid fact and humor title. Lice and their sinister ways are remarkably made cute here through the digital artwork and the clever speech bubbles and text.

Some of the nonsense bits might confuse very young readers (such as one louse with a skateboard and another one gluing model airplanes) but the book covers louse vocabulary and basic facts. Did you know that lice cannot fly but jump onto new victims’ hair from other people’s hair, hats or clothing? (Yuck!) I recommend this book for kids who are fascinated with insects and, especially, for families that have endured a louse invasion and want to try to laugh about it later.

Find Head Lice and the rest of the "Disgusting Critters" series in the Library.

Mary Jo, Kids World

Horse Heroes by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce

Image of Horse Heroes featuring a black horse against a prarie and blue sky"Some people say that after horses were tamed, the world changed forever. We were curious to know if this was true."

Have you ever read a made-up story and wondered which parts of it were true? If you have read any or all of the Magic Tree House series, you may like to know that the author (and her daughter) have written non-fiction books to go along with some of these fantasy/historical fiction stories. Horse Heroes relates to Jack and Annie’s Stallion by Starlight adventure and provides dozens of interesting facts and true stories about horses through human history.

Perfect for 2nd and 3rd grade readers, Horse Heroes explains why horses’ bodies are especially speedy and strong and how horses have been used for travel, farming, business, sports and war. The book also includes the stories of many famous horses of the past. I thought this book was a great read and learned some interesting facts about horses.   

Find Horse Heroes in the library

Mary Jo, Kids World

The Invisible War

The Invisible War cover. Photograph of female soldier's face.I first heard about this film after it was nominated for an Academy Award. I decided to see it after Henry Rollins wrote about it. I'm going to repeat what he wrote, I encourage everyone to see this movie, but I can't recommend it. That may seem like a strange thing to say, especially on a page of recommendations, but the stories that are told in this film are devastating and will likely haunt you.

The Invisible War refers to the the epidemic of sexual assault within the U.S. Military. Today, a female soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. Statistics like this are peppered throughout the film, most of them coming directly from official Department of Defense reports. Academy Award nominated director Kirby Dick could have spun this as an anti-military film, but he didn't. Instead, through the emotional accounts of the men and women interviewed, the viewer gets a sense that change is possible.

This is a hard film to watch, but works of this nature are often the best way to facilitate change. Though The Invisible War did not win an Oscar, the nomination has brought national attention to the epidemic of intra-military sexual assault. Since its release, in late 2012, the Pentagon has developed policies aimed at increasing accountablity and victim care.

Find The Invisible War in the Library.

Pages