Non-Fiction

  1. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

    Dead Wake:  The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

    The Cunard line ship Lusitania had successfully and swiftly completed 201 crossings of the Atlantic Ocean by April 1915.  It was huge and sleek, with four funnels rather than three, making it the fastest trans-Atlantic liner then in existence.  The first class areas of the ship were beautifully fitted, the food delicious, and every comfort supplied; including crew members to take charge of the many children aboard.  The second and third class passengers were also well treated, as Cunard’s manual demanded.  Despite the fact that Germany had just declared the seas around B

  2. So You've Been Publicly Shamed

    So You've Been Publicly Shamed

    I love Jon Ronson’s writing, and his newest offering is no exception.  So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed has a slightly different angle than his other titles. Ronson generally writes about strange things that fascinate him: something a bit off the beaten path or out of the ordinary. Public shaming, Ronson essentially observes, is becoming the beaten path; rather than being fascinated by its prevalence, he’s terrified.

     

  3. Hands & Hearts

    Hands & Hearts
    Gallaudet Children's Dictionary of ASL
    My Heart Glow

    A mother and daughter spend a sunny day swimming, playing and frolicking at the beach, all the while using their hands to hold each other, dig in the sand, splash in the waves, put up a windbreak, and--most importantly--talk to each other, with American Sign Language.  Amy Bates’ breezy watercolor and pencil illustrations complement Napoli’s free verse.  Alongside them are panels, decorated in seaside motifs, featuring 15 ASL signs used in the story: run, roll, swim, sun, wall, water, and more.  Some of the sign illustrations are ambiguous; nevertheless, it’s refreshing to se

  4. Jokes and More About Horses

    Jokes and More About Horses

    “Which part of the horse is most important?  The mane  part.” “How do horses like to wear their hair?  In ponytails.” These and many more silly jokes and riddles are featured in talk-bubble style with cartoon illustrations of horses of various sizes and colors, combined with funny photos of horses showing big teeth, wrinkled noses, rolling eyes, stuck-out tongues, and other expressions. Horse lovers will be better able to appreciate some of the humor, but there’s fun for everyone.

  5. Will Not Attend

    Will Not Attend by Adam Resnick

    Adam Resnick has pulled together hilarious tales from his life that illustrate his reluctance to interact with people and the belligerence that raises its head when he is forced into social situations. He “refuses to be burdened by chores like basic social obligation and personal growth, living instead by his own steadfast rule: I refuse to do anything I don’t want to do.” Resnick is an Academy Award-winning author for NBC’s “Late Night with David Letterman,” so his self-deprecation is no surprise.

  6. Last-Minute Survival Secrets

    When I originally saw a preview for this book, I thought, “My ten year old son is going to love this”. What science-minded kid doesn’t want to know how to make a burglar alarm with potato chips or how to open a padlock with a tin can? Unfortunately, once I actually got a chance to take a look at the book myself, I found that due to some of the content, it may be better suited for a more mature audience.  That being said, I found the book quite funny and entertaining. In fact, if you were ever a fan of the old TV series, The Red Green Show, you may enjoy this author’s humor.

  7. Malala, a Brave Girl from Pakistan/Iqbal, a Brave Boy from Pakistan

    Malala, a Brave Girl from Pakistan/Iqbal, a Brave Boy from Pakistan

     

    Jeanette Winter writes excellent picture book biographies for early grade elementary students, and this book is no exception.  Malala Yosafzai is a 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner, despite being only 17 years old.  When she was eleven, she spoke up about the importance of education for girls, despite the fact that she lived in Pakistan and received threats from the Taliban.  Eventually, a Taliban fighter shoots her, but Malala lives after being transported across the ocean to be treated.  And Malala continues to speak up.

  8. Letters of note

    Letters of Note

    This fabulous selection of letters provides a glimpse of a wide range of personalities who changed history as well as the personal side of both famous and not-so-famous people.  There are letters by presidents, businessmen, school children, criminals, musicians, artists, and soldiers from the 1340 BC to modern times.

  9. The Protest Singer: An Intimate Portrait of Pete Seeger

    When Alec Wilkinson approached Pete Seeger about writing his story Seeger asked him to write something that could be read in one sitting. This book fits the bill.

  10. Josephine

    Josephine

    This book showcases the passionate performer and civil rights advocate who danced, sang and clowned her way beyond her poverty-stricken St.

  11. Flirting with French

    Flirting with French

    William Alexander loves the French language, the music and landscape of France, French food, French history, French politics; in fact he loves everything about France.  At the advanced age of 57 he decides to overcome his horrible memories of Madame D., his high school French teacher, and attempts to become fluent in French over the period of thirteen months.

  12. Unremarried Widow

    Unremarried Widow

    This is a lovely telling of the author’s meeting, relationship, and marriage to her husband, Miles, an Army Apache pilot, and the first years following his death as she finally starts to reclaim her own life. Her writing is clear, honest, and to-the-point, but always deeply felt.

  13. What in the World?

    What in the World?

    January is National Puzzle Month, and the 29th is National Puzzle Day!  If you would like a great book to help you celebrate before the month is out, try this visual feast, published by National Geographic Kids.  It features a variety of photo puzzles: optical illusions, hidden pictures, “Spot the Difference” (on two-page spreads), and more!  It’s full of fun facts about nature, including how animals use camouflage for safety, how humans use vision and the brain in concert to understand the world around them, and how our perceptions can be fooled by visual tricks.  There

  14. The Other End of the Leash

    The Other End of the Leash

    Dr. Patricia McConnell is an applied animal behaviorist and dog trainer with more than twenty years experience. The Other End of the Leash is a fantastic read for dog owners or those interested in animal-human interaction. Dr. McConnell very practically illustrates the differences between primate and canid behavior and mannerisms, and explains why many things we as humans do can be difficult or impossible for dogs to understand.

  15. Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin

    Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, was born to gifted and well-to-do parents. Her mother was a singer and her father was a well-known preacher who marched alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Civil Rights movement. Life wasn’t a piece of cake. Aretha’s mother left the family when she was young leaving the father as a single parent. Her father showcased her childhood talent by waking her up in the middle of the night to play piano and sing for his party guests.

  16. Shooting At the Stars

    Shooting At the Stars

    Shooting at the Stars is a fictionalized account of the Christmas truce that occurred in the trenches between British and German troops during World War I in 1914.  The story is told conveyed through a letter by a British soldier to his mother.  He tells of December 24th, when the British soldiers heard singing coming from the opposing trench 30 paces away.  Stille Nacht--Silent Night.  The next morning, they woke up to calls from the German soldiers.  Warily, soldiers from both sides began to step out into “No Man’s Land”.  They first buried their d

  17. Death By Black Hole

    The astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium, is a familiar figure to those of us addicted to those documentaries about space that pop up on PBS and the History Channel. Tyson is an affable figure on TV, and proves to be the same in print. This book is a collection of articles that he wrote for “Natural History” magazine. They present complex topics in a clear, conversational manner, infused with humor. Thought-provoking and entertaining.

  18. The book of trees

    The book of trees:  visualizing branches of knowledge

    A fascinating introduction to the history and design of tree forms used to explain knowledge in a visual way, this book is filled with historical and modern tree designs.  From hand-lettered medieval trees showing the relationship of Biblical characters to modern computer-generated trees of Twitter feeds, there are 200 wonderful examples of all sorts of tree styles.  There is something for everyone—square representations of states by area in 1939, the X-Men family tree, or icicle trees used by statisticians.

  19. Frida & Diego: Art, Love, Life

    Diego Rivera was twice the size and age of Frida Kahlo when they married in August of 1929 but they seemed destined to be together. Rivera was a famous Mexican muralist who used the fresco method of painting on wet plaster. Kahlo was known for her self-portraits showing her suffering due to internal injuries resulting from a bus accident and for her depictions and deep love of animals. As a child, she contracted polio. She had always been sickly. Reef has written a book about one of the most interesting artist couples in history.

  20. Popular

    Popular

    After finding a copy of a 1950's popularity guide written by a former teen model, Maya decides to do an experiment.

  21. Janet Leigh: A Biography

    Janet Leigh was best known for her portrayal of Marion Crane in the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock classic thriller, Psycho and her eleven-year marriage to Tony Curtis. She starred in mostly low-budget films throughout her film career which spanned from 1947-1999. Hollywood film moguls were attracted to her natural beauty. She endured the unwanted attention of Howard Hughes.

  22. What If?

    What If? by Randall Munroe

    Randall Munroe earned a degree in physics at Christopher Newport University (VA) and went on to work on robots at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia before quitting to become a cartoonist  (xkcd.com: “a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language”).  He employs humorous stick figure sketches to help provide scientific answers to absurd hypotheticals submitted to him through his website.

  23. Drawing Autism

    Drawing Autism

    Drawing Autism showcases the artistic talents of individuals with autism spectrum disorder while giving perspective on how these artists relate to the world around them.  Temple Grandin has written the forward which is a perfect introduction and sets the tone for the rest of the book.  Author Jill Mullin, a behavior analyst with a clinical background in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), divided the selected works into themes.  Her goal was to provide an overview of the autism spectrum while celebrating the individuality of each person.  Artists selected for the b

  24. The girls of Atomic City

    The Girls of Atomic City

    If your country needed your help would you give up your career, your comfortable home and endanger your relationships for an unknown job in a location that didn’t appear on any map?  Could you handle never speaking of your job to your spouse, or knowing where and why they had to leave for weeks? Could you work on just one small job over and over for years, not knowing what came before or would come after?

  25. The Obamas

    This book reminded me a bit of watching West Wing. We don’t realize how the White House is buzzing 24/7. Kantor takes us inside for an eye-opening expose of life in America’s most famous mansion. Michelle and Barack Obama managed to adapt to a very dramatic change in their lifestyle with grace and maturity. But it wasn’t all rosy.

  26. Unbroken

    "Unbroken" is the story of an undaunted human spirit presented by author Laura Hillenbrand; who chronicles the extraordinary life of Olympic runner, Louis Zamperini.  When faced with supposed insurmountable obstacles, Louie proves to be a survivor and an example of the power one person can have over his own destiny.  

  27. Unruly Places

    If you like pouring over old atlases or scrolling though Google maps, you will probably like this book. The author is a geographer, not a travel guide, and this comes through in the tone of the book as well as subjects covered.

    The connection of what makes each of these places so strange is human intervention, either through physical occupation or mapmaking.  The book’s first entry is about Sandy Island, which was neither sandy nor an island. But it was on maps for centuries.

  28. Neil Sedaka: Rock ‘N’ Roll Survivor:

    Those of us of a certain age grew up to the strains of comma comma down dooby doo down down, comma comma, down dooby doo down down, breaking up is hard to do. That is Neil Sedaka’s signature song, Breaking up is Hard to do. It was released in 1962. Podolsky tells the story of Neil’s early days in Brooklyn. He started his musical training at the prestigious Juilliard School at the tender age of seven.

  29. Mama Built a Little Nest

    It’s a science book!  It’s a rhyming story!  It’s a picture art book!

  30. John Adams

    He was honest, witty, loyal, brilliant, and indefatigable.  He was also pompous, arrogant, insecure, petty, and cranky.  He probably did more than anyone else to persuade Congress to declare American independence, bu

  31. Pat and Dick: The Nixons, an Intimate Portrait of a Marriage.

    Richard Nixon graduated number three from his Duke University Law School class. Thelma (Pat) Ryan was an orphan in Depression-era California yet she attained the equivalent of a master’s degree in merchandising and she taught high school typing and shorthand classes. Swift tells the story of the Nixon courtship, political life and death after 53 years of marriage. Along the way we read about Nixon’s involvement with the Communist scare, 1960 presidential election footing Nixon against John F.

  32. Pavement chalk artist

    My interest in street art has led me to view numerous pictures on the internet.  Many are wonders of creativity and determination—from murals on a building to 3D art made from objects already in place.  Street art can have an important message or be a small scale drawing, there just to make you smile. 

    One of my favorite types of street art is chalk art.  While temporary, in the hand of a master artist they can be incredibly detailed and convincing.  Chalk art combines art, creativity, perspective, and even performance.

  33. Land of Lincoln

    The writer Andrew Ferguson set out to explore how Abraham Lincoln is viewed and commemorated across the nation nearly 150 years after his death.  He visits Lincoln places across the country and talks with those obsessed with our 16th president, wheth

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