Five Favorite Nonfiction Books

So, if I could be on the Newbery or Caldecott committee, which would it be?  Neither.  I’d chose the Sibert award for best informational books.  I love nonfiction, both for children and adults.  The topics are so varied, and truth really can be stranger than fiction.  Here are a few of my favorites from this year.  (And, okay, I probably wouldn’t say no to the Newbery Committee…).

We Rock! (Music Lab) by Jason Hanley.  Published by Quarry Books.

Maybe not great literature, but one of the most fun nonfiction books of the year.  Keep on hand to introduce kids to all your favorite songs and artists…and to gain a new appreciation of them yourself.


A Chicken Followed Me Home: Questions and Answers About a Famous Fowl by Robin Page.  Published by Beach Lane Books.

Everything you ever wanted to know–but didn’t know you wanted to know–about the humble chicken.


Water Is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Jason Chin.  Published by Roaring Brook Press.

All the forms water takes in our every day life, gorgeously illustrated.  Jason Chin deserves to make it to the Caldecott list one of these years.  Maybe it will be 2016.


Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsburg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin.  Published by Roaring Brook Press.

This could be a Newbery contender.  A fascinating history of the Vietnam War, how U.S. government secrets made it happen, and one man’s brave campaign to bring it to the public, via the leaked Pentagon Papers.


The Founding Fathers: Those Horse-Ridin’, Fiddle-Playin’, Book-Readin’, Gun-Totin’ Gentlemen Who Started America by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Barry Blitt.  Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

The founding fathers come to life in this endlessly browseable (is that a word?) collection of profiles on the famous and the less-famous.  Readers won’t get the whole story here, but they will get engaged in the history.

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