Nonfiction and Biography

General  |  DisabilitiesHuman Rights/Peace  |  Respect for All Life  |  Values/Character  |  Death  |  Paranormal  |  Art/Crafts  |  Nature  |  Biography

General

Aliki, Mummies Made in Egypt (5-12). Discusses ancient Egyptian beliefs on death, explaining how mummies and tombs were prepared.

Ancona, George, Helping Out (3-7). Photographs of children who are enjoying helping adults with many different types of work.

Beard, Daniel Carter, The American Boys Handy Book (7-15). Reprint of 1890 manual covering making kites, aquariums, knots, boats, puppets, camping, fishing, etc., by the founder of Boys Scouts of America. Also How to Amuse Yourself and Others: The American Girls Handy Book by Adelia and Lina Beard (7-14).

Brown, Tricia, Hello, Amigos! (4-8). Photos and simple text follow a Mexican-American boy at home and at school on his birthday. Also Salaam: A Muslim American Boy's Story (4-8).

Gaes, Jason, My Book for Kids with Cansur (4-10). In this "Child's Autobiography of Hope," an 8 year-old shares his experiences with cancer in order to help other children; illustrated by his brothers.

Gardner, Martin, Aha! Gotcha: Paradoxes to Puzzle and Delight (10-up). Paradoxes from logic, probability, numbers, geometry, time, and statistics intrigue and challenge reasoning power and intuition. Also Aha! Insight (10-up).

Heide, Florence Parry, and Judith Heide Gilliland, The House of Wisdom (5-9). Picture book about the famous library in 9th-century Baghdad, focusing on the boy who became the greatest translator of Aristotle's works into Arabic.

Hendrickson, Karen, Baby and I Can Play (3-12). Picture book acquaints older siblings with enjoyable activities they can initiate with an infant brother or sister, including positive things they can do when they resent the baby.

Heyerdahl, Thor, Kon-Tiki (10-up). True adventure of sailing across the Pacific in a replica of an Incan raft to prove the ancients could have done so; available in youth and adult versions.

Kerley, Barbara, One World, One Day (2-8). The events that make up a typical day are depicted through photos of children from around the world, showing the unity in diversity.

Lansing, Alfred, The Endurance (12-up). Account of the disastrous voyage of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, and the incredible way in which no men were lost despite losing their ship and living for long periods on ice flows; a tribute to the human spirit.

Pirsig, Robert M., The Zen of Motorcycle Maintenance (15-up). Father's thoughts while on a cross-country trip with his son in search of truth and self-discovery.

Raynor, Dorka, Grandparents around the World (all ages). Full-page photos of grandparents and children from 25 countries.

Thoreau, Henry David, Walden, selec. by Steve Lowe (5-10). Picture book with short selections from Thoreau's writings, accompanied by full-page linoleum-cut pictures, describe his life in the woods.

Tompkins, Peter, Secrets of the Great Pyramid (15-up). History and significances of this Egyptian structure.

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Featuring Disabilities

Alexander, Sally Hobart, Mom Can't See Me (5-up). From the point of view of her 9-year old daughter, the author tells her own story of living fully despite blindness; illustrated with photographs.

Brown, Tricia, Someone Special, Just Like You (3-7). Photographs and simple text encourage understanding and acceptance by revealing how preschool children with disabilities may appear different but enjoy the same activities and express the same feelings. Also Hello, Amigos! (4-8) and Salaam: A Muslim American Boy's Story (4-8).

Fassler, Joan, Howie Helps Himself (3-7). Howie, who has cerebral palsy, enjoys life at home and at school, but wants more than anything to be able to move the wheelchair himself; a positive and realistic story.

Gold, Phyllis, Please Don't Say Hello (8-12). A family moving to a new neighborhood serves as a vehicle for this intelligent explanation of autism; by the mother of an autistic child.

Kaufman, Curt and Gita, Rajesh (4-7). The activities over the course of a year in kindergarten, focusing on a boy with prosthestic legs who was in the author's kindergarten class; illustrated with photographs.

Newth, Philip, Roly Goes Exploring: A Book for Blind and Sighted Children, in Braille and Standard Type, with Pictures to Feel as well as to See (2-5). Imaginative book suitable for both sighted and blind students, with printed and Braille text and cut-out illustrations that can be seen and felt.

Palacio, R. J., Wonder (10-up). Told in the voices of several characters, this book centers on Auggie, a normal ten-year-old with terrible facial deformities, as he enters public school for the first time in the fifth grade and the impact on his family, other students and himself; a book of humor, compassion and psychological insight.

Parker, Robert Andrew, Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum (6-11). Biography concentrating on the childhood of piano virtuoso Art Tatum, who was almost blind.

Peterson, Jeanne Whitehouse, I Have a Sister -- My Sister Is Deaf (4-8). Explains simply what it's like to have a deaf sibling.

Polacco, Patricia, Thank You, Mr. Falker (6-9). A girl struggles with reading and math in school, feeling dumb and being bullied by other children, until her compassionate fifth-grade teacher finally understands she has dyslexia and helps her learn to read; based on the author's own experience.

Powers, Mary Ellen, Our Teacher's in a Wheelchair (4-8). Text and photos tell the story of a young former athlete who, despite partial paralysis, works as a nursery school teacher.

Rabe, Berniece, Where's Chimpy? (3-7). A little girl with Down syndrome and her father hunt for her stuffed toy, finding many other things in the process; illustrated with photos.

Reuter, Margaret, My Mother Is Blind (5-10). A young boy describes how everyone in his family came to terms with his mother becoming blind; illustrated with photographs.

Rosenberg, Maxine B., My Friend Leslie: The Story of a Handicapped Child (4-9). Photos and text show a multi-handicapped kindergartner participating in many school activities with her friends, stressing her enthusiasm and humanity.

Sobol, Harriet Langsam, My Brother Steven Is Retarded (6-10). An eleven-year-old tells about her mixed feelings for her retarded older brother; illustrated with photos.

Uhlberg, Myron, Dad, Jackie, and Me (4-8).  A hearing boy and his deaf father in Brooklyn follow Jackie Robinson's groundbreaking season for the Dodgers, which has special meaning for the father because of its breaking of thoughtless prejudice; based in the author's childhood.

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Respect for All Life

Atwood, Ann, and Erica Anderson, For All That Lives (7-up). Photographs illustrate brief quotations from Albert Schweitzer on reverence for, and the oneness of, all life.

Dolan, Edward F., Jr., Animal Rights (11-15). Discusses the moral issues concerning mankind's uses of and relations with animals.

Driscoll, Laura, The Bravest Cat! The True Story of Scarlett (3-6). Retells the true story of a stray cat who rescues her kittens from a burning building, is injured, and finally finds a happy home; beginning reader.

Roth, Ruby, That's Why We Don't Eat Animals (3-8). Straightforward and simple yet powerful explanation of why animals deserve to be treated with compassion rather than as commodities.

Tompkins, Peter, The Secret Life of Plants (13-up). Reports on research concerning consciousness in plants.

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Human Rights, Peace

Corr, Christopher. Whole World (2-7). Reworks the familiar gospel song ďThe Whole World in His HandsĒ with verses bringing home that the welfare of the world lies in our hands.

Dolphin, Laurie, Our Journey from Tibet (5-12). Based on a true story and illustrated with photographs, this picture book tells of the flight of three young sisters from central Tibet to Nepal and then India in order to receive a good education that includes Tibetan history and culture, and finally shows them at their school in Dharamsala, India.

Freedman, Russell, Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade against Child Labor (8-up). About one photographer's fight in the early 20th century to end child labor, including many of his evocative photos of the children themselves.

Griffin, John Howard, Black Like Me (14-up). A white man, having medically darkened his skin, travels through the 1950s South as a black man.

----- A Time to Be Human (12-15). A thoughtful examination of racism written for young people.

Lapierre, Dominique, City of Joy (15-up). Powerful, moving account of the inhabitants of a Calcutta slum, revealing the tragedy and heroism of their everyday life.

Lester, Jules, To Be a Slave (12-up). Stories of US slavery, most told in the words of former slaves. This powerful indictment gives insight into African-American history and the horrors of slavery of any kind.

Maruld, Toshi, Hiroshima no Pika (9-up). A family's experience when the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima is movingly told in this picture book in the interest of peace. A powerful book, perhaps for younger children best read with parents.

McBrier, Page, Beatrice's Goat (5-10). A family in Uganda receives a goat from Heifer Project International, which changes their lives; fact based.

Meyer, Edith Patterson, In Search of Peace: The Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize 1901-1975 (12-up). Background on many individuals and organizations recognized for contributing to world peace.

Michelson, Richard, As Good as Anybody (6-10). This picture book explores what in their experiences as children and adults led Martin Luther King, Jr., and Abraham Joshua Heschel to join together to work for civil rights, particularly in the 1965 March on Selma.

Morimoto, Junko, My Hiroshima (8-12).  Author's experiences leading up to and after the atomic bomb was dropped on her city, Hiroshima, when she was a young girl, told "to teach our children the importance of not repeating these mistakes and to give them the heart to care for and value all life on earth"; and adults may wish to read it with younger children.  

Scholes, Katherine, Peace Begins with You (4-9). Simple presentation of what peace means and how we can each contribute to it.

Serres, Alain, I Have the Right to Be a Child (5-8). A picture book introducting in a simple way the concept of human rights through illustrating some of the rights in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Tutu, Desmond and Douglas Carlton Abrams, Godís Dream (2-10). Simple, direct, and effective expression of the message of love, brotherhood, and caring.

Wargin, Kathy-Jo, Alfred Nobel: The Man behind the Peace Prize (6-11).  Picture book biography of Nobel, his inventions, and why he established the Nobel prizes; contains a list of all Peace Prize winners through 2008.

Warner, Jody Nyasha, Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged! (7-9).  In a 1946 episode from the Civil Rights movement in Canada, a black business woman refuses to move from the main section of the movie theater, is arrested, and appeals her arrest to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court which in 1947 dismisses it.  But her action inspires many others to protest discrimination against people of color in Canada, which became illegal in the late 1950s.

Williams, Sherley Anne, Working Cotton (6-10). A day in the life of a family of African-American migrant workers who pick cotton from dawn till dark; the author worked in the cotton fields around Fresno, CA, as a child.

Wolf, Bernard, Homeless (4-10). Picture book of photos showing half a year in the life of an 8-year-old boy and his family in rent-free housing in New York City.

Vaughan, Maria, Irena's Jars of Secrets (7-11). A Polish Catholic, Irena helps Jewish children escape from the Warsaw ghetto under Nazi rule, keeping their identification on slips of paper buried in jars. Although captured at one point, she escapes and continues her work till the war ends. A brief biography is included at the end of the book. 

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Values, Character

Doudna, Kelly, Honestly! (3-6). Easy reader dealing with honesty as a character concept, using examples and photos of children.

Huebner, Dawn, What to Do When Your Temper Flairs (6-12). Helpful workbook for children struggling with anger, to read with an adult; explanations and step-by-step ďanger-dousingĒ exercises for cooling angry thoughts and controlling angry actions.

Sanders, Pete and Steve Myers, Dealing with Racism (8-12).  Uses a story children can identify with, amplified with information and analysis, to spark thought and discussion about racial prejudice; a "Choices and Decisions" book.

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Death

Britain, Lory, My Grandma Died: A Child's Story about Death and Loss (3-5). Short, simple explanation of death and the emotions that can accompany it, and things young children can do to ease their pain and confusion.

Krementz, Jill, How It Feels When a Parent Dies (7-up). Several young people share their experiences concerning the loss of a parent in the hope that it may help others feel less alone and unique.

Langone, John, Death is a Noun (14-up). Even-handed, journalistic discussion of death and related topics such as euthanasia, abortion, murder, suicide, and immortality; author of several good nonfiction books for young people.

Moody, Raymond A., Life After Life (15-up). Reports on people's near-death experiences and how common they are.

Richter, Elizabeth, Losing Someone You Love: When a Brother or Sister Dies (10-up). Sixteen young people who have lost a sibling share their feelings and difficulties in the hope of helping others in a similar situation.

Rosen, Michael, Michael Rosenís Sad Book (5-up). Picture book about deep sadness, built around the authorís sadness at his sonís and motherís deaths, how he feels and ways he tries to cope with it; very honest and deeply felt.

Sanders, Bruce, Letís Talk about Death and Dying (4-8). A very simple, straightforward introduction to death and its consequences.

Wild, Margaret, Harry and Hopper (5-8). Harry loves his dog Hopper, and after Hopper dies it takes a while for him to let go of his grief.

Wilhelm, Hans, I'll Always Love You (4-9). Gently but with humor, a boy tells about many things he and his old dog did and how much he loves him.  When the dog finally dies, the boy eventually comes to terms with his grief and knows he will always love and remember his dog; picture book.

Wood, Nancy, Old Coyote (5-11). Coyote has grown old and stiff, and although he still enjoys the beautiful world, he knows it's time to take his last journey; a sensitive, reassuring picture book about death in old age.

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Paranormal

Edmunds, I. G., Second-sight: People Who Read the Future (11-up). Intelligent discussion of prophecy in the West, covering Nostradamus, Jean Dixon, and Edgar Cayce in some depth.

Kettelkamp, Larry, Dreams (10-14). Gives ancient and modern ideas on dreams, their significance, and their role in human life; author of many interesting nonfiction books for young readers.

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Art, Crafts

Carle, Eric, Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children about Their Art (6-up).  Well-known children's book illustrators share personal stories with children about their work as illustrators, their art, and their lives as creative people in this anthology that benefits the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art; interesting for adults, too.

Greenberg, Jan and Sandra Jordan, The Painter's Eye: Learning to Look at Contemporary American Art (12-up). Analysis by the authors and quotations from artists help readers gain an appreciation for the elements and principles of painting in contemporary art. Also The Sculptor's Eye (12-up).

Micklethwait, Lucy, I Spy: An Alphabet in Art (3 - up)  A selection of paintings from many eras of Western art, each to be searched for something starting with a letter of the alphabet, sometimes obvious, sometimes hard to find.  

Renshaw, Amanda and Gilda Williams Ruggi, The Art Book for Children (all ages). Over 30 artworks from medieval to modern times paired with engaging, open-ended comments and questions.

Rivera, Raquel, Arctic Adventures: Tales from the Lives of Inuit Artists (5-up).  A memorable event from each of the four artistsí lives is told as a story, followed by a biography and an example of their work; an unusual book.


Biography and Autobiography

(Includes fictionalized autobiography)

Al-Windawi, Thura, Thura's Diary: My Life in Wartime Iraq (12-up). Memoir by a 19-year-old Iraqi girl of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq and its effects on the life of her family and friends.

Atkins, Jeannine, Anne Hutchinson's Way (6-10). Fictionalized account of Anne Hutchinson's short life in America, told from the viewpoint of one of her younger daughters, succeeds in making a difficult subject understandable to children. It begins with the family traveling to the colonies and ends with Anne's banishment for continuing to hold meetings where she discussed religious ideas that the religious authorities disagreed with.

Balgassi, Haemi, Peacebound Trains (5-9). Picture book of a family's separation and escape from Seoul during the Korean War; based on a true story.

Barasch, Lynne, Radio Rescue (6-11). Picture book about a boy's enthusiasm for being an amateur radio operator in the 1920s allows him to contact people around the world, and to help in emergencies; based on a true story.

Bartholomew, Carol, My Heart Has 17 Rooms (13-up). Autobiography of an American woman who helped at a small Indian hospital in the late 1950s.

Becerra de Jenkins, Lyll, The Honorable Prison (12-15). A Latin American family held as political prisoners illustrates the vital importance of holding to individual values in attempting to overcome oppression, while not overlooking its cost; derived from the author's experience.

Bogacki, Tomek, The Champion of Children: The Story of Janusz Korczak (8-up). Picture book that tells of the Polish doctor, writer and advocate for children's rights who opened an orphanage for Jewish children in 1912, which the children ran by their own parliament.  When the Nazis conquered Poland in WW II, he declined escape to stay with his children and eventually perished with them in Treblinka extermination camp.  An up lifting story despite its sad, true ending.  As Korczak wrote in his Ghetto Diary: "My life was difficult but interesting.  That's the life I asked God for when I was young: God, give me a hard life, but make it beautiful, rich, and noble." 

Boone, J. Allen, Kinship with All Life (10-up). Real-life experiences showing the oneness of all life and how animals communicate with each other and with people who understand them. Also Adventures in Kinship with All Life (10-up).

Bridges, Shirin Yim, Ruby's Wish (5-10). Picture book tells the story of the author's grandmother, who grew up in China when girls seldom received advanced education, and how she gets her wish to go to the university.

Bryant, Jen, A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams (7-11). Picture-book biography of the American physician and poet.

Carrighar, Sally, Moonlight at Midday (15-up). Natualist visiting Northern Alaska for a year stays for ten because of her interest in and love for the people, native and settlers. Strong readers will find much of interest concerning the Alaskan people, land, and wildlife.

Ching, Lucy, One of the Lucky Ones (11-up). Inspiring story of the determined struggle and triumph of a Chinese girl over blindness, superstition, and prejudice.

Choi, Sook Nyul, Year of Impossible Goodbyes (12-up). Harrowing, exciting story of a family in occupied Korea which survives the Japanese occupation and flees to the South after WWII; based on the author's experiences. First of a series.

Churchill, Winston, Heroes of History (12-up). Sketches of notable historical figures compiled from Churchill's History of the English-Speaking Peoples.

Darwin, Charles, Voyage of the Beagle, abridged by Millicent E. Selsam (12-up). Darwin's account of his formative journey around South America; edited for young people.

Drucker, Malka, Portraits of Jewish-American Heroes (10-up). Ranging from Revolutionary War times to 2002, these twenty brief  biographies emphasize the achievements of Jews in a wide variety of fields.

Durrell, Gerald, My Family and Other Animals (10-up). Often hilarious stories from the author's childhood in Corfu, focusing on the natural habitat and his eccentric family and friends; very well written.

----- Three Tickets to Adventure (10-up). One of the author's many books about expeditions to collect animals for zoos, full of humor and love of nature; others include The New Noah, The Whispering Land, The Drunken Forest, etc.

Earnshaw, Ruth, and Katherine S. Kinderman, In the Eye of the Typhoon (15-up). Memoir of an American married to a Chinese professor living in China from the late 1930s through the Japanese occupation and Cultural Revolution, when her husband was blacklisted.

Epstein, Beryul and Samuel, Who Says You Can't? (12-up). Biographies of people in the 1960s who achieved public good through effort and vision.

Farre, Rowena, Seal Morning (11-up). Memoir of the author's life from 10 to 17 with her aunt and many wild pets in an isolated, North Scotland cottage. Remarkable descriptions of this silent, remote wilderness highlight her unusual adventures -- most humorous, a few sad.

Frank, Anne, The Diary of a Young Girl (11-up). Journal of a Jewish girl hiding from the Nazis in a secret Dutch apartment in WWII.

Gandhi, M. K., My Experiments With Truth (14-up). Autobiography of the spiritual and personal struggles of India's great pacifist and patriot.

Gilbreth, Frank, Jr., Cheaper by the Dozen (10-up). Efficiency experts raise 12 children in this amusing reminiscence. Continued in With Bells on Their Toes (11-up) and Time out for Happiness (12-up).

Hartling, Peter, Crutches (12-15). Exciting tale of a 12-year-old Austrian boy separated from his mother after WWII and his relationship with a one-legged soldier; they support each other through hunger and real danger on the long journey to find the boy's mother; based on the author's life.

Hautzig, Esther, The Endless Steppe (12-up). Based on the author's experience as a Jewish girl deported from Poland to Siberia during WWII, reflecting the optimism and resilience of the human spirit.

Henry, Madeleine, Little Madeleine (13-up). Interesting recollections of a girl growing up with her seamstress mother in 1920s France; first of a series.

Herriot, James, All Creatures Great and Small (13-up). Memoirs of a vet in Northern England, full of humor and love of animals; first of a series.

------ James Herriot's Treasury for Children (4-12). A one-volume collection of Herriot's picture books drawn from his career.

Hill, Laban Carrick, Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave (5-8).  Story about a South Carolina potter of the mid 1800s, one of the few enslaved craftsmen whose named work has survived.

Hocken, Sheila, Emma and I (12-up). A young Englishwoman tells of her life as a blind person, and the difference her beloved seeing-eye dog made.

Hoose, Philip, It's Our World, Too! Stories of Young People Who Are Making a Difference (9-up). Profiles of many young activists who have acted on what they believe.

Keller, Helen, The Story of My Life (13-up). Autobiography shows forth the spirit of right living and thinking even under the worst adversities, and the wonderful relationship between Helen and her teacher.

Kennedy, John F., Profiles in Courage (11-up). Americans who stood for principle and acted on their convictions, whatever the consequences.

Kerley, Barbara, Walt Whitman: Words for America (10-up).  A biography of the poet that emphasizes his activities during the Civil War.

Kherdian, David, The Road from Home (12-up). A son tells of his mother's experiences as the only member of her family to survive the Armenian massacres of WWI.

Koehn, Ilse, Mischling, Second Degree: My Childhood in Nazi Germany (13-up). Memoir of a Nazi youth separated from her father and his family because he was half Jewish; an inside look at growing up in Nazi Germany and a powerful indictment of war.

Konigsburg, E. L., A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver (11-15). Unusual and effective biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Korner, Wolfgang, The Green Frontier (12-up). Fictionalized autobiography of an East German teenager whose parents crossed into West Berlin nine years before the Wall was built, telling of the confusion, resentment, and adaptability of youthful political refugees.

Levine, Ellen, Henry's Freedom Box (6-9). Fictonalized account of how in 1849 slave Henry Brown escaped to Philadelphia with the help of abolitionists by mailing himself there in a wooden box.

Lorenz, Konrad Z., King Solomon's Ring (12-up). Informative and amusing anecdotes about animals by one of the founders of modern ethology.

Martin, Jacqueline Briggs, Snowflake Bentley (5-7). A Vermont farmer is fascinated with snowflakes and despite criticism and indifference, he discovers a way to photograph them so he can share this wonder with others.

McDonnell, Patrick, Me ... Jane (4-7). Simple picture book about Jane Goodall as a little girl who was curious about everything and dreamed of living with and helping animals in Africa.  

McNeer, May, and Lynd Ward, Armed with Courage (8-12). Biographies of Florence Nightingale, M. K. Gandhi, George Washington Carver, Father Damien, Jane Addams, Wilfred Greenfell, and Albert Schweitzer.

Mebane, Mary E., Mary: An Autobiography (15-up). Through its details, this slow-moving autobiography allows readers to relive the experiences of an African-American girl growing up in rural North Carolina in the 1930s and '40s, who, with the encouragement of her aunt and father, overcomes horrendous obstacles to get a superior education.

Meigs, Cornelia, Invincible Louisa (10-14). Award-winning biography of Louisa May Alcott and her family.

Meyer, Edith Patterson, In Search of Peace: The Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize 1901-1975 (12-up). Background on many individuals and organizations recognized for contributing to world peace.

Mora, Pat, A Library for Juana: The World of Sor Juana Inťs (8-12). How Mexican poet and intellectual, Sister Juana Inťs de la Cruz (1651 - 1695), received a first-rate education at a time when few women did.

----- Tomas and the Library Lady (4-9). A child of migrant farm workers learns the wonder of books; based on experience of Tomas Rivera, a chancellor of the University of California.

Mowat, Farley, Owls in the Family (9-12). Humorous story of a boy's love of nature -- especially animals -- while growing up in Canada.

Nelson, S. D., Black Elk's Vision: A Lakota Story (7-up). Picture-book biography of Black Elk, who was at the battle of Little Big Horn, the Wounded Knee massacre, and in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.  The book focuses on his vision as a young man as well as the history of the Sioux nation.  Told partly in Black Elk's own words, and illustrated with photographs and the author's paintings.  

Nivola, Claire A., Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle (5-8). Picture-book biography of the well-known oceanographer, from her childhood in New Jersey, teens in Florida, and subsequent scientific research, bringing out our connection with the lives in the sea.

Orgel, Doris, The Devil in Vienna (12-up). The close friendship of the daughter of a Nazi storm trooper and a Jew; based on the author's experiences.

Parker, Robert Andrew, Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum (6-11). Biography concentrating on the childhood of piano virtuoso Art Tatum, who was almost blind.

Pepperberg, Irene M., Alex and Me (12-up). A research scientist tells her personal story, centering on studying and documenting animal intelligence in birds, especially with Alex, the parrot who amazed the scientific world with his abilities.

Ray, Deborah Kogan, Wanda Gag: The Girl Who Lived to Draw (5-12). Inspirational story of girl who through determination and grit overcame childhood hardships to become an artist and beloved illustrator/author; very well done.

Reiss, Johanna, The Upstairs Room (11-up). Story of two Jewish sisters hidden by a farm family in Holland, told by the younger, with fine characterizations and realistic reactions that come from life-experience. Her family's post-war experiences are told in The Journey Back (11-up).

Russo, Marisabina, Always Remember Me: How One Family Survived World War II (5-10). The story of how the author's grandmother, mother and two aunts, Polish Jews living in Germany, survived the Holocaust , sensitively told.  

Shulevitz, Uri, The Travels of Benjamin of Tudela: Through Three Continents in the Twelfth Century (7-up).  A picture-book retelling of the travels of a Spanish Jew through Italy, Greece, Palestine, Persia, Egypt and Sicily, a century before Marco Polo.  

SŪs, Peter, Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei (10-14). Picture book centering on Galileo's life, discoveries, and persecution by the Church.

----- Tibet through the Red Box, (10-up). Picture book centering on the author's father's diary of his adventures in Tibet right before the Chinese invaded.

-----: The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain (12-up). Artist's autobiography, largely in pictures, about life in Czechoslovakia under the Soviet police state, the freedom of the Prague Spring era, and the return to repression until the collapse of the Soviet system there in 1989.

Stowe, Leland, Crusoe of Lonesome Lake (13-up). A farmer and his family live isolated in the Canadian wilderness, building almost everything from scratch; fascinating, adventurous story of remarkable modern pioneers.

Uchida, Yoshiko, Journey Home (8-12). Based on the author's experiences, a Japanese-American girl and her family return from internment camp to begin from scratch, meeting prejudice, hard times, and happiness. The story is begun with the family's internment in Journey to Topaz (8-12).

Wargin, Kathy-Jo, Alfred Nobel: The Man behind the Peace Prize (6-11).  Picture book biography of Nobel, his inventions, and why he established the Nobel prizes; contains a list of all Peace Prize winners through 2008.

Warner, Jody Nyasha, Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged! (7-9).  In a 1946 episode from the Civil Rights movement in Canada, a black business woman refuses to move from the main section of the movie theater, is arrested, and appeals her arrest to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court which in 1947 dismisses it.  But her action inspires many others to protest discrimination against people of color in Canada, which became illegal in the late 1950s.  

Watkins, Yoko Kawashima, So Far from the Bamboo Grove (11-up). Gripping, exceptional story of the hardships involved in a Japanese family's escape from Korea and their struggles in Japan after WWII; based on the author's life. Continued in My Brother, My Sister, and I (11-up).

Weil, Lisl, Wolferl: The First Six Years in the Life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (4-8). Picture book of Mozart's childhood at home and at the courts of Austria.

Wilder, Laura Ingalls, The Little House in the Big Woods (5-10). First of the autobiographical stories about a pioneer family; full of worthwhile human values. Later books in the series are written for progressively older children.

Winter, Jeanette, The Watcher: The Story of Jane Goodall (4-6). Simple retelling of Jane Goodall's childhood and work with chimpanzees in Africa.

Yaccarino, Dan, All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel (4-8). In tracing four generations of the author's Italian-American family, starting with his great-grandfather who emigrated from Sorrento, the author shows the continuities and the differences and hopes to make children ask: how did our family come to America? 

Yates, Elizabeth, Amos Fortune, Free Man (9-12). African slave in New England learns to read, eventually buys his freedom and later his wife's, and becomes a respected and successful tanner.


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