February has been a busy month for the Children’s Room. Well, it’s pretty much always a busy time for us, but with Valentine’s Day, the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten anniversary, and the One Book, Two Book festival coming up, we wanted to be sure to offer some great programs and resources for children to learn about black history in our country. For upcoming programs for kids and adults, see our Black History Month series in the calendar. And be sure to check our Black History Month book display and the Behind the Beat: African American Music display by the African American Museum of Iowa, both located in the Children’s Room. Here are some of my favorite newer nonfiction books I’ve been reading this month to learn more. Read the rest of this entry »
Posts Tagged ‘nonfiction’
Nonfiction books run the gamut from history and science to cooking and travel. The titles nominated for our Best of the Best list are certainly eclectic, as is our staff!
I grew up with a Christmas experience that I think will be familiar to many in one way or another. I was raised Catholic, so for the first 18 years of my life I did attend mass; this was usually on Christmas Eve, and it was very exciting to me as a child because the church lights would be turned off as the priest walked down the aisle, swinging a thurible filled with smoky incense. It seemed very exotic, not the regular day at church. We would hear the story of the birth of Christ and the three wise men, sing songs, and depending on which mass we were at, there would be a children’s pageant. After, we would go home and have a meal together, and my sister and I would head to bed while my parents stayed up a little longer. In the morning, we would be led from our rooms to the kitchen, eyes covered so that we couldn’t peek at the presents under the tree. Only after breakfast were we allowed to go open the presents; one person was designated to pass out the gifts, and they were opened one at a time. In this way, a good hour or two was spent opening presents and watching others do the same, eventually covering our living room floor with colored paper. Read the rest of this entry »
Today the term Veteran encompasses a wider range of people than it ever has in the past. People of different races, genders and sexual orientation, all of whom have or had one thing in common – the willingness to serve and defend our country as a member of the Armed Forces.
Valor – unsung heroes from Iraq, Afghanistan, and the home front by Mark Lee Greenblatt. Mark Lee Greenblatt interviewed Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine veterans of America’s most recent wars to gather their incredible stories in their own words. Many of these soldiers have risked their lives multiple times for their fellow solideris and their country. Until now, however their stories have largely gone unnoticed by the public.
Soldier Girls – the battles of three women at home and at war by Helen Thorpe. Journalist Helen Thorpe tells the moving story of three women in the Indiana National Guard who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. Read the rest of this entry »
Here’s another book I came across while cataloging and just had to put on hold: Sad Animal Facts by Brooke Barker. Flatiron Books’ promo line reads “A delightful and quirky compendium of the Animal Kingdom’s more unfortunate truths, with over 150 hand-drawn illustrations,”–and that’s exactly what it is. Delightful illustrations with quirky facts about each animal.
Facts include the following:
It may seem like this election season may never end, but soon enough it will be Election Day (November 8th this year) and we will have a new president. While kids may not be able to have an official say just yet, they can check out some of our newest presidential reads from the jNonfiction section. Read the rest of this entry »
Pit Bull advocate Bronwen Dickey’s summer 2016 book release Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon was sometimes very difficult to read. I even put off writing this blog post because I was too emotional after I first read the book to write a proper review! I have been a Pit Bull mama for almost a decade. Saysha is a 12-year-old female Staffordshire Terrier and Mowgli is a 3-year-old male American Bulldog mix. “Pit Bull” is not an exact breed – instead it has become a catch-all term for bulldogs of various kinds, or just mutts that look like Pits. Defining characteristics are blocky heads, thick muscular bodies, and big smiles. Saysha and Mowgli have very distinct personalities and looks. Mowgli weighs over 110 pounds; Saysha weighs only around 50 pounds. Mowgli loves eating fruit and veggies; Saysha will turn her nose up at a carrot or apple slice and instead beg for a biscuit. Saysha is very friendly with a princess streak, she naps a lot in her old age; Mowgli is playful and active yet more challenging, prone to becoming territorial about the house and barking out the front window. (Nothing a couple miles around the neighborhood can’t ease.) I can’t imagine my life without them. One of my long-term plans is to own some land so I can start my own bulldog rescue here in Iowa.
(Above: Saysha and Mowgli in 2014. Mowgli is the white and grey dog.)
In the world of children’s literature, picture books are the shining jewels that we admire for their beautiful illustrations and imaginative stories. Nonfiction titles are often seen as unglamorous workhorses, judged on their ability to meet educational standards in imparting information to their young readers. While there is certainly a necessary place for curriculum supporting, report fodder nonfiction, there is plenty of room on the shelves for nonfiction that captures the imagination as well as presenting the facts.
I’m relatively new to audiobooks, having listened to my first one a few months ago, but I agree with my colleagues who say they are a great way to pass the time on long drives, during a run or cleaning the house.
I also agree with them that a narrator makes, or breaks, the audiobook.
There are several I’ve started but couldn’t finish because I didn’t like the narrator’s voice. One of these books was even read by the author, but she did not sound at all like I thought she would. For some odd reason even I can’t explain, that did not sit well with me. I returned the audiobook on my OverDrive app and checked out the physical book instead.
I recently finished listening to I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: My Life as a Co-Star by Judy Greer. She also voiced the audiobook. If the name isn’t familiar, I’m sure it will be after you Google it. With more than 16 working years in Hollywood, and 90+ film and TV credits to her name, she’s one of those actors who seems to be in everything.
She’s a star, yet she isn’t. She’s worked with George Clooney and Paul Rudd and Jennifer Lopez, but can still run to a 24-hour drug store without fear of being recognized. In fact, if/when she is recognized, the people who stop her aren’t sure why they’ve stopped her. Best of both worlds? The work, some fame, but no paparazzi?
This was an entertaining memoir. Greer is funny, honest – some might think she’s too honest, but I loved it – and anyone who’s curious about what happens behind-the-scenes in Hollywood will get a little bit of gossip. Not dirt – she’s not stupid; she still has to make a living – but the next time you see a celebrity looking like the wish they were anywhere else on the red carpet or at a press junket, Greer’s book will explain why both aren’t fun.
I just finished listening to Year of Yes, narrated by the author, Shonda Rhimes, and it was great. I don’t usually listen to Nonfiction, but a friend recommended it so I placed a hold. I didn’t realize when I started the book that Rhimes is the creator of one of my favorite shows, Grey’s Anatomy. That fact, plus the excellent writing and author narration made the book even more enjoyable.