There are lots of exciting nonfiction titles published in October. Enjoy and learn!
Alphamals : A-Z by Graham Carter. 9780763695576. 2017. Gr PK-2.
This abecedarian picture book of animals combines lyrical text, stylized animal prints, and information into a solid selection.
Bertha Takes a Drive : How the Benz Automobile Changed the World by Jan Adkins. 9781580896962. 2017. Gr K-3.
In 1888, Bertha Benz, determined to prove that the motorcar is the future, sets out on a sixty-mile journey at a time when this was unheard of.
A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider : The Story of E.B. White by Barbara Herkert (ill. by Lauren Castillo). 9781627792455. 2017. Gr PK-3.
An excellent picture book biography of a popular author and why he came to write about such beloved characters as a mouse and a spider (and a pig).
Home Sweet Home by Paula Blumen (ill. by Mia Cassany). 9781786031136. 2017. Gr K-3.
Readers can check out homes from all over the world and the people who live in them.
How the Cookie Crumbled : The True (and Not-So-True) Stories of the Invention of the Chocolate Chip Cookie by Gilbert Ford. 9781481450676. 2017. Gr K-3.
Everyone agrees that Ruth Wakefield invented chocolate chip cookies at her Toll House Inn, but not everyone agrees on just how she did it. Readers can check out the different versions of the story, and then make cookies using the recipe provided.
My Journey to the Stars by Scott Kelly (ill. by Andre Ceolin). 9781524763770. 2017. Gr K-3.
Read about the story of an ordinary boy who became an astronaut. In 2016 he returned from spending almost an entire year (340 consecutive days) in space.
Song of the Wild : A First Book of Animals by Nicola Davies (ill. by Petr Horacek). 9780763691608. 2017. Gr PK-2.
Poems and illustrations reveal the behavior and beauty of animals around the world.
That Is My Dream! by Langston Hughes (ill by Daniel Miyares). 9780399550171. 2017. Gr PK-3.
An African American boy faces the bitter realities of racism in his daily life while dreaming of a world where he is not judged by the color of his skin. Based on the celebrated poem written by the author.
Vincent Can’t Sleep : Van Gogh Paints the Night Sky by Barb Rosenstock (ill. by Mary Grandpre). 9781101937105. 2017. Gr PK-3.
This picture book of the beloved artist Vincent Van Gogh focuses on how he had trouble sleeping and would love to wander under the stars. When he began painting, he drew on his memories of the night sky, especially for his famous “The Starry Night.”
The Way Downtown : Adventures in Public Transport by Inna Gertsberg (ill. by Mike Lowery). 9781771385527. 2017. Gr K-3.
In the big city of Zoom, millions of citizens use the public transit system with its buses, subways, light rail, ferries, and trains every day. The people who live there, including the Zanies, Agent Rybka, Dr. Brody, and Boris the dog, use the transit system and city maps, and readers will learn about ticket types and fares, transfer stations, cargo and cruise ships, and bike shares.
Animalsaurus : Incredible Creatures from Prehistoric and Modern Times by Tracey Turner (ill. by Harriet Russell. 9781681195445. 2017. Gr 4-6.
The creators of this book use illustrations, facts and stats, and scale diagrams to compare fascinating prehistoric creatures with close modern relatives.
Crafty Gifts by Jane Bull. 9781465461223. 2017. Gr 2-5.
Need a gift for someone? These twenty step-by-step projects are perfect for gift-giving, and all can be personalized. Clear photographs make this accessible even for elementary students.
Fallingwater : The Building of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Masterpiece by Marc Marshmann & Anna Egan Smucker (ill. by LeUyen Pham). 9781596437180. 2017. Gr 2-5.
Not just a simple biography, this book explains how Frank Lloyd Wright went about designing his most famous building, Fallingwater, in Pennsylvania.
History’s Mysteries : Curious Clues, Cold Cases, and Puzzles from the Past by Kitson Jazynira. 9781426328725. 2017. Gr 4-6.
Many of history’s most interesting mysteries are discussed, including Stonehenge, the dancing plague, the lost colony of Roanoke, and the theft of the Irish Crown Jewels. This is the first in a series.
A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman. Isabel Greenberg. 2017. Gr 1-4.
Simple text and illustrations introduce the concept of very large numbers through a variety of examples and scenarios, from the 300 teeth of a great white shark, to the estimated number of total stars in the universe.
If Picasso Painted a Snowman by Amy & Greg Newbold. 9780884485933. 2017. Gr 2-5.
A charming hamster with a paintbrush explains how seventeen famous artists would have painted a snowman. Text and short bios will teach readers about different schools of art, and the colorful illustrations will give them a visual introduction to the various styles.
Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malal Yousafzai (ill. by Kerascoet). 9780316319577. 2017. Gr 3-5.
As a young woman, Malala Yousafzai used her pen and her writing to speak out for the right for girls to get an education in Afghanistan.
Mama Africa! : How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song by Kathryn Erskine (ill. by Charly Palmer). 9780374303013. Gr 2-5.
This biography highlights the life, career, and social activism of Miriam Makeba, known to many as Mama Africa who used her voice and song to fight racial segregation in South Africa.
Miguel’s Brave Knight : Young Cervantes and His Dream of Don Quixote by Margarita Engle (ill. by Raul Colon). 9781561458561. 2017. Gr 2-6.
Read the story of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes’ childhood and how his experiences influenced him to grow up and become the famous author of “Don Quixote.”
Spiders! : Strange and Wonderful by Laurence Pringle (ill. by Meryl Henderson). 9781629793214. 2017. Gr 3-5.
This latest entry in the Strange and Wonderful series presents information on the physical characteristics, behaviors, habitats, and types of spiders, accompanied by full-color illustrations.
Trickiest! : 19 Sneaky Animals by Steve Jenkins. 9780544937161. 2017. Gr 1-4.
Read about animals with incredible abilities to trick each other and humans. From animals using trickery to catch their prey to those trying to avoid being prey themselves, these animals use their talents to deceive in order to survive.
Unstoppable : True Stories of Amazing Bionic Animals by Nancy Furstinger. 9780544879669. 2017. Gr 2-5.
Many animals have been helped by prostheses and other devices. This book tells the stories not only of the “bionic” animals, but of the inventors, caretakers, vets, and scientists who use their expertise on anatomy and behavior to make the lives of these animals more enjoyable.
Why Don’t Fish Drown? : And Other Vital Questions about the Animal Kingdom by Anna Claybourne (ill by Claire Goble). 9780500651261. 2017. Gr 3-6.
The study of nature poses many questions, even for experts in their fields. This book answers some of those questions, and explains why the questions are tricky. It also encourages children to ask questions themselves and try to come up with their own answers.
MIDDLE SCHOOL NONFICTION
Basketballogy : Supercool Facts You Never Knew by Kevin Sylvester. 9781554519323. 2017. Gr 4-8.
Cartoon-style illustrations, graphs and charts, and trivia help young basketball fans to understand the history, rules, players, facts, and other aspects of the game.
Bizarre Space : A Kid’s Guide to Our Strange, Unusual Universe by Jenn Dlugos & Charlie Hatton. 9781618216892. 2017. Gr 4-7.
People have always had questions about the sky above, and many of those questions have been answered. The authors explain these discoveries, as well as describing many oddities the universe that we still don’t have answers to.
The Elephant Whisperer : My Life with the Herd in the African Wild by Lawrence Anthony. 9781627793094. 2017. Gr 4-7.
Lawrence Anthony took in a herd of “rogue” elephants at his game reserve in Zululand in order to save them from being killed. Through the following years, he bonded with the elephants and discovered they could teach him about life, loyalty, and freedom.
A Fair Deal : Shopping for Social Justice by Kari Jones. 9781459810433. 2017. Gr 4-7.
Exploring what fair trade around the world looks like, from Colombian coffee plantations to basket weavers in Vietnam, this new Footprints title highlights why fair trade is important.
Fault Lines in the Constitution : The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws That Affect Us Today by Cynthia Levinson & Sanford Levinson. 9781561459452. 2017. Gr 6-8.
Take an in-depth look at the U.S. Constitution and issues that have risen out of its application through history, from the electoral college and filibusters to voting eligibility and presidential succession. Explore how the Constitution has evolved over time and learn how it can be further improved to keep it relevant and efficient.
Kid Authors : True Tales of Childhood from Great Writers (Kid Legends) by David Stabler (ill. by Doogie Horner). 9781594749872. 2017. Gr 4-7.
Our most beloved authors were all once kids with the same kid problems that their readers have, and their struggles with these issues helped mold their characters and talents. Biographies are included for diverse authors, and are fun and funny and touching.
The Man Who Knew Everything : The Strange Life of Athanasius Kircher by Marilee Peters (ill. by Roxanna Bikadoroff). 9781554519736. 2017. Gr 5-8.
Living in the 17th century, Kircher was a German Jesuit and scientist with an insatiable curiosity. Though he really didn’t know everything, he did question everything, including volcanoes, dragons, Atlantis, and the earth’s core, and he had theories (not always right) about many of them. Kircher’s life should encourage the same type of curiosity in readers.
More Girls Who Rocked the World : Heroines from Ada Lovelace to Misty Copeland by Michelle Roehm McCann. 9781582706405. 2017. Gr 5-8.
This follow-up to Girls Who Rocked the World offers profiles of forty-five more women who made a difference in the world before they turned twenty.
Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani. 9781626720879. 2017. Gr 5-9.
Priyanka Das, an Indian girl living in America, has always wondered why her mother abandoned her home in India years ago, taking Priyanka with her, and why she still refuses to tell Pri anything about India or her father. One day, Pri finds one of her mother’s pashminas in a forgotten suitcase, and, putting it on, finds herself transported to a place that very much resembles India—however, it may be another world altogether, and there is danger.
Pele : The King of Soccer by Eddy Simon & Vincent Brascaglia. 9781626729797. 2017. Gr 4-8.
This graphic novel biography tells the story of Pele, the famous soccer superstar, from his boyhood.
Rewilding : Giving Nature a Second Chance by Jane Drake & Ann Love. 9781554519620. 2017. Gr 6-9.
Naturalists speak of rewilding, or restoring habitats to their natural state to help native species. A successful and famous attempt at rewilding was the return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park. Readers can learn of other attempts, both big and small, as well as some that were not effective, and might get ideas for their own projects.
Science Comics : Dogs : From Predator to Protector by Andy Hirsch. 9781626727670. 2017. Gr 4-8.
In this nonfiction graphic novel, a friendly mutt discusses everything canine, including genetics, history, anatomy, behavior, and breeding.
Sinking the Sultana : A Civil War Story of Imprisonment, Greed, and a Doomed Journey Home by Sally M. Walker. 9780763677558. 2017. Gr 6-9.
In 1865, Civil War Confederate soldiers were paroled and sent home. Some went aboard the “Sultana,” a steamboat headed for the south. The greedy captain, who was paid by the passenger, didn’t do the necessary repairs to the ship and packed in too many people, and on April 27, 1865, the boat exploded, leaving nearly 2,000 people dead. This book follows the story of five soldiers aboard the “Sultana.”
Survivors : Extraordinary Tales from the Wild and Beyond by David Long & Kerry Hyndman. 9780571316014. 2017. Gr 5-8.
These nearly two dozen true stories tell of survival around the world, featuring classic and contemporary tales of people who have survived airplane crashes, hurricanes, avalanches, quicksand, and blizzards, among other dangers.
Thrilling Thieves : Liars, Cheats, and Double-Crossers Who Changed History by Brianna DuMont. 9781510701694. 2017. Gr 4-8.
History has its share of heroes, but none of them are in this book. Instead readers will find scallywags, con artists, and even some famous people that underneath used nefarious methods to obtain their fame. The world would be a much different place without them!
Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag. 9781338089523. 2017. Gr 4-8.
In a forest settlement, girls are taught to be witches and boys to be shapeshifters. To the consternation of his family, Aster, however, hangs around the girls who are learning their spellcraft. When two village boys disappear, Aster’s magical abilities might just save the day.
HIGH SCHOOL NONFICTION
The 57 Bus : A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater. 9780374303235. 2017. Gr 7-12.
Sasha and Richard, two teens from Oakland, California, never would have met if not for the 57 Bus which they both were taking home one day. Richard, an African American boy, had a lighter; Sasha, a white boy, wore a skirt. A dare to use the lighter changes both boy’s lives forever.
Because I Was a Girl : True Stories for Girls of All Ages by Melissa de la Cruz. 9781250154460. 2017. Gr 7-12.
This collection of stories is from women who share their personal struggles and the barriers they’ve had to overcome to achieve their dreams. Personal accounts come from best-selling authors, civil rights, activists, entrepreneurs, and even young women, and their stories span the decades from the 1920s to the present.
Building Amazing Creations : Sean Kenny’s Art with LEGO Bricks by Sean Kenney. 9781627790185. 2017. Gr 5-12.
LEGO aficionados will pore over these 800 LEGO art works created by artist Sean Kenney. He includes color photographs of his creations along with narratives describing his process.
Escape from Syria by Samya Kullab & Jackie Roche. 9781770859821. 2017. Gr 7-12.
Following current events in the Middle East, this graphic novel follows a fictional family in Aleppo, Syria, from when the violence started in 2013. Intense and hard-hitting, the story should help readers better understand the plight of these refugees.
Louis Undercover by Fanny Britt & Isabelle Arsenault. 9781554988594. 2017. Gr 7-10.
Louis and his brother have to go back and forth between their parents’ homes where both deal with the divorce in their own way. His father’s way tends to be drinking too much. And while Louis tries to cope with his own sadness over the brokenness of his family, he also tries to work up his courage to talk to Billie, the girl he’s secretly in love with.
Now or Never! : 54th Massachusetts Infantry’s War to End Slavery by Ray Anthony Shepard. 9781629793405. 2017. Gr 7-12.
George Stephens and James Henry Gooding were two African American soldiers who fought for the Union during the Civil War. They were also writers who spoke out against the inequalities between white regiments and their own 54th Massachusetts regiment, as well as the racism and brutality they endured.
The Raftsmen by Ryan Barnett & Dmitry Bondarenko. 9781770859784. 2017. Gr 8-12.
During World War II, four French expatriates had escaped from the Nazis to find safety in Canada. After the war, they set sail on a raft with minimal supplies, hoping to be the first crew to cross the Atlantic Ocean by raft. They were successful, but it took 88 excruciating days until they arrived. Readers will be enthralled by this true adventure story.
ADULT CROSSOVER NONFICTION
American Wolf : A True Story of Survival and Obsession by Nate Blakeslee. 9781101902783. 2017. Gr 11-Adult.
The story of the reintroduction of the wolf to Yellowstone National Park focuses mainly on the life of one wolf, an alpha female known as O-Six, and the people who watched her, hunted her, and mourned her death. American Wolf is excellent narrative nonfiction for animal lovers.
Blockbuster Science : The Real Science in Science Fiction by David Siegel Bernstein. 9781633883697. 2017. Gr 11-Adult.
Hard-core science fiction fans like to know how scientific their favorite books and shows are, but even those who don’t care about the science will enjoy this book. This accessible and entertaining book debates whether popular sci-fi concepts (such as time travel, cyborgs, black holes, aliens, wormholes, zombies, and more) are achievable or fantastical, and will engage and inspire readers.
The Code Girls : The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy. 9780316352536. 2017. Gr 10-Adult.
Recently unclassified documents reveal the true story of American women who served the U.S. Army and Navy as code breakers during World War II. Tens of thousands of women were recruited by the U.S. military to work as cryptanalysts, and their contributions helped save lives and end the war.
Soonish : Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith. 9780399563829. 2017. Gr 10-Adult.
The authors use text and comic illustrations to explore the future of certain technologies that don’t exist but are logically possible and are a natural extension of current technological breakthroughs. They feature ten technologies such as asteroid mining, fusion power, synthetic biology, bioprinting, and brain-computer interfaces and the practical applications of each.