One of best programs I attended at the recent ALA Annual Conference in Vegas was the very popular session on Monday afternoon presented by Jennie Rothschild and Angela Frederick called Stranger Than Fiction: Reader’s Advisory for Nonfiction.
It seems like everyone’s talking about nonfiction these days because of the emphasis on the Common Core. Rothschild and Frederick suggested a large number of interesting and appealing nonfiction titles for teens, many from YALSA’s award and selection lists like the Alex Award, Excellence in Nonfiction Award, Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, and Outstanding Books for the College Bound. They also had a lot of suggestions for great nonfiction read-alikes for popular fiction titles.
The books they recommended are notable for their interesting subject areas that can be read for pleasure, not just for assignments; have appealing layout/style or design, and, despite that so many are published for adults, still have great teen appeal. Rothschild noted that since there isn’t a lot of teen nonfiction published compared to children’s and adult, teens are used to reading up or down. Many of the nonfiction titles are notable for their narrative style that reads like fiction and the fact that they complement so many popular fiction books.
Here are some of the highlights:
Subject read-alikes for Bomb: The Race to Build â€“And Steal â€“The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin (YALSA 2013 Award for Excellence in Nonfiction, 2013 Sibert Award Winner, 2013 Newbery Honor Winner; National-book-award-finalist for Young People’s Literature):
- The Ultimate Weapon: The Race to Develop the Atomic Bomb by Edward T. Sullivan (YA)
- Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm, graphic novel (adults and older teens)
- The Radioactive Boy Scout by Ken Silverstein (adult)
- The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Keiran (adult)
- The President Has Been Shot by James L. Swanson (YA)
- Lincoln’s Last Days by Bill O’Reilly & Jon Zimmerman (YA adaption from adult book)
- Ghosts in the Fog by Samantha Sieple (Middle Grade)
- The Notorious Benedict Arnold: a True Story of Adventure, Heroism and Treachery by Steve Sheinkin (YALSA 2012 Award for Excellence in Nonfiction and YALSA’s 2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound (OBCB)