Take a look at these exciting nonfiction titles published in April. Enjoy and learn!
Chomp : A Shark Romp by Michael Paul. 9781524767020. Crown Books. 2019. Gr PK-1.
Simple text and illustrations introduce several different kinds of sharks and their behaviors.
Comics : Easy as ABC! : The Essential Guide to Comics for Kids by Ivan Brunetti & Francoise Mouly. 9781943145447. Toon Graphics. 2019. Gr K-4.
A collection of veteran cartoonists including Chris Ware, Neal Gaiman, Geoffrey Hayes, Eleanor Davis, and Art Spiegelman, introduce young learners to the basic skills of comic book construction. Also included are activities that encourage readers to practice these skills and advice on how to read comic books.
Don’t Let Them Disappear by Chelsea Clinton (ill. by Gianna Marino). 9780525514329. Penguin. 2019. Gr PK-3.
This picture book provides information about a selection of endangered animals and a plea to do what we can to keep them from disappearing.
Fly by Nathan Clement. 9781629799377. Boyds Mills Press. 2019. Gr PK-2.
As a young girl and her parents make their way through the airport on their way to their flight, readers learn about the workers at the airport and in the plane and what they do to keep the passengers and plane safe.
Follow That Bee! : A First Book of Bees in the City by Scot Ritchie. 9781525300349. Kids Can Press. 2019. Gr PK-3.
Mr. Cardinal keeps bees in his backyard in the city. He has invited his young neighbor Martin and Martin’s friends to learn all about bees.
If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon by Joyce Lapin (ill. by Simona Ceccarelli). 9781454929703. Sterling. 2019. Gr 1-3.
As young party-goers celebrate a friend’s birthday on the moon, readers will learn how activities are different when done in lunar conditions.
Lion of the Sky : Haiku for All Season by Laura Purdie Salas (ill. by Merce Lopez). 9781512498097. Millbrook Press. 2019. Gr PK-3.
These English haiku poems are written as riddles and are related to animals and objects that correspond with a particular season.
The Lost Forest by Phyllis Root (ill. by Betsy Bowen). 9780816697960. University of Minnesota Press. 2019. Gr 1-3.
In 1882 surveyors attempted to map a portion of Minnesota, and accidentally mapped a large area of trees as a lake. Since no one expected to find trees in a lake, this area was saved from logging. The mistake was not corrected for 75 years, and scientists are now exploring the ecology of this old-growth forest. Along with this interesting story comes information about surveys, the flora and fauna found in forests, and the history of broken treaties with Native Americans.
Nine Months : Before a Baby Is Born by Miranda Paul (ill. by Jason Chin). 9780823441617. Neal Porter Books. 2019. Gr PK-3.
A family prepares for an upcoming baby. The story alternates with panels showing how the fetus is developing and what the family is doing to prepare for the big day.
Ninita’s Big World : The True Story of a Deaf Pygmy Marmoset by Sarah Glenn Marsh (ill. by Stephanie Fizer Coleman). 9781328770011. Clarion. 2019. Gr PK-2.
Meet Ninita, a deaf orphaned pygmy marmoset that is also a YouTube sensation. After being abandoned by her parents, she was rescued by a wildlife conservation agency in Florida. Despite being unable to hear, Ninita has learned to navigate her new habitat and has made a new marmoset friend.
Popcorn Country : The Story of America’s Favorite Snack by Cris Peterson (photos by David R. Lundquist). 9781629798929. Boyds Mills Press. 2019. Gr PK-3.
Readers will learn all about America’s favorite snack, including where it comes from, how it is processed, what a kernel of corn needs to be able to pop, and how it is transported throughout the world.
Sandy Feet! Whose Feet? : Footprints at the Shore by Susan Wood (ill. by Steliyana Doneva). 9781585364091. Sleeping Bear Press. 2019. Gr K-3.
While enjoying a day at the beach, children discover footprints. They figure out what creature the footprints belong to and how the different kinds of feet are used.
Thinker : My Puppy Poet and Me by Eloise Greenfield (ill. by Ehsan Abdollahi). 9781492677246 Sourcebooks. K-3.
Both Jace and his puppy Thinker are poets. When Thinker is allowed to go to school on Pets’ Day, Jace doesn’t want him to talk, afraid they’ll both be called weird. However, that’s easier said than done.
You Can Be an Entomologist! : Investigating Insects with Dr. Martins by Dino Martins. 9781426333545. National Geographic Children’s. 2019. Gr PK-3.
Readers learn all about what an entomologist does by following a scientist into the wild and studying all sorts of insects.
Birth of the Cool : How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound by Kathleen Cornell Berman (ill. by Keith Henry Brown). 9781624146909. Page Street Kids. 2019. Gr 4-6.
This illustrated biography relates the early life of jazz great Miles Davis from his childhood in East St. Louis and rural Arkansas to his schooling at Julliard and New York jazz clubs and eventually to the Newport Jazz Festival.
Guitar Genius : How Les Paul Engineered the Solid-Body Electric Guitar and Rocked the World! by Kim Tomsic (ill. by Brett Helquist). 9781452159195. Chronicle Books. 2019. Gr 2-5.
Lester’s piano teacher sent him home with a note saying that Lester would never learn music, so his parents should save money and stop sending him to lessons. His mother encouraged to him keep doing what he wanted, so he made things—radios, microphones, speakers, and finally a solid-body electric guitar that revolutionized popular music.
Her Fearless Run : Kathrine Switzer’s Historic Boston Marathon by Kim Chaffee (ill by Ellen Rooney). 9781624146541. Page Street Publishing. 2019. Gr 3-6.
Katherine Switzer became the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon in 1967.
Sisters : Venus & Serena Williams by Jeanette Winter. 9781534431218. Beach Lane Books. 2019. Gr PK-3.
This picture book look at sisters Venus and Serena Williams, describing their childhood, rise to tennis fame, and triumph over obstacles.
Sweet Dreams, Sarah : From Slavery to Inventor by Vivian Kirkfield (ill. by Chris Ewald). 9781939547316. Creston Books. 2019. Gr K-2.
As a slave, young Sarah learned about woodcraft from her father, a free skilled carpenter. After emancipation, she married Archibald Goode, had children, and started her own furniture store. She created a cabinet that could be made into a bed and became the first African-American woman to be awarded a patent.
Two Brothers, Four Hands by Jan Greenberg & Sandra Jordan (ill. by Hadley Hooper). 9780823441709. Neal Porter Books. 2019. Gr 3-5.
Read about the lives and work of twentieth-century Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti and his brother Diego. Both devoted to each other, Diego helped his more talented older brother create some of the most iconic sculptures of their age, but was also a gifted furniture maker himself.
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander & Kadir Nelson. 9781328780966. Versity. 2019. Gr 3-6.
This retelling of Kwame Alexander’s poem of the same name celebrates black life in the United States, from the trauma of slavery to the perseverance of great black leaders such as Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks.
Anteater Adventure (True Tales of Rescue) by Kama Einhorn. 9781328767042. HMH. 2019. Gr 2-5. (See also Raccoon Rescue, 9781328767059).
Abi the anteater describes the day after a strong hurricane blew through the animal sanctuary he has been living in while his broken leg heals.
Burp, Spit & Fart : The Science Behind the Gross Things Babies Do by Juliea Garstecki (ill by Chris Monroe). 9780760364765. Young Voyageur. 2019. Gr 4-6.
Kids know that their baby siblings are strange and gross—they can put their toes in the mouths, their poop can be a different color every day, and more. Learn the science behind these weird habits or disgusting behaviors.
Camp by Kayla Miller. 9781328530813. HMH. 2019. Gr 3-6.
Best friends Olive and Willow are thrilled to go to the same summer camp—and to even share a bunk bed! But while Olive has fun at camp and wants to get involved, Willow is homesick and wants Olive with her all the time. Will their friendship survive camp?
Extreme Abilities : Amazing Human Feats and the Simple Science Behind Them by Galadriel Watson (ill. by Cornelia Li). 9781773212494. Annick Press. 2019. Gr 4-7.
Kids are fascinated by super-heroes and feats of human strength. Each of these entertaining chapters introduces and explains one of nine extreme human abilities, and includes strength, flexibility, memory, endurance, meditation, underwater breath-holding, speed, mental math, and balance. Readers are warned not to do these themselves, but are also given tips to improve their own personal skills.
I Am Hermes! by Mordicai Gerstein. 9780823439423. Holiday House. 2019. Gr 4-6.
This hilarious graphic novel gives an account of the wild and crazy life of Hermes, the Greek messenger god. PW’s review states that “any educational value is purely coincidental”, but kids will have great fun with this version of Greek mythology—maybe as much fun as Gerstein had when creating it!
Nature All Around : Trees by Pamela Hickman & Carolyn Gavin. 9781771388047. Kids Can Press. 2019. Gr 2-5.
Trees play many roles in our lives. This book focuses on trees from the United States and Canada, which are two of the world’s most heavily forested countries. The authors explain the processes of photosynthesis and pollination, the different parts of a tree, strange trees, how seasons affect trees, and more.
Planet Fashion : 100 Years of Fashion History by Natasha Slee & Cynthia Kittler. 9781786031952. Wide Eyed Editions. 2019. Gr 2-5.
While taking a trip around the world to view fashion in the last century, readers will learn about diverse cultures and historical events through the lens of clothing and how it changed throughout the years.
Predator and Prey : A Conversation in Verse by Susannah Buhrman-Deever (ill. by Bert Kitchen). 9780763695330. Candlewick Press. 2019. Gr 1-4.
Through illustration, poems, and prose, this picture book examines the battle for survival between predator and prey, exploring the strategies animals use to hunt or avoid predation.
Seashells : More Than a Home by Melissa Stewart (ill. by Sarah S. Brannen). 9781580898102. Charlesbridge. 2019. Gr 1-4.
This introduction to thirteen different seashells shows that they are much more than a dwelling. Text and illustrations explain how variations in size, shape, and color can aid in locomotion, disguise, warnings, tools, and waste removal. The creative team behind this book also collaborated on Feathers : Not Just for Flying.
Stinky Science : Why the Smelliest Smells Smell So Smelly by Edward Kay & Mike Shiell. 9781771383820. Kids Can Press. 2019. Gr 4-6.
The title of the book pretty much says it all. Readers will learn why things smell, how we smell, why smells help us remember, and why feet can smell like cheese. A perfect choice for those who think science is boring.
What Is the Story of Scooby-Doo? By M.D. Payne & Andrew Thomson. 9781524788254. Penguin. 2019. Gr 4-6.
Kids have loved Scooby-Doo and his friends since I started watching in 1969. Now they can find out how the show started and what made it so popular. This is the first title in the What Is the Story Of? from the people who created the Who Was? and What Was? books.
MIDDLE SCHOOL NONFICTION
20 Recipes Kids Should Know by Esme Washburn (photos by Calista Washburn). 9783791385075. Prestel Junior. 2019. Gr 6-8.
Two sisters, one in middle school who loves cooking and the other a recent high school graduate who loves photography, created this cookbook of 20 classic recipes that all kids should know how to make. These recipes can be modified to make a great variety of delicious meals.
American Moonshot : Young Readers’ Edition by Douglas Brinkley. 9780062660282. Harpercollins. 2019. Gr 5-8.
This young readers’ adaptation of Brinkley’s book narrates the story of how the Apollo 11 came to be, documenting the space race initiated by President John F. Kennedy which culminated in the United States being the first to land men on the moon.
Beyond Words : What Elephants and Whales Think and Feel by Carl Safina. 9781250144638. Roaring Brook Press. 2019. Gr 4-9.
Researcher Carl Safina tracks a herd of elephants across Kenya, and then follows a pod of orcas in the Pacific Northwest. He chronicles how each species live, play, fight, and communicate to show readers how, though different, they have much in common. Both can teach humans about compassion and the way humans interact with each other and nature. He includes photographs from his research, and notes the damage humans are inflicting on both groups.
Children of the First People : Fresh Voices of Alaska’s Native Kids by Tricia Brown. 9781513261980. Alaska Northwest Books. 2019. Gr 4-7.
Ten young Alaska Native Americans share how they celebrate their diverse cultures and follow their traditions.
Digging Deep : How Science Unearths Puzzles from the Past by Laura Scandiffio. 9781773212388. Annick Press. 2019. Gr 6-9.
Learn how recent advances in science and technology have been used to study archaeological finds and how our views of history have changed as a result.
Discover Our Solar System by Colin Stuart (ill. by Charlie Brandon-King). 9781787080171. Button Books. 2019. Gr 5-7.
Stuart provides an overview of how we are exploring our solar system, from the Big Bang to the sun to the Kuiper Belt.
Enemy Child : The Story of Norman Mineta, a Boy Imprisoned in a Japanese American Internment Camp During World War II by Andrea Warren. 9780823441518. Margaret Ferguson Books. 2019. Gr 5-8.
When former U.S. congressman Norman Mineta was ten, he and his family were interned at an internment camp during World War II. His experiences there prompted in him a spirit of public service, and he served ten terms in the U.S. House of Representatives where he was instrumental in passing the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. The book also puts the internment into the context of the history of Asian immigration.
Follow Your Stuff : Who Makes It, Where Does It Come From, How Does It Get to You? by Kevin Sylvester & Michael Hlinka. 9781773212548. Annick Press. 2019. Gr 5-9.
This simple guide for young readers teaches about the global market by discussing how everyday items, like cellphones, clothes, and food, get into our hands. Simple charts and data introduce free market concepts, including fair wage and relative value, to help young learners begin to understand free market production systems.
Killer Style : How Fashion Has Injured, Maimed, Murdered Through History by Serah-Marie McMahon & Alison Matthews David. 9781771472531. Owlkids Books. 2019. Gr 4-8.
Explore the history of fashion trends that killed or maimed, such as lead-based makeup, mercury-poisoning in hatters, corsets, and flammable flannel.
Operatic by Kyo Maclear & Byron Eggenschwiler. 9781554989720. Groundwood Books. 2019. Gr 5-8.
The middle school music class of 8C is directed to find the soundtrack of their lives, and Charlotte (Charlie) discovers the music of opera singer Maria Callas inspires her. But she’s also distracted with typical middle school drama, such as her emerging crush on Emile and the lengthy absence of Luka. As Charlie learns more about the life of Maria Callas, she wonders if she can follow the example of her new idol and take control of her own life the way the diva did. Included is a biography of Callas.
Satchel Paige : Striking Out Jim Crow by James Sturm & Rich Tommaso. 9781368022323. Disney-Hyperion. 2019. Gr 6-8.
A graphic novel biography of the life and career of baseball great Satchel Paige is told from the point of view of a sharecropper, who follows the news as Paige deals with segregation in the south.
Tooth & Claw : The Dinosaur Wars by Deborah Noyes. 9780425289846. Penguin. 2019. Gr 6-9.
Many unusual fossils were discovered in the American West during the nineteenth century, leading to an epic feud between scientists Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh. As they raced to find newer and bigger dinosaur fossils, their friendly rivalry became fraught with jealousy, sabotage, and revenge. Noyes tells an exciting and entertaining tale of the early days of paleontology.
The Young Adventurer’s Guide to (Almost) Everything by Ben Hewitt (ill. by Luke Boushee). 9781611805949. Roost Books. 2019. Gr 5-10.
Forty-five illustrated activities teach basic outdoor survival skills to children, such as how to build shelter, find direction without a GPS, and proper knife technique.
HIGH SCHOOL NONFICTION
Bad Boys of Fashion : Style Rebels and Renegades Through the Ages by Jennifer Croll. 9781773212432. Annick Press. 2019. Gr 7-12.
Read about male alternative fashion icons throughout history who combined notable fashion statements with politics, art, and social movements. Explore how men such as Louis XIV, Andy Warhol, Karl Lagerfeld, David Bowie, and Kanye West, incorporated fashion in their personal and professional goals. Colorful images, graphics, and inserts of other notable fashion trends are included.
A Cave in the Clouds : A Young Woman’s Escape from ISIS by Badeeah Hassan Ahmed with Susan Elizabeth McClelland. 9781773212357. Annick Press. 2019. Gr 10-12.
At 18, Ahmed and her family were planning to escape from their Iraq village to the mountains when the IS’ army captured her. The women and children were trucked to Syria, where she was sold into slavery. She, along with another woman and her nephew, managed to escape, and found some of her family in a refugee camp in Turkey. Though slightly fictionalized, this book gives a sobering picture of genocide.
Grace : The Jeff Buckley Story by Tiffanie Debartolo & Pascal Dizn. 9781250196927. First Second. 2019. Gr 10-Adult.
A graphic novel biography of singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley who struggled to get out from the shadow of his father’s fame and find success on his own.
Imperfect : A Story of Body Image by Dounya Awada. 9781947378070. Zuiker Press. 2019. Gr 7-10.
Awada’s graphic novel memoir shares her story of a young Muslim woman from a Middle Eastern culture that equates love and comfort with food. Though she lost weight as a teen, she still struggled with body dysmorphia and depression, which led to an almost fatal battle with bulimia. Included at the end is advice from a professional about recognizing and avoiding eating disorders.
It’s Trevor Noah : Born a Crime : Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah. 9780525582168. Delacorte Books. 2019. Gr 7-12.
In this book adapted for young readers, comedian Trevor Noah shares his personal journey from his birth in South Africa to his job behind a desk at “The Daily Show.”
Lies My Teacher Told Me : Young Readers’ Edition : Everything American History Textbooks Get Wrong by James W. Loewen (adapted by Rebecca Stefoff). 9781620974698. New Press. 2019. Gr 8-12.
The author examines leading high school American history texts and points out multiple errors in them. For example, these texts present misinformation from the voyages of Columbus to the flaws of our national leaders. He also notes errors in descriptions of the functions of the federal government as well as the disappearance of many features of history in the past.
Pirate Queen : The Legend of Grace O’Malley by Tony Lee & Sam Hart. 9781536200195. Candlewick Press. 2019. Gr 7-12.
Grace O’Malley, also known as the Pirate Queen of Ireland, took to the sea when her husband was murdered by English conspirators and quickly made a name for herself as a fearsome fighter and leader. Her notoriety, however, put her family in danger and led her to face the most powerful woman in England, Queen Elizabeth I.
Secret Soldiers : How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis by Paul B. Janeczko. 9780763681531. Candlewick Press. 2019. Gr 7-12.
Wars aren’t won only by fighting with guns and bombs. The U.S. 23rd Special Troops fought by tricking the Germans. The soldiers in this unit included artists and actors, set designers and sound technicians. Their work was so secret that it was not declassified until fifty years after the war ended. This book is not for everyone, but those already interested in military history should find it fascinating.
Strangers Assume My Girlfriend Is My Nurse by Shane Burcaw. 9781626727700. Roaring Brook Press. 2019. Gr 9-12.
The twenty-five-year-old author, blogger, and entrepreneur, who has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), offers a collection of twenty-three personal essays about his day-to-day life in a wheelchair with a disabled body. He discusses the awkward situations, questions, and assumptions he handles with humor and grace on a daily basis.
Yes She Can : 10 Stories of Hope & Change from Young Female Staffers of the Obama White House by Molly Dillon. 9781984848451. Schwartz & Wade. 2019. Gr 8-12.
Ten diverse young female staffers tell about their days working in the Obama White House. They share their work, their successes, personal anecdotes, and their gratitude at being given a chance to accomplish big things. Their stories will inspire teens and adults.