Take a look at these exciting nonfiction titles published in May. Enjoy and learn!
Birds of a Feather : Bowerbirds and Me by Susan L. Roth. 9780823442829. Neal Porter Books. 2019. Gr PK-3.
The author reflects on her own life as an artist, comparing her colorful paper collages with the bowerbird—a small black bird from Australia and New Guinea—that builds elaborate structures that they decorate with objects near their habitat to attract mates.
The Girl Who Named Pluto : The Story of Venetia Burney by Alice B. McGinty & Elizabeth Haidle. 9781524768324. Schwartz & Wade. 2019. Gr PK-2.
When eleven-year-old budding scientist Venetia Burney hears about the discovery of a ninth planet in 1930, she suggests the name Pluto to her grandfather. Impressed, he reaches out to some friends, and eventually, a panel of scientists unanimously agrees to name the planet Pluto.
Hummingbird by Nicola Davies (ill. by Jane Ray). 9781536205381. Candlewick Press. 2019. Gr K-3.
Follow the 2,000-mile migration of the ruby-throated hummingbird from Central America all the way into Canada.
The Important Thing about Margaret Wise Brown by Mac Barnett & Sarah Jacoby. 9780062393449. Balzer + Bray. 2019. Gr K-3.
This illustrated biography of children’s book author Margaret Wise Brown, who penned works such as Good Night Moon and The Runaway Bunny, examines the barriers she faced and how she overcame harsh criticism.
Our Flag Was Still There : The True Story of Mary Pickersgill and the Star-Spangled Banner by Jessie Hartland. 9781534402331. Simon & Schuster. 2019. Gr PK-3.
This picture book tells the history of the massive flag constructed by Mary Pickersgill in 1812—once flown over Baltimore’s Fort McHenry and now residing in the Smithsonian in Washington, DC—that inspired the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Serena : The Littlest Sister by Karlin Gray (ill. by Monica Ahanonu). 9781624146947. Page Street Kids. 2019. Gr 1-4.
There are several picture book biographies of the Williams sisters, but this one focuses on Serena, who was the youngest of five sisters. The narration flips back and forth between stories of her family and her career.
Super Summer : All Kinds of Summer Facts and Fun by Bruce Goldstone. 9781250120151. Henry Holt. 2019. Gr PK-3.
Readers will learn facts about the sumemr season, from how the weather changes to the types of holidays people celebrate. It also reveals how readers can get outside and enjoy the season and all it has to offer.
Teddy : The Remarkable Tale of a President, a Cartoonist, a Toymaker, and a Bear by James Sage & Lisk Feng. 9781771387958. Kids Can Press. 2019. Gr PK-2.
Read about what happened on President Teddy Roosevelt’s hunting trip when he spared the life of a bear cub. This act inspired a political cartoonist to publish a cartoon about the event, which then inspired two shopkeepers to create the first ever Teddy bear.
A Trip to the Top of the Volcano with Mouse by Frank Viva. 9781943145362. Toon Books. 2019. Gr PK-3.
Frank Viva uses a graphic novel format to describe his journey to the top of Mount Etna while explaining the sport of climbing as well as the science of volcanoes.
The Truth about Crocodiles by Maxwell Eaton III. 9781250198440. Roaring Brook Press. 2019. Gr PK-3.
The subtitle of each books in Eaton’s series is Seriously Funny Facts about Your Favorite Animals. The set already covers Bears, Hippos, Elephants, and more, and this time he takes a light-hearted look at crocodiles.
The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon : The True Story of Alan Bean by Dean Robbins (ill. by Sean Rubin). 9781338259537. Orchard Books. 2019. Gr 1-4.
Astronaut and artist Alan Bean—the fourth man to walk on the moon—began painting what he experienced, which allowed others to feel closer to the moon than ever before.
Be a Super Awesome Photographer by Henry Carroll. 9781786274205. Laurence King Publishers. 2019. Gr 3-5.
The author uses real photographs to teach and inspire kids to create their own amazing photographs.
Beastly Puzzles : A Brain-Boggling Animal Guessing Game by Rachel Poliquin (ill. by Byron Eggenschwiler). 9781771389136. Kids Can Press. 2019. Gr 2-5.
A series of unrelated visual clues encourages young readers to piece together the identity of thirteen easily identifiable animals. Each animal contains a gatefold which explains each clue and more information on the animal.
Before They Were Authors : Famous Writers as Kids by Elizabeth Haidle. 9781328801531. HMH. 2019. Gr 4-6.
This graphic novel collective biography relates the events from the childhoods of famous writers, including Maya Angelou, Gene Luen Yang, J.K. Rowling, and C.S. Lewis. Readers will also find writing advice and inspirational quotes.
A Book about Whales by Andrea Antinori. 9781419735028. Abrams BYR. 2019. Gr 3-5.
The author teaches young readers basic facts about whales, from their evolution to their diet and migration. He features black-and-white illustrations and encourages kids to spot the differences between different species.
The Boy Who Touched the Stars = El nino que alcanzo las estrellas by Jose M. Hernandez (ill. by Steven James Petruccio). 9781558858824. Pinata Books. 2019. Gr 2-5.
José M. Hernández, the son of migrant workers, dreamed of one day becoming an astronaut. Encouraged by teachers and overcoming rejection and adversity, he achieved his dream when he flew on NASA’s Space Shuttle Discovery to the International Space Station in 2009, even becoming the first person to tweet in Spanish from space.
Fish Everywhere by Britta Teckentrup. 9781536206258. Big Picture Press. 2019. Gr 1-4.
Read about many types of fascinating fish and where they live in this first book in a series about animals and their homes.
How Emily Saved the Bridge : The Story of Emily Warren Roebling and the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by Frieda Wishinsky & Natalie Nelson. 9781773061047. Groundwood Books. 2019. Gr 2-5.
A mother tells her daughter the story of designer and engineer Emily Warren Roebling who helped design and build the Brooklyn Bridge. Though she was not an engineer initially, her husband and her father were tasked with designing the bridge. But when her husband died and her father became ill, only Emily had enough knowledge of the project to finish the work. Her work ethic and knowledge impressed everyone she worked with.
An Owl at Sea by Susan Vande Griek & Ian Wallace. 9781773061115. Groundwood Books. 2019. Gr 1-4.
This exciting story in verse tells how an owl came to land at an oil right in the North Sea, a hundred miles from shore. Exhausted, the owl was sheltered and fed there until a helicopter arrived to take workers—and the owl—to land. The Scottish SPCA tended the owl until it was strong enough to be released.
Sonny’s Bridge : Jazz Legend Sonny Rollins Finds His Groove by Barry Wittenstein (ill. by Keith Mallett). 9781580898812. Charlesbridge Publishing. 2019. Gr 1-4.
This picture book biography tells how Sonny Rollins became a jazz legend. After quitting the Jazz scene in 1959, Rollins searched for new inspiration. He wandered onto the Williamsburg Bridge and played his saxophone there for two years amid the traffic noise and gawking bystanders, which in turn led to his release of the iconic album, The Bridge.
When Sue Found Sue : Sue Hendrickson Discovers Her T. Rex by Toni Buzzeo (ill. by Diana Sudyka). 9781419731631. Abrams BYR. 2019. Gr 1-4.
Sue Hendrickson was a shy child who loved to find things. In her career she found shipwrecks, amber, and other treasures. But she is most known for finding Sue, the most complete T. Rex fossil found to date. The book explains how the fossil was found and the process by which it is removed from the rocky ground.
MIDDLE SCHOOL NONFICTION
Crossing on Time : Steam Engines, Fast Ships, and A Journey to the New World by David Macaulay. 9781596434776. David Macaulay Studio. 2019. Gr 4-8.
This picture book explains the history and construction of the steamboat SS United States from the early days of steam power in 1783 to later hulking ships capable of crossing oceans. Macaulay also profiles the ship’s designer, William Francis Gibbs.
Disaster Strikes! : The Most Dangerous Space Missions of All Time by Jeffrey Kluger. 9781984812759. Penguin. 2019. Gr 5-8.
Kluger chronicles twelve dangerous space missions where disaster or near-disaster occurred. Each selection documents the history of the mission, the people involved, and the chain of events that led to either catastrophe or to something that went very wrong which nearly led to disaster. The author analyzes what went wrong with each mission and the experimental, harrowing spacecraft from the early days of space exploration.
I Just Keep Wondering : 121 Questions and Answers about Science and Other Stuff by Larry Scheckel. 9781943431441. Tumblehome Learning. 2019. Gr 6-8.
This sequel to I Wondered About That Too answers 121 questions about science and other stuff that interest kids—and adults, too!
An Invisible Thread : A Young Readers’ Edition by Laura Schroff & Alex Tresniowski. 9781534437272. Simon & Schuster. 2019. Gr 5-8.
This real life story tells how Laura Schroff, a successful sales representative living in Manhattan, and Maurice Maczyk, a homeless eleven-year-old panhandler, developed an unlikely friendship in 1980s New York. Their closeness has lasted for over thirty years and enriches both their lives to this day.
Mummies Exposed! (Creepy and True) by Kerrie Logan Hollihan. 9781419731679. Abrams BYR. 2019. Gr 6-8.
Examine known and lesser-known mummies from all over the world, from Egyptian mummies to the 262 Hungarians found during a church renovation in 1994. The author details how mummies are formed, and includes illustrations and photographs.
Science Comics : Cars : Engines That Move You by Dan Zettwoch. 9781626728219. First Second. 2019. Gr 4-8.
One of the newest titles in the popular Science Comics series teaches readers the history of cars and how they work.
The Sound of Silence : Growing Up Hearing with Deaf Parents by Myron Uhlberg. 9780807531464. Albert Whitman. 2019. Gr 5-8.
This illustrated, young adult adaptation of Myron Uhlberg’s memoir tells the story of growing up as the hearing son of deaf parents who met, married, and raised children in the years that spanned the Depression, World War II, and the 1950s.
War in the Ring : Joe Louis, Max Schmeling, and the Fight between America and Hitler by John Florio & Ouisie Shapiro. 9781250155740. Roaring Brook Press. 2019. Gr 6-8.
Sports and history fans will enjoy the story of Joe Louis, America’s black boxing champion and Max Schmeling, the German boxer who exemplified Hitler’s ideal Aryan. Their 1938 boxing match was more than just a sporting event; it became a political match between their respective countries who would soon be at war with each other.
We Are the Change : Words of Inspiration from Civil Rights Leaders. 9781452170398. Chronicle Books. 2019. Gr 4-7.
Sixteen children’s book illustrators celebrate civil rights quotes that inspire them with their own art and personal commentary.
HIGH SCHOOL & ADULT CROSSOVER NONFICTION
Brave Face : A Memoir by Shaun David Hutchinson. 9781534431515. Simon Pulse. 2019. Gr 9-12.
YA author Shaun David Hutchinson discusses coming of age in the early 1990s when a lack of positive queer representation forced his own sexuality to become a thing of negativity that left him depressed and angry. He shares passages from his own diary at the time where he reveals the self-harm and abuse he suffered, and the constant messages from a society who told him to “repent” or he would never find love. He goes on to explain how he eventually found happiness and acceptance in the gay community.
The First Wave : The D-Day Warriors Who Led the Way to Victory in World War II by Alex Kershaw. 9780451490056. Caliber. 2019. Gr 10-Adult.
Kershaw tells the stories of the Allied soldiers—paratroopers, Rangers, infantry, and more—who were the first on, behind, and above the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell. 9781626722590. First Second. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Sixteen-year-old Frederica “Freddy” Riley’s girlfriend, Laura Dean, is toxic, but Freddy just keeps coming back. Freddy begins to alienate her friends, and she finds herself almost alone, with just her best friend Doodle, and her awful girlfriend. Freddy begins to wonder if Laura is really the problem, and decides she must find a way out of the cycle of toxicity.
Lincoln’s Last Trial : Young Readers’ Edition : The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency by Dan Abrams & David Fisher. 9781335917850. Hanover Square Press. 2019. Gr 7-12.
The last murder trial of Abraham Lincoln’s career in 1859 was a painful personal challenge because the murder victim was a young man mentored by Lincoln, and the accused killer he would have to defend was the son of a close friend. It was a risk to Lincoln’s presidential future, because he needed to align himself with a political rival who had previously slandered him.
Nuking the Moon : And Other Intelligence Schemes and Military Plots Left on the Drawing Board by Vince Houghton. 9780525505174. Penguin. 2019. Gr 10-Adult.
The wild missions in this book were never actually carried out, but the fact that they were even considered makes them all the more hilarious. In relating these stories, the author (an intelligence historian) discusses the art of spycraft, military strategy, and famous figures from the twentieth-century.
The Stonewall Riots : Coming Out in the Streets by Gayle E. Pitman. 9781419737206. Abrams BYR. 2019. Gr 7-10.
After police raided the Stonewall Inn in June 1969, spontaneous and often violent demonstrations broke out within the LGBTQ community. The author explains the build-up to the raids and the riots, the events during the riots, and their aftermath. Included are interviews of people involved in or witnessing the events, newspaper articles, and contemporary photographs.
Trans Mission : My Quest for a Beard by Alex Bertie. 9780316529037. Little, Brown. 2019. Gr 9-Adult.
Transgender YouTuber Alex Bertie reflects on his transition journey from being labeled female at birth, his realization at fifteen that he is a transgender man, to coming out to his friends and family. As he attempts to biologically transition, Bertie talks about prejudice in the healthcare system and his struggles to either conform to or rebel against society’s pressures.