Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Staff Picks: Step Inside! A Look Inside Animal Homes

Staff Picks: Step Inside! A Look Inside Animal Homes

Using rhyming text, explores the homes of various animals, including spiders, moles, warthogs, and tree frogs, and describes how the animals use these homes for protection or for hunting food. Author: Catherine Ham

Animals are awesome, but let’s face it; there are a bazillion animal books out there. Emilie, you ask, why should I read this one? (Let’s pretend you asked that.) This book is different. It’s about animal homes. Not only that, there are incredible pictures of the animals in their homes. Also, the book rhymes. Did you know the spittlebug (I didn’t even know there was a spittlebug) makes his house from his spit? It looks like bubble wrap. There are ants that build enormous nests high up in trees. Do you know what a warthog home looks like? You will if you read this book!

Recommended by: Emilie Lynn – East 38th Street Branch

More Staff Picks

More books about animals and their amazing homes:

A Strange Place to Call Home Home Sweet Web Even an Octopus Needs a Home Burrows, Nests and Lairs
Extreme Builders
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Staff Pick: Life in the Ocean

Staff Pick: Life in the Ocean

Life in the Ocean

A picture book biography telling the story of Sylvia Earle’s growing passion for the wonders of the sea and how her ocean exploration and advocacy have made her known around the world. Author: Claire Nivola

Try to imagine swimming with whales, walking the ocean floor, and spending over seven thousand hours underwater. This beautiful picture book biography introduces young readers to a woman who has done all that and more. Sylvia Earle has been a scientist about as long as she can remember. When she was a little girl her laboratory was the pond and woods on her family’s New Jersey farm. At the age of twelve Sylvia moved with her family to a new home in Florida bringing the Gulf of Mexico right up to her backyard. The ocean became Sylvia Earle’s new laboratory where she has dedicated her life to exploring what she calls, “the blue heart of the planet”.

Recommended by: Catherine Lutholtz Bridge – The Learning Curve at Central Library

More Staff Picks

More about Marian Biologists:
Marine Biologist Under the Ice Sylvia Earle Guardian of the Sea Rachel Carson
The Fantastic World of Jacques Cousteau Manfish the Story of Jacques Cousteau
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Bomb: the Race to Build – and Steal – the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon

Bomb: the Race to Build – and Steal – the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon

This one is a big “WOW.” Sheinkin weaves three stories together: 1) Robert Oppenheimer leading the Manhattan Project (especially the part in Los Alamos, New Mexico) to design and build an atomic bomb before the Germans can. 2) The effort by British Special Operations to destroy Germany’s ability to build their bomb, focused on the incredibly brave secret mission by Norwegian underground fighters to destroy the Vemork Heavy Water factory in Norway. 3) The Russian spies who successfully stole the plans to the atomic bomb and passed them to Russsia, leading to the Cold War’s nuclear standoff.

Sheinkin involves the reader by focusing on the stories of the people involved, from Oppenheimer and physicists like Richard Feynman to Norwegian hero Knut Haukelid, and to Americans turned Russian spies: Harry Gold and Ted Hall. The book reads like a combination of war epic and spy thriller. Sheinkin read dozens of books and hundreds of declassified government documents to prepare for this telling and there is an extensive bibliography if you want to pursue any story line further. Let me give this one more “Wow!” Author: Steve Sheinkin

Recommended by: Steve Bridge, Irvington Branch Library

The Secret of the Manhattan Project J. Robert Oppenheimer the Brain Behind the Bomb Why Did Hiroshima Happen? The Manhattan Project
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Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America

Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America

Hand in Hand

Hand in Hand tells the stories of 10 African-American men from different periods in American history. Each story is written like the author really knew the person. She didn’t, of course, she wasn’t even alive for most of them. What she did, though, was write about each person’s whole life, not just their accomplishments. It helps you understand how and why they accomplished what they did. This makes them much more real and their stories interesting. Author: Andrea Pinkney Illustrator: Brian Pinkney 2013

Winner! 2013 Coretta Scott King Author Award

  1. Benjamin Banneker : Surveyor of the Sky
  2. Frederick Douglass : Capital Orator
  3. Booker T. Washington : Polished Pioneer
  4. W.E.B. DuBois : Erudite Educator
  5. A. Philip Randolph : Always Striding Ahead
  6. Thurgood Marshall : Mr. Civil Rights
  7. Jackie Robinson : Game-Changer
  8. Malcolm X : Spark-Light
  9. Martin Luther King, Jr. : Nonviolent Visionary
  10. Barack H. Obama, Jr. : Holding on to Hope
More about significant people and events from black history:
Discovering Black America What Color is My World? Powerful Words Traveling the Freedom Road
Miles to Go for Freedom Marching for Freedom
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Staff Pick: Candy Bomber

Staff Pick: Candy Bomber

“World War II was over, and Berlin was in ruins. US Air Force Lieutenant Gail Halvorsen knew the children of the city were suffering. They were hungry and afraid. The young pilot wanted to help, but what could one man in one plane do?” Author: Michael Tunnel

In 1948, a single man was the inspiration for a USAF-led operation to drop candy behind enemy lines in post-WW II Germany. Lieutenant Gail Halvorsen came to be known as “Uncle Wiggly Wings” to the children and families in West Berlin. Deeply touched by the German children who survived the Allied bombing, Halvorsen resolved to drop chocolate and chewing gum to them during his regular flights with “Operation Vittles.” Beginning by asking his buddies to donate their personal candy rations, his efforts morphed into an all-out effort supported by the military and embraced by the American populace. Lt. Halvorsen continued his career with the Air Force after returning to the United States. When he returned to Berlin in 1970 as the Commander of the Air Force Base, he received many invitations to dinner from those who were now grown up. This rich historical story sheds a sweet light on how a caring person can inspire others to reach out to those who are suffering. Readers will be charmed by the pictures and illustrations that accompanied the letters of appreciation written by the children.

Recommended by: Roberta Ash, Eagle Branch Library

More Staff Picks

More stories about anonymous benefactors gifting strangers – pay it forward!:
Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot Silver Packages Boxes for Katje The Carpenter's Gift
The Quiltmaker's Journey The Quiltmaker's Gift
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