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February 1, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Series Nonfiction
Serious international political topics make a strong showing in this list of the top 10 series launched in the past year. But it’s not all spies and secrets—musical history, earth science, and writing are all part of this stellar lineup of dignitaries.
American Music Milestones (Lerner/Twenty-First Century)
Gr. 6–9. R & B, country, hip-hop, rock—whatever your personal preference, these photo-heavy, sidebar-filled musical journeys introduce you to historical events and important personalities and don’t skimp on the playlists, either.
Essential Events (ABDO)
Gr. 7–10. The publisher’s indispensable Essential Lives and Essential Viewpoints sets find a worthy successor in these in-depth, well-documented starting points for research. Titles include The Hudson Plane Landing, The Columbine Shootings, and more.
Ethics in Sports (Heinemann)
Gr. 7–10. Plenty of nonfiction books use sports as a hook, but few pose questions this deep and challenging. Featuring titles like Money in Sports, this series tackles complicated topics with an evenhanded and thorough approach.
Life in the Early Islamic World (Crabtree)
Gr. 5–7. An appealing, respectful writing style combines with a striking format to make this a standout effort in this oft-neglected subject. Titles in this important series take on arts and culture, trade and commerce, and religion and science.
Real World Math: Natural Disasters (Cherry Lake)
Gr. 5–8. This series is two parts cautionary nonfiction and one part math workbook—as it turns out, the perfect equation. Hard facts and data (often with shocking examples) set up highly plausible real-world math problems.
Spies around the World (Creative Education)
Gr. 6–9. Smart, enlightening, and often thrilling, this series (designed to look like top-secret file folders) is crammed with mug shots, fingerprints, maps, and robust content that presents the known facts about government spies—and admits the unknowns, too.
Stories in American History (Enslow)
Gr. 5–8. The topics are familiar—the Underground Railroad, the California gold rush, the Alamo, the Manhattan Project—but this series excels beyond its conventional format thanks to clear, multifaceted, and dexterous writing.
Systems of Government (Black Rabbit/Smart Apple Media)
Gr. 5–8. This lifesaver of a series explains the major types of government in ways that are substantial without ever overwhelming the reader. Thoughtful, well-designed, impressively up-to-date, and forward-looking.
A True Book: Earth Science (Scholastic/Children’s Press)
Gr. 3–5. The True Book brand continues to impress with this latest offshoot. Fresh layouts, glossy photos, bouncy time lines, and eye-opening breakout sections add panache to texts that rope in not just science but also history and current events.
Writing Builders (Norwood)
Gr. 2–4. Using a narrative format, cartoon illustrations, and just the right amount of wisecracking, this series offers practical advice for all sorts of compositional scenarios—but not too much, trusting kids to take the writing reins.
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