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February 1, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 New Series Nonfiction
Whether students need assignment support or simply enjoy nonfiction, the 10 series acknowledged here, all first published and reviewed in Booklist during the past 12 months, can be recommended without reservation for their handling of documentation, balance, clarity, and visual interest, as appropriate to their target audience.
American Indian Contributions to the World (Facts On File)
Gr. 7–10. Though the black-and-white interiors of these books may not instantly grab readers, the crucial yet often underemphasized topics tackled within—touching upon the accomplishments and cultural practices of Native American peoples—distinguish this comprehensive series.
Art for Kids (Sterling/Lark)
Gr. 5–8. How-to books for young artists are always in demand, and this thoughtfully presented series will inspire with clear, attractive examples and lucid instructions. Though currently addressing only drawing and cartooning, the series will soon expand to cover additional topics.
Children in Crisis (World Almanac Library)
Gr. 6–9. Abstract explanations rarely make as powerful an impact as true personal accounts, and the ones featured here—focusing on children whose experiences illuminate key issues such as child labor and the AIDS crisis—will leave readers with awareness heightened and activist impulses on alert.
Early Bird Energy (Lerner)
Gr. 3–5. Sally M. Walker, author of this year’s Sibert Award book, Secrets of a Civil War Submarine (2005), concisely explains concepts such as electricity, light, sound, and magnetism in these appealing square books, each bolstered by colorful photos and numerous projects.
Expansion of America (Rourke)
Gr. 4–6. Manifest destiny is hardly unexplored territory in middle-grade nonfiction, but this thoughtfully designed series presents topics such as the railroad, the Oregon Trail, and the California gold rush in a particularly thorough, visually arresting manner.
Social Issues Firsthand (Gale/Greenhaven)
Gr. 8–11. Hot-button issues such as gay rights, immigration, terrorism, and poverty are brought close for older readers, with each topic given 360-degree attention in personal, often poignant narratives drawn straight from the trenches.
Teen Finance (Omnigraphics)
Gr. 9–12. Surrounded by tempting things to buy, teens may require a little help dealing sensibly with increased fiscal independence; this series offers practical guidance and real-life examples in a narrative pitched directly to its audience.
Where’s the Science Here? (Millbrook)
Gr. 3–5. Vicki Cobb’s reputation for snappy hands-on science writing for children will only be enhanced by this series, in which a lively narrative and generous color photos demystify the science behind quirky topics—junk food, sneakers—and suggest low-tech activities to reinforce the facts.
World History Biographies (National Geographic)
Gr. 4–7. Striking jackets and an ample assortment of archival images will be the initial draw here, but the concise, spirited narratives will soon pull readers into the stories about Gandhi, Hatshepsut, Alexander the Great and other intriguing historical figures.
World in Ancient Times (Oxford University Press)
Gr. 7–10. Written by historians in tandem with authors specializing in YA nonfiction, these well-designed volumes have greater flair than most series targeting this audience; full-color photos illustrate throughout, and the dense but lively narratives are peppered with colorful anecdotes.
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