Reading Riot: Outstanding Nonfiction Recommendations

Posted by Aaron on

School teachers, parents and students are often on the lookout for engaging stories that connect with the curriculum. Quality nonfiction encourages students to read and think critically, to ask questions and to look for evidence. The following recommendations examine the real world and encourage readers to consider diverse perspectives.

Learning to read and think critically calls for a healthy sense of skepticism.eyes wide cover smoke pollution and teen holding protest sign  Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines advises readers to question conflicting information, identify bias and scrutinize sources while zeroing in on environment challenges.

History can be brought to life for students by a gripping story especially if it involves teens. Ashamed of his nation’s leaders who did not resist German occupation in Denmark, 15-year-old Knud Pedersen, his brother and a handful of friends took action against the Nazis. On bicycles and on foot, The Boys Who Challenged Hitler committed countless acts of sabotage, infuriating the Germans, who eventually tracked down and arrested the boys. But their efforts were not in vain, sparking a full-blown Danish resistance. An inspiring story of young war heroes.

Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War traces the story of how, Daniel Ellsberg, an obscure government analyst became “the most dangerous man in America” and risked everything by exposing two decades of political deception about the Vietnam War in what became known as the Pentagon Papers.

Social justice is a frequent topic of classroom discussion, giving students background on civil rights struggles and challenges faced in society. In 1969 being gay in the United States was a criminal offense. It meant living a closeted life or surviving on the fringes of society. There were few safe havens. One of them was the Stonewall, a Mafia-run, filthy, overpriced bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village, where riots erupted on a sweltering night in June. It traces the history of the gay rights movement and provides context for discussions about discrimination and marriage equality today.

Last week the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) announced its shortlist for the Excellence in Nonfiction award, which honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18). Consider adding these to your informed reading list.

∼ Ann McDuffie, Youth Services Librarian, Bealeton branch library

Want to stay informed about books, websites and events for teens and young adult readers? Check out more from Reading Riot.

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