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Take 5: VOYA’s Nonfiction Honor List 2012

While historical fiction may be my Achilles hill (although I have now read 10 historical fiction titles this year – please hold your applause until the end of the post), nonfiction is something I like but just don’t ever read enough of.  As a reviewer for VOYA, they occasionally send me a nonfiction title to review.  For example, I reviewed Friend Me! Six Hundred Years of Social Networking in America by Francesca Davis Diapazza, which was a really interesting way to look at communication throughout history and compare it to our current social media craze.  I also just checked out and read Robotics: Discover the Science and Technology of the Future with 25 Projects by Kathy Ceceri, which had one of the best explanations of coding that I havw read and really helped the Tween understand what we were talking about.  Every year VOYA puts out its Nonfiction Honor List, and this year you can find it in the August 2013 issue of VOYA.  Here are 5 of my favorite titles from the list, which is always a really good list.

The End: 50 Apocalyptic Visions from Pop Culture That YOu Should Know About . . . Before It’s Too Late.  Zest Books, 2012

Okay, so this is a no brainer.  It’s about the apocalypse! It’s pop culture! And, of course, it is from Zest Books, whom I adore for their fun nonfiction titles.  This is a great resource for so many reasons.  Readers of all ages can flip through and learn some fun tidbits about the apocalypse as depicted in various books, movies, televisions shows, songs and more.  It’s easy to flip through casually.  BUT, as a librarian I can’t help but think of how I can use it to put together apocalypse themed displays, trivia contests, and social media contests.  With The Walking Dead season 4 getting ready to premiere (October 13th), it’s a great time to be plugging into pop culture at the library.  Plus, Catching Fire comes out in November.

What’s For Lunch? How Schoolchildren Eat Around the World by Andrea Curtis.  Red Deer, 2012.


Food is a huge issue, especially school food.  Today, 1 in 5 children go to bed hungry and for many American children, their only meals may be those that they have at school.  But is Ketchup a vegetable? (I say no by the way).  This is an interesting look at how children around the world eat lunch at school and how our school meals compare.  I am fascinated with Bento Box lunches from Japan.  I pack my daughters lunch each day and can assure you, they greatly pale in comparison.

Screen grab of a Bento box lunch image search on Google, aka not what my lunches look like

Learn to Speak Fashion: A Guide to Creating, Showcasing and Promoting Your Style by Laure deCarufel.  Owlkids, 2012.

Pair this with The Look Book, Fashion 101, and The Book of Styling (all from the style section on the Zest Books webpage), and you have a pretty thorough collection for budding fashionistas.  Learn to Speak Fashion provides details for putting together everything from your personal wardrobe to a runway show.  And we have already outlined some great fashion programs for you to use as a tie-in, see Project Fashion and Project Fashion, part 2.  And think of all the craft ideas you can do around fashion, from making Duct Tape accessories to upcyclying your jeans.

Rightfully Ours: How Women Won the Vote, 21 Activities by Kerrie Logan Hollihan.  Chicago Review, 2012.

I am the mom to 2 little girls and helping them understand how women used to be treated, how we got to the place that we are at, and how we need to keep fighting for equality (women still earn less then men for doing the same jobs, for example) is really important to me.  I don’t want them to take this life that they are living for granted and become so complacent that we lose the rights that we have gained.  So this book was a title that I jumped on.  It is chuck full of photographs, a timelines and even some hands-on activities (which make this a great title for schools).

The Secret Life of Money: A Kid’s Guide to Cash by Kira Vermond.  Owlkids, 2012.

I never carry cash so my kids think you can just whip out a magic plastic card and take things home from the store.  Financial literacy is so very important, and complicated.  The writing style of Secret Life is very irreverent, which makes it more accessible and less boring.  I remember economics from high school, it could be very dry.  The format of this title helps break down those barriers of interest while still providing the information teens need to become better financial stewards.

It was really hard for me to just pick five from the list.  In fact in this post I actually talk about and recommend 10 nonfiction titles great for tweens and teens.  I just wanted to point that out because I think I don’t talk about nonfiction enough.  Or read it enough.  Many of the titles I didn’t include were equally awesome and cover things like adventure (The Impossible Rescue, which is awesome), civil rights (We’ve Got a Job), and animals.  You can never go wrong with animals.    Check out your August 2013 VOYA for a complete look at the list.  Tell me in the comments, which titles would you add to your 2012 Nonfiction Honor List?

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