NYPL's Children's Books 2011: Nonfiction
Annotation:This tale of a treasured heirloom passed down from father to son through four generations will have children asking "Where did our family come from?"
Annotation:This illuminating glimpse into the life of this complex heroine separates fact from myth. Chapters of her biography alternate with accounts from search teams and those who listened to her pleas for help on their radios.
Annotation:Brown's sensitive account of the 9/11 tragedy is based on teh experiences of eyewitnesses and those who knew them. Watercolors and pencil drawings balance emotional power with a gentleness appropriate for exploring the subject with younger children.
Annotation:Meet Tony Sarg, a kid who constructs a chicken-feeding contraption to get out of doing his chores, and grows up to create the very first giant balloons for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Annotation:Like bugs? Like numbers? Find out plenty about both as insect facts - many hidden beneath flaps - surround large images of cockroaches and other creepy crawlies cleverly constructed from numerals.
Annotation:"Trees are the oldest, biggest, and tallest living organisms on earth." This quirky look at the arboreal world - from the ancient Methuselah tree to the Tule Tree in Mexico - blends fact and myth.
Annotation:A young girl gets a close-up look at an endangered ecosystem when she is suddenly "transported" from The New York Public Library to a city under the sea. Imaginative pictures accompany the clear, factual text.
Annotation:A true story of how the children and adults of a windy small town ended their dependence on nonrenewable energy sources. An engaging case study, with lively cartoon pictures, about learning to work together to make a greener planet.
Annotation:A fictionalized narrator weaves together both the well-known and lesser-known events of the African American experience in this United States from Colonial times to the Civil Rights era. Lushly illustrated with oil portraits and landscapes.
Annotation:Do you believe? Yeti, Bigfoot, Sasquatch - are all the footprints, recordings, and hundreds of reported encounters nothing but wishful thinking? Here's a lively gathering of interviews, photos, and other evidence. You decide!
Annotation:These 14 true tales of travelers, from ancient Greek sailors to men on the moon, will take readers around the world and beyond. Many fold-out diagrams provide inside views of explorers' ships and gear along with finely detailed route maps.
Annotation:Despite being misused for centuries as home to chemical factories and garbage dumps, the wetlands of New Jersey remain a living, complex ecosystem. An inspiring tribute to nature's resilience, illustrated with accurately detailed overhead and close-up views of the landscape and its wildlife.
Annotation:A photographer searches for clues that link an ancient civilization with present-day Cambodian culture and makes an unexpected discovery with the help of local children.
Annotation:"Oh boy, bok choy! / Brussels sprouts! / Broccoli. Cauliflower. / Shout it out!" Mouthwatering close-up color photos take very young children on a rollicking ride through the produce stand.
Annotation:Imprisoned for growing a beard, Joseph Palmer lived on his own terms in a time when conformity was expected. Watercolors and pen and ink evoke 19th-century New England.
Annotation:This natural follow-up to Me...Jane (on the NYPL's Children's Books 2011: Picture Books list) focuses on Jane Goodall's adult life and experiences as she pursued her dream career helping chimps in Africa and became a renowned environmental activist.
Annotation:"To ment, the bicycle in the beginning was merely a new toy...to women, it was a steed upon which they rode into a new world." This engaging account of the intertwined history of bicycles and women's rights is embellished with historical photographs and documents.
Annotation:Immerse yourself in the world of 1600s Salem with this revealing portrait of the famous, tragic community. Spooky red-and-black scratchboard artwork adds an eerie note to this unusually objective and detailed account.
Annotation:Can you imagine a President getting so mad that he stomps on his own hat? Discover the friendly feud between rival Founding Fathers John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Expressive illustrations help make the past relevant - and nearly impossible to resist America's first historical "frenemies".
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As children's librarians shared this year's newest books with the children in their local libraries, it became clear that the old adage - the more things change, the more they stay the same - is truer than ever. From Xboxes to iPads, from Wii consoles to the hottest apps, technology ages in a blink of an eye, but the timelessness of a good tale will always engage even the most tech-savvy child. Here are some of the best children's nonfiction titles of the 2011 year. Enjoy them with your families.