Page-Turner Thursday – Excellent Non-Fiction YA/MG (and one book that reads like non-fiction)
Jan 25th, 2013 by Liza Wiemer


Page-Turner Thursday (oops, it’s Friday) – Excellent Non-Fiction YA/MG (and one book that read like non-fiction)

I wanted to post yesterday. Unfortunately, time got away from me. Page-Turner Thursday is a series of posts with various book themes.

Titanic: Voices From the Disaster, by Deborah Hopkinson  

My take: This is an outstanding non-fiction book filled with first-person accounts and records from the sinking of the Titanic. It follows a number of people including first, second, and third class individuals and staff through a chronological order of events. Some of those people are young adults and it’s refreshing to hear their point-of-view. The book has numerous documents including a menu, photos, launch information, letters, facts and figures, and information on the Carpathia, the ship that came to rescue the Titanic. It seems well researched, documented, and thorough in its account and easy to read. I learned a lot of new information from this book. Though I would hardly say I’m an expert on the Titanic, I certainly have read other books and enjoyed seeing some documentaries. This book definitely adds new information to what’s already out there. I believe this is an outstanding book to include in libraries and schools and for Titanic history buffs. Definitely recommend!

From Goodreads:

Critically acclaimed nonfiction author Deborah Hopkinson pieces together the story of the TITANIC and that fateful April night, drawing on the voices of survivors and archival photographs.

Scheduled to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the tragic sinking of the TITANIC, a topic that continues to haunt and thrill readers to this day, this book by critically acclaimed author Deborah Hopkinson weaves together the voices and stories of real TITANIC survivors and witnesses to the disaster — from the stewardess Violet Jessop to Captain Arthur Rostron of the CARPATHIA, who came to the rescue of the sinking ship. Packed with heartstopping action, devastating drama, fascinating historical details, loads of archival photographs on almost every page, and quotes from primary sources, this gripping story, which follows the TITANIC and its passengers from the ship’s celebrated launch at Belfast to her cataclysmic icy end, is sure to thrill and move readers.

To learn more about the book and Deborah Hopkinson: http://www.deborahhopkinson.com


13591678Endangered by Eliot Schrefer (This is a FICTION novel that reads like non-fiction. Eliot Schrefer did extensive research and this is a book that will definitely shed light to war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo and bonobos. Read my review and you’ll understand why I have included this book for this blog post.) Endangered is a Finalist for the 2012 National Book Award.

My take: You’ll most definitely be in danger of falling in love with bonobos!

Endangered is an extraordinary tale of survival in war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo through the eyes of fourteen-year-old Sophie and the journey of a bonobo named Otto. Sophie was forbidden by her mother who runs a bonobo sanctuary to purchase bonobos, but Sophie couldn’t so a injured bonobo with a man and she just couldn’t leave the bonobo behind. (She names this bonobo Otto.) It was a huge mistake, especially when her mom had explained that she doesn’t want adult bonobos killed so that the babies can be stolen and sold. Bonobos are used for food, too by people who are hungry. So, the descriptions of these magnificent primates, so close to us human beings, being killed for meat could be quite traumatizing. When rebels take over the Kinshasa, the capitol, and move on to destroy and pillage the villages and the sanctuary, Sophie, who should have gone on a UN transport, finds herself locked in a “safe” electrified haven with some bonobos. But once the electricity is down, she is no longer safe from the evil men. Her long journey to find her mother who is at a release site for bonobos is beyond imagination – unless of course you’re Eliot Schrefer who did extensive research to bring this book to the world. This is a harrowing tale of survival where we are witnesses to the very worst that human beings could possibly be. What is so striking about this book is the details of the bonobo behavior, their relationships, and how similar they are to human beings.

What is so impressive about this novel is that you really feel like you’ve been transported to this land and are witnessing what is happening to Sophie and Otto. You’ll feel their hunger, their bug bites, their fear, their thirst, their love for one another.

There is a Q & A at the end of the book. What struck me was what we can all do to help save the environment, endangered animals. The first place is to observe your own environment. Wow, how perfect is that?!

I received a copy of Endangered at BEA. Highly recommend.
I also want to point out that Jillian of Heise Reads wrote a great review of this book. I read her review and knew I had to read Endangered right away. http://www.heisereads.com/2012/10/endangered-by-eliot-schrefer.html

From Goodreads:

The compelling tale of a girl who must save a group of bonobos–and herself–from a violent coup.

The Congo is a dangerous place, even for people who are trying to do good.

When one girl has to follow her mother to her sanctuary for bonobos, she’s not thrilled to be there. It’s her mother’s passion, and she’d rather have nothing to do with it. But when revolution breaks out and their sanctuary is attacked, she must rescue the bonobos and hide in the jungle. Together, they will fight to keep safe, to eat, and to survive.

Eliot Schrefer asks readers what safety means, how one sacrifices to help others, and what it means to be human in this new compelling adventure.


For Middle Grade Students:11737316

The Camping Trip That Changed America by  (Goodreads Author),  (Illustrator)

My take: I learned a lot about how our National Park Service started from this short, simple, beautifully illustrated book. It’s a good resource for teachers and students. President Theodore Roosevelt and naturalist John Muir got together for a camping trip to see the beauty of Yosemite. It was from that experience that began our government’s commitment to preserving land in its natural state. Roosevelt’s actions changed the landscape of America. I loved how Muir had a vision to preserve our country’s resources so that future generations could appreciate it. I also believe that this is a great book for parents to share with their children before they take a trip to a National Park. It’s good to share the history with them and put some context to the experience. Definitely thought-provoking.

From Goodreads:

Caldecott medalist Mordicai Gerstein captures the majestic redwoods of Yosemite in this little-known but important story from our nation’s history. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt joined naturalist John Muir on a trip to Yosemite. Camping by themselves in the uncharted woods, the two men saw sights and held discussions that would ultimately lead to the establishment of our National Parks.

To learn more about the book and the author Barb Rosenstock: http://www.barbrosenstock.com

To learn more about the illustrator Mordicai Gerstein: http://www.mordicaigerstein.com

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