Showing posts with label Young Adult Nonfiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Young Adult Nonfiction. Show all posts

Thursday, November 23, 2023

The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater

Genre: Young Adult, Nonfiction
Source: I own a copy

This is a true story that took place in 2013.  It explores many issues and how they are handled. Sasha is an agender, autistic teen who likes wearing skirts.  Richard is a teen who decides to set Sasha’s skirt on fire while they are sleeping. It was meant to be a prank. Many things played a role in the sentence that Richard was given. The actual event was horrific no matter what gender.  However, when you look at all the facts several things come to mind. So let me start by saying that the incident, no matter what race or gender the victim and perpetrator were needed to be punished.  When reading the book I noticed a couple of things in particular.  The first thing I noticed was that Sasha was white and Richard was African American.  The second thing we notice is their gender identification and their financial status.  When you read a book and the victim’s family stands up for the person accused of the crime and it is ignored then you have to imagine something is wrong with the system. Richard is questions without a lawyer and makes statements that paint him as homophobic. Due to this and other circumstances he is tried as an adult. Yes I do believe what he did was wrong on so many levels. Do I believe he should have been tried as an adult?  No.  This crime changed both lives. By the press and everyone involved focusing on race and gender there was a lot of bias found in this case.  The author brings a human side to the story. By telling what happened to both teens and telling us both sides of the story we get a better picture of the humans these two are.  So often the news takes a story and puts their own slant on it to fit the politics of the time. I can’t have it on my shelves, but I can sure recommend students check it out from their local library.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Student Saturday: Remember World War II: Kids Who Survived Tell Their Stories by Dorinda Nicholson


Student Reviewer: Nikita K.
Genre: Non-Fiction

History is a key part of understanding the world and how things have come to be in the world we live in now.

World War Two (WWII) was a terrible time for many people around the world, but is part of our history nonetheless and therefore should be talked about and taught about. Remember World War II by Dorinda Nicholson does just that by going through first-hand accounts of the horrors of this tragic event. These accounts varied from little kids in affected regions and overall youthful children to were affected by this wartime.

Fred Losch, a kid from East Prussia, Germany, recalls a band or group of people called the "Jungvolk", and how he joined at 10 years of age. Fred talked about how he overcame some hikes that were challenging, along with a bike trip. This was until that bike trip was interrupted because the roads were overrun with military vehicles, and he was told to return home immediately. He knew something was up, and a few days after, the war began. Another person also recalled being outside sweeping the street with her straw broom, until she heard the marching of what sounded like hundreds of soldiers. She ran back inside and yelled, "Mother, they're here. The Nazis are here!" This is when Germany began their conquest of Europe, beginning with Poland and school children were forced to learn how to salute with their right arm and say "Heil Hitler!".

 This worldwide event was terrifying, and many people were forced to pick sides or hide. Some people picked the Nazi's side, while others picked the war-torn and affected countries that were being attacked by the tyranny of Hitler. Many people hid, as to not be found and torn away from their families, and that's what I would try to do in that situation. It wouldn't be good to pick a side as one half of the warring countries would see you as an enemy, and attempt to take you away from everything that you love. In my opinion, it would be wise to stack up on supplies and try to wait out the war.

Overall, this book is great at telling the story of World War Two. It is reliable and interesting to read about what people experienced during this time as it used accounts of a wide variety of individuals, both from inside of Germany and out. It is truly a great read and recommended to anyone who is trying to find some information on World War Two and or history in general.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Student Saturday: Spare Parts by Joshua Davis


Genre: Young Adult, Nonfiction

Reviewer: Benjamin T.

I enjoyed this book very much as it is filled with some suspense, action, and excellent writing. This book is also based on real events. I am also interested in robotics and technology. I am in TSA (Technology Student Association) which is a competition where you pick events and try to win first place. The main characters in this book are Lorenzo Santillan, Christian Arcega, Oscar Vazquez, Luis Aranda, Fredi Lajvardi and Allan Cameron. Lorenzo, Christian, Oscar, and Luis are all from Mexico. Some of them are in the U.S. illegally so there is some level of suspense in the story. Luis is the strong one of the group, Oscar was in JROTC, Christian is skinnier, and Lorenzo had been a part of a gang. It all starts in 2004, four teens meet up in a robotics-type class and join a catapult hurling competition. They were happy with their results and decided to join an underwater robotics competition. Their teachers are Fredi and Allan that help them in the competition. They decided to go against the best-of-the-best in the competition to prove their skills. The problem is they don’t have much money, materials, or skills. Will they be able to win? How will they win? Can they get enough materials? Are they going to get deported? I thoroughly enjoyed this book as my father gave it to me to read. The story was enjoyable, and I liked the whole plot. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in robotics or stories based on it and you can also watch the major motion picture. If you like non-fiction, this book may be for you. I would recommend this book to them because of its enticing plot and interesting story. Overall, this book extremely exceeded my expectations, I thought it was going to be uninteresting, but I ended up loving it.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Two Beautiful Nonfiction Books

How They Became Famous Dancers – Anne Dunkin
Genre: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Nonfiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review the opinions expressed here are my own.

This is a wonderful book. My daughter loved dance and at one time was enrolled in eight different dance classes. She could tell me about many of the people who shaped dance in recent years. This book takes us way back to Louis the XIV. This book is the story of twelve dancers who cover the year from the early 1600s to the year 2000. I had not heard of many of these dancers. Their passion for dance was so strong they let nothing stand in their way. In addition to the biographies, at the end of each chapter was a section called “Create a Dance”. This section allows you the reader to create a dance in the style of the dance you had just studied. This is a book I will put on my shelves once I have shared it with my daughter.

Galloping to Freedom: Saving the Adobe Town Appaloosas – Carol J. Walker
Genre: Nonfiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

After reading this book I’ll never look at or think about wild horses in the same way. This is the story of a rescue of Americas wild horses as captured through beautiful photographs of the photographer. The photographer was able to take pictures of these horses in the wild, when they were captured and when they were resettled onto safe sanctuaries. Thanks to her photographs many horse families were kept together. Unfortunately when she checked in on some of the horses she learned that some of the mare had given birth in such crowed corrals that the foals did not survive. This is a story of sadness and hope. The sadness as we see progress taking away the lands of those who had the right to live there, the wild horses. It is also a story of hope as we see several people who cared enough to set aside areas that would be safe sanctuaries. I think one of the saddest things was that they sterilized all of the males. This means in some cases the end of the line of those fine stallions. Sometimes I read books like this and wonder why God put humans over animals if we were going to treat them the way we do.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Kindness Wins by Galit Breen

Genre: Non-Fiction, Informational, Teens and Adults
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I originally agreed to read and review this book because it sounded like something I needed on my school shelves.  I had no idea how right I would be.  This book was written after two major events in
 the author's life.  The first event involved an article she had written for The Huffington Post. She suddenly found herself a victim of cyberbullying.  The second event was her daughter wanting to post things to social media.  Because of her previous experience she realized how important it was to teach her daughter social responsibility on social media.   This review came at a most opportune time in my school year.  We recently had a group of kids making negative comments to each other through something as simple as clapping.  Clapping toward a person was the same thing as calling them a very negative name.  When I spoke to each of my classes and explained that this was a form of bullying and would not be tolerated and that administration had been alerted to this form of bullying it stopped, or so I thought.  Two days later a young lady asked to show me her Instagram. She was upset by the next level these students had taken the clapping.  They were told to mention the name of the person and to send the clap on through to their followers to gather claps.  She was very disturbed by this.  For this reason I am glad I read the book this weekend.

This book has taught me a parent of grown children and a teacher several things.  First I need to make sure I check and double check my own responses.  I need to take time to address my students on the issue of social responsibility on social media.  I've seen several of them on Facebook and I have had private conversations about what they are posting.  It seems that I should just assume that not all parents are going to teach their children and I will do so. This week is our last week before Spring Break and end of the quarter.  I am going to dedicate one of those days to this lesson.

Lessons can be taken straight from her table of contents.  We must always remember that there is someone on the other side of the screen.  One of the most important things she talked about was not talking about someone's body.  That means good or bad.  My favorite was Chapter 6, "If You Wouldn't Say It or Show It to Your Mama, Keep It Offline". This is the one I am going to start my class with.  I need to remind my students that "The Internet Isn't Permanent, But It Is Public and It Is Loud" (Chapter 8).  Students don't think about this at all. Chapter's 9 and 10 are the other two that I find so important to discuss with my students.  Chapter 9 is called "Just Because You See It, Doesn't Mean It's Yours".  Kids seem to have a real problem, as do some adults, understanding this. Finally, Chapter 10 teaches that we are responsible for every word we write online.  Just because we post something as anonymous doesn't mean we aren't responsible.  I guess I've always figured if I was ashamed to put my name to it then I didn't need to post it.  

This is a book that all parents and teachers should read and share with their kids.  It is probably one of the most valuable books around.  It teaches lessons that not only kids but adults need to know as well.

About the Author
Galit Breen was a classroom and reading teacher for ten years. She has a master's degree in education and a bachelor's degree in human development. In 2009, she launched a career as a freelance writer entrenched in social media. Since then, her work has been featured in various online magazines including Brain, Child, The Huffington Post, TIME, and xoJane. Breen lives in Minnesota with her husband, three children, and a ridiculously spoiled miniature golden doodle. You can learn more about Galit by visiting: