The Bulletin of

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of the Center for Children's Books

The Bulletin Dozen is a monthly theme-based booklist available as an online-only Bulletin feature. Since we're awfully fond of bakers here at the Bulletin, we thought we'd adopt their philosophy of generosity and throw in an extra one or two when we have them to offer--so don't expect an even dozen. Please feel free to copy, download, or link to these lists. We ask only that you cite the source. See the archive for lists from previous months.

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Trivial Pursuit:
A Nonfiction Dozen

--Kate Quealy-Gainer, Assistant Editor

Amaze your family! Astound your friends! You’ll be the hit of the party and never run out of conversation starters after reading this month’s Dozen, a tribute to interesting facts, both large and small, presented in these excellent nonfiction books from the last few years.

father dozen

Blumenthal, Karen. Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different. Feiwel, 2012. Gr. 6-10
Blumenthal traces Jobs’ rise to technophile superstardom from early-career personality quirks and conflicts to the age of the iPod and his ultimate battle with pancreatic cancer. (BCCB 6/12)

Chad, Jon. Leo Geo and His Miraculous Journey Through the Center of the Earth; written and illustrated by Jon Chad. Roaring Brook, 2012. Gr. 3-6

With his indefatigable enthusiasm and his ability to spew science facts nonstop, Leo Geo invites readers to join his quest to the belly of our planet in this quirky geoscience lesson that will appeal to kids who wear their nerdiness as a badge of honor. (BCCB 4/12)

Davies, Nicola. Talk, Talk, Squawk!: A Human’s Guide to Animal Communications; illus. by Neal Layton. Candlewick, 2011. Gr. 3-5

Budding naturalists (and maybe even a few science-minded gossip hounds) will be fascinated by this informative but entertaining overview of both animal and human communication.  (BCCB 12/11)

Goodman, Susan E. It’s a Dog’s Life: How Man’s Best Friend Sees, Hears, and Smells the World; illus. by David Slonim. Roaring Brook, 2012. Gr. 3-5

An endearingly scruffy mutt narrates this informative guide to our canine pals and their behaviors; pet-friendly readers everywhere will be wagging their tales and barking for more. (BCCB 9/12)

Hoose, Phillip. Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012. Gr. 7-12

This painstakingly researched high-interest nonfiction book provides an intimate look at the seldom-seen experiences of endangered red knot birds by following the migration of a single bird named B95 from Tierra del Fuego, Argentina to the Canadian Arctic and back again. (BCCB 9/12)

Hopkinson, Deborah. Titanic: Voices from the Disaster. Scholastic, 2012. Gr. 5-8

This chronological, straightforward retelling of the infamous maritime disaster features period photographs, firsthand recollections of survivors, wreckage reports and a plethora of backmatter that make it the go-to source for Titanic aficionados. (BCCB 4/12)

Jenkins, Steve. Just a Second:  A Different Way to Look at Time; written and illus. by Steve Jenkins. Houghton Mifflin, 2011. Gr. 2-5

The seconds will fly by for readers of Jenkins’ latest nonfiction work, a chronicle of chronology itself that examines units of time by using examples from the natural world (in one second, “a hummingbird beats its wings 50 times”) and provides a wealth of backmatter. (BCCB 11/11)

Kops, Deborah. The Great Molasses Flood: Boston, 1919. Charlesbridge, 2012. Gr. 4-7

The tale of this sticky disaster initially sounds like a joke but Kops’ accessible and gripping account of the flood of molasses that swept through northern Boston makes it clear that the tragedy that took 21 lives is no laughing matter.  (BCCB 3/12)

Laroche, Giles.  If You Lived Here:  Houses of the World; illus. with photographs. Houghton Mifflin, 2011. Gr. 2-5

Fort architects and treehouse masons will find inspiration among the various types of shelter explored here, including homes carved from caves in Spain, others perched above water on stilts in Chile, and floating pontoon abodes in the Netherlands.  (BCCB 12/12)

Rusch, Elizabeth. The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity. Houghton, 2012. Gr. 5-9.

Take a trip to Mars in this spectacular nonfiction book that follows a team of the scientists as they explore the surface of Mars using the rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. (BCCB 7/12)

Sheinkin, Steve. Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon; illus. with photographs. Roaring Brook, 2012. Gr. 7-12

This thrilling true-life spy tale is edge-of-your-seat material and both history buffs and YAs looking for a good thriller will find much to be captivated by here. (BCCB 10/12)

Vernick, Audrey. Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team; illus. by Steven Salerno. Clarion, 2012.  5-9 yrs

The Little Golden Book style illustrations joyfully evoke the golden age of baseball in this delightful true story of the Acerra all-brother baseball team.  (BCCB 6/12)

Wadsworth, Ginger. First Girl Scout: The Life of Juliette Gordon Low. Clarion, 2011. Gr. 5-8

Wadsworth has created an in-depth portrait of the extraordinary life and times of Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low, who worked tirelessly for the betterment of American girls. (BCCB 1/12)


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This page was last updated on October 1, 2012.