Nonfiction Monday Review: DOABLE by Deborah Reber

DOABLE cover
by Deb­o­rah Reber
Beyond Words/Simon Pulse (Jan­u­ary 2015)

In this well-orga­nized, easy-to-digest non­fic­tion book for teen girls, Reber employs her train­ing as a life coach as well as her exten­sive work with teen girls to lay out an eight-step plan for read­ers to achieve what­ev­er it is they want to tack­le in life. The steps include defin­ing the goal, defend­ing against obsta­cles, devel­op­ing sup­port sys­tems, deter­min­ing what suc­cess looks like, doing the work, deal­ing with set­backs, and deliv­er­ing the goods. Each step has numer­ous exam­ples, pull­outs, jour­nal exer­cis­es, and more, and every chap­ter ends with a sum­ma­ry to rein­force the main points. Reber man­ages to do all of that while main­tain­ing a charis­ma and relata­bil­i­ty that puts read­ers at ease while at the same time empow­er­ing them, and the tone is nev­er the least bit con­de­scend­ing nor overwhelming.
I loved this book and plan to refer back to it for my own to-do list man­age­ment. In fact, my one and only quib­ble with this book is that it is tar­get­ed sole­ly at teen girls, because I think EVERYONE over the age of 10 should read this book! I think we could all learn a thing or two from it that would make us more suc­cess­ful and make our lives that much eas­i­er. That said, Reber is per­fect­ly in touch with the teen girl audi­ence, and while the core con­tent is high­ly applic­a­ble to any read­er, the voice and view­point will sure­ly be direct­ly rel­e­vant and relat­able to many teenage girls.
This book would make a great eighth grade or high school grad­u­a­tion present, and it’s a super help­ful read for any­one who wants to be more pro­duc­tive (don’t we all?). Far from being didac­tic, DOABLE instills a sense of con­fi­dence and excite­ment. Reber is a fan­tas­tic coach AND a cheer­leader, all rolled into one. High­ly recommended!

Review: ATTACK! BOSS! CHEAT CODE! by Chris Barton

Facts First! Nonfiction Monday

Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! coverATTACK! BOSS! CHEAT CODE!
writ­ten by Chris Bar­ton, illus­trat­ed by Joey Spi­ot­to
pub­lished by POW! Kids Books, Octo­ber 2014
32 pages

From the pub­lish­er’s web page:

An iron­ic yet infor­ma­tive alpha­bet that defines the most impor­tant gam­ing terms that every­one needs to know, Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alpha­bet is the ulti­mate crossover gift for our age, a book that can actu­al­ly bring togeth­er video game-obsessed kids and their often per­plexed parents.
If you can deci­pher the fol­low­ing sen­tence, you don’t need this book: “This open beta game is in third-per­son but first-per­son is unlock­able if you know the cheat code or install your own mod, but either way, for the best attack on the boss on this lev­el, try to grab that power-up!”
— See more at:

Okay, I know I’m show­ing my geeky gamer girl side, but I love, love, love this book, and I think today’s young (and not-so-young) read­ers will, too!
It’s an alpha­bet book, of course, which means the infor­ma­tion is orga­nized by let­ter. With­in that con­straint, Bar­ton some­how man­ages to work in a whole bunch of key con­cepts nec­es­sary to under­stand­ing video games. Some are expect­ed, such as “boss.” Oth­ers are more sur­pris­ing, like “instance.” In either case, read­ers will love see­ing the terms they’re more famil­iar with from the games they love play­ing, as well as the terms they’re less famil­iar with but may have run across in con­ver­sa­tions with friends. I’ve played a fair amount of video games in my life­time, and I was still very pleas­ant­ly sur­prised to learn a few new terms myself!
The art­work is bright and fun and helps illus­trate the con­cepts well. The illus­tra­tor tips a nos­tal­gic hat to old­er games that more grownup read­ers will appre­ci­ate, while at the same time ref­er­enc­ing enough cur­rent faves to delight younger gamers.
Check this one out, and then come back on Wednes­day for my inter­view with the author, Chris Bar­ton!
Facts First! Nonfiction Monday
(Dis­claimer: The review copy was won by the blog­ger as part of a pro­mo­tion­al giveaway.)

Review: THE SCRAPS BOOK by Lois Ehlert


writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Lois Ehlert
pub­lished by Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schus­ter, March 2014
72 pages

There have been sev­er­al pic­ture-book auto­bi­ogra­phies of chil­dren’s book authors and illus­tra­tors over the past few years. Sad­ly, most have left me feel­ing just a lit­tle under­whelmed. While I per­son­al­ly enjoyed them, I felt like they were aimed more at their long-time adult fans than at con­tem­po­rary child read­ers. While I, as an adult, was able to appre­ci­ate the rich con­text and inter­est­ing per­son­al his­to­ries, I won­dered if chil­dren would be able to relate to the sto­ries and find direct­ly rel­e­vant mean­ing with­in the pages. So, although I myself am a fan of Lois Ehlert, I’ll admit I was a bit skep­ti­cal when I picked up THE SCRAPS BOOK. Boy was I in for a delight­ful surprise!
Despite the high page count, there is noth­ing in this book that feels the least bit self-indul­gent. Every page seems lov­ing­ly designed to encour­age and instruct young artists. (And aren’t we all artists when we’re young? Per­haps with this book, more of us will remain so.) Through­out, Ehlert gen­er­ous­ly shares her inspi­ra­tions, her process­es, her notes and jour­nals, even her mess­es and mis­takes, giv­ing read­ers insights into her books as well as her life as an artist.THE SCRAPS BOOK excerpt
I think this is tru­ly a book peo­ple of all ages can enjoy, and the world is def­i­nite­ly a bet­ter place for hav­ing THE SCRAPS BOOK in it.
Facts First! Nonfiction Monday

(Disclaimer: Review copy was checked out from my local library.)


Facts First! Nonfiction Monday

Pub­lished by Mims House
ISBN-10: 1629440019, ISBN-13: 978–1629440019

Dar­cy Pat­ti­son and Kit­ty Harvill have teamed up again, and I could­n’t be hap­pi­er with the result. You might remem­ber when I reviewed their pre­vi­ous col­lab­o­ra­tion, WISDOM, THE MIDWAY ALBATROSS, here.
Unlike Wis­dom, the main char­ac­ter in ABAYOMI,  THE BRAZILIAN PUMA, is a mam­mal, a feline, not a bird. Unlike Wis­dom, Abay­o­mi lives in South Amer­i­ca, in Brazil, not on an island in the North Pacif­ic Ocean. Unlike Wis­dom, Abay­o­mi is a baby, an orphan, not a wise, old moth­er. Yet their sto­ries have much in common.

Read more

Interview with Mary Cronk Farrell, author of PURE GRIT

PURE GRIT book cover

I have a con­fes­sion to make. Nor­mal­ly I read every book before I post about it here, but–just this once–I was going to cheat. As much as I’ve been dying to read PURE GRIT by Mary Cronk Far­rell, my to-do list is huge right now: writ­ing new books (I’m cur­rent­ly work­ing on EIGHT sep­a­rate man­u­scripts and/or pro­pos­als!), pro­mot­ing BE A CHANGEMAKER, vol­un­teer projects (SCBWI West­ern Wash­ing­ton con­fer­ence any­one? There are still a few spaces!), cri­tiques (three full-length nov­els await!), fam­i­ly, pets, home… and let’s not for­get, TAXES! To top it off, I was still recov­er­ing from the flu when I came down with this most recent cold. I’m months behind on a few things, with many oth­er dead­lines loom­ing dead ahead. So, I sat down plan­ning to just skim it for the time being, write the post, and come back lat­er when I had time to set­tle in, read it in more detail, and take it all in.

PURE GRIT book cover
PURE GRIT book cover

Read more

Interview with author Deborah Hopkinson

Today I’m thrilled to wel­come back author Deb­o­rah Hop­kin­son. I inter­viewed Deb­o­rah here pre­vi­ous­ly in a more gen­er­al sense, but this time I’d like to talk specifics about her lat­est book, KNIT YOUR BIT, com­ing from Put­nam Juve­nile on Feb­ru­ary 21, 2013.

KNIT YOUR BIT is a fic­tion­al­ized account of the real “Knit-In” event at Cen­tral Park in 1918. Despite being fic­tion, it was heav­i­ly researched to get the his­tor­i­cal details right, and read­ers can learn a lot about the time, World War I, and the peo­ple who lived then.

Please help me wel­come back Deborah!


LT: Hi, Deb­o­rah. It’s great to have you back. I love KNIT YOUR BIT and how it melds a fic­tion­al sto­ry with a non­fic­tion event. How did you first become inter­est­ed in writ­ing about this top­ic? Where did the seed of the sto­ry come from?
DH: The seed of this sto­ry actu­al­ly dates back some years, to my first pro­fes­sion­al job.  After grad­u­ate school I stum­bled into a career in fundrais­ing, which I have pur­sued ever since, in addi­tion to being a writer.  My first posi­tion was Staff Writer for the Amer­i­can Red Cross in Honolulu.
DH: As part of a his­to­ry cel­e­bra­tion, I wrote some arti­cles for the organization’s newslet­ter and stum­bled upon one of fire­men knit­ting in World War I.  I loved that image.  As a writer inter­est­ed in his­to­ry, I col­lect books on a wide vari­ety of top­ics.  At some point, think­ing about the upcom­ing anniver­sary of WWI, I remem­bered that pho­to and began read­ing about the his­to­ry of knit­ting.  Even­tu­al­ly, in Anne L. Macdonald’s NO IDLE HANDS, THE SOCIAL HISTORY OF AMERICAN KNITTING, I found a ref­er­ence to the 1918 Cen­tral Park Knit­ting Bee, and that’s where the sto­ry began.
LT: What kind of read­er do you think this book will appeal to?
DH: I think that my edi­tor, Shau­na Rossano, and the illus­tra­tor, Steven Gua­nac­cia, have done won­ders to make this sto­ry appeal­ing to young read­ers. I hope peo­ple who love crafts and knit­ting will be inter­est­ed.  I know that I often sign copies of my pic­ture book, SWEET CLARA AND THE FREEDOM QUILT, which are being giv­en as gifts to adults.  I hope folks will give KNIT YOUR BIT to friends (women and men, as well as boys and girls) who knit.
LT: What was your research process like for this book?
DH: Like many of my pic­ture books, KNIT YOUR BIT is his­tor­i­cal fic­tion inspired by real peo­ple or events, and includes an author’s note about knit­ting for sol­diers dur­ing World War I.
DH: The New York Times pub­lished an arti­cle on the knit­ting bee back in 1918, and some of the details of the prizes award­ed are pulled direct­ly from that piece.  I also researched and got per­mis­sion for the his­toric pho­tos on the end­pa­pers, which include one of sheep graz­ing dur­ing World War I on the White House lawn.  Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I wasn’t able to track down per­mis­sions for the Maki­ki fire sta­tion pho­to­graph, but I have added to my Pin­ter­est Board for KNIT YOUR BIT:

Knit Your Bit cover
KNIT YOUR BIT by Deb­o­rah Hopkinson

LT: What was your favorite part of the book to research and/or write?   What was the hard­est part of the research and/or writ­ing for you? How did you deal with that?
DH: I actu­al­ly love doing research of any kind.  The hard­est part is not hav­ing enough time, or not being able to trav­el to do research on-site.  For KNIT YOUR BIT, the fact that I couldn’t actu­al­ly find any first-per­son accounts of chil­dren who par­tic­i­pat­ed in the knit­ting bee meant that I felt the sto­ry, although based on real events, need­ed to be his­tor­i­cal fic­tion to be appeal­ing to read­ers. I always tell kids that when authors put words in character’s mouths the sto­ry becomes fiction.
LT: How have your research and writ­ing process­es evolved over the course of your career?
DH: I think my process­es have improved over the years.  I’m writ­ing a non­fic­tion book now on World War II, and I’m being care­ful to cite each source metic­u­lous­ly as I go along.
DH: This is some­thing I learned the hard way, espe­cial­ly with longer non­fic­tion.  The vet­ting and research process for my 2012 book, TITANIC, VOICES FROM THE DISASTER (a YALSA Non­fic­tion Award final­ist) was incred­i­bly detailed and time-con­sum­ing, because of the wealth of infor­ma­tion and the sheer com­plex­i­ty of the sto­ry.  So even though it might be tedious, I have learned to take my time and care­ful­ly track infor­ma­tion and sources. It def­i­nite­ly saves time later!
LT: I think every book teach­es us some­thing new, about the world, about our­selves, or about the craft of writ­ing. What have you learned as a result of writ­ing this book?
DH: I tend to write for old­er read­ers, espe­cial­ly since both my kids are now in their twen­ties.  I like to do author vis­its and talk with first and sec­ond graders and imag­ine how the book will sound if I’m shar­ing it with them.  That was espe­cial­ly help­ful in par­ing down this sto­ry to be as kid-friend­ly as possible.
LT: Besides pro­mot­ing your new book, what are you work­ing on now?
DH: Right now, I’m fin­ish­ing the proof­read­ing for my fall mid­dle grade nov­el, THE GREAT TROUBLE, A MYSTERY OF LONDON, THE BLUE DEATH, AND A BOY CALLED EEL.  I’m very excit­ed about it because 2013 is the bicen­ten­ni­al of the birth of Dr. John Snow, whose work in the 1854 cholera epi­dem­ic changed med­ical his­to­ry.  With the recent out­breaks of cholera in Haiti, this top­ic is espe­cial­ly rel­e­vant today.
LT: Is there any­thing else you’d like to tell us about?
DH: I have sev­er­al knit­ter friends who helped with this book, includ­ing Robin Smith, who knits hats for pre­ma­ture babies with her sec­ond graders.
DH: I, on the oth­er hand, am an extreme­ly poor knit­ter and I’m not very good at hats – or socks.   I knit scarves for relax­ation only, and only dare give my hand­i­work to peo­ple who don’t knit at all. I am lucky enough to live near Port­land, Ore­gon, where there are many won­der­ful yarn stores and enthu­si­as­tic knitters.
DH: I’m also delight­ed that the tra­di­tion of knit­ting for sol­diers con­tin­ues today. I hope that KNIT YOUR BIT inspires read­ers to learn a new skill or share one with others.
LT: Thanks so much for shar­ing with us, Deb­o­rah. And best of luck with KNIT YOUR BIT!

I Facebook Friended an Albatross!

Wis­dom, the Mid­way Albatross
by Dar­cy Pat­ti­son (illus­trat­ed by Kit­ty Harvill)
Mim’s House, Feb­ru­ary 1, 2012
32 pages
Read­ing lev­el: 840L (grades 3–5)
How does a bird in the mid­dle of the Pacif­ic Ocean sur­vive the 2011 Japan­ese tsuna­mi and oth­er dan­gers for over 60 years? No one real­ly knows, but we do know for sure that Wisdom–the old­est known wild bird in the world–has.
This book intro­duces young read­ers to a sin­gle very spe­cial mem­ber of a large­ly unfa­mil­iar species, the Laysan Alba­tross. Through this riv­et­ing sur­vival sto­ry we not only grow to care about Wis­dom her­self, we also learn about the life cycle, habi­tat, and behav­ior of her kind. We see the many dan­gers they face, both nat­ur­al and man-made. We learn how sci­en­tists are care­ful­ly study­ing them. And we cheer for the par­tic­u­lar­ly resilient gooney bird who is even­tu­al­ly dubbed Wisdom.
Pat­ti­son does a great job of incor­po­rat­ing rhythm and rep­e­ti­tion to make this an excel­lent choice for young read­ers and read alouds, and Harvil­l’s art is both beau­ti­ful and detailed, adding to the sto­ry and bring­ing Wis­dom to life on every page. Chil­dren will be quick­ly swept up in the dra­ma and sus­pense of Wis­dom’s tri­als and will keep read­ing (or lis­ten­ing) to find out what hap­pens to her next. Then, they’ll sigh with relief at the hap­py end­ing when Wisdom–somehow–still survives.
The book also includes acknowl­edge­ments, a Facts About Wis­dom sec­tion, The Old­est Bird in the World time­line, a Typ­i­cal Year for a Laysan Alba­tross time­line, a fur­ther read­ing list, and sec­tions about both the author and illus­tra­tor. In addi­tion, there’s a blog with lots of videos, pic­tures, and addi­tion­al resources for stu­dents and teachers.
Yes, after read­ing this, I just had to become Face­book friends with Wis­dom her­self. Click here if you want to be, too!
Make sure to check out the oth­er stops on Wis­dom’s blog tour:

To check out the rest of today’s roundup of sci­ence, tech­nol­o­gy, engi­neer­ing, and math­e­mat­ics books for kids, head on over to this week’s STEM Fri­day host, NC Teacher Stuff!
(Dis­claimer: I received a copy of this book from the pub­lish­er in exchange for my hon­est review. I received no mon­e­tary com­pen­sa­tion. All opin­ions expressed here are mine and mine alone.)

Interview with author Cynthia Levinson

A few weeks ago I post­ed this review of Cyn­thia Levin­son’s amaz­ing mid­dle-grade non­fic­tion book, WE’VE GOT A JOB. Now, I’m thrilled to wel­come Cyn­thia her­self  here to talk about it!

LT: Hi Cyn­thia! One of the first things I noticed about WE’VE GOT A JOB was how thor­ough­ly researched it is. What was the hard­est part of the research and/or writ­ing for you? 
CL: The hard­est part, one which his­to­ri­ans and researchers on many mat­ters face, was fig­ur­ing out what to do about con­tra­dic­to­ry infor­ma­tion. One per­son remem­bered that the events of the Children’s March in Birm­ing­ham, Alaba­ma start­ed on one day; anoth­er was sure it was a dif­fer­ent day. One per­son knew that Dr. King spoke to him at the church; oth­ers said King was else­where. A third per­son was def­i­nite that she was arrest­ed for pick­et­ing on a par­tic­u­lar day when oth­er sources indi­cat­ed that no arrests occurred that day.
LT: How did you deal with that?
CL: I don’t at all blame my respon­dents! The events I was ask­ing them about took place near­ly 50 years ago at a time when they were both young and fright­ened. Deter­min­ing the facts required so much effort that I wrote an entire Author’s Note about it.
LT: How com­plete was the book when you sent it out?
CL: Because this was my first book, I went over­board what I sub­mit­ted to my agent! At the same time, because this was a work of non­fic­tion, which, unlike fic­tion, doesn’t need to be com­plete, I sub­mit­ted a pro­pos­al, rather than a full man­u­script. But, what a proposal!
CL: It con­sist­ed of five com­plete draft chap­ters, a nar­ra­tive out­line with almost half a page of text for each unwrit­ten chap­ter, a four-page bib­li­og­ra­phy, many pages of foot­notes, sources and costs of pho­tographs, and, prob­a­bly, a par­tridge in a pear tree. I’ve since learned that this much prep is not nec­es­sary. But, I wasn’t sor­ry that I had done so much work in advance of sub­mis­sion. The out­line was sol­id enough that it struc­tured the final book, even after many tex­tu­al edits. And, the pro­pos­al sold the book—eventually.
LT: What else have you learned as a result of writ­ing this book? 
CL: As a sea­soned writer for qual­i­ty non­fic­tion children’s mag­a­zines, I was used to doing mam­moth amounts of research that nev­er make it into the final prod­uct, orga­niz­ing reams of mate­r­i­al, writ­ing suc­cinct­ly, etc. What turned out to be new with this book is the human element.
CL: Not that I hadn’t writ­ten about peo­ple before. I had—William Kamk­wam­ba, for instance, who brought elec­tric­i­ty to his vil­lage in Malawi; Mar­ti­na Zurschmiede, the youngest mem­ber of the Swiss Lace Mak­ing Asso­ci­a­tion; Nathan Wolfe, who is search­ing for and try­ing to pre­vent the next pan­dem­ic. But, with short pieces of 500–800 words, you’re look­ing at the facts of what peo­ple are doing. With a book, I dis­cov­ered that I also need­ed to delve into people’s moti­va­tions, into the pas­sions or fears that pro­pel them to do what they do.
CL: Fer­ret­ing out these fac­tors entailed ask­ing prob­ing, inti­mate ques­tions. “How did your moth­er beat you?” “Why did you lie to your par­ents?” Invari­ably, I learned, when my respon­dents low­ered their voic­es, when they whis­pered to me, even though we were the only ones talk­ing, they were reach­ing deep inside themselves.
LT: What sur­prised you the most dur­ing the process?
CL: Because I had nev­er writ­ten a non­fic­tion book for chil­dren before—or, any book—the entire process sur­prised me. The time that I was most tak­en aback occurred when one of my inter­vie­wees, James, ques­tioned me! He want­ed to know why I was inter­est­ed in writ­ing this book, what I would do with the infor­ma­tion he shared, would I pay him. These are per­fect­ly rea­son­able and under­stand­able ques­tions. But, I thought I was the question-asker!
LT: I’ve always said that I will know I’ve made it when I receive one let­ter from one child say­ing that some­thing I wrote made a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence in his or her life. How do you define success?
CL: I love this def­i­n­i­tion, Lau­rie. I hope this hap­pens to me—because, like you, I hope it hap­pens to a child who reads our work. My def­i­n­i­tion of suc­cess is very par­tic­u­lar to this book.

CL: When peo­ple who have even pass­ing knowl­edge of the civ­il rights move­ment hear “Birm­ing­ham,” they gen­er­al­ly and imme­di­ate­ly think of the church bomb­ing in which four girls were mur­dered. I hope that We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birm­ing­ham Children’s March will change their per­cep­tion. I would like for read­ers to asso­ciate “Birm­ing­ham” not just with the tragedy of vic­tim­ized chil­dren but also with chil­dren who took a stand, chang­ing Amer­i­ca with their deter­mi­na­tion and fortitude.
LT: And I’m sure they will! It’s impos­si­ble to read WE’VE GOT A JOB and not be touched both by what those chil­dren went through and what they accom­plished. Thank you for writ­ing such an impor­tant, pow­er­ful book, Cyn­thia, and thanks so much for shar­ing this behind-the-scenes view of it with me! 

Today’s Non­fic­tion Mon­day Round-up is being host­ed at The Chil­dren’s War.

Review: We’ve Got a Job

We’ve Got a Job
by Cyn­thia Levinson
Peachtree Pub­lish­ers, Feb­ru­ary 1, 2012
176 pages
Ages: 10 and up
Oscar Wilde sup­pos­ed­ly said, “Any fool can make his­to­ry, but it takes genius to write it.” While I don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly agree with the first part, the sec­ond part absolute­ly rings true. After all, how do you make a sto­ry com­pelling when every­one already knows how it ends? Cyn­thia Levin­son has proven her genius here, because she accom­plish­es that and so much more in WE’VE GOT A JOB.
By anchor­ing the events sur­round­ing the 1963 Birm­ing­ham Children’s March in the per­son­al nar­ra­tives of four of its direct par­tic­i­pants, Levin­son puts read­ers on the ground in Birm­ing­ham. We may know the final out­come, but we have no idea how we’re ever going to get there, and this day-by-day account of the incre­men­tal progress—and setbacks—will keep read­ers turn­ing the pages to find out what hap­pened next. This is a non­fic­tion book with as much dra­ma and pac­ing as THE HUNGER GAMES. I lit­er­al­ly couldn’t put it down, except for when I became too teary-eyed to con­tin­ue read­ing, which hap­pened often.
There is so much to love about this book, but I think my favorite thing about it is how Levin­son human­izes every­one involved. It’s not as much a move­ment or an event as it is indi­vid­u­als, each with his or her own moti­va­tions, work­ing with or against each oth­er. I loved read­ing that even the revered lead­ers (for both sides of the issue) were hard­ly ever in agree­ment. Every­one involved was tak­ing a chance, a risk, a guess as to what was going to work—or not. They were all fight­ing for what they believed in, each in his or her own unique way. Noth­ing was sim­ple. Noth­ing was clear.
I whole­heart­ed­ly think this book should be in every library, in every class­room, and in every home in Amer­i­ca for its his­to­ry as well as for its mes­sage for the future. Buy it, read it, rec­om­mend it, share it.
The book also includes a table of con­tents, author’s note, time­line, map, acknowl­edge­ments, exten­sive source notes, bib­li­og­ra­phy (rec­om­mend­ed resources), pho­to cred­its, and a detailed index. Levin­son also has addi­tion­al info, les­son plans, dis­cus­sion ques­tions, cur­ricu­lum guides, and more on her web­site.

To check out the rest of today’s roundup of non­fic­tion books for kids, head on over to this week’s Non­fic­tion Mon­day host, Wendie’s Wan­der­ings!
(Dis­claimer: I received an advance read­er copy (ARC) of this book from Peachtree Pub­lish­ers in exchange for my hon­est review, and it was so good I pre-ordered my own pub­lished hard­cov­er. I received no mon­e­tary com­pen­sa­tion. All opin­ions expressed here are mine and mine alone.)

Read more kids’ nonfiction in 2012!

Facts First! Nonfiction Monday

Still try­ing to come up with some res­o­lu­tions for the new year? Or would you pre­fer hav­ing one or two that are more plea­sure than pain? Well, in the spir­it of

…I’ve got just the thing for you!

Read more non­fic­tion for kids!

There are two chal­lenges out there right now to help you do just that… and share the fruits of your labor with like-mind­ed peeps around the world.

First,  Kid Lit Fren­zy and The Non­fic­tion Dete­cetives have teamed up to offer the The Non­fic­tion Pic­ture Book Chal­lenge 2012. Their goal is to encour­age every­one to read more non­fic­tion pic­ture books this year. All you have to do is set a goal for your­self (like read­ing one non­fic­tion pic­ture book each week or each month). You can vis­it both the Kid Lit Fren­zy and The Non­fic­tion Dete­cetives blogs through­out the year for non­fic­tion reviews and give­aways, tweet about the chal­lenge using the hash­tag #nfpb2012, and add the Non-Fic­tion Pic­ture Book badge to your web site.

Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge 2012


Sec­ond, Ms. Houghton’s Class chal­lenges us to read the Sib­ert Medal win­ners and hon­orees here. This has been on my to-do list for awhile, so thank you Ms. Houghton for giv­ing me that extra push. I’m in! She has the com­plete list in her post, OR you can find the offi­cial list of past win­ners here and cur­rent win­ners here. New win­ners for 2012 will be announced 1/23/2012 (search for #alay­ma on Twit­ter). You can also keep track of this chal­lenge on Twit­ter by search­ing for #nerdib­ert.

I’m doing both, along with my oth­er New Year’s Res­o­lu­tions, which are to read more adult non­fic­tion and keep bet­ter track of all of these books in a read­ing log. I hope you’ll join me!
UPDATE: I made a Google docs spread­sheet with all the info for the Sib­ert books. Feel free to down­load it from here and use it to track your progress!