Most people who have a favorite genre of literature tend to stay within those friendly, familiar confines when choosing new books to read. From romances to murder mysteries to science fiction, the opportunities to get lost in a great novel are endless. The most popular genres, however, are often fiction, and many people don’t want to give nonfiction literature the time of day. Considered “boring” and “dry,” nonfiction books have gotten a bad rap for years. Things have certainly changed though. Nonfiction books are just as bright, colorful, and engaging as fiction now! Ranging from beautifully illustrated picture books to fast-paced novel-like biographies, nonfiction reads can delight even the most dedicated lover of fiction.
To find more entertaining nonfiction books, please search our online catalog using subject terms like “nonfiction” and “juvenile” or “biographies” and “juvenile.” We have an amazingly vast collection of engaging and informative books sure to spark your interest.
The Secret Subway. 2016.
It’s 1860s New York City and the city that never sleeps has a problem: the streets are constantly jammed with people, buggies and animals. It’s dangerous to even try to cross Broadway Street! One brilliant inventor, Alfred Ely Beach, concocts a plan to build an underground train system that runs on air pressure — the first ever “subway.” Though his plan doesn’t come to full fruition, Beach’s “railroad of the future” delights and inspires New York citizens.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. S.388.42097471 C8129se]
Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers. 2017.
Immerse yourself in the fiercely loyal, exciting, and loving relationship the famous Van Gogh brothers shared. Based on 658 letters that Vincent wrote Theo throughout their lives, this story of brotherly love (and struggle) reads with all the gravitas of a classic dramatic novel. At over 400 pages, this book might seem overwhelming, but the fascinating lives of Theo, the art dealer, and Vincent, the famous Post-Impressionist artist, are sure to captivate readers.
[SSHEL S-Collection S.759.9492 H3636v]
March: Book One. 2013.
In the first installment of this gripping graphic novel trilogy, Congressman John Lewis recounts his childhood and the events that led to his courageous involvement in the start of the Civil Rights Movement. From a life-changing meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to the creation of the Nashville Student Movement to the famous nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, this novel poignantly details the incredible strength and resilience of so many people involved in the fight for equality in America.
[SSHEL S-Collection S.741.5973 L5873m]
Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph. 2016.
In 1958 when Esquire magazine decided to publish an issue that would be a “salute to American jazz,” graphic designer Art Kane concocted a plan to gather as many famous jazz musicians as he could and photograph them together in front of a Harlem brownstone. Kane didn’t have a great camera, an organized plan, or any idea if anyone would actually show up. Thanks to his tireless efforts and perhaps a bit of luck, he captured one of the most famous images of America’s “jazz greats.” Told through a collection of poems that lead to a full page, pull-out spread of Kane’s actual photograph.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. S.811 Or398j]
The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights. 2014.
During World War II at a Navy base called Port Chicago in San Francisco Bay, young African American men risked their lives transporting ammunition and massive bombs to and from U.S. military ships. Every single day they worked these men lived in fear of making one wrong movement and blowing up the entire Navy base. Then one day, tragedy struck. Check out this book for a thoroughly-researched and emotionally evocative telling of one of the most crucial civil rights struggles in America’s military history.
[SSHEL S-Collection S.940.545308996 Sh42p]
Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer. 2016.
Ada Byron, daughter of famous poet Lord Byron, always let her imagination take her on wonderful adventures. As a young girl, she created an instruction manual to help humans create their own wings to fly. As she got older, she continued to use her brilliance (which flourished as she received a “world-class scientific education”) to help Charles Babbage create the first ever computer program in the 1840s.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. SB. L898s]
Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. 2016.
As a young child, Jean-Michel Basquiat spent most of his time admiring the beauty and the art of the world that surrounded him. The son of warm, creative parents who nurtured his inner artist, Jean-Michel spent his tragically short life doing what he loved most: creating unique paintings and art pieces that expressed who he was and how he interpreted his surroundings. Illustrations that echo Basquiat’s personal style perfectly complement this biography of an incredibly talented young man.
[SSHEL S-Collection SB. B316s]
Stone, Tanya Lee.
Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream. 2009.
It’s 1960s America and the fight for women’s rights and gender equality doesn’t just apply to land anymore. When Randy Lovelace, a chairman at NASA, starts the Woman in Space program to prove that women are equally as capable of becoming successful astronauts as men, 13 courageous women rise to the immensely difficult social, physical, and mental challenges that are required to break the ultimate glass ceiling. Constantly faced with extreme backlash from beloved American heroes, fellow females in the field, and even the President of the United States, these women never let their spirits falter as they strive to change the world.
[SSHEL S-Collection S.629.450092 St724a]
Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White. 2016.
Illustrated and formatted as a colorful scrapbook, this book tells the exciting story of author Elwyn Brooks (E. B.) White’s life using copies of White’s own personal letters, pictures, and ephemera. With an idyllic childhood and supportive parents, E. B.’s creative mind flourished during his annual family trips to Belgrade Lakes, Maine where he realized he wanted to dedicate his life to writing. Follow White on his journey from being a journalist for the New Yorker to an acclaimed children’s author.
[SSHEL S-Collection SB. W583sw]
Turner, Pamela S.
Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune. 2016.
Learn about the utterly thrilling life of young Samurai warrior Minamoto Yoshitsune in this epic novel-like biography. As a young boy, Minamoto is separated from his family and ordered to live in a monastery. He is small, skinny, and hasn’t had any martial arts training, but Minamoto doesn’t let this hold him back from escaping the monastery, battling bitter rivals, becoming a famous war hero, and experiencing fatal love.
[SSHEL S-Collection SB. M6634t]
Weatherford, Carole Boston.
Freedom in Congo Square. 2016.
Written in poetic couplets, this breathtaking picture book depicts enslaved Africans counting down the gruesome weekdays until they can congregate in New Orleans’ Congo Square on Sundays. As Sundays were the only day New Orleans slaves were allowed to take time off, many ventured to an open space called Congo Square to sing, dance, play music, sell goods, and socialize with friends.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. S.976.335 W3784f]