Non-Fiction Addiction

Non-fiction for teens sure does have a bad rep. This monthly feature will introduce non-fiction titles that are fun and informative and hopefully bring to life the wealth of relevant and amazing titles that are out there.

This month’s book: When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals by Jeffery Masson

 Summary:

 Animals do in fact lead emotional lives, according to Masson. He has managed to find hundreds of anecdotes from the published works and field studies of such noted behaviourists as Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Cynthia Moss that support his theory. It seems that, despite the fact that anthropomorphism is among the worst of scientific taboos, these respected scientists cannot help but notice the similarities between human and animal behaviour. Chapters are organized by topic, such as fear, love, grief, and even compassion and beauty. An index provides access by species and by personal name of both people and animals. An excellent resource in psychology, this title will also be a useful addition for animal research. Its clear and conversational style makes it interesting for general readers as well. A well-documented, compelling, and thought-provoking defence of animal emotions

 Thoughts: This is actually for adults, but I thought that there would be quite a few older teens who would be interested in this topic. I just finished reading The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti and the librarian said that sometimes teens ask for the book that Calletti quotes (which doesn’t exist) and they give them this one instead. I haven’t read it yet, but I skimmed it and the language looked very accessible and the stories pretty compelling.

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Non-Fiction 4

Non-fiction for teens sure does have a bad rep. This monthly feature will introduce non-fiction titles that are fun and informative and hopefully bring to life the wealth of relevant and amazing titles that are out there.

 This month’s book: Charles and Emma: The Darwin’s Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligam.

Summary:

Beginning with Darwin’s notorious chart listing reasons to wed and not to wed, Heiligman has created a unique, flowing, and meticulously researched picture of the controversial scientist and the effect of his marriage on his life and work. Using the couple’s letters, diaries, and notebooks as well as documents and memoirs of their relatives, friends, and critics, the author lets her subjects speak for themselves while rounding out the story of their relationship with information about their time and place. She shows how Darwin’s love for his intelligent, steadfast, and deeply religious cousin was an important factor in his scientific work—pushing him to document his theory of natural selection for decades before publishing it with great trepidation. Just as the pair embodied a marriage of science and religion, this book weaves together the chronicle of the development of a major scientific theory with a story of true love.

 Thoughts: Love it! I really enjoy books that use letters and diaries to tell a story, especially a non-fiction story. Who knew that Charles Darwin could be such a captivating guy???

Other info: Was a National Book Award finalist, has one the Michael. L Printz Honor Award, as well as YALSA’s Best Books for Young Adult Award.

Also, in September 2009 a movie called Creation staring Paul Bettany  (Darwin) and Jennifer Connelly (Emma) was released in theatres.

Non-fiction Addiction (2)

Non-fiction for teens sure does have a bad rep. This monthly feature will introduce non-fiction titles that are fun and informative and hopefully bring to life the wealth of relevant and amazing titles that are out there. 

This month’s book: Slavery Today by Kevin C Bales

Summary:

Slavery Today introduces teens to the issue of modern day slavery. In fact, as they point out in Slavery Today, slavery is tragically alive in our modern world, with some 27 million people globally enslaved as factory workers, miners, farmers, and prostitutes. The book, part of Groundwood’s series of guides on current events topics, gives a crash course on slavery’s history and how it operates in our contemporary world. It’s a lot of ground to cover, and the book’s short chapters should give young readers plenty to talk about.

Bales and Cornell employ clear, jargon-free language that should pose no problem for a younger audience but doesn’t shy away from the seriousness and horror of modern-day slavery. The authors also include profiles of individual slaves – many the same age as the book’s intended readers – that humanize a global problem often overshadowed by other tragedies. – Quill and Quire

Thoughts: I came across this book at the library the other day while I was searching for books for an assignment and I was instantly taken aback. Those of you who know me know that slavery is an important issue to me. I majored in American history with a specialization in African American slavery and I’m a total groupie to the organization International Justice Mission. I was surprised that such a resource was available for teens. It’s actually a really amazing resource that informs teens who might not have been aware of the issue, but it also gives really helpful information for those that want to do more to help. The writing style and the way it is compiled make it really accessible and appealing. I’m thrilled!

non-fiction addiction(1)

Non-fiction for teens sure does have a bad rep. This monthly feature will introduce non-fiction titles that are fun and informative and hopefully bring to life the wealth of relevant and amazing titles that are out there. 

My So-Called Digital Life: 2,000 Teenagers, 300 Camera’s, and 30 Days to Document their World by Bob Pletka.

Pletka, a director of technology for Southern California’s Covina-Valley School District, organized a project with high-school students in his region. The students’ charge was to capture, with words and images, their lives during a month at school. Grouped into categories, the powerful student essays and photos address the trip to and from school, learning and the ways students play after school. The intimate images reach far beyond the headlines and hype about teen trends and emphasize the enormous pressures students face, beginning with their gruelling schedules–many pictures show the predawn commute to school. Equally affecting are the students’ frank critiques of the “dull, lifeless” teaching methods and the joy they find in dynamic classrooms. Adults and teens will come away stirred and enlightened by this raw, impressive student collaboration and by Pletka’s moving introduction, which challenges administrators to rethink how school is taught.

I came across this title during a program assignment and instantly fell in love. As a very amateur photographer myself this idea thrilled me. I think that photography is such an accessible and relevant way for teens to express themselves. As a teen I really enjoyed creating art through photographs and demonstrating to people how I saw things.