Today’s post is taking a look back (and then forward) at my year in nonfiction. And I realized as I did so that I did read a great many – I need to put them all in one place before this month ends, simply because. But of the ones I read, they were predominantly nonfiction reads for younger audiences, ranging from picture books to YA. So I decided to focus on this age-range as I look back to answer this week’s prompts for the Nonfiction November challenge.
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Your Year in Nonfiction
Favorite Nonfiction Read(s) of the Year
I don’t think I can pick out one favorite one. So I picked the three that came to my mind first. On another note, I know that there are quite a few that I am currently reading or on my TBR that might make it to my favorite reads list for the year too!
On the Horizon
Title: On the Horizon : World War II Reflections
Author: Lois Lowry
Illustrator: Kenard Pak
Publishers: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: April 7, 2020
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/History
Age-Range: 10 – 12 years, and up
What It Is
In On the Horizon, Lois Lowry draws upon personal experiences as well as the stories of others whose lives were lost or forever altered by the tragedies of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. This takes readers from Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima, as Lowry introduces us to soldiers on the USS Arizona, and to the citizens of Hiroshima, as these events played out. Lowry’s words accompanied by Pak’s art show what happened and its aftermath emotively and effectively.
The How (I Felt)
My first thoughts were in verse so I decided to use that here:
this made me cry!
each line i read was heart-rending
about all those lives just ending
on both sides of the Pacific
at precisely 8:15; simply horrific!
then there were shimmerings of betters:
of Hibakusha — those that thrived despite — the survivors,
of hope, honor, peace across the ocean,
and of this wonderful new notion
that friendships could be possible after the war
between a black-eyed boy and a blue-eyed girl
-Vidya Tiru @ LadyInReadWrites
Lowry once again wows with words while Parks’ starkly simple artwork stuns and captures events and emotions perfectly.
You can pick a Lois Lowry book like Number the Stars; Prairie Lotus came to mind as well – both great reads for younger audiences. If you are looking for a WWII read for adults, then a recent one I truly loved was The Book of Lost Names. A couple other middle-grade books that are along the theme of this book are Paper Wishes and They Called Us Enemy (I am reading them now).
Everyone needs books like this. So get it now.
Get it Here
Book Depository || IndieBound || Bookshop
This is Your Brain on Stereotypes
Title: This Is Your Brain on Stereotypes: How Science Is Tackling Unconscious Bias
Author: Tanya Lloyd Kyi
Illustrator: Drew Shannon
Length: 88 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction (11 – 14 years, and up)
Publisher: Kids Can Press; Illustrated edition (September 1, 2020)
Thanks to NetGalley for the eARC of this book. All opinions are my own.
What It Is
This book is an overview of the science behind stereotypes: from why our brains form them to how recognizing them can help us be less biased. It shows how labels are crucial for us, from infancy onwards; but like all things, they come with a downside if we use this labeling and classifying everywhere without a second thought to the impacts.
From teaching us the science behind stereotypes and biases, to how science can help us overcome these almost inbuilt, unconscious biases, this book has it all.
An eye opener, useful lessons, and hope bundled in a book.
The How (I Felt)
I learned a lot from this book; most importantly, to look within, to look toward myself and figure out how I view myself using unconscious biases and more; and then to examine a little more closely at how I view the world or others around me.
While many of us believe that we are not biased or racist or any-other-similar-thing, and we are making efforts to be more inclusive than ever before, what we don’t realize is that there is so much more at play within our brains that influence our everyday decisions – big and little; where bias, stereotype, and a myriad other things have an impact without our realization. This book opened my eyes to those little things (sometimes big too).
On the other side, it also shed light on many events in history that I had no idea of, as well as scientific research and related activities – all of which were super interesting and informative.
I loved how Tanya Kyi has presented all these important topics in language that is perfect for all audiences – easy to understand and relate, while not speaking down or dumbing down anything in the process. And Drew Shannon’s accompanying colorful illustrations provide the perfect complement.
With definitions of various keywords sprinkled throughout, and interesting examples from history and more recent events, this book with the look of a chapter-text-book is so much more; and it packs a powerful punch indeed.
I also loved the comprehensive reading lists included at the end.
There are so many books currently on these topics and you could pick anyone of them. I have one such list of books here.
Overall, a must-read indeed – not only for its intended middle-grade audience but for older readers too, including adults!
Get it Here
Book Depository || IndieBound || Bookshop
When Stars are Scattered
My review of this book is here.
Topic Most Read This Year
I think it has to be biographies/memoirs, followed by STEM books (biology/nature/tech etc).
My Most Recommended Nonfiction Book
I am not sure, but I did gush on a bit about When Stars are Scattered.
What I Hope to Get out of #NonFicNov
This is my first time participating in Nonfiction November, though I read nonfiction regularly enough (and I think I surprised myself when I checked!) I am looking forward to connecting with other nonfiction readers, and in the process discover great new blogs. And of course, it goes without saying that I will be adding many many books to my TBR through this challenge.
Linking to Nonfiction November and for It’s Monday, What Are You Reading
And Now, the End of This Post
Dear reader, what are your favorite nonfiction reads this year? Do let me know in the comments or let me know if you have a post I can check with the same. Have you read any of the books featured today? Or which one do you plan to?
44 thoughts on “My Year in Nonfiction: Looking Back and Then Forward”
Great suggestions! I’ll have to check these out!
thanks Bri.. I am sure you will enjoy each of them
Choosing a favourite Nonfiction is hard. I just finished reading How to Become an Accidental Genius
by Frieda Wishinsky, Elizabeth MacLeod, & Jenn Playford. I really liked it. I loved The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks a lot! These days I’m reading Waiting for First Light: My Ongoing Battle with PTSD by Roméo Dallaire. It powerful, but hard to read.
I am going to check out How to Become An Accidental Genius.. The Immortal Life has been in my sights for a while and not sure why I never got to reading that.. As for Waiting for First Light, that might be a tough read for me
Looks like you had a great non-fiction year! Looking forward to this year’s book list!
thank you martha
I haven’t read any of these. They will now be going on my reading list. Thank you for sharing.
thanks Samantha.. they are all TRULY wonderful reads
I don’t read much non-fiction but This Is Your Brain on Stereotypes: How Science Is Tackling Unconscious Bias caught my eye. Thanx for bringing it to my attention.
that book is definitely an eye-opener…
That looks like a good year of nonfiction! I haven’t read any of them yet, but it sounds like they’re definitely worth checking out!
thanks Heather.. i loved them all
You got great selection of books there. I’ll check them out pretty soon. 🙂
thank you 🙂
What interesting selections, thanks for sharing them. I’m particularly intrigued by This is Your Brain on Stereotypes.
Looking forward to more of your NonFicNov posts.
You can find my first one here
thanks Shelleyrae; I am looking forward to reading everyone’s posts as well for NonFicNov ..
Great choices. I don’t read enough non-fiction.
Thanks Stacey, I am sure you will enjoy these reads..
I have added On the Horizon and This is Your Brain on Stereotypes to my TBR list. I like how you focused on books for younger audiences.
🙂 and with reading more nonfiction for younger audiences for the Cybils, I know that focus will continue through this month
I am not able to read a lot of book for this year and these non fiction books looks interesting. I need to get a copy of these books, will check this out!
these are all worth a read, so definitely do check them out
I’ve been reading nothing but Non-Fiction this year. Poetry, Self Help. The Untethered Soul was really good.
thanks April.. I will check out The Untethered Soul
So glad to see a first time participant join the ranks. Can’t wait to read your posts throughout the month!
thank you Julie for the welcome and for hosting this wonderful event..
I LOVED When Stars are Scattered so so so much! And I had On the Horizon checked out and had to return it before I was ready. I hope to read it very soon, though. This Is Your Brain on Stereotypes is new to me, so thank you for sharing the title. Have a wonderful reading week, Vidya!
Thanks Shaye!! Yes, I felt exactly the same about When Stars are Scattered… and truly loved both the other books too..
These look like wonderful books. I definitely need to add these to my list.
These are amazing reviews! I added the brain on stereotypes to my list!
thanks Alyssa, I know that you will love this read
I need to read more nonfiction. Thank you for sharing.
Welcome to Nonfiction November! The book on bias sounds particularly interesting and I love that a book on that topic is available for younger readers.
thank you Katie… And yes, that book is powerful indeed
Thanks for these reviews, I have just started reading books and need honest review on books to find the best one.
thanks Puja. These books are all wonderful reads
My 11yo has been talking with us about stereotypes lately, so I’ll have to pick up a copy of This Is Your Brain on Stereotypes. Kids Can Press always has such a great selection of titles!
Monika, this is definitely a must read.. and agree with you about titles from Kids Can Press…
I needed some new book recommendations! Can’t wait to check these out!
thanks Erin.. you should
This is Your Brain on Stereotypes looks fascinating!!
Somehow, I didn’t realize Lowis Lowry had a book come out earlier this year! That’s going right to the top of my TBR pile.
Christopher, you will totally love this book.. Lowry’s magic has worked again here..