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My Year in Nonfiction: Looking Back and Then Forward

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.

My Year in Nonfiction: Looking Back and Then Forward

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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

Book Info

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

My Thoughts
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:

oh my!
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.

Perfect Pairing

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).

In Summary

Everyone needs books like this. So get it now.

Get it Here

 Book Depository ||  IndieBound || Bookshop

This is Your Brain on Stereotypes

Book Info

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.

My Thoughts
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.

Perfect Pairing

There are so many books currently on these topics and you could pick anyone of them. I have one such list of books here.

In Summary

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.

Pin Me

Favorite Nonfiction Reads This Year

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

  1. 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.

    1. 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

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

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