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February 1, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Youth Series Nonfiction
Unsurprisingly, the year’s best new informational series are weighted toward politics, with two of the selections profiling current candidates and one delivering rich overviews of presidencies past. But the list below—representing series launched within the past 12 months—provides plenty of refreshing detours from the campaign trail, too.
Face to Face with Animals (National Geographic)
Gr. 2–5. Similar in approach to Houghton’s Scientists in the Field series, but more accessible to a younger audience, this stellar wildlife series brings together hot-ticket animals (whales, tigers, bears, and more) with commentary by a professional naturalist—often the photographer whose images illustrate.
Forensic Evidence (M. E. Sharpe/Sharpe Focus)
Gr. 9–12. All equally well researched and written by John Wright, a journalist who has covered crime beats, titles in this unusually comprehensive series delve into the real science behind topics familiar to teen fans of TV shows such as CSI.
Images and Issues of Women in the Twentieth Century (Lerner/Twenty-First Century)
Gr. 5–8. Catherine Gourley’s lively, fully documented discussions in this now-complete series are buoyed by sidebars and archival illustrations, all of which bring women’s history scholarship to a level that teens will embrace.
Insiders (Simon & Schuster)
Gr. 2–5. Investigating high-interest topics sure to attract browsers, such as dinosaurs, Egypt, and outer space, books in the Insiders series deliver on the promise of their extremely enticing covers with myriad facts and polished, digitally created artwork.
Nic Bishop (Scholastic Nonfiction)
Gr. 2–4. Bishop started his eponymous series of wildlife photo-essays slowly—with just two books this year—but if future installments are as painstakingly created as Nic Bishop Spiders, a 2007 Sibert Honor Book, and Nic Bishop Frogs (2008), who’s complaining?
Political Profiles (Morgan Reynolds)
Gr. 6–10. The publisher was fast off the starting block with these biographies of contemporary U.S. politicians, including Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. Some titles are already dated, but many will continue to provide sturdy support as teens follow current events in this election year and beyond.
Presidents and Their Times (Marshall Cavendish/Benchmark)
Gr. 5–8. Even the lack of source notes couldn’t knock this enlightening series from the running for this year’s top 10, given the unusual complexity with which the authors portray the personal and historical forces at play in each president’s life. The six titles currently available include George Washington, Richard Nixon, and Millard Fillmore.
Shapers of America (OTTN)
Gr. 6–9. Responsibly documented, this series profiles a somewhat offbeat selection of intriguing, often lesser-known personages from a range of eras—including our own, in the series’ particularly excellent (and timely) Barack Obama (2007).
Through Time (Kingfisher)
Gr. 2–5. The handsome, jacketed books in this series help make history concrete for young readers, especially visual learners, by showing, through annotated pictures, the changes wrought by time upon a historically significant place. Watch for Beijing this summer, just in time for the 2008 Olympics.
Wild Wheels! (Enslow)
Gr. 4–6. Car-racing enthusiasts, and even some doubters who question what the fuss is all about, will find that this series capably conveys the mystique of the track and the real technique required of the drivers and their crews.
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