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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Favorite 15...

Tomorrow I am booktalking non-fiction titles to the 9th Graders at school for what will be their first PROJECT (with a capital P) of the school year.  Of all the reading projects that the students do, this is by far my favorite!  (Second place going to the Biography project/speech for 8th Grade Honors).  Sensing a pattern?  Yes, I love books about real people/places/events, especially when they are well-written and teen friendly.

Preparing for this year's project, which typically involves spending the summer reading the latest non-fiction titles, was a little more challenging.  Being on the BFYA committee means that I am reading nothing but fiction, fiction, and more fiction.  And to be honest, I'm really going through withdrawals.  (Don't depair, I have been sneaking some non-fiction titles here and there...but it is not nearly enough...and don't tell my fellow committee members).

Luckily I have a great starting list that I simply add to and subtract from each year to reflect the popular titles/trends.  Right now, the list that I will be passing out to students tomorrow has 140 titles to choose from.  (Okay, I already warned you that I'm slightly obsessed with non-fiction.  What?  I never used the word obsessed?  Shhhh, our little secret!)  I've highlighted 47 titles that I want to booktalk.  Anyone ever worked in a school?  Then you are currently on the floor laughing because you know that class periods are only 50 minutes, minus the "settle down" time at the beginning and the "pack up" time at the end, so there is NO way that is a realistic number.  I have until 8:00am tomorrow to whittle that number down to about 30.  I feel like I'm feeding my children to the wolves each time I delete one from the PowerPoint.

To help ease the pain, I've decided to highlight "My Favorite 15...Non-Fiction Titles" for this project. (Note: this is for 9th grade, and because of the nature of the assignment some of my all-time favorite titles do not work).  In no particular order:

(1) Devoted by Dick Hoyt: The story of the father/son duo that compete in marathons and triathlons. You've seen them on ESPN, YouTube, etc. Powerful, moving, amazing...if you don't cry at the end, I'm worried about you.

(2) Iron Heart by Brian Boyle: A high school graduate and athlete nearly killed in a car accident who fought his way back to life and the Ironman.

(3) Diving into Darkness by Phillip Finch: I can't say anything better than the blurb on the book.  On January 8th, 2005 two men went diving into a hole with the goal of reaching 900 feet.  "Twenty five minutes later, one of the men was dead.  The other was in mortal peril."

(4) Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer: Always a fan of Krakauer, I have read all of his books.  This is the story of Pat Tillman, the NFL football star who left the game to serve his country.  Honor and love of country at it's most basic.

(5) Miracle in the Andes by Nando Parrado: Amazing story of the rugby team that crashed in the Andes in 1972, as told by one of the survivors.  Couldn't put it down!  In my "Top 5" favorite books of all-time!

(6) A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah: Another powerful survival story as told by the young man who lived it.  Also brings light to the tragedy of child soldiers all over the world.  Probably in my "Top 5" favorite books of all-time, too!

(7) Heart of the Game by S.L. Price: The tragic story about Mike Coolbaugh, minor league baseball player and coach, who was killed by a foul ball during a game. Not all sad though. A great story about life, heroes, and baseball.  But yes, you will cry.

(8) Spies of Mississippi by Rick Bowers: The first time I had ever heard of this organization of government spies trying to do harm to the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi.  Hmmm, things you don't learn in textbooks...

(9) Radioactive Boy Scout by Ken Silverstein: Every time I think of this book I am SHOCKED that a high school kid created a WORKING nuclear reactor in his back yard, and no one knew what was going on!

(10) Confessions of an Alien Hunter by Seth Shostak: I am a scientist at heart, and let me just say upfront that I do not believe in aliens.  However, after reading this book, I could see the possibility and I was completely intrigued by the search for extra-terrestrials!

(11) The Wright Sister by Richard Maurer: Truly the Wright Brothers are to be commended for their brilliance, but it might have been the sacrifice of their sister that allowed them to change the world.

(12) Simeon's Story by Simeon Wright: A first-hand account of the kidnapping and murder of Emmett Till as told by his cousin.  And the after-effects of this tragic case.

(13) Disguised by Rita la Fontaine de Clercq Zubli: A wartime survivor's memoir.

(14) Life is So Good by George Dawson: What makes a person decide he needs to learn to read at 98 years old?  A remarkable life story, written when George was a mere 101.

(15) King of the Mild Frontier by Chris Crutcher: Because no book list is complete without a title by my favorite author.  This is his autobiography, and it is HILARIOUS! 

So, that is my take on the best non-fiction for high schoolers...and adults, too!  That should keep you busy for quite some time.  Now to pick the next 15 so I can complete my presentation.  It is Survivor premiere night after all!

What do you think?  What are your favorites?  I am always looking for suggestions, so what did I miss?  By the way, if you want a link to the complete list, click here.

1 comment: said...

Some of these titles look so good! Especially Spies of Mississippi, The Wright Sisters & Simeon's Story.


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