Choosing our top ten titles this year (Lynn's list / Cindy's list) was so hard. Even when I cheated and added an extra title many of our favorite books were still left out. So we decided to list our top five nonfiction titles too. These are chosen for their outstanding quality and are listed alphabetically by author. We’d love to hear what nonfiction books are your favorites!
Lynn: Top Five Nonfiction 2008
Fleischman, Sid. The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West. (HarperCollins/Greenwillow)
This fascinating look at Twain’s western years is delightful and packed with quotes from Twain. You won’t be able to resist reading large chunks of this to anyone nearby.
Fleming, Candace. The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary. (Random House)
In my Top Ten of the year, this inviting book is the perfect blend of impeccable research, interesting design and fascinating writing.
Freedman, Russell. Washington at Valley Forge. (Holiday House)
We all know Valley Forge was important but Freedman helps us really understand how and why. I couldn’t put this book down.
Nelson, Scott Reynolds. Ain’t Nothing But a Man: My Quest to Find the Real John Henry. (National Geographic)
The librarian in me loves the beautifully explained research process but what I love best is the way this fascinating book reads like a mystery.
Stone, Tanya Lee. Sandy’s Circus: A Book about Alexander Calder. (Penguin/Viking)
This playful book perfectly captures Calder’s joyous spirit. If only all biographies could be so much fun!
Cindy: Top Five Nonfiction 2008
Fleischman, Sid. The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West (HarperCollins/Greenwillow)
In a perfect melding of author and subject, Fleischman’s writing is as spirited and sarcastic Twain’s, and this is just as entertaining as his previous Houdini biography.
Bishop, Nic. Frogs (Scholastic)
This book could easily be on my top picture book list as the photographs are so incredible and are integrated with the text beautifully. Fascinating frog information, attentive graphic design, and stunning photography combine for a remarkable read.
Greenberg, Jan. Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Through the Gates and Beyond (Roaring Brook)
A book that makes me long to witness their art in person. Beautiful bookmaking, too!
Nelson, Scott Reynolds. Ain’t Nothing but a Man: My Quest to Find the Real John Henry (National Geographic)
A treat of a read that shows just how rewarding, mysterious and how much fun research can be. This is the kind of book that makes a librarian’s heart go pitter-pat!
Stone, Tanya Lee. Sandy’s Circus: A Story about Alexander Calder (Penguin/Viking)
Another book that could have been on my favorite picture book list, but I didn’t want to ignore the wonderful storytelling that illuminates Calder’s childhood and fits so well with the gorgeous artwork. If you need a graduation gift for an artistic student, this is it.