Wednesday, September 14, 2011


This year the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts is emphasizing the informational text, (literary nonfiction) across the grades. Below is a short list compiled of possible choices to meet the recent requests from middle school students visiting the library seeking a "nonfiction chapter book."  (Remember, nonfiction includes biographies.)
If you click on a title in the list below it will take you to our Library's online catalog, where you will be able to place a hold, or find other books on the same subject.  If you need help, send me an email, stop by the library, or click here to: search the online catalog

1) Enter your library barcode number to access this database.
2) Click on NoveList Plus.
3) Click on Advanced Search.
4) Type "narrative nonfiction" in search box, and select "Genre" in drop down search field box.
5) Check the teens box for Audience.  Click Search.
You will receive about 213 results, that may then be narrowed according to your preference.
NoveList Plus also has many recommended nonfiction lists for teens by subject area/interests.  Look for these lists on the NoveList Plus home page in the left hand column; select teens and nonfiction.

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream, by Tanya Lee Stone, 2008.  Presents the story of the 13 women connected with NASA's Mercury 13 space mission, who braved prejudice & jealousy to make their mark & open the door for the female pilots & space commanders that would soon follow.

Blizzard: The Storm That Changed America, by Jim Murphy, 2000.  Presents a history, based on personal accounts and newspaper articles, of the massive snow storm that hit the Northeast in 1888, focusing on the events in New York City.

Cake Wrecks: When Professional Cakes Go Hilariously Wrong, Jen Yates, 2009.  From the creator of the blog, here are the worst cakes ever, with witty commentary & behind-the-scenes tidbits. (Ask your teacher if this is okay, -make the argument that it is about reading & interpretation.)  

The Dark Game: True Spy Stories, by Paul B. Janeczko, 2010.  From clothesline codes to surveillance satellites and cyber espionage, Janeczko uncovers two centuries' worth of true spy stories in U.S. history.
The Duel: The Parallel Lives of Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr, by Judith St. George, 2009.  Examines the events that led up to the deadly duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr by reviewing both their lives and the similarities that they shared.
Game Day: Meet the People Who Make it Happen, Kevin Sylvester, 2010.  Sylvester tells the stories of 19 talented and dedicated behind-the-scenes stars of the sports world.

The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie: A Doll's History and Her Impact On Us, by Tanya Lee Stone, 2010.  Learn about Mattel Toys and the background behind Barbie's concept and development, how it was a solution for girls who wanted to imagine adult roles rather than just play mother, and details about inventor Ruth Handler

Grayson, by Lynne Cox, 2006.  One morning while the 17-year-old author was training for a long-distance swim, she became aware that something was swimming with her--a baby gray whale that had become separated from its mother. This is the tale of how Cox miraculously reunited mother and baby.
The Greatest: Muhammad Ali, by Walter Dean Myers, 2001.  A portrait of one of the world's greatest boxers chronicles his childhood, his rise as a champion, his politics, and his battle against Parkinsons' disease.
The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe, by Loree Griffin Burns, 2010.  Apiarist Dave Hackenberg's bees have a busy travel schedule, pollinating around the United States from February to July.  So when Dave inspected 400 of his hives and found that the bees had simply vanished, a team of bee scientists got to work.

Houdini: The Handcuff King, by Jason Lutes & Nick Bertozzi, 2007.   Offers a portrait of the legendary escape artist in graphic novel format, and reveals the secret behind his most amazing trick.

John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth: A Photographic Biography, by Elizabeth Partridge, 2005.  The story of one of rock's biggest legends, from his birth during a 1940 World War II air raid on Liverpool, through his turbulent childhood and teen years, to his celebrated life writing, recording, and performing.

Lewis & Clark, by Nick Bertozzi, 2011.  Presents, in graphic novel format, the adventures of explorers Lewis and Clark during their journey from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean.

Martha Graham, A Dancer's Life, by Russell Freedman, 1998.  A photo-biography of the American dancer, teacher, and choreographer who was born in Pittsburgh in 1895 and who became a leading figure in the world of modern dance.

Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex, by Nathaniel Philbrick, 2002.  Recounts the 1820 sinking of the whaleship "Essex" by an enraged sperm whale and how the crew of young men survived against impossible odds. Adapted from the author's adult book "In the Heart of the Sea."

Smile, by Raina Telgemeier, 2010.  An autobiography in graphic novel format describes how the author lost two of her front teeth in an accident when she was twelve, and her subsequent struggles with various corrective dental techniques throughout adolescence.

Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board, by Bethany Hamilton, 2011.  The teenage surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack in 2003 describes how she has coped with this life-altering event with the help of her faith, the changes in her life, and her return to the sport she loves.

They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group, by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, 2010.   Uses personal accounts unearthed from oral histories, congressional documents, and diaries, to unveil the creation of the Ku Klux Klan in Pulaski, Tennessee, and its spread across the American South.

Trapped: How the World Rescued 33 Miners From 2,000 Feet Below the Chilean Desert, by Marc Aronson, 2011.    The story about 33 miners trapped in a copper-gold mine in San Jose, Chile, and how experts from around the world, from drillers, to astronauts, to submarine specialists, came together to make their remarkable rescue possible"

Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting, by Jim Murphy, 2009.  Describes how, at Christmas, 1914, during World War I, in defiance of their officers' orders, a truce was declared by soldiers on opposing sides, who stopped fighting to engage in a spontaneous Christmas celebration with their "enemies.".