New Materials for Middle School and High School 2013

Nonfiction Resources 2013


“Make”--a publication in support of the “maker movement.” Provides hands on project ideas for home and classroom use. Encourages creativity and critical thinking.

“Mental Floss”--Similar to “Mad” magazine but looks at current and relevant issues in a very humorous way.


Nonfiction Books

Most of these are recently published  books that I have read or that received glowing reviews. I included the lexile level when possible and also indicated a Common Core standard that could be addressed. In the case of the standards, these are just my opinions or inferences after reading the books and looking at the requirements of the standards.


Barcella, Laura. The End: 50 Apocalyptic Visions from Pop Culture That You Should Know About Before It’s Too Late.  San Francisco: Zest, 2012  001.9 B242

Gives a synopsis of book, movie or painting and also has a short section about the science involved and whether or not this type of thing could become a reality.


Kurlansky, Mark. Ready for a Brand New Beat: How Dancing in the Street Became the Anthem For a Changing America. New York: Riverhead Books, 2013  323.1196 K96

“Told by the writer who is legendary for finding the big story in unlikely places, Ready for a Brand New Beat chronicles that extraordinary summer of 1964 and showcases the momentous role that a simple song about dancing played in history.” (Publisher)

Could be paired with Countdown and could be used with Standards 1, 2 or 3.


Fradin, Judith Bloom and Dennis Brindell. Stolen into Slavery: the True Story of Solomon Northrup, Free Black Man. Washington, D. C.: National Geographic Society, 2012. 306.362092 N878N (lex:1060)

Gripping and remarkable story that is based on Solomon Northrup’s memoir Twelve Years a Slave. This version is retold for younger readers but retains the realism that helped open the eyes of many to the evils of slavery. Movie version of this story will be out in Oct.


Healy, Thomas. The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed his Mind and Changed the History of Free Speech in America.  New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2013

342.73853 H434.  

This would be a great supplemental read for AP History or AP Government class.


Connolly, Sean. The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math. New York: Workman Publishing Co., 2012.  510 C752 Teen. (lex:1010)

Terrific resource for teachers who want to supplement their  Math lessons and add a little levity to their classes. Twenty four unusual challenges are presented along with hints from Euclid and a Math lab activity. Problems are geared toward 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade.


Marrin, Albert. Black Gold: the Story of Oil in Our LIves. New York:Alfred A Knopf, 2012

553.28 M359

“This riveting new book explores what oil is and the role this precious resource has played in America and the world.” (Publisher)


Richardson, Gillian. Ten Plants that Shook the World. Toronto: Annick Press, 2013. 581.6

“Dig up the amazing stories of the plants that have transformed our lives. Plants might start out as leafy things growing in the earth, but they can come into our lives in unexpected ways. ...some have even played an exciting role in our world's history. (Publisher.)


Newquist, HP.The Book of Blood:from Legends and Leeches to vampires and veins.

New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2012.   612.11 N558

Everything you ever wanted to know about blood. Great book for middle school science class.  (Standard: 4)


Roach, Mary. Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal. New York: WW Norton and Co., 2013. 612.3 R628

Very fun yet fact filled book about eating, digesting and all that comes after. One reviewer called it “Eat, Pray, Love for the digestively curious.” Perfect addition to a Science or Health class.


Murphy, Jim. Invincible Microbe:Tuberculosis and the Never Ending Search for a Cure. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.    616.995 M954 (lexile:1200)

Interesting account of the history of the disease and the evolution of the vaccine. Each chapter ends with a cliffhanger that really encourages further reading. Excellent photos and illustrations contribute a sense of urgency and desperation.


Gibson, Karen Bush. Women Aviators: 26 Stories of Pioneer Flights, Daring Missions, and Record-setting Journeys. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2013.  629.13. 

“Author Karen Bush Gibson profiles 26 women aviators who sought out and met challenges both in the sky and on the ground, where some still questioned their abilities.”(Publisher)

Could be paired with Code Name Verity or Flygirl


Dickerson, Madelynn. The Handy Art HIstory Answer Book. Detroit: Visible Ink, 2013. 709 D549.  Over 600 entries in question and answer format inform the reader about various artists, art pieces and movements. Chronologically organized with a plethora of neat info.


Eagleton, Terry. How to Read Literature.New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013. 801 E11

This book could be very helpful for teaching the close reading concepts that are part of the Common Core. (Standard:1)




Myers, Walter Dean. Just Write: Here’s How. New York: Harper Collins, 2012. 808.02M996 (lex:970)

Myers helps to demystify the writing process and indicates the becoming an author is a matter of hard work and perseverance rather than mystical talent. Concrete advice about developing characters and plot and polishing your ideas. (Standard:8)


Warren, Andrea. Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London. Boston: Houghton,  Mifflin Books for Children, 2011. j823.8 W286 (lex: 1160)

Story of Dickens’ childhood and how his experiences led him to become a crusader for London’s poor.   Gives examples of real events and people that turned into fodder for his novels.  Excellent choice to pair with Great Expectations or another Dickens classic.


Jenks, Andrew. Andrew Jenks:My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker.  New York: Scholastic, 2013.  921 J532J Teen.  (lex:940)

Pictures, call-outs and quotes add an interesting dimension to this biography.


Stokke, Regine. Regine’s Book: a Teen Girl’s Last Words. San Francisco: Zest Books, 2012.

921 S8746S Teen

When Regine Stokke learned that she had leukemia she decided to create a blog to record her experience and keep her friends informed. The result is a very real and very moving story of illness, suffering and strength.  As Regine writes and reflects on her illness, she gains friends from all over the world and helps them appreciate the beauty of an ordinary life.                                                                                                                    


Borden, Louise. His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg: Courage, Rescue and Mystery During World War II. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2012. 921 W1972W (lex: 1080)

Informative account of one man’s daring quest to save thousands of Hungarian Jews  from the Nazis. Written in a poetry format with pictures, maps and documents. (Standard:3)

Kagan, Neil & Hyslop, Stephen. Eyewitness to World War II: Unforgettable Stories and Photographs from History’s Greatest Conflict. Washington D.C.: National Geographic, 2012  940.5373 E97

A cornucopia of photos, letters, posters and news articles that bring WWII to life. Excellent supplement for the textbook.


Stone, Tanya Lee. Courage Has No Color: the True Story of the Triple Nickles. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2013. j940-541273 S811 (lex:1090)

“Tanya Lee Stone examines the little-known history of the Triple Nickles, America’s first black paratroopers, who fought in an attack on the American West by the Japanese.” (Publisher.)


Meder, Patricia Chapman. The True Story of Catch-22. Philadelphia:Casemate Publishers, 2012. 940.544973 M488.

Great supplemental resource for the book or anyone who loves this novel.


Mack, Stan. Taxes the Tea Party and Those Revolting Rebels: a History in Comics of the American Revolution.  New York: NBM, 2012 973.3 M153

Humorous but informative look at the road to the American Revolution.  The comic style will entice even the most reluctant student to learn a little about our nation’s beginnings. Demystifies the founding fathers and creates an easily recognizable timeline of events. (Standard: 3)


Holzer, Harold. The Civil War in 50 Objects. New York: Viking Press, 2013 973.7075 H762

Stories about rare relics from the collection of the  New York Historical Society that personalize the Civil War and bring history alive.


Bolden, Tonya. The Emancipation Proclamation:Lincoln and the Dawn of Liberty.

New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2012.  973.714 B687 (lex:1160)

“Filled with little-known facts and fascinating details, it includes excerpts from historical sources, archival images, and new research that debunks myths about the Emancipation Proclamation and its causes. Complete with a timeline, glossary, and bibliography, Emancipation Proclamation is an engrossing new historical resource…”(Publisher)


O’Reilly, Bill. Kennedy’s Last Days: The Assassination that Defined a Generation. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2013. j973.922 O11.

“Adapted from Bill O’Reilly’s best-selling historical thriller Killing Kennedy, with an unforgettable cast of characters, page-turning action, and art on every spread, Kennedy’s Last Days is history that reads like a thriller.” (Publisher.)

Sandler, Martin W. The Impossible Rescue: True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure.

Somerville: Candlewick Press, 2012 979.803 S217 (lex:1270)

This is a great adventure book that will appeal to many different readers. Arctic cold, unruly and desperate sailors, a herd of reindeer and a daring and unparalleled rescue make for a very entertaining and informative story.

Websites and Blogs

Great Common Core Nonfiction

Uncommon Corps

American Library Association-Award Winners

New Fiction 2013


Bracken, Alexandra. The Darkest Minds. New York: Hyperion, 2012. FIC B797 Teen 

"Sixteen-year-old Ruby breaks out of a government-run 'rehabilition camp' for teens who acquired dangerous powers after surviving a virus that wiped out most American children."  (Publisher)


Brody, Jessica. Unremembered.  New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2013.  FIC B864 Teen

The only survivor of a horrible plane crash, 16 year old Violet has no memory of her past or how she got on the plane. All she has is a locket with a mysterious message, several people who are trying to capture her and a cute boy who says he wants to help.  But  who can you trust when you have no idea who you are?


Laban, Elizabeth. The Tragedy Paper. New York: Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2013.

 FIC L112 Teen 

"While preparing for the most dreaded assignment at the prestigious Irving School, the Tragedy Paper, Duncan gets wrapped up in the tragic tale of Tim Macbeth, a former student who had a clandestine relationship with the wrong girl, and his own ill-fated romance with Daisy." (Publisher)


Stiefvater, Maggie. The Dream Thieves  (Raven Boys #2).  New York: Scholastic Press, 2013

 FICS855 Teen

“Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after....” (Publisher) 


Strasser, Todd. Fallout. Sommerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2013.

“In the summer of 1962, the possibility of nuclear war is all anyone talks about. But Scott’s dad is the only one in the neighborhood who actually prepares for the worst. With not enough room, not enough food, and not enough air, life inside the shelter is filthy, physically draining, and emotionally fraught. But even worse is the question of what will — and won’t — remain when the door is opened again. “(Publisher)


Yancey, Rick. The Fifth Wave. New York: Putnam Young Reader’s Group, 2013.

 Fic Y21 Teen

“After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.” (Publisher)
Testimonial: My 18 year old son, who hates to read, came home early one night this summer because he couldn’t wait to read more of this story. It is that good





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