As if I didn’t already have way too many things on my To Be Read list, I couldn’t resist the lure of another challenge. These challenges help me focus my reading on some of the best quality new books. They also help motivate me to vary my reading, stepping outside my comfort zone. In particular, I don’t tend to read much nonfiction unless I have a challenge, or at least a list of good suggestions to guide my choices. What better list than the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award short list! Of course, the Morris Award short list is great, too, because it introduces me to the best new YA authors. Sadly, my library does not own all of the Morris titles, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to complete that part of the challenge. On a brighter note, I do have all of the nonfiction titles sitting on my desk – except Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin. I think I’m going to have to pry that one out of my husband’s hands to read it. (One of the side benefits of these challenges is that there are always books that interest him, which he would not have otherwise found.)
In the first week I finished just one book. (Did I mention that my TBR list was already huge?) We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March by Cynthia Levine is fabulous book. The larger story of the march is told through the experiences of 4 of the young participants, giving it a very personal quality. I learned a lot from this book. I didn’t even know about children’s active participation in the Civil Rights struggle, let alone how pivotal this set of protests was to the movement’s success.
I think many people avoid nonfiction, fearing that it will be too much like school. But the great thing about books like We’ve Got a Job is that they are real narratives. They tell an engaging story, and along the way we learn about our world and our history. If you really enjoy one of the Nonfiction Award finalists, be sure to check out The Hub‘s posts on fiction titles that make good companions for these five books.