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      The Challenger Disaster: Tragedy in the Skies: History Comics

      by Pranas T. Naujokaitis

      Dec 2020

      Nonfiction Middle Plus

      Turn back the clock with History Comics! This volume of First Second's new nonfiction series introduces readers to the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster of 1986.

      Let this graphic novel be your time machine—experience history like never before! Fight for equality in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, train with the first civilian selected for a mission to space, help spark a rebellion at the Stonewall Riot, and so much more! With History Comics, the past comes alive in a way that's edifying, entertaining, and relevant to kids' lives.

      In this volume, turn the clock back to January 28, 1986. Seven astronauts boarded the space shuttle Challenger on what was intended to be a routine mission. But then disaster struck. What caused the mid-air explosion? Would future crewed space missions be permanently grounded? In this imaginative tale set in a far-off future a group of curious kids investigates the hard questions surrounding the Challenger explosion.

      All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team

      by Christina Soontornvat

      Nov 2020

      Nonfiction Middle Plus

      Out of stock
      A unique account of the amazing Thai cave rescue told in a heart-racing, you-are-there style that blends suspense, science, and cultural insight.


      Luckily, the Wild Boars are a very extraordinary "ordinary" group. Combining firsthand interviews of rescue workers with in-depth science and details of the region’s culture and religion, author Christina Soontornvat—who was visiting family in Northern Thailand when the Wild Boars went missing—masterfully shows how both the complex engineering operation above ground and the mental struggles of the thirteen young people below proved critical in the life-or-death mission.

      Plasticus Maritimus: An Invasive Species

      by Ana Pego

      Oct 2020

      Nonfiction Middle Plus

      When she was young, biologist Ana Pêgo didn’t play in a backyard, but on a beach. She walked along the shore, looked at tide pools, and collected fossils. As she grew older, Pêgo noticed a new species at the seaside: plastic. She decided to collect it, study it, and give it a Latin name—Plasticus maritimus—to warn people of its dangers to our planet.

      Inspired by Pêgo’s life’s work, and filled with engaging science and colorful photographs, this foundational look at ocean plastics explains why they are such an urgent contemporary issue. Pêgo tells us how plastics end up in our rivers, lakes, and oceans, shares plastic’s chemical composition and physical properties, and offers a field guide to help readers identify and understand this new invasive species in all its forms, from the obvious (fishing nets and water bottles) to the unfamiliar (tiny, clear particles called microplastics). Finally, she offers a critical look at our current “solutions” to plastic contamination and in her most important proposal—REVOLUTIONIZE—calls for deep changes in our habits, motivating young and old alike to make a difference, together. An artificial and almost indestructible species, Plasticus maritimus deserves to have its days numbered! Together, we can send it packing.

      The Big One: The Cascadia Earthquakes and the Science of Saving Lives: Scientists in the Field

      by Elizabeth Rusch

      Oct 2020

      Nonfiction Middle Plus

      No one ever thought the Pacific Northwest was due for an earthquake, let alone a catastrophic one. But geologists are transforming our understanding of the grave dangers the population in the region of Cascadia face—will there be a big one? And what can be done to save lives?

      America's Pacific Northwest has relatively few earthquakes—only a handful each year that cause even moderately noticeable shaking. But a couple decades ago, scientists discovered a geological feature running along the coast that in other parts of the world regularly triggers massive earthquakes of 8.0 magnitude and higher. Were there once massive earthquakes in this part of the world?

      Geologists think there were. Now a small group of scientists are studying things that you might not think have anything to do with earthquakes—marsh soil, ocean sediments, landslide debris, and ghost forests—and they have reason to believe that the Pacific Northwest is likely not as idyllic as it was once assumed. The population is likely in grave danger of a massive earthquake at some point. What can be done? The big one can't be stopped, but scientists are working tirelessly to learn as much as they can to prepare.

      Race through the Skies: The Week the World Learned to Fly

      by Martin W. Sandler

      Sep 2020

      Nonfiction Middle Plus

      In 1903, the Wright brothers made three brief flights, and no one was there to watch them. Six years later, Wilbur Wright traveled to Europe to evangelicize about aviation and raise money for patents--and the world got aviation fever. That summer, a group of champagne companies organized the first ever international air meet. They knew they could throw a great party and sell a lot of champagne. They didn’t know that this single week would change the course of aviation history.

      Through remarkable photographs, firsthand accounts, and lively narrative, Marty Sandler tells the story of this first international air meet, marking the public introduction of flight.

      Star-Spangled: The Story of a Flag, a Battle, and the American Anthem

      by Tim Grove

      Sep 2020

      Nonfiction Middle Plus

      “O say can you see” begins one of the most recognizable songs in the US. Originally a poem by Francis Scott Key, the national anthem tells the story of the American flag rising high above a fort after a night of intense battle during the War of 1812. But there is much more to the story than what is sung at ball games. What was this battle about? Whose bombs were bursting, and why were rockets glaring? Who sewed those broad stripes and bright stars? Why were free black soldiers fighting on both sides? Who was Francis Scott Key anyway, and how did he end up with such a close view?

      Star-Spangled tells the whole story from the perspectives of different real players—both American and British—of this obscure but important battle from American history.

      Beyond Words: What Wolves and Dogs Think and Feel (A Young Reader’s Adaptation)

      by Carl Safina

      Aug 2020

      Nonfiction Middle Plus

      The New York Times bestselling book Beyond Words is now available for middle-grade readers and focuses on consciousness and self-awareness in wolves and dogs.

      Eye-opening, wise, and filled with triumphant and heartbreaking stories about the wolf population at Yellowstone (as well as some personal anecdotes about dogs), Beyond Words: What Wolves and Dogs Think and Feel accessibly explores the mysteries of animal thought and behavior for young readers.

      Weaving decades of field research with exciting new discoveries about the brain, and complete with astonishing photos, Beyond Words offers an extraordinary look at what makes these animals different from us, but more importantly, what makes them similar, namely, their feelings of joy, grief, anger, and love.

      These similarities between human and nonhuman consciousness and empathy allow the reader to reexamine how we interact with animals as well as how we see our own place in the world.

      We Are Power: How Nonviolent Activism Changes the World

      by Todd Hasak-Lowy

      Jul 2020

      Nonfiction Middle Plus

      We Are Power brings to light the incredible individuals who have used nonviolent activism to change the world. The book explores questions such as what is nonviolent resistance and how does it work? In an age when armies are stronger than ever before, when guns seem to be everywhere, how can people confront their adversaries without resorting to violence themselves? Through key international movements as well as people such as Gandhi, Alice Paul, Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, and Václav Havel, this book discusses the components of nonviolent resistance. It answers the question “Why nonviolence?” by showing how nonviolent movements have succeeded again and again in a variety of ways, in all sorts of places, and always in the face of overwhelming odds. The book includes endnotes, a bibliography, and anindex.

      Powwow: A Celebration through Song and Dance

      by Karen Pheasant-Neganigwane

      Jun 2020

      Nonfiction Middle Plus

      Powwow is a celebration of Indigenous song and dance. It’s a journey through the history of powwow culture in North America, from its origins in colonization, the Indian Act and the Wild West shows of the late 1800s, to the thriving powwow culture of today. As a lifelong competitive powwow dancer, Karen Pheasant-Neganigwane is a guide to the protocols, regalia, songs, dances and even food you can find at powwows from coast to coast, as well as the important role they play in Indigenous culture and reconciliation.

      Tracking Pythons: The Quest to Catch an Invasive Predator and Save an Ecosystem

      by Kate Messner

      May 2020

      Nonfiction Middle Plus

      Burmese pythons are native to Southeast Asia, so when one showed up dead along the side of a Florida highway in 1979, scientists wondered where it came from. No one knew the snakes had launched a full-scale invasion. Pet pythons that escaped or were released by their owners started breeding in the wild, and these enormous predators began eating every animal in their path. Today a group of scientists at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida is tracking Burmese pythons to find ways to stop their spread. Page Plus links lead to video clips and photos of the scientists working in the field. Delve into the science of pythons and their role as invasive predators.

      My Survival: A Girl on Schindler’s List

      by Rena Finder

      Apr 2020

      Nonfiction Middle Plus

      Out of stock
      Rena Finder was only eleven when the Nazis forced her and her family—along with all the other Jewish families—into the ghetto in Krakow, Poland. Rena worked as a slave laborer with scarcely any food and watched as friends and family were sent away.

      Then Rena and her mother ended up working for Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who employed Jewish prisoners in his factory and kept them fed and healthy. But Rena's nightmares were not over. She and her mother were deported to the concentration camp Auschwitz. With great cunning, it was Schindler who set out to help them escape. Here in her own words is Rena's gripping story of survival, perseverance, tragedy, and hope.

      Beetle Battles: One Scientist's Journey of Adventure and Discovery

      by Douglas J. Emlen

      Mar 2020

      Nonfiction Middle Plus

      Doug Emlen is a scientist. He studies beetles. Specifically, he studies the evolution of beetle weapons—how their horns and armor change to better suit them in different environments.

      This book starts with a mystery: Doug wanted to know why a particular type of beetle developed a massive evolutionary weapon. He wanted to know how these changes happened and what advantages these enormous weapons gave the tiny dung beetles. So, he went to visit.

      Part travel diary and part scientific exploration, Beetle Battles takes you deep into the South American rainforest to monitor beetles in their own habitat.

      Epilogue. Resources. Index. Full-color photographs, maps, diagrams, and illustrations.
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