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      How to Build a Story . . . Or, the Big What If

      by Frances O'Roark Dowell

      Sep 2020

      High-Interest Nonfiction Middle Plus

      If you’ve written anything, ever, you’re already a writer—so, congratulations! As many aspiring authors know, though, telling an actual, complete story is, well, a different story.

      As unfinished drafts pile up and writers’ block strikes, it may start to feel like there’s a special formula to finishing a project that you’re just not getting. But crafting a story isn’t magic, if you have a little know-how! And here it is—know-how! In her witty, clever way, critically acclaimed author Frances O’Roark Dowell explains the storytelling process with simple, easy-to-understand steps. Follow along as she shares sample stories and identifies building blocks and obstacles to conquer—all hilariously illustrated, in a way that’ll have you typing all the way to the end of your own story.

      Dung for Dinner: A Stomach-Churning Look at the Animal Poop, Pee, Vomit, and Secretions that People Have Eaten (and Often Still Do!)

      by Christine Virnig

      Sep 2020

      High-Interest Nonfiction Middle Plus

      A middle-grade nonfiction debut tackling stomach-churning information about the animal poop, pee, vomit, and secretions that humans have eaten—and often still do! From Roman charioteers scarfing down goat dung to astronauts guzzling their own pee to kids today spreading insect vomit on toast, this compendium of hideously amusing science and history is full of fun and funny facts. A scientific history, it explores some of the grossest things we humans put into our mouths—often without even realizing it. Bug secretions coating your candy corn. Rodent poop in your popcorn. Insect vomit on your PB&J. It's deliciously disgusting!

      Normal: One Kid’s Extraordinary Journey (Young Readers’ Edition)

      by Magdalena Newman

      Jul 2020

      High-Interest Nonfiction Middle Plus

      Normal. Who is to say what this word means? For Magda Newman, it was a goal. She wanted her son Nathaniel to be able to play on the playground, swim at the beach, enjoy the moments his friends took for granted. But Nathaniel’s severe Treacher Collins syndrome—a craniofacial condition—meant that other concerns came first. Could he eat without the aid of a gastrointestinal tube? Could he hear? Would he ever be able to breathe effortlessly? But Nathaniel looks at “normal” from a completely different perspective.

      In this uplifting and humorous memoir that includes black-and-white comic illustrations, mother and son tell the story of his growing up—from facing sixty-seven surgeries before the age of fifteen, to making friends, moving across the country, and persevering through hardships. How they tackle extraordinary circumstances with love and resilience is a true testament to Magda and Nathaniel’s family, and to families everywhere who quietly but courageously persist.

      Trending: How and Why Stuff Gets Popular

      by Kira Vermod

      Jun 2020

      High-Interest Nonfiction Middle Plus

      Fads and trends: How do they start? Why do they spread? And how deep can their impact be? Although trends might seem trivial, if you dig deeper, you’ll find that our desire to chase the next big thing can have an even bigger impact than expected.

      Established middle-grade author Kira Vermond and cartoonist Clayton Hanmer team up in this fun and accessible nonfiction look at fads. In four short chapters, the book explores what a fad is, how the latest crazes catch on, and what makes us jump on the bandwagon. Finally, it looks at the fascinating and even frightening effects of fads both modern and historic. Who knew the beaver pelt craze in 17th century Europe would change ecosystems, start wars, and disrupt life as people knew it?

      Extreme Ocean: Amazing Animals, High-Tech Gear, Record-Breaking Depths, and More

      by Sylvia Earle

      May 2020

      High-Interest Nonfiction Middle Plus

      Dive into a world of aquatic mystery in this action-packed combination of science and adventure. Famed National Geographic Explorer Sylvia Earle leads readers on an in-depth tour of life beneath the waves. Come face-to-face with whales and sharks, learn about the newest and most hi-tech ocean gear and gadgets, experiment with hands-on activities, and join Earle as she recounts her most daring dives. Packed with fascinating tidbits, animal profiles, and up-to-date science, each chapter combines stunning photography with fun, accessible text. Perfect for curious kids, ocean lovers, young explorers, and the classroom.

      Extreme Ocean reveals the mystery, majesty, danger, and—above all—the importance of our ocean.

      Grow a Garden!: Maker Comics

      by Alexis Frederick-Frost

      Apr 2020

      High-Interest Nonfiction Middle Plus

      Violet, Will, and Basil must be the unluckiest students at the Garden Gnome Academy. They've been stuck with Mr. Butternut, the school's most unpopular (and unusual) teacher. They have to learn about soil and compost while their classmates get to study exotic plants and butterflies. Although things get a little messy (and stinky) in his class, Mr. Butternut knows the secret to growing a great garden. Read along to get all the dirt on your favorite vegetables, from seed to harvest!

      Follow the easy step-by-step instructions in this book and learn to make:
      •A compost bin
      •A seed pot
      •Potting mix
      •A growlight shelf
      •A cold frame
      •A container garden 

      Into the Blizzard: Heroism at Sea During the Great Blizzard of 1978 (The Young Readers Adaptation)

      by Michael J. Tougias

      Feb 2020

      High-Interest Nonfiction Middle Plus

      In the midst of the Blizzard of 1978, the tanker Global Hope floundered on the shoals in Salem Sound off the Massachusetts coast. When the Coast Guard heard the Mayday calls, they immediately dispatched a patrol rescue boat. But within an hour, the Coast Guard rescue boat was in as much trouble as the tanker—both paralyzed in unrelenting seas. Enter Captain Frank Quirk, who was compelled to act. Gathering his crew of four, Quirk plunged his forty-nine-foot steel boat, the Can Do, into the blizzard.

      Perfect for fans of the I Survived series, this middle-grade adaptation of an adult nonfiction book chronicles the harrowing journey between Captain Quirk and the Coast Guard as they struggled in the holds of a radical storm. It's an epic tale of heroism and bravery at sea.

      “Key Vessels and Crewmembers.” Maps. Epilogue. Glossary. Author’s note. Black-and-white photo insert.

      The First Dinosaur: How Science Solved the Greatest Mystery on Earth

      by Ian Lendler

      Jan 2020

      High-Interest Nonfiction Middle Plus

      Dinosaurs existed. That’s a fact we accept today. But not so long ago, the concept that these giant creatures could have roamed Earth millions of years before humans was unfathomable. People thought what we know as dinosaur bones were the bones of giant humans. Of large elephants. Of angels, even.

      So, how did we get from angel wings to the T-Rex? The First Dinosaur tells the story of the idea of dinosaurs, and the chain of fossil discoveries and advances in science that led to that idea. Be prepared to meet eccentric men and overlooked women who uncovered the pieces to a puzzle so much bigger than themselves, a puzzle far stranger and more spectacular than they could have ever imagined.

      Epilogue. Bibliography. Index. Full-color photographs, reproductions, and illustrations rendered in pen, ink, and digitally.

      Caught!: Nabbing History's Most Wanted

      by Georgia Bragg

      Nov 2019

      High-Interest Nonfiction Middle Plus

      Outlaw, assassin, art thief, and spy, these fourteen troublemakers and crooks—including Blackbeard the pirate, Typhoid Mary, and gangster Al Capone—have given the good guys a run for their money throughout the ages. Some were crooked, some were deadly, and some were merely out of line—but they all got caught!, as detailed in this fascinating and funny study of crime, culture, and forensic science.

      FEATURING HISTORY'S MOST WANTED: Joan of Arc, Sir Walter Raleigh, Caravaggio, Blackbeard, John Wilkes Booth, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Mata Hari, Typhoid Mary, Rasputin, Vincenzo Peruggia (Mona Lisa thief), Bernard Kuehn (Pearl Harbor spy), Anna Anderson (Anastasia impersonator), and Al Capone.

      Bibliography. Index. Black-and-white illustrations.

      Leo Thorsness: Vietnam: Valor in the Sky

      by Michael P. Spradlin

      Oct 2019

      High-Interest Nonfiction Middle Plus

      Lieutenant Colonel Leo K. Thorsness was a Wild Weasel pilot in the Vietnam War, targeting enemy missile sites. On a 1967 mission, when his wingmen ejected from their burning aircraft, Thorsness initiated attacks on enemy planes and other daring maneuvers in order to protect them. Two weeks later, he was shot down and would become a P.O.W. for the next six years.

      This is the third nonfiction middle-grade book in the Medal of Honor series, which profiles the courage and accomplishments of recipients of the Medal of Honor, the highest and most prestigious personal military decoration, awarded to recognize U.S. military service members who have distinguished themselves through extraordinary acts of valor.

      Note on the Medal of Honor. List of US Air Force ranks. Map. Leo Thorsness Medal of Honor citation. Glossary. Source notes. Selected bibliography. Black-and-white photographs.

      The Unabomber: Agent Kathy Puckett and the Hunt for a Serial Bomber: FBI Files

      by Bryan Denson

      Oct 2019

      High-Interest Nonfiction Middle Plus

      The Unabomber was a lone-wolf terrorist who carried out fourteen bombings that left three people dead and another twenty-three injured. A cunning genius, he dodged his FBI pursuers for nearly two decades, terrifying Americans from coast to coast.

      Agent Kathy Puckett, a spy hunter and highly trained psychologist, served as the turning point in the FBI's efforts to understand the mind of the faceless killer. Her insights helped send more than a hundred agenst to a remote cabin in the mountains of western Montana on April 3, 1996.

      There the FBI captured Theodore J. Kaczynski, engineer fo the most notorious bombing spree in U.S. history.

      This is the story of the FBI's investigation of the Unabomber and the agent who brought him to justice.

      Key characters. Epilogue. Author’s note. Time line of bombings. The Unabom case by the numbers. “A Lesson in Persistence.” Note on domestic terrorism. Sources. Index. Black-and-white photographs.

      From an Idea to LEGO: The Building Bricks Behind the World's Largest Toy Company

      by Lowey Bundy Sichol

      Sep 2019

      High-Interest Nonfiction Middle Plus

      Today, LEGO is one of the biggest toy companies in the world, but a long time ago, a Danish carpenter, Ole Kirk Christiansen, started with just an idea. Find out more about LEGO’s origins, those famous bricks, and their other inventive toys and movie ventures in this illustrated nonfiction book!
      • Find out the origin the name “LEGO.” (Hint: it combines two Danish words)
      • See how LEGO grew from a carpentry shop to a multi-platform toy company.
      • Discover how LEGO bricks are made and how they came up with their design.


      Time line of LEGO. How LEGO bricks are made. Source notes. Bibliography. Web sources. Black-and-white illustrations.
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