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      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.

      Drawing on Walls: A Story of Keith Haring

      by Matthew Burgess

      Oct 2020

      Arts Elementary Plus

      Truly devoted to the idea of public art, Haring created murals wherever he went.

      I would love to be a teacher because I love children and I think that not enough people respect children or understand how important they are. I have done many projects with children of all ages. —Keith Haring

      From Matthew Burgess, the much-acclaimed author of Enormous Smallness, comes Drawing on Walls: A Story of Keith Haring. Often seen drawing in white chalk on the matte black paper of unused advertising space in the subway, Haring’s iconic pop art and graffiti-like style transformed the New York City underground in the 1980s. A member of the LGBTQ community, Haring died tragically at the age of thirty-one from AIDS-related complications. Illustrated in paint by Josh Cochran, himself a specialist in bright, dense, conceptual drawings, this honest, celebratory book honors Haring’s life and art, along with his very special connection with kids.

      Bionic Beasts: Saving Animal Lives with Artificial Flippers, Legs, and Beaks

      by Jolene Gutierrez

      Oct 2020

      High-Interest Nonfiction Middle Plus

      What happens to a goose with no beak? Is it possible for a heavy animal like an elephant or a pig to walk on only three legs? Can a turtle with one flipper survive in the ocean?

      Readers are introduced to the stories of five different animals from around the globe that are thriving thanks to prosthetic body parts. Each of these animals was at risk of dying due to their circumstances, but humans intervened, and using a variety of techniques and technologies, they were able to create prosthetics that enabled these animals to survive. Discover the amazing true stories of animals that have survived thanks to their prosthetic body parts.

      The Great Bear Rescue: Saving the Gobi Bears

      by Sandra Markle

      Oct 2020

      Science Nonfiction Elementary Plus

      Acclaimed science author Sandra Markle offers a fascinating look at Gobi bears—the rarest bears on the planet. These adorable animals face threats ranging from illegal gold miners to climate change. Find out more about these bears, which are considered a national treasure in Mongolia, and learn what scientists are doing to help this critically endangered species.

      Chasing Chopin: A Musical Journey Across Three Centuries, Four Countries, and a Half-Dozen Revolutions

      by Annik LaFarge

      Oct 2020

      Adult Crossover Nonfiction Plus

      The Frédéric Chopin Annik LaFarge presents here is not the melancholy, sickly, romantic figure so often portrayed. The artist she discovered is, instead, a purely independent spirit: an innovator who created a new musical language, an autodidact who became a spiritually generous, trailblazing teacher, a stalwart patriot during a time of revolution and exile.

      In Chasing Chopin she follows in his footsteps during the three years, 1837–1840, when he composed his iconic “Funeral March”—dum dum da dum—using its composition story to illuminate the key themes of his life: a deep attachment to his Polish homeland; his complex relationship with writer George Sand; their harrowing but consequential sojourn on Majorca; the rapidly developing technology of the piano, which enabled his unique tone and voice; social and political revolution in 1830s Paris; friendship with other artists, from the famous Eugène Delacroix to the lesser known, yet notorious in his time, Marquis de Custine. Each of these threads—musical, political, social, personal—is woven through the “Funeral March” in Chopin’s Opus 35 sonata, a melody so famous it’s known around the world even to people who know nothing about classical music. But it is not, as LaFarge discovered, the piece of music we think we know.

      As part of her research into Chopin’s world, then and now, LaFarge visited piano makers, monuments, churches, and archives; she talked to scholars, jazz musicians, video game makers, software developers, music teachers, theater directors, and of course dozens of pianists. The result is extraordinary: an engrossing, page-turning work of musical discovery and an artful portrayal of a man whose work and life continue to inspire artists and cultural innovators in astonishing ways.

      Jumbo: The Making of the Boeing 747

      by Chris Gall

      Oct 2020

      Nonfiction Elementary Plus

      For the 50th anniversary of the Boeing 747’s first commercial flight, a picture book about the development of the iconic passenger plane and how it changed the history of air travel.

      In 1968, the biggest passenger jet the world had ever seen premiered in Everett, Washington. The giant plane was called the Boeing 747, but reporters named it “the Jumbo jet.”

      There was only one problem. It couldn’t fly. Yet.

      Jumbo details the story of the world’s first wide-body passenger jet, which could hold more people than any other jet at the time. The Boeing 747 introduced new technologies to the aviation industry and played a pivotal role in middle class families affording travel overseas.

      Fathoms: The World in the Whale

      by Rebecca Giggs

      Oct 2020

      Adult Crossover Nonfiction Plus

      When writer Rebecca Giggs encountered a humpback whale stranded on her local beachfront in Australia, she began to wonder how the lives of whales reflect the condition of our oceans. Fathoms: The World in the Whale blends natural history, philosophy, and science to explore: How do whales experience ecological change? How has whale culture been both understood and changed by human technology? What can observing whales teach us about the complexity, splendour, and fragility of life? In Fathoms, we learn about whales so rare they have never been named, whale songs that sweep across hemispheres in annual waves of popularity, and whales that have modified the chemical composition of our planet’s atmosphere. We travel to Japan to board the ships that hunt whales and delve into the deepest seas to discover how plastic pollution pervades our earth’s undersea environment.

      In the spirit of Rachel Carson and Rebecca Solnit, Giggs gives us a vivid exploration of the natural world even as she addresses what it means to write about nature at a time of environmental crisis. With depth and clarity, Giggs outlines the challenges we face as we attempt to understand the perspectives of other living beings, and our own place on an evolving planet. Evocative and inspiring, Fathoms marks the arrival of an essential new voice.

      The Radium Girls: Young Readers’ Edition: The Scary but True Story of the Poison that Made People Glow in the Dark

      by Kate Moore

      Oct 2020

      Biography Middle Plus

      Now adapted for young readers! The incredible true story of the young women exposed to the “wonder drug” radium, and their struggle for justice.

      The Radium Girls is a rich, historical narrative of the young women exposed to the "wonder" substance of radium, and their brave struggle for justice. Their courage and tenacity saved many others, led to world-changing regulations, and even prevented nuclear war.

      Written with a sparkling voice and galloping pace, The Radium Girls is the first book that fully explores these women's strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances, and the incredible legacy they left behind. Now adapted for young readers!

      A Thousand Glass Flowers: Marietta Barovier and the Invention of the Rosetta Bead

      by Evan Turk

      Oct 2020

      Arts Elementary Plus

      Marietta and her family lived on the island of Murano, near Venice, as all glassmakers did in the early Renaissance. Her father, Angelo Barovier, was a true maestro, a master of glass. Marietta longed to create gorgeous glass too, but glass was men’s work.

      One day her father showed her how to shape the scalding-hot material into a work of art, and Marietta was mesmerized. Her skills grew and grew.

      Marietta worked until she created her own unique glass bead: the rosetta. Small but precious, the beautiful beads grew popular around the world and became as valuable as gold. The young girl who was once told she could not create art was now the woman who would leave her mark on glasswork for centuries to come.

      The World of the First Christians: A Curious Kid's Guide to the Early Church

      by Marc Olson

      Oct 2020

      Religious Books Elementary

      The life and teachings of Jesus changed the world forever--but what happened after the events of the Gospels? How did Christianity grow from a small group of followers to one of the largest religious movements in human history? How did the first Christians survive in an oppressive Roman Empire? What did the early church believe, and how did they worship? The World of the First Christians: A Curious Kid's Guide to the Early Church answers these questions and more, with colorful illustrations, charts, graphs, maps, and other infographics that will keep kids' attention for hours and give them new insight and understanding into the early growth of the Christian faith.

      Curious Kids' Guides present cool and surprising information about Christian history and beliefs in an entertaining, visually engaging way for kids.

      Sisters of the War: Two Remarkable True Stories of Survival and Hope in Syria

      by Rania Abouzeid

      Oct 2020

      Nonfiction High Plus

      Since the revolution-turned-civil war in Syria began in 2011, over 500,000 civilians have been killed and more than 12 million Syrians have been displaced. Rania Abouzeid, one of the foremost journalists on the topic, follows two pairs of sisters from opposite sides of the conflict to give readers a firsthand glimpse of the turmoil and devastation this strife has wrought. Sunni Muslim Ruha and her younger sister Alaa withstand constant attacks by the Syrian government in rebel-held territory. Alawite sisters Hanin and Jawa try to carry on as normal in the police state of regime-held Syria. The girls grow up in a world where nightly bombings are routine and shrapnel counts as toys. They bear witness to arrests, killings, demolished homes, and further atrocities most adults could not even imagine. Still, war does not dampen their sense of hope.

      Through the stories of Ruha and Alaa and Hanin and Jawa, Abouzeid presents a clear-eyed and page-turning account of the complex conditions in Syria leading to the onset of the harrowing conflict. With Abouzeid's careful attention and remarkable reporting, she crafts an incredibly empathetic and nuanced narrative of the Syrian civil war, and the promise of progress these young people still embody.

      A Most Beautiful Thing: The True Story of America’s First All-Black High School Rowing Team

      by Arshay Cooper

      Oct 2020

      Sports High

      Growing up on Chicago’s Westside in the 90’s, Arshay Cooper knows the harder side of life. The street corners are full of gangs, the hallways of his apartment complex are haunted by junkies he calls “zombies” with strung out arms, clutching at him as he passes by. His mother is a recovering addict, and his three siblings all sleep in a one room apartment, a small infantry against the war zone on the street below.

      Arshay keeps to himself, preferring to write poetry about the girl he has a crush on, and spends his school days in the home-ec kitchen dreming of becoming a chef. And then one day as he’s walking out of school he notices boats lined up on the floor of the gymnasium, and a poster that reads “Join the Crew Team”.

      Arshay, having no idea what the sport of crew is, decides to take a chance. This decision to join is one that will forever change his life, and those of his fellow teammates. As Arshay and his teammates begin to come together, learning not only how to row, many never having been in water before, the sport takes them from the mean streets of Chicago, to the hallowed halls of the Ivy League. But Arshay and his teammates face adversity at every turn, from racism, gang violence, and a sport that has never seen anyone like them before.
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