Nonfiction News 2016-2017


30 People Who Changed the World

The first book in our Nonfiction Minute print collection, published in October 2017.

In this collection of 30 essays, each historical figure has a short piece dedicated just to them, with helpful and intriguing visuals. Learn more!

Available now.



“In 1977 a new movie called STAR WARS was all the rage. “Fly Like an Eagle” and “Dancing Queen” were rocking the airwaves. And two unmanned probes named VOYAGER 1 and VOYAGER 2 were launched into space. Forty years later the twins are still exploring, and the VOYAGER INTERSTELLAR MISSION is taking us to the stars. Science writer Alexandra Siy celebrates this extraordinary achievement–and reveals how the VOYAGERS have revolutionized our relationship with the cosmos.”

Two new books from Pam Turner

This is the story of insane courage and daring feats, bitter rivalry and fatal love. Based on one of the great works of Japanese history and literature, Samurai Rising takes a clear-eyed, very modern look at the way of the samurai—and at the man who became the most famous samurai of all.

Booklist Editor’s Choice 2016
Booklist Top Ten Biography for Youth
Eureka! Gold Award, California Reading Association
Junior Library Guild Selection
Kirkus Reviews Best Middle Grade Books of 2016
School Library Journal Best of 2016
YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award finalist

It’s no longer an insult to be called ‘bird brained.’ Scientists have discovered that New Caledonian crows deserve a spot alongside dolphins, monkeys, and chimpanzees in the ranks of super-smart animals. Yet even within this elite crowd, New Caledonian crows stand out. These birds not only use tools, but manufacture a whole crow toolkit. And their puzzle-solving abilities invite the question: Is a crow smarter than a second-grader?

AAAS/SB&F Science Writing Prize Finalist
Horn Book Best of 2016
Junior Library Guild selection

From April Pulley Sayre’s amazing eye and language for nature:


The Slowest Book Ever was a finalist in the elementary/juvenile nonfiction category for the Cybils Award:  Best in Snow with photos by April received four starred reviews, was a Kirkus Best Book of 2016, and was named an Outstanding Science Trade Book by NSTA. Its jacket cover illustration, a photo of a bluejay in snow, was used for the  cover of the Dec 15, 2016 issue of Booklist.

From Aline Newman in April, 2016

We humans love our cats and these surprising true stories will prove our cats love us back! This collection of tales of playfulness, friendship, heroism, and inspiration is sure to touch the soul, tickle the funny bone, and inspire animal lovers everywhere to be the best kitty caretakers and companions they can be. There’s Bambi, whose owners taught her to respond to commands in American Sign Language; Millie, who loves exploring the outdoors and goes rock climbing with her owner; Leo, a rescued lion who changed the life of one South African family forever, and more.

From Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

In 2015, the story of Eclipse, a dog in Seattle who figured out how to ride the bus to the dog park all by herself went viral on the internet.  Now, Eclipse tells her own story in the 2016 release, “Dog on Board: The True Story of Eclipse, the Bus Riding Dog.”  Booklist writes “Eclipse’s story is perfect for the picture book set, and doggie lovers will get right on board. “  City Dog Magazine comments, “Now you can see the world through her eyes….Eclipse’s story of how she takes the bus all on her own is so compelling (and adorable), and now it can be shared with younger children in this lovely picture book .

Two new books from Elizabeth Rusch

Another distinguished addition to the Scientist in the Field Series.

Join award-winning nonfiction author Elizabeth Rusch and photographer Karin Andersen in the field for a meteorite hunt, to the edge of an impact crater to survey past damage, into a geology lab to examine space rocks, and to an observatory where telescopes probe the vastness of space, searching for asteroids on a collision course with Earth. It’s a scientific journey that just might save our planet.  To be released in 2017.

Bartolomeo Cristofori treasures the quiet. It allows him to coax just the right sounds from the musical instruments he makes. Some of his keyboards can play piano, light and soft, others can make forte notes ring out, strong and loud, but Cristofori longs to create an instrument that can be played both soft and loud. An instrument to capture the music of life.

His talent has caught the attention of Prince Ferdinando de Medici, who wants his court to become the musical center of Italy. The prince brings Cristofori to Florence. The city is full of noise! Tink, tink go the tiny hammers of the goldsmiths. BANG, BANG pound the blacksmiths’ sledgehammers. Could hammers be the key to the new instrument?****a Junior Library Guild selection to be released in April.

And from Susanna Reich in March.

One of the twentieth century’s leading advocates for human rights, Pete Seeger dedicated his life to bringing people together through music. Now, a new generation can discover his inspiring story in Susanna Reich’s picture book Stand Up and Sing: Pete Seeger, Folk Music and the Path the Justice.

Surrounded by music from an early age, Pete discovered the banjo as a teenager and soon put its rhythms to work. Moved by the suffering he witnessed during the Great Depression, he sang in support of workers’ rights and racial equality. During the McCarthy Era he went from the bestseller list to the blacklist, displaying extraordinary courage in the face of power and injustice. With songs like “Turn, Turn, Turn,” “If I Had a Hammer,” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” Pete sowed the seeds of the 1960s folk revival, and as an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War, took President Lyndon Johnson to task. A founder of the sloop Clearwater, he helped spearhead the environmental movement and clean up the Hudson River. Stand Up and Sing! shows how music and political activism can walk hand-in-hand, and how Pete continues to set a timely example for young people to speak up and speak out.  ****A Junior Library Guild selection


Vicki Cobb’s Science Experiments You Can Eat has been in print for 45 years.  That makes it a classic.  She revised it in 1994 and now it’s back in 2016. This third edition is bigger and better than ever.  Check out the trailer below to get a taste for one delectable book–now a best seller on Amazon.

stockdale-flowers                                 stockdale-spots

Susan Stockdale has written and illustrated two new books:

With lyrical, rhyming text and beautiful, patterned paintings, award-winning author and illustrator Susan Stockdale introduces readers to this spring’s ultimate “STEM” picture book: Fantastic Flowers (March 2017).

With engaging rhymes and signature bold images from author and illustrator Susan Stockdale, the award-winning picture book Spectacular Spots is now available in a bilingual edition: Spectacular Spots / Magníficas manchas (March 2017).

From the prolific Jim Whiting:

Youngsters will definitely get a kick out of reading Soccer Champions, Jim Whiting’s latest series. It includes six of the best-known European club soccer teams and is aimed at readers in grades 1-3. FC Barcelona features Lionel Messi, probably the world’s best-known soccer player. The other teams are Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Liverpool FC, and Bayern Munich. Short, punchy paragraphs and dynamic illustrations make this series aa goooooooooooal!

Two from Laurence Pringle:

The Secret Life of the Red Fox, illustrated by Kate Garchinsky (her first book!) and to be published in March 2017, has already earned a starred review from School Library Journal:

A stealthy predator, downy companion,or astute mascot? Owls, Pringle contends, are as multifaceted as they are abundant. Through a series of photographic watercolors and pithy paragraphs, Pringle and Henderson illumine the history of the owl, its many forms, and its varied habitats—from church steeples to the frozen tundra. The text helpfully breaks down a discussion of species into a handful of fun facts (you won’t find a screech owl screeching) and popular favorites (Harry Potter’s Hedwig is a snowy owl, of course!).

Three from the author/illustrator Steve Jenkins.

Have you ever seen a dog climb a tree? Or an octopus that walks? How about a spider turning somersaults? You’ll meet them all in this book, along with creatures that use flaps of skin, webbed toes, hundreds of legs, or jets of water to help them move.

Honor book for the 2016 Eureka Excellence in Children’s Nonfiction

A Junior Library Guild Selection

Do all the insects in the world weigh more than all the humans?

Which animal can survive both boiling water and the vacuum of space?

Which animal sleeps more, a python or a bat? Which animal is more dangerous: a shark or a hippopotamus? Animals by the Numbers answers these questions and many more.Amazon Best Children’s Books of the Year: NonFiction
Book Links’ Lasting Connections 2016
Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 for 2017
Raleigh News & Observer Best of 2016

he World’s Deadliest Hunters, Past andT Present

The Siberian tiger, the great white shark, and many other present-day apex predators are powerful and deadly. But in the past there were even more lethal killers — animals that stalked their prey thousands or millions of years ago. Coming June, 2017.

Congratulations to all!


Sneed B. Collard III

Fire Birds: Valuing Natural Wild Fires and Burned Forests

Two new books by Sneed B. Collard III.  Fire Bird (Bucking Horse Books, 2015) has received the following accolades:

* Junior Library Guild Selection

* Starred review in School Library Journal

* Two stars (highest rating) in Science Books & Films

* 2015-2016 Keystone to Reading List
Snakes, Alligators and Broken Hearts;
Journeys of a Biologist's Son

April Pulley Sayre/Steve Jenkins

Sayre’s most recent partnership with another iNK Think Tank member, Steve Jenkins: Woodpecker Wham! is being featured by her state at the National Book Festival on the mall in Washington D.C.
Woodpecker Wham!
Raindrops Roll, written and photo-illustrated by April Pulley Sayre, received three starred reviews.
Raindrops Roll

Alexandra Siy

Spidermania: Friends on the Web is a 2015 Eureka! Nonfiction Children’s Book Honor Book.
Friends on the Web

Vicki Cobb

Video Edition. QR codes take you to the videos. You can join the video project.
We Dare You!
Hundreds of Fun Science Bets, challenges and Experiments You Can Do at Home

The We Dare You Videos website.

Susanna Reich

Fab Four Friends introduces the next generation of fans to John, Paul, George and Ringo. Told through a lyrical text and stunning paintings, this book spotlights four ordinary boys growing up amid the rubble of postwar England who found music to be a powerful, even life-saving, force.
Fab Four Friends
The Boys Who Became the Beatles

*A Junior Library Guild Selection
“A gorgeous love letter to an unforgettable band.” – School Library Journal
“[A] grand and archetypal tale….First steps on the long and winding road .” – Kirkus
“The perfect introduction to the mythic pop band — a thoughtful and delightful retelling that, like the Beatles, hits all the right notes.” – Bob Spitz

Laurence Pringle

Laurence Pringle's 114th
book, received a starred review from Kirkus.
Strange and Wonderful

Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

For thousands of years, people have decorated their horses for many reasons—protection during warfare, decoration for competitive events, and for ceremonies. Jeannie Brett’s lively art brings the stories to life.
Decorated Horses

From  Rebecca G. Aguilar Reviews:

The title from Charlesbridge about how humans have adorned their horses throughout history would make a gorgeous addition to a school library’s nonfiction shelves….The book wins kudos for its balanced format, strong content and eye-pleasing illustrations. Brett’s warm watercolors are both sweeping and detailed, while Hinshaw Patent’s effortless narrative ledes maintain the focus of her research throughout the book….Horse people ages 8-12 will find Decorated Horses to be an engrossing and satisfying read.

Here are some other notable awards: Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit Up the World by Elizabeth Rusch won the Gelett Burgess Award for Biography and the Oregon Spirit Award. It was named a NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book and a best book of the year by CBC/Bank Street College and the AAAS. Electrical Wizard was a finalist in children’s choice awards in Washington State (Towner) and Tennessee (Volunteer State Book Award). In September 2015, Electrical Wizard was rereleased as a Candlewick Biography for readers ages 8-12. The Next Wave: The Quest to Harness the Power of the Oceans by Elizabeth Rusch was Junior Library Guild selection and an NSTA Outstanding Science Tradebook, a Bank Street Best Book of the Year, a Kirkus Best Book, an Oregon Spirit Honor, and a Green Earth Honor Book. Starred reviews from Kirkus, SLJ and the San Francisco Book Review called the book “timely and important,” “informative, intriguing and inspiring,” and "a fascinating account...mind-boggling, but so fun to read." Congratulations to INK THINK TANK member Dorothy Hinshaw Patent for the many lists that include her book Dogs on Duty: Soldier’s Best Friends on the Battlefield and Beyond: ALA Notable Children’s Book 2013 Best Children’s Books of the Year from Children’s Book Committee 2013 IRA Teachers’ Choices Reading List 2013-2014 Great Lakes Great Books (Michigan Reading Assoc.) state list in Grades 2-3 division. Won the  NYSRA 2014 Charlotte Award and the 2014 Flicker Tale Children’s Book Award List (North Dakota Library Association) Mitten Award, Michigan Library Association; 2015 Bluestem Award list, Illinois School Library Media Association; Rebecca Caudill Young Reader's Book Award, 2015 Also, Dorothy’s book When the Wolves Returned: Restoring Nature’s Balance in Yellowstone, was selected by the Montana State Library and Humanities Montana to represent Montana for the National Book Festival.  The National Book Festival was held in Washington, DC on September 21, 2013. It was also an Orbis Pictus Honor Book.   Dorothy Hinshaw Patent has been awarded the 2014 Edward O. Wilson Biodiversity Technology Pioneer Award For Exemplary Advocation of Biodiversity Through the Authorship of Children’s Science Literature   Kerrie Hollihan's Reporting Under Fire: 16 Daring Women War Correspondents and Photojournalists is a 2015 “Notable” Social Studies Trade Book honored by the Children’s Book Council and the National Council for the Social Studies.

2014 New Books

Carla Killough McClafferty

Fourth Down and Inches
Concussions and Football's Make or Break Moment

“Fourth Down and Inches: Concussions and Football’s Make-Or-Break Moment will likely be more effective than the barrage of academic papers published on sports-related concussions over the past decade in ensuring all young athletes are aware of the signs and symptoms of concussion and recognize the importance of recovering fully before returning to play. A manuscript on concussions written specifically for young athletes is long overdue and this excellent book fills that void. This informative and entertaining book should be required reading for all high school football players, if not all high school athletes. Thanks to Carla Killough McClafferty for taking the message to those who need to hear it the most, young athletes!”

Elizabeth Rusch

The Next Wave
The Quest to Harness the Power of the Oceans

Bringing readers from the wave lab to the open ocean, the water park to the tsunami-testing basin, this Scientists in the Field title explores whether it’s possible to harness the awesome power of our incredible oceans to make electricity.
* Junior Library Guild selection *
* Timely, important,” Kirkus (starred review)
* “Informative, intriguing, and inspiring,” School Library Journal (starred review)
* “A fascinating account…mind-boggling, but so fun to read,” San Francisco Book Review (five stars)
* NSTA Outstanding Science Tradebook 2015 *
* Bank Street Best Book of the Year, 2015 *
* Kirkus Best Book of 2014 *
* Oregon Spirit Honor *
* Green Earth Honor Book *

Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

Did you know dogs can smell out just about anything, from gorilla poop to cancer cells? Chosen as a NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12, this book lets readers in on many fascinating jobs for doggie detectives.
Super Sniffers
Dog Detectives on the Job

From School Library Journal:

Meaningful text and spot-on photography unlock the mysteries, showing specialized skills, effective training methods, and specific canine personality requirements that, when put together, create amazing possibilities . . . Expertly written, engaging.

From Publishers’ Weekly:

An extensive and eye-opening look at how dogs are trained for a variety of service capacities, including in the military, for search-and-rescue operations, and as medical alert dogs.

From Booklist:

Veteran writer Patent gives readers a detailed look into the lives of these canines and the myriad ways in which they help . . . The information on its own is fascinating, and kids will come away with renewed respect for dogs.