Who Knew?

Nonfiction Titles for Curious Minds

16 Words

16 Words By Lisa Rogers; illustrated by Chuck Groenink

“Look out the window. What do you see? If you are Dr. William Carlos Williams, you see a wheelbarrow. A drizzle of rain. Chickens scratching in the damp earth.” The wheelbarrow belongs to Thaddeus Marshall, a street vendor, who every day goes to work selling vegetables on the streets of Rutherford, New Jersey. That simple action inspires poet and doctor Williams to pick up some of his own tools–a pen and paper–and write his most famous poem.

In this lovely picture book, young listeners will see how paying attention to the simplest everyday things can inspire the greatest art, as they learn about a great American poet.

A Light in the Darkness

A Light in the Darkness By Albert Marrin

Janusz Korczak was more than a good doctor. He was a hero. The Dr. Spock of his day, he established orphanages run on his principle of honoring children and shared his ideas with the public in books and on the radio. He famously said that “children are not the people of tomorrow, but people today.” Korczak was a man ahead of his time, whose work ultimately became the basis for the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

Korczak was also a Polish Jew on the eve of World War II. He turned down multiple opportunities for escape, standing by the children in his orphanage as they became confined to the Warsaw Ghetto. Dressing them in their Sabbath finest, he led their march to the trains and ultimately perished with his children in Treblinka.

But this book is much more than a biography. In it, renowned nonfiction master Albert Marrin examines not just Janusz Korczak’s life but his ideology of children: that children are valuable in and of themselves, as individuals. He contrasts this with Adolf Hitler’s life and his ideology of children: that children are nothing more than tools of the state.

And throughout, Marrin draws readers into the Warsaw Ghetto. What it was like. How it was run. How Jews within and Poles without responded. Who worked to save lives and who tried to enrich themselves on other people’s suffering. And how one man came to represent the conscience and the soul of humanity.

Caught!

Caught! By Georgia Bragg; illustrated by Kevin O'Malley

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

Gross as a Snot Otter

Gross as a Snot Otter By Jess Keating

The creators of Pink Is for Blobfish are back, and they’ve brought 17 of their most revolting friends: there are slippery, slimy snot otters, gulls that projectile-vomit on command, fish that communicate via flatulence, and chipmunks that cultivate healthy forests by pooping a trail of seeds wherever they go. But there’s more to these skin-crawling creatures than meets the eye, and as zoologist Jess Keating explains, sometimes it’s the very things that make us gag that allow these animals to survive in the wild.

The perfect combination of yuks, yucks, and eureka!’s, this latest installment in the World of Weird Animals series will inspire budding scientists and burp enthusiasts alike!

Me and the Sky

Me and the Sky By Beverley Bass with Cynthia Williams; illustrated by Joanie Stone

When Beverley Bass was a young girl in the late 1950s, she told her parents she wanted to fly planes–and they told her that girls couldn’t be pilots. Still, they encouraged her, and brought her to a nearby airport to watch the planes take off and land.

After decades of refusing to take no for an answer, in 1986 Beverley became the first female pilot promoted to captain by American Airlines and led the first all-female crewed flight shortly thereafter. Her revolutionary career became even more newsworthy when she was forced to land in the remote town of Gander, Newfoundland, on September 11, 2001, due to US airspace closures. After several days there, she flew her crew and passengers safely home.

Beverley’s incredible life is now immortalized in the hit Broadway musical Come from Away. Here, discover how she went from an ambitious young girl gazing up at the sky to a groundbreaking pilot smiling down from the cockpit.

The Miracle & Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets

The Miracle & Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets By Sarah Miller

When the Dionne Quintuplets were born on May 28, 1934, weighing a grand total of just over 13 pounds, no one expected them to live so much as an hour. Overnight, Yvonne, Annette, Cécile, Émilie, and Marie Dionne mesmerized the globe, defying medical history with every breath they took. In an effort to protect them from hucksters and showmen, the Ontario government took custody of the five identical babies, sequestering them in a private, custom-built hospital across the road from their family–and then, in a stunning act of hypocrisy, proceeded to exploit them for the next nine years. The Dionne Quintuplets became a more popular attraction than Niagara Falls, ogled through one-way screens by sightseers as they splashed in their wading pool at the center of a tourist hotspot known as Quintland. Here, Sarah Miller reconstructs their unprecedented upbringing with fresh depth and subtlety, bringing to new light their resilience and the indelible bond of their unique sisterhood.