Ask Pippa

2005: What's New in Non-Fiction?

Sports Hall of WeirdSports Hall of Weird, Kevin Sylvester (Kids Can Press, $6.95Cdn/$4.95US).

A soccer trophy that was melted down for its gold. A cricket game that went on for so long, the game was stopped but never finished. A marathon runner who cheated and took a cab to the finish line. These are only samples of the amazing and bizarre, yet true, tales in Sports Hall of Weird .

Aimed at 8 to 12 year olds, this is one of the more amusing sports trivia books because of the types of tales it tells. Both boys and girls will get giggles from this book, and will find it hard to put down.

The author: Kevin Sylvester is host of Morning Sports for CBC Radio One and Two in Canada.

A Home for FoundlingsA Home for Foundlings, Marthe Jocelyn (Tundra Books, $24.99Cdn/$16.95US).

This historical account is not for the faint-of-heart, and tells the true story of the plight of orphans in England during the 1700 and 1800s. The word 'foundlings' was used for abandoned babies. Back in the early 1700s and before, there were no orphanges for unwanted babies and children. Many were abandonded on the side of roads. Remember, this was back in an era when there was no birth control and women had no rights. Women who were extremely poor and single had no way to get food for their babies, so they abandonded them and hoped for the best. Even churches wouldn't help, calling the women and their children 'sinners'.

This book tells the incredible story of how a foundling hospital was started up, and became one of the first orphanges in England. The presentation of the information is so compelling, readers will have a hard time putting this book down.

This is one of the first books in the Lord Museum series of books that relate to important historical events and museums.

The author: Marthe Jocelyn is an award-winning author and illustrator who once designed toys for a living. Both of her grandparents were orphans who were raised in orphanages in London, England. This is her first work of non-fiction, but she has also written five novels. She lives in Ontario.

Hayley Wickenheiser Born to PlayHayley Wickenheiser Born to Play, Elizabeth Etue (Kids Can Press, $7.95Cdn/$6.95US)

Haley Wickenheiser is one of Canada's best hockey players, but as a woman had to take a tougher route than a guy to get to the top. But she worked hard and proved to be a great player. As a kid she often played on boys teams, as an adult played on various women's teams, and even played in two Olympic games (she brought home gold in one). She also played on a European professional men's hockey team. This book tells the story of Wickenheriser's life so far, and has lots of great colour pictures.

Not much thicker than a magazine, this book is a quick easy read and would inspire anybody to play hockey. Best for readers aged 8 to 12.

The author: Elizabeth Etue is the president of Virago Entertainment, and associate producer of the documentary Chasing the Dream - Women's International Hockey.

In Your Face: The Culture of Beauty and YouIn Your Face: The Culture of Beauty and You, Shari Graydon
(Annick Press, $16.95Cdn/$14.95US)

Ever wonder why so many women try so hard to look a certain way? Or why certain hair or make-up fashions come and go? What is it that drives us to fit into certain fashion molds? This book addresses some of the cultural pressures and insecurities that many women (and many men) experience. In fact fashions, hair colour and even trying to change the shape of our bodies are practices that are thousands of years old. There have been times when plump was 'in' and skinny was 'out'. While this book gives a wonderful survey of fashion trends and pressures through the ages, more specific examples would have made this book even better and made it sound less repetative in parts. Still, it's an important book for teens, especially girls, to read. It will get you thinking about things like should you follow a trend? If you follow trends, are you really confident in yourself, or are you just trying to immitate others?

The author: Shari Graydon is a media literacy activist and a former president of the women's group Media Watch. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario.