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2008 Summer-Spring: What's New in Non Fiction?



Horrible Histories, a series by Terry Deary ($6.99 each, Scholastic). The Horrible HIstories series has all sorts of intriguing titles, including Awesome Egyptians, Groovy Greeks, and Vicious Vikings. The books in this series have real information, including names and dates of important historical events, but it's all presented in a way that's really amazingly fun to read. These books are a great way to start your reading about the history of the world. The chapters are short, there are lots stories about people in history, and the books are full of cartoons and jokes that add to the fun. You might even get inspired to pick up other books on the same topics. Most illustrations are by Martin Brown, some by Peter Hepplewhite. For readers 8 to 12.



Silent in an Evil Time: The Brave War of Edith Cavell, by Jack Batten ($18.99, Tundra). This is the true story of Edith Cavell, a nurse from England, who worked in a hospital in Belgium during World War I. She ended up doing far more than just being a nurse, and lead quite an exciting life. While she was there, Belgium was invaded by German soldiers. Thousands of British, Canadian and other allied soldiers were trapped there and needed places to hide so they wouldn't be captured by the German army.

Cavell made the big decision to let soldiers hide in the hospital. She and other nurses worked on finding ways to sneak them out of the country and helped develop a secret network. The book describes what she and the other nurses did to help the soldiers escape -- and the trouble Cavell got into when the Germans found out. This is an exciting story about a woman who played a dangerous yet hugely important role in this part of history. Great for readers 9 and up.



The Dirt on Dirt, by Paulette Bourgeois, with illustrations by Martha Newbigging, ($15.95, Kids Can Press). This book is about dirt -- the stuff on the ground that grass grows out of, or maybe is sitting in a pile under your bed. This book covers everything from what dirt is, why it sticks to your skin, animals that live in dirt, and even describes things that are buried in it. This is bound to become one of Kids Can's classic science books for kids, though it is more or less an update on Bourgeois' previous book, The Amazing Dirt Book from 1990. You'll pick it up, have trouble putting it down, and you'll accidentally learn something that's actually kinda' cool. Bourgeois has also written other science books for kids in the past such as The Amazing Potato Book, The Jumbo Book of Space, and more, For readers aged 8 to 12 who want to read a "dirty" book.

About the author: Paulette Bourgeois is a Toronto-based writer and is well known for her Frankilin the Turtle books.