Last week I said I was finishing Dead Wake by Erik Larson for my adult book group. He is known for his narrative non fiction writing. This book is indeed an amazing read and it left me astounded at the amount of research that was done. He is a master of detail.
It did take me a while to get engaged but the history of peoples lives and what was lost on that ship held me in a way I did not expect. I have not been a war buff so this was helpful for me to see WWI in this frame work.
My guess is this happens to our students. They get turned off by the details of history but once they begin to see and hear the stories of people they engage in the learning. Narrative non fiction books are such a great way to begin leading students into history.
Below are a few titles I collected this last week – some I know are great and others are new to me so I can’t tell you about quality for all of them. I can say it gets hard to sort out the genre’s. There is memoir, non fiction narrative, non fiction facts – example books on animals, there are fiction books telling a story so close to history that you are in the middle of the historical event but with fictional characters. ( Oh – I can see why students get confused when sorting out books by genre.)
- Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon (Steve Sheinkin)
- Because They Marched (Freedman),
- The Mighty Mars Rovers (Rusch),
- Freedom Summer (Rubin)
- Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart
- Moonbird: A Year on the Wind With the Great Survivor B95 (Philip Hoose)
- Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (Phillip Hoose)
- Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (Sue Macy)
- Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust
- Lincoln’s Grave Robbers (Steve Sheinkin)
- The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the fight for Civil Rights (Steve Sheinkin)
I noticed just as Erik Larson is a big name in the adult nonfiction narrative we have Steve Sheinkin in the young adult nonfiction narrative. If you aren’t familiar with him and you teach middle grade and up you should head on over to his site – Steve Sheinkin. Some great reading in the nonfiction genre!
Do you have more titles to add to this list? I know there are lots more to be found. If you let me know of more I will add them to the list and repost in a few weeks.