YA Nonfiction – The Shift; Judge This


Brown, Theresa.  The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients’ Lives.  Chapel Hill: Algonquin. 2015. 226p.  $24.95. Gr. 9 and up.

We all know that nursing is hard; that nurses are often overlooked, underpaid, and way underappreciated.  New York Times Opinion Columnist Theresa Brown, sets out to change that perception in The Shift.  Brown gives an inside look at her day; from when she rises before the sun; to when she arrives at home after her twelve hour shift at a Pittsburgh hospital.  Her day begins with three patients, all with varying types and stages of cancer, and continues as she’s given a fourth patient with an unusual, unpredicted infection.  The reality of how busy nurses are, how little doctors respect the nurses on their floor, and how demanding some patients are, is vivid in this honest portrayal of one day in a nurse’s life.  Thoughts: This is great work of narrative nonfiction.  Although heavy with medical lingo at times, Brown makes sure to define everything for those readers not familiar with medical terms.  This is a perfect book for a student interested in a career in medicine.  

616; Health Care; Memoir          Laura Ward, Fox Chapel Area High School



Kidd, Chip. Judge This. New York: TED Books, 2015. 978-1-4767-8478-6. 125 p. $16.99. Gr. 7 & up.

This adorable little book presents examples of design in multiple mediums and weighs the functionality of each.  Chip Kidd is primarily a book jacket designer, but he includes examples of advertising, signs, packaging, and more.  He rates each example on its clarity vs. mystery.  “Clarity gets to the point … mystery gives us hope,” is how he sums up the difference.  Designers often strive for a balance between the two.  He notes that some mystery in design is often a good thing, but other times it’s just confusing.  On examples of poor design, Kidd offers tips to improve. Kidd’s approach is functional and humorous, easily accessible by readers who have no design experience.  THOUGHTS:  This is a great book to include in a graphic arts or design course.  I would present examples from this book and ask students to find their own examples of good and bad design to add to the collection.  Students who are familiar with Kidd’s TED talk or design work will pick this up, especially because he does a lot of work with comic books and graphic novels.  Students who don’t know who he is will still enjoy his unique perspective on our everyday visual encounters.  Reluctant readers may pick this up because of the eye-popping visuals, small size, and sparse text.

Graphic Art, Design              Kristen Rowe, Plum Senior High School