Elem. – People Did What (Series NF)

Vallepur, Shalini. People Did What. Crabtree Publishing, 2020. $7.51 ea. $30.04 set of 4. 32 p. Grades 3-6. 

People Did What in Ancient Egypt? 978-0-778-77423-5.
People Did What in Ancient Greece? 978-0-778-77424-2.
People Did What in Ancient Rome? 978-0-778-77425-9.
People Did What in the Viking Age? 98-0-778-77433-4.

This series introduces young readers to a variety of historic cultures. The vivid, comic book covers entice browsers to open the book, and brightly colored, highly illustrated pages will captivate their attention. Interior pages are a collage of photographs, illustrations, and clip art, supplemented with brief blocks of text allowing for skipping around the page. While the information is factual, topics seem obviously chosen to titillate youngsters (how Vikings used pee to start fires). The books are organized by topic, contain such text features as table of contents, glossary, and index (the Ancient Egypt index did contain several mistakes), as well as suggested books and websites for additional reading. While these books would not be used for research, they are perfect for sparking interest in casual readers.

THOUGHTS: The books are visually appealing and full of the weird, gruesome facts kids love. They would be a good purchase for elementary libraries looking to expand their nonfiction offerings and a great option for those readers who prefer entertaining nonfiction books.

History 932, 938, 937, 948          Nancy Nadig, Penn Manor SD

Elem. – Flight for Freedom: The Wetzel Family’s Daring Escape from East Germany

Fulton, Kristen. Flight for Freedom: The Wetzel Family’s Daring Escape from East Germany. Chronicle Books, 2020. 978-1-452-14960-8. $17.99. Grades 2-4.

There are two sides in Germany, the right side and the wrong side. Peter is aware that he was born on the wrong side of Germany, where there are more strict rules and uncomfortable uniforms, and having nice food can be near impossible. While other kids can be watching cartoons on the right side of the wall, Peter is watching news stories and programs. Peter, however, has found the secret his parents have hidden away. With his family, Peter knows that life can be different and will be different for them. Each night, Peter and his family go into the attic to slowly piece together their way to freedom… through a hot air balloon.

THOUGHTS: The illustrations in this book are absolutely stunning. The back of the book contains real information on the hot air balloon the Wetzel family created to help secure their freedom. Older readers will appreciate the story and the history behind it.

325 International Migration          Rachel Burkhouse, Otto-Eldred SD

MG – The Missing: The True Story of My Family in World War II

Rosen, Michael. The Missing: The True Story of My Family in World War II. Candlewick, 2020. 9781536212891. 128 p. $16.99. Grades 5-8.

The Missing tells one man’s quest to find more information on his family that has been spread across multiple countries and just as many assumptions on what happened to some of the family members after the war. The short chapter book is written in chronological order, and most chapters end with a poem or part of a poem written by the author. Although a lot of specific information regarding World War II, especially from an English perspective, will be novel to most readers, most of it is specific to the author and his family. The abridged poems fit nicely with the topic covered in the previous chapter and are moving. In fact, the poetry could probably stand along as a more moving piece of literature, instead of including the granular details of uncovering the history of the Rosen family. The language is simplistic and the content is covered in a way that is not traumatic for young readers. Most helpful is the list of further reading at the end of the book, as well as some photos, including some letters.

THOUGHTS: In an already rather overpopulated genre, this title is recommended strictly for upper elementary or middle school libraries who feel a need to expand on their World War II collection.

940 Holocaust          Samantha Hull, Ephrata Area SD

Captured History – 3 Must-Have series from Capstone


Captured History (series). North Mankato, MN: Compass Point Books, 2017. $34.65 ea. 64pp. Gr. 5-9.

Burgan, Michael. Death at Kent State: How a Photograph Brought the Vietnam War Home to America. 978-0-7565-5424-8.

Nardo, Don. Ground Zero: How a Photograph Sent a Message of Hope. 978-0-7565-5427-9.

Captured History is a beautiful photography series from Capstone that began in 2012.  These two new titles bring to light two very different historic moments in U.S. history: 9/11 and Kent State, May 1970.  Both are symbols of war, yet have very different responses.  The first hope; the second fear and death (each cover expresses these feelings too: Ground Zero has firefighters raising the U.S. flag, while Death at Kent State shows a dead body with a woman screaming out next to it).  Each title integrates photographs and prose to share the iconic moment in U.S. history with students.  These titles, along with the previous ones in the series, are a great tool for not only teaching the history, but also for teaching how to read and use images to tell a story, along with use of primary sources in research.  In addition to the prose and images, each title also includes a timeline, glossary, additional resources (including a code for FactHound), Common Core connections, source notes, selected bibliography, and an index.  THOUGHTS:  This is a must have series for all middle schools and high schools.  The images alone make this a worthy purchase, not to mention the prose and resources provided.  This series is useful for library classes looking at images, research, history courses, and English classes in need of more nonfiction.  

U.S. History       Erin Parkinson, Beaver MS/HS



Captured History Sports (series). North Mankato, MN: Compass Point Books, 2016. $33.99 ea. 64pp. Gr. 5-9.

Berne, Emma Carslon. What a Kick: How a Clutch World Cup Win Propelled Women’s Soccer. 978-0-7565-5293-0.

Burgan, Michael. Daring Play: How a Courageous Jackie Robinson Transformed Baseball. 978-0-7565-5291-6.

Burgan, Michael. Miracle on Ice: How a Stunning Upset United a Country. 978-0-7565-5290-9

Nardo, Don. Massacre in Munich: How Terrorists Changed the Olympics and the World. 978-0-7565-5292-3.

Capstone Publishing began their Captured History series in 2012 focusing on iconic moments in U.S. history.  This new series, Captured History Sports, brings to light four moments in sports history that transformed the United States and specific sports: women’s soccer, Munich Olympic Games, Jackie Robinson and baseball, and U.S. ice hockey.  Following its predecessor, each title captures the particular historic topic through a mixture of prose and images and includes a “Life After…”/ “Where are they now” section, timeline, glossary, additional resources (include a code for FactHound), Common Core connection, source notes, selected bibliography, and an index.  THOUGHTS:  This is a must-have series for all middle school and high school libraries.  It is a fun tie to other moments of U.S. history, especially since each sport and moment included had a larger impact on society and our nation.  Use these titles, along with the other Captured History texts to teach reading images or use of nonfiction in English or history courses.  Additionally, this is just a fun series for any sports fan or required nonfiction assignment.

Sports; U.S. History          Erin Parkinson, Beaver Area MS/HS



Captured World History (series). North Mankato, MN: Compass Point Books, 2017. $34.65 ea. 64pp. Gr. 5-9.

Burgan, Michael. The Hindenburg in Flames: How a Photograph Marked the End of the Airship. 978-0-7565-5441-5.

Smith-Llera, Danielle. Che Guevara’s Face: How a Cuban Photographer’s Image Became a Cultural Icon. 978-0-7565-5440-8.

Began in 2014, Captured World History presents key moments that changed the world or world nations.  The two newest titles present students with a thing and person they may have heard about but cannot quite remember much: the Hindenburg and Che Guevara.  Each text presents the historic moment/thing and person through images and prose that captured the world’s attention and will now capture students attention.  These texts are a great supplement for history courses that just don’t have enough time to get to everything.  The compact presentation and use of images will easily attract students, while the timeline, glossary, resources (including a code for FactHound), source notes, and selected bibliography may lead to further exploration.  THOUGHTS:  Captured World History is a great addition for libraries that own titles from Captured History.  Use these titles for research about lesser known moments that impacted the world or for nonfiction reading in English and/or history courses.  This is another must-have series from Capstone Publishing.

World History        Erin Parkinson, Beaver Area MS/HS

Upper Elem. & MS Series NF – Recycled Science; History Hunters; Warrior Science


Recycled Science (series). North Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2017. 32 p. $84. Gr. 3-8.

Enz, Tammy. Awesome Craft Stick Science. 978-1-5157-0861-2.

Enz, Tammy. Cool Plastic Bottle and Milk Jug Science. 978-1-5157-0862-9.

Enz, Tammy. Incredible Snack Package Science. 978-1-5157-0863-6.

Wheeler-Toppen, Jodi. Amazing Cardboard Tube Science. 978-1-5157-0860-5.

Each book in this series focuses on an everyday object like a cardboard tube or a popsicle stick.  There are several step-by-step experiments and projects that can be completed using the objects.  Not only do these projects serve to recycle the materials, but they also teach scientific principles that will stick with the reader after the project is finished.  For example, readers will turn cardboard tubes into marshmallow shooters and learn about potential energy and kinetic energy in the process.  They will create harmonicas out of popsicle sticks in order to understand the concepts of sound waves, frequency, and pitch.  Complete with a glossary, index, color photographs, additional print and web resources, and critical thinking questions using the Common Core, this hands-on series is sure to entertain students as they learn about scientific principles.  THOUGHTS:  This is an excellent resource for elementary and middle school science teachers to incorporate into the classroom or Earth Day.  Full of great ideas for recycling everyday objects and hands-on projects designed to make learning fun, these books are a wonderful addition to any elementary or middle school library.

745.5; Crafts & Hobbies; Recycling              Julie Ritter, Montoursville Area High School



History Hunters. North Mankato: Capstone, 2017. $20.99 ea. $125.94 set of 6. 32p. Gr. 3-8.

Dickmann, Nancy. Ancient Egypt. 978-1-5157-2531-2.

Dickmann, Nancy. Ancient Greece. 978-1-5157-2535-0.

Dickmann, Nancy. Ancient Rome. 978-1-5157-2550-3.
Spilsbury, Louise. Ancient China. 978-1-5157-2525-1.

Spilsbury, Louise. The Mayans. 978-1-5157-2551-0.

Spilsbury, Louise. The Vikings. 978-1-5157-2552-7.

The History Hunters series uses archaeological discoveries to help illuminate and explain the history of several well known ancient civilizations. Numerous photos of archeological finds are used to supplement the text. Each volume covers topics such as religion, family life, work, housing, food, wars/conflict, and other basic information about the culture being presented. Sidebars entitled “Deadly Secrets” offer a photos, descriptions, and clues about specific finds in order to get the reader to correctly guess their purpose. A glossary is included in each volume.  THOUGHTS: Though each book in this set is a slim 32 pages, a great deal of knowledge is incorporated into the text. Readers will walk away with a basic understanding of the each civilization. Numerous photos of archaeological discoveries as well as historical images will add to the reader’s overall understanding. A great choice for history fans.

900s; Ancient Civilizations     Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg HS/MS



Warrior Science. North Mankato: Capstone, 2017. $20.99 ea. $83.96 set of 4. 32p. Gr. 3-8.

Lassieur, Allison. Gladiator Science: Armor, Weapons, and Arena Combat. 978-1-4914-8129-5.

Lassieur, Allison. Medieval Knight Science: Armor, Weapons, and Siege Warfare. 978-1-4914-8130-1.

Lusted, Marcia Amidon. Ninja Science: Camouflage, Weapons, and Stealthy Attacks. 978-1-4914-8115-8.

Lusted, Marcia Amidon. Samurai Science: Armor, Weapons, and Battlefield Strategy. 978-1-4914-8124-0.

Each volume of the Warriors Science series examines one of the most prominent and popular groups of fighters from world history. Types of weapons, protective gear and tactical strategies are discussed within the context of science. In order to emerge victorious, these historic warriors had to rely on scientific principles and knowledge to maximize the effectiveness of their weaponry and strategy. For example, medieval knights protected themselves with armor designed to disperse and absorb energy from the blows of enemy weapons. Knights also built weapons such as trebuchets, which relied on counterweights and the science of gravity. Each volume features numerous diagrams, photos and historical images designed to illustrate the science behind the history. In addition, phrases/words are defined throughout the text in order to increase clarity for the reader. THOUGHTS: These engaging reads are sure to be popular with upper elementary and middle school fans of military/weapons books. The science content is seamlessly and logically woven into the presentation of historical events and the soldiers/fighters under discussion.

Military Science, History    Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg HS/MS

Series Nonfiction…Compact Research, In Controversy, Understanding World History

Compact Research: Addictions (series).  San Diego: ReferencePoint Press, 2015.  96 p.  $30.00 ea.  Gr. 7-12.
Dudley, WilliamSynthetic Drug Addiction. 978-1-60152-764-6.
Nakaya, Andrea C. Internet and Social Media Addiction. 978-1-60152-760-8.
Parks, Peggy J. Heroin Addiction. 978-1-60152-756-1.
Wilcox, Christine. Gambling Addiction. 978-1-60152-758-5.
Wilcox, Christine. Sex and Pornography Addictions. 978-1-60152-762-2.
Focusing on a variety of addictive habits, these titles begin with an overview of each addiction and then go on to look at issues such as causes of addiction, health dangers of addiction, and ways to overcome addiction.  Each chapter is supplemented by primary source quotes, color photographs, charts, graphs, and statistics.  At the end of each book there is a list of key people and advocacy groups, a chronological timeline of the addiction, contact information for
related organizations, and a list of additional sources for further research.  These titles provide straightforward, factual information for researchers and allow them to analyze the data and come to their own conclusions about each addiction.
600s; Addictions       Julie Ritter, Montoursville Area High School
​These titles are an excellent addition for student researchers.  Not only is there plenty of background information presented about each addiction, but the primary source quotes, statistics, charts and graphs provide students with plenty of evidence to help them form opinions and make arguments supporting these opinions.  The index, table of contents, and list of illustrations make the books easily accessible, and the list of sources for further research provides researchers with additional quality sources to guide them as they form opinions and arguments.
In Controversy (series).  San Diego: ReferencePoint Press, 2015. 96 p. $31.32 ea. Gr. 7+.

Abramovitz, Melissa. How Are Digital Devices Impacting Society?  978-1-60152-772-1 
This 45-book set features outstanding data and information on topics that are controversial and argumentative in today’s world.  Each book in the collection focuses on a specific question from its title, then divides the book into several chapters revolving around the main components of the issue.  For example, in How Are Digital Devices Impacting Society?, the author takes a look at when controversies surrounding digital devices first appeared, then shares information on how digital devices impact private and social interaction, affect the brain and thought processes, and affect physical and mental health.
One of the greatest assets of these books is that the authors try to supply and cite information from both sides of the issue, drawing from experts who both agree or disagree with the situation or feel that things positively or negatively impact society.  Each books contains important facts bulleted at the end of each chapter, along with pull-out quotes throughout the reading.  This book was extremely entertaining to read just for fun but would also provide excellent secondary source information for students conducting research on a controversial topic.
Technology     Nicole Starner, Biglerville HS/Upper Adams MS
Understanding World History (series). San Diego: ReferencePoint Press, 2015.  96 p.  $31.32 ea.  Gr. 7+.

Allman, Toney. The Rise of Islam.  978-1-60152-744-8.
Marcovitz, Hal. The History of Slavery.  978-1-60152-742-4.
Marcovitz, Hal. The Rise of the Nazis.  978-1-60152-654-0.
This 22-book set covers an incredible range of topics in world history from numerous eras, including time periods and events such as Ancient Chinese Dynasties, Victorian England, the Industrial Revolution, the Holocaust, and the Early Middle Ages.  Along with these selections, the set also includes books focused on other topics of interest that may be confusing and/or interesting to students, such as Islam, slavery, the Nazis, and the history of Rock and Roll.
Each book includes an index, a section describing and defining important people in the time period or event, a timeline, and photographs or illustrations to further understanding.  One of the greatest assets of this collection are the numerous white-boxed sections of the text that describe stories related to the event, give more information on a particular subject, or provide statistical research associated with what is being discussed.  These boxes are especially interesting and easy to read while adding supplementary knowledge on the topic.
World History   Nicole Starner, Biglerville HS/Upper Adams MS