2017 Red Maple Non-Fiction Award™ Nominated Titles

 











 

A Beginner's Guide to Immortality: From Alchemy to Avatars

Written by Maria Birmingham, Illustrated by Josh Holinaty

Is it possible to live forever? People have been trying to figure out a way to escape mortality since, well, forever. This book takes readers on a fast-paced tour of several wacky and wise methods humans have used to try prolonging their lives, from ancient immortality elixirs and quests for a fountain of youth to modern-day research into cryogenics and robotics.

Touching on folklore from around the world, famed literary immortals and studies of animals that seem unaffected by aging, the book delves into topics as diverse as genetics, religious rituals surrounding the afterlife and research into basic lifestyle choices, like eating blueberries or getting a pet, that could help you live longer. Each page is a playful mix of fascinating facts that open up cross-curricular topics in history, science and social studies to explore.

Illustrations of historical figures, imaginary places and scientific specimens add a touch of whimsy and bring out the beauty, sincerity, and playful side of human curiosity.

Informational text features: table of contents, introduction, chapters, sidebars, fact boxes, headers and labels, map, index and sources.

Bite into Bloodsuckers

Written by Kari-Lynn Winters and Ishta Mercurio

Most people hear the word "vampire" and they think of shady, nocturnal characters with capes and pointed teeth. But that's all pretend...right?

Wrong! Blood-thirsty creatures are real—but not in the ways you might be imagining them! In fact, there are trillions of vampires creeping, crawling, swimming, buzzing and even flying among us.

Whether they are the fleas that love your pets as much as you do, the bedbugs that snuggle in with you at night, the lampreys that eat your fish dinner before you do, or the seemingly innocent butterflies that flutter above, these vampires come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and species.

Bloodsucking creatures are known for their irritating habits. They pierce your skin, drink your blood, and sometimes spread diseases. They range from highly annoying to deadly. It's difficult to love them, but these hungry critters are a necessity in our global ecosystems and they can even be beneficial.

Filled with fascinating and sometimes gory information, full-colour photos, interactive activities, and educational diagrams and charts, Bite into Bloodsuckers is sure to get under your skin and run through your veins!

Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls are Used in War

Written by Michel Chikwanine and Jessica Dee Humphreys, Illustrated by Claudia Dávila

Michel Chikwanine was five years old when he was abducted from his school-yard soccer game in the Democratic Republic of Congo and forced to become a soldier for a brutal rebel militia. Against the odds, Michel managed to escape and find his way back to his family, but he was never the same again.

After immigrating to Canada, Michel was encouraged by a teacher to share what happened to him in order to raise awareness about child soldiers around the world, and this book is part of that effort. Told in the first person and presented in a graphic novel format, the gripping story of Michel's experience is moving and unsettling. But the humanity he exhibits in the telling, along with Claudia Dávila's illustrations, which evoke rather than depict the violent elements of the story, makes the book accessible for this age group and, ultimately, reassuring and hopeful.

The back matter contains further information, as well as suggestions for ways children can help. This is a perfect resource for engaging youngsters in social studies lessons on global awareness and social justice issues, and would easily spark classroom discussions about conflict, children's rights and even bullying.

Michel's actions took enormous courage, but he makes clear that he was and still is an ordinary person, no different from his readers. He believes everyone can do something to make the world a better place, and so he shares what his father told him: “If you ever think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.”

DNA Detective

Written by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, Illustrated by Lillian Ruth (Lil) Crump

In the center of almost every cell in our bodies, there’s a piece of DNA designed to give the body instructions like: “Create two legs, two arms, two eyes, and one nose.” But how can so much information be squeezed into such a tiny space? In DNA Detective, Lloyd Kyi unravels the mystery of our genetic blueprint. She explains the basics of genetics in simple, clear language, and reveals the fascinating, and frequently entertaining stories of the researchers who discovered pieces of the DNA puzzle.

As they learn the science of genes, readers will apply what they learn at the end of each chapter in an engaging challenge: helping a young detective eliminate suspects to solve a major crime, based on a real-world case.

Meet the genetics rock stars like Frederick Sanger, whose groundbreaking research won him two Nobel Prizes in Chemistry; or Rosalind Franklin, who created the first clear image of DNA. Discover why humans are more like flies or mice than we’d like to admit, how to clone a sheep, and what palindromes have to do with DNA.

From genetically-engineered pets to a dating app that helps Icelanders avoid marrying their cousins, the world of DNA will surprise and delight you. Full-color photographs complement the text, while Lil Crump’s lively illustrations keep readers entertained.

Faster Higher Stronger: Bright Ideas That Transformed Sports

Written by Simon Shapiro, Illustrated by Theo Krynauw and Warwick Goldswain

What do athletes and rocket scientists have in common? It takes a lot of talent, skill, and hard work to become a world-class athlete. But it takes even more to make a sport better: it takes smarts! And whether innovators are aware of it or not, it takes an understanding of physics, mechanics, and aerodynamics to come up with better techniques and equipment.

From swimming, soccer, and basketball to skateboarding and wheelchair sports, Faster Higher Smarter looks at the hard science behind many inventions and improvements in sports.

Readers will find out how the introduction of the aluminum bat changed baseball; how a slapshot works, and what’s involved in bending a ball like Beckham. It also covers the history of such milestones as the introduction of diversity, disabled athletes, and women in sport.

Entertaining, informative, and highly visual, this book is the perfect way to introduce scientific concepts to kids who love sports.

Hidden Gold: A True Story of the Holocaust

Written by Ella Burakowski

When Poland is invaded in WWII, the Gold family sticks together in horrific conditions to survive. It's 1942, and the Nazis are rounding up Jews in the Polish town of Pinczow for transport to the Treblinka death camp. Leib and Hanna Gold thought they had more time to develop an escape plan. While Leib leaves to negotiate a hiding place, Hanna and their children, Shoshana, Esther, and twelve-year-old David, steal away in the night to find shelter with a family friend. Leib promises to join them in the morning, but when daylight breaks, Leib had vanished. Hanna must flee to a safer refuge or she and her children will perish.

So begins a true story of terror, suspense, and deplorable hardship that lasts more than two years. In a place where everyone is afraid, neighbours turn on neighbours, gentiles betray Jews, and Jews victimize each other, hoping to survive the Holocaust. David Gold's memories of his formative years during World War II are captured by his niece, author Ella Burakowski, in this heart-stopping testament to the human spirit.

Learn more about the book and see historic photos of the Gold family at www.hiddengoldbook.com.

PRIDE: Celebrating Diversity & Community

Written by Robin Stevenson

For LGBTQ people and their supporters, Pride events are an opportunity to honor the past, protest injustice, and celebrate a diverse and vibrant community.

The high point of Pride, the Pride Parade, is spectacular and colourful. But there is a whole lot more to Pride than rainbow flags and amazing outfits. How did Pride come to be? And what does Pride mean to the people who celebrate it?

Transphobia: Deal with It and Be a Gender Transcender

Written by j wallace skelton, Illustrated by Nick Johnson

Who do you think you are? Part of identity is how people experience their gender. Transphobia is intolerance of any part of the range of gender identity. This accessible, illustrated book offers information, quizzes, comics and true-to-life scenarios to help kids better understand gender identity and determine what they can do to identify and counter transphobia in their schools, homes and communities. Considered from the viewpoint of gender explorers, gender enforcers and witnesses, transphobic behaviour is identified, examined and put into a context that kids can use to understand and accept themselves and others for whatever gender they are -- even if that's no gender at all!

Urban Tribes: Native Americans in the City

Edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

Young, urban Natives powerfully show how their culture and values can survive—and enrich—city life.

Much of the popular discourse on Native Americans and Aboriginals focuses on reservation life. But the majority of Natives in North America live off the rez. How do they stay rooted to their culture? How do they connect with their community? Urban Tribes offers unique insight into this growing and often misperceived group. Emotionally potent and visually arresting, the anthology profiles young urban Natives from across North America, exploring how they connect with Native culture and values in their contemporary lives. Their stories are as diverse as they are. From a young Dene woman pursuing a MBA at Stanford to a Pima photographer in Phoenix to a Mohawk actress in New York, these urban Natives share their unique perspectives to bridge the divide between their past and their future, their cultural home, and their adopted cities.

Unflinchingly honest and deeply moving, contributors explore a wide-range of topics. From the trials and tribulations of dating in the city to the alienating experience of leaving a remote reserve to attend high school in the city, from the mainstream success of Electric Pow wow music to the humiliation of dealing with racist school mascots, personal perspectives illuminate larger political issues. An innovative and highly visual design offers a dynamic, reading experience.

Vanished: True Tales of Mysterious Disappearances

Written by Elizabeth MacLeod

Gone—without a trace.

No one loves a mystery more than Elizabeth MacLeod, author of the award-winning Bones Never Lie and Royal Murder. In her newest book, she presents six compelling stories about some of the world’s most bewildering disappearances. Readers will be captivated by such true tales as the Alcatraz prison break, where three dangerous convicts engineered a daring escape. Did they live to see freedom, or did they perish in the icy waters surrounding the prison? And will anyone ever know what happened to the captain and crew of the SS Mary Celeste? In 1872, it set out from New York for Genoa, Italy, but everyone on board disappeared for no apparent reason.

This irresistible combination of suspense and history also serves as an introduction to the advances in technology that may help discover what really happened in each unsolved mystery.

Filled with colour photographs, sidebars, and maps, Vanished is the perfect book for kids who love mind-boggling mysteries.