2018 Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award® Nominees
By Anne Innis Dagg
Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited
The latest in the 5 Animals series, with an introduction by Rob Laidlaw, 5 Giraffes profiles five unique giraffes from both captivity and the wild. Accompanying the five giraffe profiles is information on their diet, social life, and chapters on some of their more unique aspects, like the giraffe's unusual body. Includes full color photographs throughout, glossary, bibliography, table of contents and index.
Eat Up! An Infographic Exploration of Food
By Antonia Banyard and Paula Ayer
Illustrated by Belle Withrich
Eat Up! is a colorful infographic look at the many surprising and fascinating facts about food. Information is presented in easy-to-understand graphics and clear explanations. Each spread explores a different aspect of the topic. Readers will find answers to a wide range of questions, including: Who grows our food? Where does our meat and fish come from? How does it get to us? What’s the difference between a hybrid and a genetically-modified crop? How do companies advertize to children? Who are the “Big 10” food companies? How much farmland is there across the world?
Weightier topics (for example, farming and pollution, or child labor in agriculture), are balanced out by fun facts, such as “extreme foods” and how our sense of taste works (and sometimes deceives us). Other topics include how food production has an impact on the local and global economy, access to food and food insecurity around the world, and conventional vs. organic farming.
Fight to Learn: The Struggle to Go to School
By Laura Scandiffio
In many countries around the world, universal access to education is a seemingly unattainable dream; however, determined individuals with vision and drive have made this dream come true for many. This book highlights people such as Okello, a former child soldier in Uganda, who founded a school for children like himself whose education was derailed by war; Julia Bolton Holloway who realized that the only effective way to educate Roma children was to teach literacy to their parents at the same time; Shannen Koostachin, a passionate 13-year-old whose fight for the right of First Nations children to have proper schools endured even after her untimely death. These uplifting stories of people who were undeterred in their fight to bring education to children will leave young readers with excellent models of how to mobilize support when fighting for social justice.
Meatless? A Fresh Look at What You Eat
By Sarah Elton
Illustrated by Julie McLaughlin
Owlkids Books Inc.
Humans are eating more meat than ever before. At the same time, vegetarianism is capturing more widespread attention. From Meatless Mondays to vegan options, people are talking more about meat and whether or not to eat it.
Journalist Sarah Elton tackles the topic by explaining what vegetarianism is, why people choose it, and how their reasons—including religion, animal rights, food security, and the environmental cost of eating meat—have changed over time. The book closes with practical tips for making the switch, and perspectives from vegetarian kids. As a conflicted meat eater herself, Elton encourages freedom to choose. Lively illustrations, sidebars, and sources, plus a glossary, index, and further reading suggestions make this a friendly, comprehensive introduction to vegetarianism.
Monster Science: Could Monsters Survive (and Thrive!) in the Real World?
By Helaine Becker
Illustrated by Phil McAndrew
Kids Can Press
"What if the terrifying creatures of your nightmares were indeed prowling the big, wide world beyond your blankie?” begins the intriguing premise of this book. “Could they really exist? And if so, how?” In a completely original approach to exploring science, award-winning author Helaine Becker places six different kinds of monsters --- Frankenstein, vampires, bigfoot, zombies, werewolves and sea monsters --- under her microscope to expose the proven scientific principles behind the legends. For example, the chapter on Frankenstein delves into how electricity and organ transplants work in the human body, and whether they could really bring someone back to life --- all presented in short, readable sections. There's also historical background on each monster, as well as trivia and jokes in sidebars, and fun quizzes at the end of every chapter for readers to test their knowledge. Becker uses the never-ending appetite for all things monster to engage the imaginations of children and get them excited about science. The just-ghoulish-and-icky-enough illustrations by Phil McAndrew are pitch-perfect, drenched with child-friendly humor. This is a book with tremendous cross-curricular applications in life, earth and physical sciences, as well as in literature (myths and legends), history and literacy skills. With its playful spirit, this is also a book children will happily pick up and devour on their own.
Pocket Change: Pitching in For a Better World
By Michelle Mulder
Orca Book Publishers
Until a few hundred years ago, people were embarrassed to buy bread in a store. Families took pride in making almost everything they owned. These days, many people take pride in buying as much as possible! New clothes, a speedier bicycle, the latest phone. If we've got money, someone can sell us a product that will supposedly make our lives better. But each year, humanity uses resources equivalent to nearly one and a half Earths, and we're still not meeting everyone's needs. Around the world, people are questioning consumerism, leaning toward more sustainable lifestyles and creating a whole new concept of wealth. What if you could meet all your needs while getting to know your neighbors and protecting the environment at the same time? Find out how growing a tiny cabbage can fight poverty, how a few dollars can help ten families start their own businesses and how running errands for a neighbor can help you learn to become a bike mechanic—for free!
Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees
By Mary Beth Leatherdale
Illustrated by Eleanor Shakespeare
A desperate last hope for safety and freedom.
The plight of refugees risking their lives at sea has, unfortunately, made the headlines all too often in the past few years. This book presents five true stories, from 1939 to today, about young people who lived through the harrowing experience of setting sail in search of asylum: Ruth and her family board the St. Louis to escape Nazism; Phu sets out alone from war-torn Vietnam; José tries to reach the United States from Cuba; Najeeba flees Afghanistan and the Taliban; and after losing his family, Mohamed abandons his village on the Ivory Coast in search of a new life.
Stormy Seas combines a vivid and contemporary collage-based design with dramatic storytelling to produce a book that makes for riveting reading as well as a source of timely information. These remarkable accounts will give readers a keen appreciation of the devastating effects of war and poverty on youth like themselves, and helps put the mounting current refugee crisis into stark context.
To Burp or Not to Burp: A Guide to Your Body in Space
By Dr. Dave Williams and Loredana Cunti
Illustrated by Theo Krynauw
An informative and humorous look at what happens to your body in space – by someone who has been there. Of all the questions astronauts are asked by kids, the most frequent one is "How do you go to the toilet in space?" This book not only answers that question, but many others about the effect of zero gravity on the human body: How do you brush your hair in space? What happens when you sweat? What does food taste like? The best thing is that the answers are provided by Dr. Dave Williams, a NASA astronaut who speaks from first-hand experience. Written for kids ages 7 to 10, this book uses age-appropriate language to explain the different phenomena that astronauts encounter during a mission. The bright, colorful pages, short blocks of text accompanied by photos and humorous illustrations make this a very attractive choice for young readers. The opening message from Dr. Dave empowers kids to follow his example by believing in themselves and following their dreams.
Top Dogs: True Stories of Canines That Made History
By Elizabeth MacLeod
For the millions of kids who love dogs, this book tells the stories of eight amazing canines whose actions influenced the course of history. Author Elizabeth MacLeod’s kid-friendly, narrative style captures the time and place when the events took place as well as the sense of adventure that colors every story. Among the dogs featured are Stubby, a mutt who rescued American soldiers in the trenches of WWI, Buddy, the first seeing-eye-dog in North America, and Seaman, the Newfoundland, who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their expedition, protecting them from wild animals and providing them with food.
Scattered throughout the book are sidebars filled with information about the exploits of many other dogs, as well as the history, habits, and characteristics of various breeds. History has never been so fascinating as seen from the viewpoint of how dogs helped make it.
What a Waste: Where Does Garbage Go?
By Claire Eamer
Illustrated by Bambi Edlund
Hold your nose!
Yes, garbage is disgusting, but it’s also fascinating. Piles of garbage dating back to prehistory reveal how people lived, what they ate, and how they prepared their food. But garbage is also a problem. From leaving it in ancient caves to dumping it at the very edge of space, people have always had the challenge of what to do with it. And now that challenge has reached epic proportions as the world runs out of places to throw garbage away.
What a Waste! delves into the weird and fascinating world of garbage, covering topics like water pollution, modern “throwaway” culture, landfills, human waste, and recycling. The highly visual treatment with lots of sidebars and humorous illustrations makes this an engaging, kid-friendly introduction to an important issue.Readers will find answers to questions like: Why is there so much garbage? What are the different kinds of garbage? Are some worse than others? Is there still time to clean up the mess? Fortunately, the answer is yes—and this book looks at the efforts being made around the world to do so.