2019 Silver Birch Award® Non-Fiction Nominees

         
         


Basketballogy: Super Cool Facts You Never Knew
Written and Illustrated by Kevin Sylvester
Published by Annick Press

Everything you wanted to know about basketball—and more!

Die-hard basketball fans and casual spectators alike will want to get their hands on this collection of fascinating facts about the game. Find out about the origins of basketball, how much players are paid, the evolution of the basketball shoe, and the secret for hitting a perfect shot. Basketballogy also covers the colour barrier in the sport and how it was breached, the rise of women’s basketball, and the innovations that have made the game accessible to disabled athletes. Lots of humorous, colourful illustrations, charts, and graphs make this ideal for visual learners, while the short chapters encourage browsing. A fun trivia quiz at the end makes this book a slam dunk.


Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night
Written by Rob Laidlaw
Published by Pajama Press

An innovative full-colour work about bats’ biology, habits, and history, and the bat conservation efforts of young people around the world.

From the award-winning author of No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs and Cat Champions: Caring for our Feline Friends comes an inspiring book about bats, their importance to a wide range of ecosystems, and the young “bat citizens” who are engaged in conservation efforts around the world.

In Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night, celebrated animal activist and biologist Rob Laidlaw sheds light on these famously shadowy mammals, from their habits and habitats to their importance for maintaining biodiversity. Bat biology is explored alongside human-bat relations, with facts to fascinate even the most savvy reader. Spotlight features on “Bat Citizens” make this an empowering book for children seeking their own expressions of global citizenship. With informational sidebars, colour photographs, a glossary and index, and a labelled centre-gatefold bat illustration, Bat Citizens is a book that will both instruct and inspire.


Biometrics: Your Body and the Science of Security
Written by Maria Birmingham
Illustrated by Ian Turner
Published by Owlkids Books

Biometrics — the science of using the body to identify a person — is everywhere, not just in science fiction, but in everyday life. Today, biometrics is on the cutting edge of security. It’s used for access into banks and airports, as well as to keep money and personal information safe. Methods like fingerprinting and retinal scanning might be more familiar, but biometrics can also identify people based on ear shape, scent, vein pattern, and much more. 


This book explores nine biometrics in detail, explaining how each works, where it’s used, its pros and cons, and how it compares to other techniques. It also discusses privacy, security, why we need methods of identification, and touches on biometrics of the future. Engaging and colourful design and playful illustrations alongside surprising anecdotes, historical context, and humour make this an enjoyable, in-depth look at a hot topic. Informational text features include sidebars, diagrams, sources, a glossary and an index.


Broken Pieces: An Orphan of the Halifax Explosion
Written by Allison Lawlor
Published by Nimbus Publishing

One hundred years ago, on December 6, 1917, the French munitions ship Mont Blanc collided with the Belgian relief vessel Imo in the Halifax Harbour. At first, a small fire broke out aboard the Mont Blanc, which grew bigger crowds of people and emergency responders lined the shores of Halifax and Dartmouth to get a better look. Suddenly, the Mont Blanc‘s explosive cargo blew up, flattening homes and businesses, and triggering a tsunami.

Amid the confusion and devastation that followed the blast was fourteen-year-old Barbara Orr, who had been walking from her neighbourhood in Richmond to a friend’s house. Follow Barbara as she navigates post-explosion Halifax, learning about rescue efforts, the kindness of strangers, and the bravery of heroes like Vincent Coleman along the way.

Part of the popular Compass series, this full-colour non-fiction book includes highlighted glossary terms, informative sidebars, over 50 illustrations and historical photographs, a detailed index, and recommended further reading. In commemoration of the tragic event’s 100th anniversary, Broken Pieces is a great resource for young readers and educators.


Carey Price: How a First Nations Kid Became a Superstar Goaltender
Written by Catherine Rondina
Published by James Lorimer & Company

Twenty years ago, Carey Price was flying hundreds of miles across the country, so he could play on the nearest organized hockey team. Today, he is the highest-paid goalie in the NHL. But he's never forgotten where he started.

The son of an NHL draftee and the chief of the Ulkatcho First Nation, Carey got his start on skates as a toddler. The natural athlete went on to become the top amateur player in Canada in 2002, getting drafted fifth overall by the Montreal Canadiens three years later. Now one of the most recognizable figures in hockey, Carey credits his success to his community of Anahim Lake, where hard work and commitment often face off against remoteness and cost. Throughout his incredible career, he's taken every opportunity possible to encourage all young people, especially those who share his Indigenous background, to follow their dreams.


Engineered!: Engineering Design at Work
Written by Shannon Hunt
Illustrated by James Gulliver Hancock
Published by Kids Can Press

How do you land a rover on Mars, resolve a perpetual traffic jam or save a herd of caribou from potential extinction? Ask an engineer! Author Shannon Hunt presents nine real-life problems for which engineers designed inventive (and even crazy!) solutions. Each was solved using a different field of engineering - from aerospace and mechanical to the new field of geomatics. A helpful seven-step flowchart of the engineering design process is also featured: define the problem, investigate the requirements, develop solutions, design a prototype, test it, improve it and share the idea. These steps are highlighted in each chapter with helpful icons that refer to the flowchart. Sidebars, biographies of the engineers and fun detailed illustrations by James Gulliver Hancock help flesh out the stories and bring them to life.

This terrific introduction to some fascinating practical applications of engineering is sure to inspire the natural engineer in every child. With its emphasis on real-world connections to the math, science and technology skills applied with critical thinking and creative problem solving, this book is a natural for encouraging STEM education (science, technology, engineering, math). With so many direct curriculum applications for grades three to seven, and in following with the guidelines in the Next Generation Science Standards, this book is a perfect resource for classrooms and libraries, as well as anywhere a makerspace is found. Includes a table of contents, glossary and index.


A Fair Deal: Shopping For Social Justice
Written by Kari Jones
Published by Orca Book Publishers

Fair trade is not about spending more money or buying more stuff. It's about helping producers in developing countries get a fair price for their goods. In A Fair Deal: Shopping for Social Justice, Kari Jones provides a history of trade, explaining what makes trade systems unfair and what we can do about it. By examining ways in which our global trade systems value some people over others, the book illustrates areas in which fair trade practices can help families all around the world and suggests ways to get involved in making the world a more equitable place.

New Hands, New Life: Robots, Prostheses and Innovation
Written by Alex Mihailidis and Jan Andrysek
Published by Firefly Books

Everyone uses machines in our daily life - cars, buses and bikes; computers and phones; washing machines and dryers. Another type of machine is an "assistive technology". These enable a man missing a leg to walk, a woman missing an arm to hold objects, and a child in a wheelchair to play a sport.

New Hands, New Life offers young readers the opportunity to learn how our bodies work during physical activity and what happens when they don't work properly. It shows how exciting advances in technology and science have allowed us to create assistive technologies - from artificial limbs and wheelchairs to exoskeletons and robots - that make it possible for someone with a disability to make new abilities. Assistive technologies are especially life-changing for a child who can overcome the challenges of a missing limb or reduced motor function to enjoy a life of learning and play that would be otherwise out of reach.

Topics include:
The emergence of robotics
Anatomy and physiology related to movement and activity, including motor control
Why some children need help to move or do things
Different types of challenges (e.g., walking, interacting with environment)
Diseases, trauma and disabilities that affect movement
Working together with robots
Making robots (robotics clubs, LEGO toys, other kits)
3-D printing of prostheses for growing children.

The book features case studies that follow the design and fitting of assistive technologies. There are pictures of the labs, robots, and researchers working to develop new machines, along with a brief history of prosthetics and a survey of medical-engineering work currently underway in many countries. New Hands, New Life provides fascinating, illustrated coverage of a topic rarely covered for a young audience. It is an essential selection for all libraries, and for many families.


Rising Seas: Flooding, Climate Change And Our New World
Written by Keltie Thomas
Illustrated by Belle Wuthrich and Kath Boake W.
Published by Firefly Books

The Earth's oceans are on the rise. Since 1900, global sea levels have risen steadily each year to a global average of about 8 inches (20cm) today, and they're still rising. By 2100, the sea could climb as much as 14 feet (4.3m) to 32 feet (9.75m).

Rising Seas: Flooding, Climate Change and Our New World gives youth an eye-popping view of what the Earth might look like under the rising and falling water levels of climate change. Photographs juxtapose the present-day with that same area's projected future. The shocking images will help them understand the urgency for action. Key issues in today's news will be better understood, such as the 2015 Paris Protocol in which the world agreed to limit temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius (ideally 1.5 degree).


The Triumphant Tale of the House Sparrow
Written and Illustrated by Jan Thornhill
Published by Groundwood Books

Behold the most despised bird in human history!

So begins Jan Thornhill’s riveting, beautifully illustrated story of the House Sparrow. She traces the history of this perky little bird, one of the most adaptable creatures on Earth, from its beginnings in the Middle East to its spread with the growth of agriculture into India, North Africa and Europe. Everywhere the House Sparrow went, it competed with humans for grain, becoming such a pest that in some places “sparrow catcher” became an actual job and bounties were paid to those who got rid of it.

But not everyone hated the House Sparrow, and in 1852, fifty pairs were released in New York City. In no time at all, the bird had spread from coast to coast. Then suddenly, at the turn of the century, as cars took over from horses and there was less grain to be found, its numbers began to decline. As our homes, gardens, cities and farmland have changed, providing fewer nesting and feeding opportunities, the House Sparrow’s numbers have begun to decline again — though in England and Holland this decline appears to be slowing. Perhaps this clever little bird is simply adapting once more.

This fascinating book includes the life history of the House Sparrow and descriptions of how the Ancient Egyptians fed it to the animals they later mummified, how it traveled to Great Britain as a stowaway on ships carrying Roman soldiers, and how its cousin, the Eurasian Tree Sparrow, was almost eradicated in China when Mao declared war on it. A wealth of back matter material is also supplied.