Books for Youth
Committed to providing a broad selection of outstanding books
that mixes popular appeal with
literary excellence, the Books for
Youth editorial staff has chosen
the titles below as best-of-the-year
nonfiction and fiction books and
Blood Brother: Jonathan Daniels and His
Sacrifice for Civil Rights. By Rich Wallace
and Sandra Neil Wallace. Boyds Mills/Calkins
Creek, $18.95 (9781629790947). Gr. 8–12.
When Martin Luther King Jr. asked for
help ending racial injustice in the South,
Jonathan Daniels, a white northern seminarian, answered. Knowing he was risking
his life by wearing a clerical collar and
pushing for racial equality, he worked for
voting rights until he was jailed, released,
Brown v. Board of Education: A Fight for
Simple Justice. By Susan Goldman Rubin.
Holiday, $18.95 (9780823436460). Gr. 6–9.
This thorough, large-format account of several monumental courtroom cases is a model
of lucidity. Rubin sets a vivid backdrop, introduces memorable personalities, and weaves
through complicated proceedings with stunning aplomb.
Feminism: Reinventing the F-Word.
By Nadia Abushanab Higgins. Lerner/
Twenty-First Century, lib. ed., $35.99
(9781467761475). Gr. 8–11.
After a brief survey of the history of femi-
nism, Higgins allots the majority of her book
to a discussion of its present. Intersection-
ality, criticisms of second- and third-wave
feminism, and the importance of grassroots
organizations, among other topics, are all co-
gently explained in this empowering volume.
In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden
History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five
Black Lives. By Kenneth C. Davis. Holt,
$17.99 (9781627793117). Gr. 7–10.
Davis’ account of five enslaved people and
the U.S. presidents who owned them is not just
an incredibly researched piece of history—it’s a
fierce wake-up call to anyone who praises their
leaders without critical nuance. A devastating
and eye-opening investigation. (Top of the List
March: Book Three. By John Lewis and
Andrew Aydin. Illus. by Nate Powell. Top
Shelf, $19.99 (9781603094023). Gr. 9–12.
This closing volume of Lewis’ comics
memoir highlights the growing violence and
tensions among activists during Freedom
Summer and culminates in the Voting Rights
Act. Cinematic artwork heightens the tension
in this timely, accessible account of the civil
rights movement and serves as a call to action.
Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story.
By Caren Stelson. Carolrhoda, $19.99
(9781467789035). Gr. 7–10.
Sachiko Yasui experienced the bombing of
Nagasaki firsthand, and her vivid, affecting
account of the event and its aftermath comes
to life here. Periodic explanations of concepts
and events bring helpful, informative context
to Sachiko’s narrative as well as her enduring
message of peace.
Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience during World War II. By Albert Marrin.
Knopf, $17.99 (9780553509366). Gr. 9–12.
In the midst of WWII, 110,000 Japanese
Americans were uprooted from their homes
and moved to relocation centers. It is Marrin’s
well-documented contention that this shame-
ful act of resettlement was rooted in wartime
hysteria and enduring racism, a theme that
informs this masterful account.
Vietnam: A History of the War. By Russell
Freedman. Holiday, $20 (9780823436583).
Newbery medalist Freedman’s absorbing,
concise narrative lucidly illustrates Vietnam’s
road to revolution, escalating U.S. involvement in the region, and how it became
one of history’s greatest messes. A thought-provoking and ultimately hopeful glimpse
into a pivotal moment in recent history.
Are You an Echo? The Lost Poetry of
Misuzu Kaneko. By Misuzu Kaneko.
Illus. by Toshikado Hajiri. Tr. by David
Jacobson and others. Chin Music, $19.50
(9781634059626). Gr. 2–5.
Kaneko’s children’s poetry is translated into
English for the first time in this beautiful
package, presented alongside a narrative of
her early life and gorgeous, haunting visuals.
A brilliant introduction to a unique, less discussed artist.
Fannie Never Flinched: One Woman’s
Courage in the Struggle for American
Labor Union Rights. By Mary Cronk Farrell.
Abrams, $19.95 (9781419718847). Gr. 5–8.
Fannie Sellins was working in a sweatshop
when she first heard about the United Garment Workers of America. She helped to
organize her fellow seamstresses, largely recent
immigrants, into Ladies’ Local 67. This volume, richly photo-illustrated and imbued with
solid scholarly features, explores her battle.
Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto
Yoshitsune. By Pamela S. Turner. Illus.
by Gareth Hinds. Charlesbridge, $16.95
(9781580895842). Gr. 5–8.
With more beheadings than you can shake
a katana at, this account of the life of twelfth-century samurai Minamoto Yoshitsune is pure
excitement. Swift, novel-like prose reveals Yoshitsune’s formative battles, rise to fame, and
eventual fall in 1189, while demonstrating the
changing role of samurai in Japanese society.
Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White. By
Melissa Sweet. Illus. by the author. HMH,
$18.99 (9780544319592). Gr. 2–5.
In this inviting biography, Sweet ties together elements of adored author E. B.
White’s life with pleasantly rambling prose
and enchanting illustrations constructed from
found objects, collage, and watercolor scenes.
White’s story, shy personality, and love of animals will easily draw in young readers.
Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key
Taught the World about Kindness. By Donna
Trying to avoid the shame of slavery once led historians to cover it up. Many of
the facts linking some of America’s greatest
men with the basic evil of slavery have been
swept under the carpet. But as John Adams,
another Founding Father, once said, “Facts
are stubborn things.”
From In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden
History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five
Black Lives, by Kenneth C. Davis