Search on SLJ.com ....
Subscribe to SLJ
Follow This Blog: RSS feed
Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster (Is Not a Disaster)

Occasional guest blogger Joy Piedmont is back! She (unlike, say, Karyn) likes to read nonfiction, and has OPINIONS about it. Thoughtful, considered opinions. Making her a perfect candidate to guest write as we try to catch up on our nonfiction 2012 piles. So, with no further ado…

titanic2 Titanic: Voices from the Disaster (Is Not a Disaster)Titanic: Voices from the Disaster, Deborah Hopkinson
Scholastic Press, April 2012
Reviewed from final copy

What is good nonfiction?

I know, I know; you came for a review and I’m hitting you with the big questions right up front. Apologies.

Right, so, good nonfiction.

Actually, it’s what any good book is: engaging, honest (factually and/or artistically), moving. Reading isn’t just the consumption of information, it’s an act that must change us, even in a small way. Good books should force us to question, to cry or to shout; we should be moved. Good nonfiction can put you under a spell and make the real unreal. (And isn’t this the inverse of good fiction, making the unreal real?) Good nonfiction, like fiction, is transformative.

When we consider this in light of the Printz, there is no reason why nonfiction can’t be in the conversation, and 2012 has been a particularly good year for YA nonfiction.

[Read more...]

The Iceberg Watcheth

The Watch that Ends the Night 214x300 The Iceberg WatchethHappy 2012! This year marks 100 years since the fateful maiden voyage of RMS Titanic, which is why we’ve saved this book for our first post of the year.

And who doesn’t love a good Titanic tale? Haven’t we all had that moment when the scope of the tragedy, the mythology of the final moments, touched us in some way? I have two books that brought the story to life for me: First, Richard Peck’s Ghosts I Have Been. My memory of details has faded, but I remember that this was a seminal book for me and the image of Blossom clutching the wet blanket still brings me chills. And I remember the little boy. And the cold.

My second critical Titanic tale was Connie Willis’s Passage, an odd and not entirely successful—but still brilliant—look at near death experiences and missed connections which uses the Titanic to great advantage and led me to read a bit more Titanic nonfiction (Walter Lord’s A Night to Remember, anyone?)

So although I had missed most early buzz about Allan Wolf’s The Watch that Ends the Night, once I realized it was a, about Titanic and b, fiction, I was excited to read it. Plus three stars, and it made The Horn Book’s 2011 Fanfare.

[Read more...]