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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Twenty-Eight – 2017 Nonfiction Chapter Books


Okay, folks. The rules are the same as yesterday. Books that have already appeared on previous lists won’t get a write-up. Newer inclusions that didn’t slot neatly onto another list will. And in some cases you’ll be wondering why a book that has a limited number of pages is on the “Chapter Books” list. If the content is for older readers, I’m including it here. House rules.


2017 Nonfiction Chapter Books

Ben’s Revolution: Benjamin Russell and the Battle of Bunker Hill by Nathaniel Philbrick, ill. Wendell Minor


Fred Korematsu Speaks Up by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi, ill. Yutaka Houlette


The Great Penguin Rescue: Saving the African Penguins by Sandra Markle


How Many Guinea Pigs Can Fit On a Plane? Answers to Your Most Clever Math Questions by Laura Overdeck


Most years I search in vain for a good math book to add to this list. This year, I search no longer. This book is so much fun, and absolutely perfect for kids that need facts and figures rather than stories and characters. Plus you get to imagine squeezing untold numbers of guinea pigs onto planes, so how’s that not fun?

Meet Cindy Sherman: Artist, Photographer, Chameleon by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan


Mission Pluto: The First Visit to an Ice Dwarf and the Kuiper Belt by Mary Kay Carson, photos by Tom Uhlman


Motor Girls: How Women Took the Wheel and Drove Boldly Into the Twentieth Century by Sue Macy


The New Ocean: The Fate of Life in a  Changing Sea by Bryn Barnard


Older Than Dirt: A Kinda-Sorta Biography of Earth by Don Brown & Dr. M. Perfit


Pathfinders: The Journeys of 16 Extraordinary Black Souls by Tonya Bolden


The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life by Kwame Alexander


If you know me at all then the idea that I’d be recommending a book full of inspirational quotes from sports figures is unbelievable at best, madcap at worst. And I’ll be blunt. I don’t like inspirational books. This is because I am a bitter hard-hearted chrone with a small snail shell where my soul used to be. But even I kinda love this book. Not for the quotes, which will all look very nice cross-stitched onto pillows. No, Kwame puts some interstitial elements into this book that make the whole enterprise worth it. For one thing, there are sports bios of people who would sometimes fail. For another, there’s a running story from his own life about failure and sports that I think is hugely valuable for young readers. And finally, it’s a friggin’ good sports book! Do you know how hard those books are to find? My heart continually goes out to kids that love sports because finding really high quality ones is so difficult. This book could be handed to any kid that loves any sport and they’d get something out of it. A must purchase title.

Pop-Up Shakespeare by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, ill. Jennie Maizels


I like the pop-ups and I like the Shakespeare. Have a kid coming with you to a Shakespeare play or you just want to give them an overview of the guy himself? This book actually is a great way to start. It summarizes the different kinds of plays he wrote, places them in the context of the times, and then describes the individual plays themselves with some keen one-liners. All to the good.


Interested in the other lists of the month? Here’s the schedule so that you can keep checking back:

December 1 – Board Books

December 2 – Board Book Reprints & Adaptations

December 3 – Wordless Picture Books

December 4 – Picture Book Readalouds

December 5 – Rhyming Picture Books

December 6 – Alphabet Books

December 7 – Funny Picture Books

December 8 – CaldeNotts

December 9 – Picture Book Reprints

December 10 – Math Picture Books

December 11 – Bilingual Books

December 12 – Translated Picture Books

December 13 – Books with a Message

December 14 – Fabulous Photography

December 15 – Fairy Tales / Folktales

December 16 – Oddest Books of the Year

December 17 – Poetry Books

December 18 – Easy Books

December 19 – Early Chapter Books

December 20 – Comics for Kids

December 21 – Older Funny Books

December 22 – Fictionalized Nonfiction

December 23 – American History

December 24 – Science & Nature Books

December 25 – Transcendent Holiday Picture Books

December 26 – Unique Biographies

December 27 – Nonfiction Picture Books

December 28 – Nonfiction Chapter Books

December 29 – Fiction Reprints

December 30 – Middle Grade Novels

December 31 – Picture Books

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.