Here's a sample of the nonfiction books Hudson Valley educators are recommending for kids on summer reading lists, in the belief that nonfiction helps kids prepare for college work and for later success in a society that is increasingly complex. (July 6, 2012)
"Almost Gone: The World's Rarest Animals" by Steve Jenkins -- Paper cutout collages representing endangered species are paired with brief descriptions to help readers in grades one through three understand the pressures facing many struggling species.
"Amazing Animals: Super Safari" by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker -- This heavily illustrated book for kindergarten and pre-K children has the look and feel of a classic storybook, but is not a conventional story. The book introduces kids to African wildlife.
"Schoolyard Rhymes" by Judy Sierra -- Another heavily illustrated book for kindergarten kids, this one serves up a variety of schoolyard chants of the sort kids love to recite while jumping rope.
"Did Dinosaurs Eat Pizza? Mysteries Science Hasn't Solved" by Lenny Hort -- This book for second-graders gives kids a hint of real science, explaining that, while scientific research has taught mankind a lot about dinosaurs, plenty of interesting questions remain.
"In Search of Sasquatch" by Kelly Milner Halls --- The author is careful to explain that Sasquatch -- the mythical backwoods monster -- may well not exist. She analyzes the methods of individuals who are believers and tries to help fifth-graders learn a little about scientific methods in the process.
"The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and Treachery" by Steve Sheinkin -- Many readers of high school age will find Sheinkin's biography of Arnold to be a very inviting and enjoyable introduction to the form.
"21: The Story of Roberto Clemente" by Wilfred Santiago -- The story of the baseball great from Puerto Rico, from his youth in rural Puerto Rico to his tragic death at the height of his career.
"Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different" by Karen Blumenthal -- A version of the life story that high schoolers will find digestible, and perhaps inspiring.