Monday, March 12, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday #9- Multicultural books and Non-fiction books...

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the team over at Broke and the Bookish! Leave a link to your Top 10 below!

Top 10 Multicultural Books I have read and recommend to my students....

1. Flight by Sherman Alexie- features a hard-edged kid named Zits. He ends up making some poor choices that lead him on a sci-fi journey of discovery about his Native American past and the harsh truths of his ethnic heritage.

2. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls- an interesting memoir about growing up strong while living in poverty (with really crazy parents!) Loved this memoir and always recommend it to kids.

3. Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman- a story about an Indian girl in a time of turmoil as India tries to claim independence from Britain. I learned a lot about the culture and history of India in that time, and really enjoyed the main character's struggle as a female who wants to be an educated woman while living in a traditional culture.

4. Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock- Who wouldn't love a teenage girl from Wisconsin who breaks gender barriers by playing football?

5. A Step from Heaven by An Na- What an amazing immigration story! It is written in prose, but it is a lyrical prose that is a joy to read.

6. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini- a travel through several decades of life in Afghanistan from the eyes of two women whose lives eventually intertwine in unexpected ways. Beautifully written- again, I learned sooooooooo much about the history and culture of the country.

7. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd- moving story set in civil rights era South. Historical perspective and basic story line will pull you in and have you gasping, laughing and crying.

8. Med Head: my knock down, drag-out, drugged-up battle with my brain by James Patterson and Hal Friedman- this story describes Cory Friedman's struggles with Tourette's Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It is very moving and gets my students' attention because they are interested in Tourette's and OCD-not a topic they discuss often.

9. Infidel by Aayan Hirsi Ali- autobiographical account of a young Muslim woman growing up in Somalia, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia. Then she immigrated to the Netherlands as a refugee. She eventually earned her college degree and was elected to Parliment. Gripping tale full of scary horrifying accounts of abuse, a call to action to change the way women are treated in the Muslim world (as recommended by Carolyn, a fellow teacher.)

10. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon- the story of a 15-year-old who is autistic. The story follows him as he tries to unravel a mystery of the death of his neighbor's dog. At times, it is funny, amazing, and poignant as you follow this boy's train of logic to the mystery's conclusion.

Top 10 Recent Non-fiction Books...

1. Sugar Changed the World: a story of magic, spice, slavery, freedom and science by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos- follows our journey to satisfy our sweet tooth. This meticulously researched, brutally honest and compelling book offers a different way to look at many events over the past 200 years or so. The title says it all. 

2. Salt: a world history by Mark Kurlansky- a common household item with a long and intriguing history! The only rock we eat, salt has shaped civilization from the beginning, and is a glittering and often surprising part of the history of humankind. It was once so valuable it served as currency, influenced trade routes and cities, provoked and financed wars, secured empires and inspired revolutions. 

3. Migrant Mother: how a photograph defined the Great Depression by Don Nardo- explores the historical context and significance of the iconic Dorothea Lange photograph that we all immediately think of when we think of the Great Depression. I learned so much about her as a photographer and about her as a person, as well as learning about the women who is the subject of the photographs.

4. Lost and Found by John Malam- this is actually a series of books which includes The Titanic and Other Lost Ships, Pompeii and Other Lost Cities, The Terracotta Army and Other Lost Treasures, and Tutankhamun and Other Lost Tombs. - these are incredibly gorgeous books full of color and media all about things that were lost. They start with short introductions but then move on to specific lost locations or items with information about how they were found and about what they are like now. So well done.

5. Cleopatra Rules!: the amazing life of the original teen queen by Vicky Shector- this book presents Cleopatra's story through an unusual test with many informative sidebars and artworks from many historical periods. I love how this so much about the text but also so much about the text which include puns, informal language and metaphors. Her younger brother and sister trash-talked her worse than feuding starlets at a Hollywood club. Love it!

6. The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge- I love that this book starts with an explanation of the saying, "Keeping up with the Joneses." The term was coined during the 1800s to describe attempts at social climbing and as a direct reference to the family into which Edith Jones Wharton was born. I learned SO much about this woman and about all oft he other amazing things she did! Did you know she was a phenomenal architect!? Did you know she won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, Age of Innocence (which I read and am better for it!) I now have added visiting her home to my bucket list! 

7. The Great and Only Barnum: the tremendous, stupendous life of showman P.T.Barnum by Candace Fleming- this biography is such a great read! I live in a town and in a area of Wisconsin that has such roots in the circus history which this book explains in such an entertaining way. Full of sidebars, photographs, illustrations and even a selection of his advertisements. Great entertainment!

8. Bootleg: murder, moonshine and the lawless years of Prohibition by Karen Blumenthal- gangsters, guns and political battles- this book has them all! This is just fascinating and I've watched kids pick up this book and read it that probably have read less then 3 books in their life! Love it! 

9. The Dark Game: true spy stories by Paul B. Janeczko- From Benedict Arnold and Mata Hari to the lesser-known Elizabeth Van Lew and Juan Pujol, their stories are full of detail, drawing you into a world of intrigue and danger. Ever wonder how invisible ink works? Each chapter covers a time period and chronicles spying through both text and photographs. So interesting!

10. The Elements: a visual exploration of every known atom int he universe by Theodore W. Gray- Not only is this an incredibly beautiful book full of pictures, but it's also based on 5 years of research! It's just a gorgeous book that students love to look at! Check it out!

 What's on your Top 10 this week?


  1. Great list, especially The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time!

  2. I loved The Curious incident of the dog in the night-time! Nice list!

    You can find mine on my blog ^^

  3. I loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, my niece and nephew are autistic so I thought his representation of the character was great! Now following your blog :)

    -Kimberly @ Turning The Pages

  4. Awesome list! Infidel is on my TBR list.

  5. Fantastic lists. I have only read one or two of them.

  6. I've only read 2 of those books: Curious Incident and A Thousand Splendid Suns (though I saw the film of Secret Life of Bees.) Good idea for a top ten, and I like the variety.

  7. I'm not a huge non-fiction fan but I have been wanting to read Salt and Cleopatra Rules looks interesting. Thanks for stopping by my blog.