Honor roll: Golden Kite Nonfiction Award

Each of these books has been nominated for a Golden Kite Nonfiction Award. They are ranked by honors received.

Book:Black Potatoes

Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850

Susan Campbell Bartoletti

In 1845, a disaster struck Ireland. Overnight, a mysterious blight attacked the potato crops, turning the potatoes black and destroying the only real food of nearly six million people.

Over the next five years, the blight attacked again and again. These years are known today as the Great Irish Famine, a time when one million people died from starvation and disease and two million more fled their homeland.

Black Potatoes is the compelling story of men, women, and children who defied landlords and searched empty fields for scraps of harvested vegetables and edible weeds to eat, who walked several miles each day to hard-labor jobs for meager wages and to reach soup kitchens, and who committed crimes just to be sent to jail, where they were assured of a meal. It's the story of children and adults who suffered from starvation, disease, and the loss of family and friends, as well as those who died. Illustrated with black and white engravings, it's also the story of the heroes among the Irish people and how they held on to hope.

Book:This Land Was Made for You and Me

This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie

Elizabeth Partridge

Before Springsteen and before Dylan, there was Woody Guthrie. With “This Machine Kills Fascists,” scrawled across his guitar in big black letters, Woody Guthrie brilliantly captured in song the experience of twentieth-century America. Whether he sang about union organizers, migrant workers, or war, Woody took his inspiration from the plight of the people around him as well as from his own tragic childhood.

From the late 1920s to the 1950s, Guthrie wrote the words to more than three thousand songs, including “This Land Is Your Land,” a song many call America’s unofficial national anthem. With a remarkable ability to turn any experience into a song almost instantaneously, Woody Guthrie spoke out for people of all colors and races, setting an example for generations of musicians to come. But Woody didn’t have the chance to find everything he was looking for. He was ravaged by Huntington’s disease,…[more]

Book:Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery

Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery

Russell Freedman

The intriguing story of Eleanor Roosevelt traces the life of the former First Lady from her early childhood through the tumultuous years in the White House to her active role in the founding of the United Nations after World War II.

Book:Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun

Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun

Rhoda Blumberg

In 1853, few Japanese people knew that a country called America even existed.

For centuries, Japan had isolated itself from the outside world by refusing to trade with other countries and even refusing to help shipwrecked sailors, foreign or Japanese. The country’s people still lived under a feudal system like that of Europe in the Middle Ages. But everything began to change when American Commodore Perry and his troops sailed to the Land of the Rising Sun, bringing with them new science and technology, and a new way of life.

Book:Team Moon

Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon

Catherine Thimmesh

Here is a rare perspective on a story we only thought we knew. For Apollo 11, the first moon landing, is a story that belongs to many, not just the few and famous. It belongs to the seamstress who put together twenty-two layers of fabric for each space suit. To the engineers who created a special heat shield to protect the capsule during its fiery reentry. It belongs to the flight directors, camera designers, software experts, suit testers, telescope crew, aerospace technicians, photo developers, engineers, and navigators.

Gathering direct quotes from some of these folks who worked behind the scenes, Catherine Thimmesh reveals their very human worries and concerns. Culling NASA transcripts, national archives, and stunning NASA photos from Apollo 11, she captures not only the sheer magnitude of this feat but also the dedication, ingenuity, and perseverance of the greatest team ever — the team that worked to first put man on that great gray rock in the sky.

Book:The Wright Brothers

The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane

Russell Freedman

He saw the first regular airmail service introduced in 1918, the first nonstop transcontinental flight in 1923, the first round-the-world flight in 1924, the first polar flight in 1926, and the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic in 1927. He witnessed two world wars in which the airplane played a critical role. He saw the earth shrink as the jet engine replaced propellers. He lived to see airplanes that flew faster than the speed of sound, and planes whose wings stretched farther than the distance of his first flight at Kitty Hawk.

There were moments when he looked back wistfully to those long-ago days when flying was still a dream that he shared with his brother. He once said, “I got more thrill out of flying before I had ever been in the air at all—while lying in bed thinking how exciting it would be to fly.

Book:Children of the Great Depression

Children of the Great Depression

Russell Freedman

As he did for frontier children in his enormously popular Children of the Wild West, Russell Freedman illuminates the lives of the American children affected by the economic and social changes of the Great Depression. Middle-class urban youth, migrant farm laborers, boxcar kids, children whose families found themselves struggling for survival…all Depression-era young people faced challenges like unemployed and demoralized parents, inadequate food and shelter, schools they couldn’t attend because they had to go to work, schools that simply closed their doors. Even so, life had its bright spots — like favorite games and radio shows — and many young people remained upbeat and optimistic about the future.

Drawing on memoirs, diaries, letters, and other firsthand accounts, and richly illustrated with classic archival photographs, this book by one of the most celebrated authors of nonfiction for children places the Great Depression in context and shows young readers its human face. Endnotes, selected bibliography, index.

Book:Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution

Natalie S. Bober

Abigail Adams is often referred to as the wife of one president and the mother of another. Rarely is she described as a woman in her own right. Although her primary focus and concerns were in her role as wife and mother, she lives in history because of her extraordinary letters to her family and to her friends.

She was a witness to the gathering storm of the Revolutionary War. She saw the Battle of Bunker Hill from a hilltop near her home, and soldiers marching past her door frequently stopped for a drink of water. Because she was so close to the scene, she was able to give firsthand reports of the American Revolution to her husband and other leaders creating a new government, as she wrote about the times and the people who played vital roles in the birth of our nation.

Mingling the intimate with the momentous, she documented what it was like to live at a time when education was not available…[more]

Book:Chimney Sweeps

Chimney Sweeps: Yesterday and Today

James Cross Giblin

Traces the history and folklore of the chimney-sweeping profession from the fifteenth century to the present day, emphasizing the plight of the often abused climbing boys of past centuries.

Book:Bill Peet: An Autobiography

Bill Peet: An Autobiography

Bill Peet

Bill Peet tells his life story, including his years with Disney, with illustrations on every page.

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