105 Ways to Give a Book

Want Ad: Eighth-Grade Nonfiction Needed

Looking for suggestions for good, newish, nonfiction books for eighth-grade boys. Keep in mind that in this context “good” means “enjoyable.” And “enjoyable” means that an eighth-grade boy might actually read it without being assigned it in class, and a woman twice that boy’s age might be able to get through it without yawning. I am going to booktalk in the middle school in June, and I have a good list of fiction, but no nonfiction. No skateboarding books.


Anonymous said...

I haven't read any of them, but perhaps you'll find something good on this list of Quick NF picks from YALSA. I was trying to find a Dutton book about the history of tattoos, but I'm not sure what it's called -- I just remembered hearing Mark McVeigh talk about working on it at a conference last spring, so perhaps it's not even out yet.

Still, some of the NBA stuff or the bio of 50 Cent might be okay. Or not.

Dawn said...

Anything from the Cybils list? "Escape" maybe?

Anonymous said...

I like to think my new book, TRACKING TRASH, will fit the bill.

It was released just last week, is part of HMCo's "Scientists in the FIeld" series, and it has earned starred reviews at School Library Journal and Kirkus (and fine reviews at Horn Book, VOYA and Booklist).

It relates the story of a scientist who studies ocean currents by tracking trash (rubber ducks and Nike sneakers, in fact) around the globe.

I think it would be a good fit, but I cannot claim objectivity!

Lots of info available at my website.

Loree Burns

EM said...

It's not super new, but what about PHINEAS GAGE? Can't beat a guy with an iron spike through his head.

Anonymous said...

On a slightly less self-serving note, I highly recommend TALES OF THE CRYPTIDS, by Halls, Spears, & Young. I found it fascinating and it seems to me the sort of book that would engage even reluctant readers.

Loree Burns

Anonymous said...

A few books my 8th grade boys have picked up on their in the last couple of years:

Hiroshima by John Hershey

Getting Away With Murder, by Chris Crowe

Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer

Endurance, by Alfred Lansing

T.O. by Terrell Owens

The greatest : Muhammad Ali by Walter Dean Myers

fusenumber8 said...

I'll see that "Phineas Gage" and raise you a "Team Moon" by Catherine Thimmesh.

MotherReader said...

Fuse, I forgot all about Team Moon! I love that book!

I've also used Phineas Gage as a booktalk, and it's a natural. Thanks EM.

Loree, I doubt my library has Tracking Trash yet - but I'll check. (It takes for-ev-er for us to get our books.)

Deborah, Kelly, and Dawn - I'll take a look at the lists, but I'm still holding out for personal recommendations.

Saints and Spinners said...

Yes, definitely Team Moon. It's exciting. Also, I'd recommend Invisible Enemies: Stories of Infectious Disease, by Jeanette Farrell.

Anonymous said...

"Deborah . . . I'll take a look at the lists, but I'm still holding out for personal recommendations."

Huh? Reporting what my 8th grade boys are currently reading is about as personal as I can get on the topic! :)

The Emmitt Till book (Getting Away With Murder -- 2003) made quite a splash . . .

MotherReader said...

Deborah, I do appreciate the suggestions. It is helpful to know what the eighth grade boys are reading, but I also like to have an adult stamp of approval as well since I'm going to have to read it myself. That's all I meant.

Anonymous said...

In that case, I can enthusiastically second their selection of:

1. Hiroshima by John Hershey (though it's not a recent publication)
2. Getting Away With Murder, by Chris Crowe
3. Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer
4. Endurance, by Alfred Lansing

I have not yet read T.O. or the Muhammad Ali book.

Anonymous said...

Funny you should ask today--I am just working on an article about nonfiction books for grades 3-6! Here are my favorites for that age:
Transformed by Bill Slavin
The Kid Who Invented the Trampoline by Wulffson
What Stinks? by Marilyn Singer
Balls by Michael J. Rosen
Hero Dogs by Jackson
Hereoes of Baseball by Lipsyte
hey Batta Batta Swing by Cook
The Truth About Great White Sharks (I reviewed this one on our blog earlier this month if you want more info on it.)

These are recent favorites in my 3rd -5th classrooms.

Hope that helps!

Brooke said...

I was going to put in my two cents for the "Scientists in the Field" series, but it looks like one of the authors beat me to the punch!

My personal fave from the series is The Tarantula Scientist. Did you know that tarantulas have quills, like porcupines? And that they shoot them at intruders? Awesome.

Anonymous said...

Mysteries of the Mummy Kids
Game strategy guides such as the Runescape guide
Alex Rider The Gadgets
The Radioactive Boy Scout
Kingfisher Encyclopedia of Soccer
Debatable deaths

Monica Edinger said...

I second Lipsyte's Heroes of Baseball.

Sally M. Walker's Secrets of a Civil War Submarine.

Mark Kurlansky's A Cod's Tale and The Story of Salt.

Albert Marrin's Oh Rats! The Story of Rats and People.

Bea Uusma Schyffert's The Man Who Went to the Far Side of the Moon: The Story of Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins. (This has one of the coolest designs I've seen in. From Chronicle.)

Candace Fleming's Ben Franklin's Almanac.

Jennifer Armstrong's Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World.

Susan Campbell Bartoletti's Hitler Youth.

Monica Edinger said...

Oh, there's also DK's Pick Me Up.

Camille said...

Guys really love "Guts" and "My Life in Dog Years" by Gary Paulsen.

Anonymous said...

I would like to heartily second Monica's suggestion of Pick Me Up!!

Lindsey said...

What the Number for 911 by Gregory Leland records actual stupid phone calls people made to the 911 number. Very funny.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, Loree and Alf, for recommending my books TALES OF THE CRYPTIDS and MYSTERIES OF THE MUMMY KIDS. Both would be ideal for 8th grade nonfiction.

I also love the "Scientist in the Field" series including Loree's book TRACKING TRASH. Just a fantatic series, especially for reluctant readers. And I too love PICK ME UP and OH RATS!

All of these are such innovative nonfiction titles, I wish I'd written them myself. I mean, those I didn't write. : )

A couple more suggestion. Don't overlook LEFT FOR DEAD by Pete Nelson -- the true story of survivors from the USS Indianapolis, torpedoed by the Japanese on July 30, 1945.

SURVIVING HITLER by Andrea Warren, about 15-year-old Jack Mandelbaum's hellish ordeal in WWII concentration camps.

And last but not least, Mavia Jukes' GUY BOOK: An OWNER'S MANUAL. It's just a terrific "about my body and mind" exploration of the male of our species.

Thanks again for mentioning TALES OF THE CRYPTIDS and MYSTERIES OF THE MUMMY KIDS. You might also like ALBINO ANIMALS, which I wrote too. Best of luck with your search.

Kelly Milner Halls