Go! A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd

Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd

Professional graphic designer Chipp Kidd has designed many a movie poster and book jacket.  He’s even written a few novels.  And now he’s thrown his hat into the nonfiction ring with this dynamically designed and content-rich guide to graphic design. Filled with top notch information in an easily digestible format, Go! has a lot to offer. Examples of Kidd’s (and others) graphic design work clearly model various design principles and interesting – often humorous – sidebars provide great context and further information about specific design choices. My favorite part of the book, though, are the 10 design projects modeled at the end of the book, which call upon readers to put all of their newly gained knowledge into practice in fun and purposeful ways.  A terrific choice for budding artists and designers.

I showed this gem to the chair of our MS Art department and she absolutely loved it.  We chatted about the possibility of creating a year-long curriculum centered around design principles and using Kidd’s book as the textbook for one of the MS art classes.

Go! A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design was a finalist for the 2014 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award.

– Alicia (aka The LibrariYAn)


Courage Has No Color, The True Story of the Triple Nickles: America’s First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone

At the start of World War II, African-Americans in the United States military were tasked with fighting against racial prejudice in Nazi Germany while being treated as second-class citizens at home.  At the time, all branches of military service were segregated and most African-Americans were relegated to service jobs – cooks, machinists, etc. – and not permitted to fight on the front lines.

This exceptionally well-researched narrative, which includes photos and interviews with several of the men who served, explores the experiences of the first African-American paratrooper unit, the 555th Paratrooper Infantry Battalion, better known as the the Triple Nickles.

Courage Has No Color was a finalist for the 2014 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults.

– Alicia (aka The LibrariYAn)

The President Has Been Shot by James L. Swanson

“The President Has Been Shot!”: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy by James L. Swanson

From the author of the riveting nonfiction narrative Chasing Lincoln’s Killercomes another true tale of murder and suspense.

A helpful consolidation of Kennedy’s presidency with highlights of the major issues of the time provides just enough background information to set the stage.  A snapshot of the Kennedy family’s rags to riches story and a glimpse into the troubled and somewhat bizarre life of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald puts the actors in position.  A detailed account of the days leading up to November 22, 1963 and a fairly extensive description of the assassination and aftermath takes center stage and a brief nod to conspiracy and cover-up drops the curtain on this tragic event.  Swanson’s account includes tons of photos, video stills, and diagrams that give the young reader a chance to travel back to Dallas, TX in November of 1963 and experience one of the most shocking and terrifying events in our nation’s history.

History buffs, budding conspiracy theorists and reluctant readers alike will be drawn to this title.  It’s a great choice for middle school readers, but it can’t hurt to hand this one to teens 14+ either.  A few of our 8th graders are researching the assassination for their term papers, and they’ve found this title to be quite a great source of information.

The President Has Been Shot was a finalist for the 2014 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award.

– Alicia (The LibrariYAn)

* Which also happens to be our 6th grade spring book club selection!

The Nazi Hunters by Neal Bascomb

Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb

In the aftermath of World War II, many Nazi leaders were made to account for their transgressions and accept punishment for their role in the Holocaust of over 6 million Jews through the Nuremberg Trials. Some of the most horrific actors, however, managed to escape Germany, fleeing to other countries and assuming new identities in hopes to evade capture and accountability.  One such man was Adolf Eichmann, the head of operations for The Final Solution – the rounding up and shipping off of Jews to death camps. After the war, Eichmann fled to South America and lived there for many years without anyone’s notice. After a team of Israeli spies are tipped off to his whereabouts a massive covert operation spanning several years begins.  The goal: take Eichmann alive and willing to stand trial for his crimes in Israel.  And don’t let anyone find out about the plan until he’s been safely transported to Jerusalem.

Filled with suspense and research backed by interviews, tons of photos, forgeries and kidnapping diagrams, you’ll quickly understand why this title won the 2014 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award.  A must for any collection for 12-18 year olds*.

– Alicia Blowers (aka The LibrariYAn)


*Oh, and the trim size only adds another reason to love this book.  I can’t be the only middle school librarian who squeals with delight when a nonfiction book is published in trade size (like a novel) instead of picture book size, can I? I can’t get my kids to read the ones that look like picture books, but they will eagerly checkout something that *looks* like “adult” nonfiction.