3 Nonfiction Titles To Inspire | SLJ Spotlight

Three nonfiction titles explore hope, activism, and the global histories of extraordinary women.
This month brings several titles that offer a wide range of inspiring voices. In Hope Nation, David Levithan, Nicola Yoon, and other writers share personal ­experiences of resistance and acceptance. In How I Resist, authors including Jason Reynolds and Libba Bray reveal candid perspectives on activism. And Anthology of Amazing Women spans centuries and continents, profiling individuals who blazed trails in all walks of life.

Brock, Rose, ed. Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration. 304p. Philomel. Feb. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781524741679. Gr 7 Up–This collection of essays from well-known YA authors aims to encourage and inspire young people to fight the feeling of powerlessness that often plagues adolescence. It certainly delivers, with 23 stories that share perspectives on positivity and standing up for one’s beliefs. Readers will be excited to discover true stories from their favorite authors’ lives—coping with the aftermath of a near-fatal car accident from Libba Bray and growing up as an immigrant in the United States from Marie Lu. Although covering global issues, the collection is U.S.–centric. All pieces are well written, with a variation in style and story length that makes the collection easy to pick up and read in short bursts. There’s something in this to suit all tastes, and it is an important and timely read for those in need of confidence. This volume is a great lesson in empathy and understanding. While spanning a range of topics, a repeated message rings through: “Hope is a decision.” VERDICT An important and inspiring read for thoughtful teens; consider for most YA collections.–Lauren Jones, Tauranga City Library, NZ

JOHNSON, Maureen, ed. How I Resist: Activism and Hope for a New Generation. 224p. further reading. St. Martin’s/Wednesday Bks. May 2018. pap. $18.99. ISBN 9781250168368.

Gr 9 Up–In an anthology for young adults discontented with today’s political climate and looking to take action, Johnson has pulled together a lineup of authors that are sure to excite teens, from Jason Reynolds to Hamilton actor Javier Muñoz. There are interviews, poems, artwork, sheet music, comics, lists, calls to action, and short stories. The topics are varied as well, each speaking to a different kind of activism. One message is clear: no one is too young to have a voice and to make a difference. Multiple authors call out the current presidential administration and speak to feelings of hopelessness about the 2016 presidential election. The overarching theme of activism and resistance transcend this one election, calling young adults to take action now and make the future different than the past. VERDICT The editor has done an exceptional job calling on different voices to share their wisdom and thoughts on making a difference. A worthy addition to YA collections.–Kat Paiva, Rye Public Library, NH

Lawrence, Sandra. Anthology of Amazing Women: Trailblazers Who Dared To Be Different. illus. by Nathan Collins. 128p. glossary. little bee. Feb. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781499806908.

Gr 5-7–In this fascinating anthology, Lawrence has selected individuals who have left indelible marks upon history. Featured trailblazers include Beyoncé, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Mary Jackson. Lawrence also highlights many other women who aren’t typically covered in history texts for this audience. Divided into eight sections, this collection provides one page of informational text and a full-page portrait for each of the 50 women. In addition, six are briefly highlighted with a small portrait and one paragraph description in the introductions to the sections. (Anne Frank and Hillary Clinton are among those to be found on various introductory pages). The author does a commendable job of selecting figures from world history, describing their accomplishments in an enlightening manner, and discussing the obstacles they faced. The striking illustrations are unique and vividly capture in color the essence of each woman. After reading just a few of the profiles, readers should feel motivated and inspired. VERDICT For its notable selections and broad range of subjects, this title is highly recommended for biography and history collections for middle school libraries.–Jeanette Lambert, formerly at Nashville-Davidson County Schools

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