"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The March Against Fear by Ann Bausum, a review and a call to action

My nonfiction reading for the Cybils Award is progressing nicely. So far I have read 35 of the 64 books nominated. There are so many good books on a variety of topics. I am just blown away by the quality of writing and the topics which are covered. Today I want to talk about one of those books which has percolated toward the top of the list for me due to strong writing and the coverage of the topic.

The March Against Fear: The Last Great Walk of the Civil Rights Movement and the Emergence of Black Power by Ann Bausum.

The year was 1966. The setting was Mississippi. In the beginning the march started out as a walk. James Meredith, the black student who integrated Ole' Miss University a few years earlier, decided he wanted to walk from the Tennessee border to Jackson, Mississippi in support of voter registration and to prove that he was not afraid. But by the end of the second day things turned around after Meredith was shot at point-blank range by a man with a shot gun. He survived but had to spend a long time in the hospital and recuperating afterwards. When members of the Big 5 of the Civil Rights Movement found out about Meredith's situation, they picked up the goal and turned it into a march.

Often called the March Against Fear, King, Carmichael, and many others started toward Jackson, stopping off to register black folks to vote in the towns along the way. The march took over 20 days and the marchers met lots of opposition along the way. In Greenwood, Carmichael was arrested for attempting to set up the tent where the marchers slept. When he was released, he spoke to the assembled crowd about the need for black power. His words became a chant. With these words the Civil Rights Movement seemed to turn, from nonviolence to something else. Suddenly supportive whites from the North turned their backs on the movement.

Thus this march was historic on many sides: it was the longest and most expensive march of the movement; it was the first time that revolutionary words of Black Power were spoken; and the movement never again held a march of any magnitude. In a lot of ways people want to forget it.  There was no happy ending to it, like Selma or the March on Washington.

A year after the march Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, "It is necessary to understand that Black Power is a cry of disappointment. For 12 years I, and others like me, had held out radiant promises of progress. I had preached to them about my dream...I had urged them to have faith in America and white society. Their hopes had soared...They were now hostile because they were watching the dream that they had so readily accepted turn into a frustrating nightmare" (Bausum).

I read this book with my mouth agape. I had never heard of this event from the Civil Rights Movement and how things dissolved from here out. I know from my history lessons how things continued to degrade to the point of the race riots of 1968 and beyond. In fact, today we are still seeing the ugliness of racism in our country with the resurgence of the white supremacists movement and the negative reaction to the slogan "Black Lives Matter." It makes me feel sick.

I am so grateful for authors like Ann Bausum who continue to write about events from our past so that we can hold them up to examine and, hopefully, make some needed changes. After the election of 2016 when Trump was elected and the events that have followed it is very obvious that we cannot ever take out eyes off the prize. We must all hold voting as dear and not abdicate our responsibility to vote and allow others to do so, too.

I don't think this will be everyone's favorite book, but it is good to read books to educate ourselves and to make us squirm. Maybe that will cause us to get up out of our chairs and do something to better mankind! Read it! And, I want to point out if you are a teacher, Ann Bausum has a whole lot of resources on her webpage that you can use with your classes on this topic. Check it out.



Friday, November 17, 2017

Classics Club Spin Number is ...

The 16th Classics Club Spin Number is...

4!

If you joined the game last week, find number 4 on your Spin List! That’s the title you are challenged to read by December 31, 2017
As always, the prize is the reading experience. 
My book is: My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin.

Initial thoughts: About time! I've wanted to read this book since I saw the film back in the late 1970s. My mother thought I was like the main character: I guess because we both are headstrong with frizzy hair. 
What’s your #4 title? Are you glad, hesitant, excited about your title? Do tell!
Twitter hashtag: #ccspin

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Friday Quotes: Long Way Down

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from the book.
Th
e Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56.

Check out the links for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Participants don't select their favorite, coolest, or most intellectual books, they just use the one they are currently reading. This is the book I'm reading right now---


Title: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds


Book Beginning:

DON'T NOBODY
Believe nothing
these days
which is why I haven't
told nobody the story
I'm about to tell you
And truth is,
you probably ain't
gon' believe it either
gon' think I'm lying
or I'm losing it...

Friday 56: (56% on e-book)

BUT TO EXPLAIN MYSELF
I said,
The Rules are
the rules.

Comment: If you haven't heard of this book, it is about a boy who is considering killing the person he thinks killed his brother. While he is on the elevator heading out to do the deed he is visited by six "ghosts" of people killed by guns. It is very distressing to think that this book is reporting a truth, that a lot of killings in the inner city are considered honor killings...you killed my brother, so I will kill you. When will it stop? The whole book is written in verse. On occasion I had a hard time telling who was speaking and what was being discussed, but I got the gist of the message. Very powerful.






Lists! 'Tis the Season

It may not be December yet but the Best books of the Year lists are starting to show up. I shall attempt to keep a list for you here of as many as I find them. As per usual, my focus shall be on Young Adults but many of these lists are attached to best adult list. All you need to do is trail back on the lists I link.

1. Publisher's Weekly- Best Children's and Young Adult books.
     The list is divided into Picture Books, Middle Grades, and Young Adults. There are 16 YA books identified, only two are nonfiction.

2. School Library Journal. Best Books of 2017.
     Lots of books are listed, they are divided among five categories: Picture books; Chapter books; Middle Grade books; Young Adult books; Nonfiction books.  Eighteen YA titles were listed.

3. National Book Award.
     Young People's Literature division winner: Far From the Tree by Robin Benway.

4. Kirkus Prize.
     Coming soon.

5. Audible (Audiobooks). Best YA audiobooks of the year.
     Coming soon

6. New York Times 100 Notable books of 2017. 
     Coming soon

7. The Washington Post. Best Children's and Young Adult books of the year.
     Coming soon 

8. Best of 2017 Goodreads. Vote now on final round nominees in many categories.

9. 2018 Morris Award finalists.  .

10. 2018 YALSA Nonfiction finalists. 

11. Horn Book Fanfare. 
     Coming mid December

12. NPR Best Books of 2017. 
     Coming soon

13. New York Times Notable Children's Books .

This list will be updated as more Best of lists are published.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Sunday Salon (on Tuesday)---China edition

Temple of Heaven, Beijing, China. Photo credit: Carol Wenk
Weather: 
  • Home---wet and windy. A storm went through our area yesterday with lots of water and wind, more is predicted for today.
  • China--- the weather in China was unseasonably warm while we were there last week. The air quality was poor, too.  Anyone thinking it is a good idea to reduce regulations on air standards should travel to China first before changing them. Ugh.
Don and I standing on the Sacred Way
China:  Yes. We just got back from China where we had the trip of our lives. This Tuesday edition of Sunday Salon is dedicated to our China trip.

Ken and Carol on the Great Wall. Photo credit: Carol Wenk
Invited: Our friends Ken and Carol invited us to go on the trip, as Carol could take a week off work in November. I'd been wanting to take a big trip, my first of retirement, so we jumped at the chance. We've been friends for over forty years and traveled easily together.

Kevin, our Beijing guide, and Ken in the Forbidden City
Tourists: We paid for guides to take us around Beijing and Xi'an, the two cities we visited in China. They were worth every penny we paid for them. We went to most of the famous tourist sites: The Summer Palace, Tienanmen Square, The Forbidden City, The Great Wall, The Terracotta Warriors, The Temple of Heaven. We saw the tomb of the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty, the Lama Temple, and walked on the city wall of Xi'an. We saw the pandas at the zoo.We rode in a rickshaw, and ate Peking Duck. We also squeezed in some not so touristy things like a visit to the 798 Art Zone, and witness to a spontaneous dance in the park in Xi'an, and a ride on the bullet train. What a trip!

We were all obsessed with the lines and colors of the architecture. Here is a building on the grounds of the Summer Palace.
A  roof detail from the Forbidden City
We were surprised by the lines of people waiting to see the tomb of Mao in Tienanmen Square. Our guide estimated 250,000 people were in line at 8:30 AM, some would be waiting in line four hours (at least).

All the pandas we saw (there were eight in the zoo) were asleep. This one at least was facing forward.
The Red Panda, or lesser panda, is also a native of China and he was active.
We spent an hour away from the crowds at a tea tasting. Fun.
The terracotta warriors blew us away. 
We weren't expecting: There were some things about China that we expected: fabulous historic sites, The Great Wall, pollution. But there were other things we didn't expect: the vast number of bicycles, squater toilets (my least favorite part of the trip), and the darling children. DRIVING in traffic (I'm still in recovery from this harrowing experience.)
We stumbled upon this huge pile of bikes in the 798 Art Zone. We don't know if it was intended to be art or just a pile of bikes waiting to be redistributed around the city
Our guide service also provided a driver. In Xi'an our driver had a little shrine in his car.
Food vendors sold roasted corn and sweet potatoes everywhere. Here I am tasting haw, a candied fruit. Obviously I bit off more than I could easily chew.
Darling children in cute outfits were everywhere with proud parents. Photo credit: A. Bennett
Quiet moments: There are at least 22 million people living in Beijing and another 9 million in Xi'an. It is hard to get away from the crowds but we managed to have a few moments while in China. When we walked down the Sacred Way we were about the only people there. While visiting the Forbidden City, Kevin took us down a side alley to a small courtyard which at one time was the home of the Emperor's favorite concubine, few other people were there. And who doesn't love a serene moment with swans (at the zoo.)
Quiet courtyard in the Forbidden City. Ken is exiting a small museum.
The four of us on the Sacred Way, near the Ming tombs
A brief serene moment among the chaos at the zoo.
Look what we stumbled upon: We came upon a film project in the Art Zone and a spontaneous dance in the park across from the hotel in Xi'an.
Don and I make weird art.
Dancing in the park in Xi'an with the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda in the background. A delight.
Books read during the long flights and train trips:
  • Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done by Andrea Gonzales (e-book)
  • Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During WWII by Albert Marrin (e-book)
  • Brooklyn by Colm Toibin (print)
  • Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World by Sarah Prager (e-book)
International Dateline: I've heard about it but finally experienced it first hand. Heading west we lost a day. We left Seattle on Friday afternoon and arrived in China on Saturday night. That was strange but heading east was weirder. We left China on Sunday around noon and arrived in Seattle at 6:30 AM Sunday...the longest day of our lives.

Trip of a lifetime: one more image from China, a place of mysteries and delights.
A view from the Forbidden City. So lovely.
Home: We are home. There is no place like home. Thank you to our neighbor Susie for taking care of the cats. We had to visit Ian and his parents right away. Ian is growing so fast. At two months he is still the great delight of our lives.
An artsy rendition of our little guy. Photo credit: R. Adams
Unless otherwise noted, photo credits belong to Don Bennett.





Monday, November 13, 2017

Classics Club Spin is back! Sign up by Friday, Nov. 17th to join in.

It is Classics Club Spin #16. Time to read another classic book!

For details on how to join in a #CCSpin, click on the link here.
The main thing you need to know though, is to compile your list of 20 books by this Friday, November 17th.

On that day a number will be randomly selected.
That's the book you read.

You have until the 31st of December to finish your book and review it (or just read it and enjoy it!)

Join in the fun by visiting the other players and commenting on their lists.

Here is my list. Feel free to read along with me or create your own list.  This time I am selecting books I own, books I have had on my shelves for years (some since junior high school), and I am excited to have a good excuse to finally read one of these classics:

  1. Dracula
  2. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  3. Silas Marner
  4. My Brilliant Career
  5. Jane Eyre
  6. Anne of Avonlee
  7. Anna Karenina
  8. David Copperfeld
  9. Go Tell It On the Mountain
  10. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  11. Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs
  12. The Picture of Dorian Gray
  13.  Classic American Short Stories
  14.  The Autobiography of an X-Colored Man
  15.  Suite Francais
  16.  Murder on the Orient Express
  17.  Tess of the D'Urbervilles
  18.  Robinson Crusoe
  19.  The Jungle Book
  20.  Grapes of Wrath 

Nonfiction November, Week Three: Be an Expert


Nonfiction November, Week 3: (Nov. 13 to 17) — Kim @ Sophisticated Dorkiness — Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert: Three ways to join in this week! You can either share three or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).

Be the expert: Years ago in an effort to create an assignment for a high school psychology class, I did a lot of reading on mental illness and abnormal psych. Here are a few of my favorite titles that I thought were especially helpful for teen readers as they were exploring mental illness/abnormal psych topics in their classes:

Schizophrenia:

  • The Day the Voices Stopped by Ken Steele, (2002)--- For thirty-two years Steele fought the voices in his head which commanded him to kill himself. None of the drugs he tried helped him until finally a doctor was able to find a combination which turned off the voices. Steele then goes on to live a life of advocacy for those haunted by mental illnesses. This book really turned my thinking around about the horrors of untreated mental illness.
Bi-Polar Disorder:

  • An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison (1997)---Jamison is a psychologist who also lives with manic-depression (her preferred term for the disorder.) She is very insightful in her descriptions of what it is like to give up the manic periods in order to avoid the depressive ones. Now twenty years old, I am sure there are updated books on this topic that would provide more information on current treatments.
  • All the Things We Never Knew: Chasing the Chaos of Mental Illness by Sheila Hamilton (2015)---Hamilton's husband killed himself six months after his diagnosis with bi-polar disorder. This book takes a look at mental illness through the eyes of a loved one.
Munchausen-by-proxy Syndrome:
  • Sickened: A True Story of a Lost Childhood by Julie Gregory (2004)---Gregory's mother subjected her to years and years of medical exams, surgeries, treatments not because Julie was sick but because the mother was mentally ill. Munchausen syndrome is considered to be a rare, often deadly, form of child abuse.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: 
  • Passing for Normal: a Memoir of Compulsion by Amy Wilensky (2000): Wilensky not only gives insight of what it is like to live with OCD but also Tourette's Syndrome. I found this book very helpful in my thinking about both these conditions.
  • Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (2017) and The Unlikely Hero of Room 13-B by Teresa Toten (2015) are two fiction books which are very good about what it is like to live with OCD and how the treatments don't always work.
Ask an expert: as you see, many of these titles are getting dated. Can you suggest any books on mental illness, appropriate for teen readers published in the last five years or so?






Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found


I am having so much fun a a Cybils Award, Round 1 judge. I have read over twenty books so far in this capacity and have learned so much along the way.

This book, The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found by Martin Sandler is one that provided me with tons of new knowledge. This book, aimed at young teens, is enlightening on many levels.

During the years of 1650 to 1730 piracy was a big problem on the seas. Everything of any weight or volume had to be transported by water which included gold and gems. It didn't take long before unscrupulous men realized that there was a treasure to be got with fairly easy pickings.  We think of pirates taking their treasures and burying them on some island in the Caribbean, thanks to books and movies we read/watched in childhood. And because of these we also have an idealized idea about pirates as handsome and daring or as a drunk with a parrot. This book about the Whydah sets the record straight.

The Whydah was a slaving ship which would travel on the Trading Triangle (West Africa, Caribbean, England) in the early 1700s. After it had disgorged its despicable cargo of human beings in the Caribbean, and was loaded with money and goods it was commandeered by Black Sam Bellamy. Bellamy was the greediest pirate who ever sailed the open seas. He not only took treasures but encouraged crew members from the ships he commandeered to join him and would often take the ships themselves, always looking for bigger, faster vessels.

In 1717 loaded down with treasure the Whydah and the other ships in its flotilla were heading up the Eastern Seaboard toward Maine when they got caught in a Nor'Easter off Cape Cod. The Whydah sunk and Bellamy drowned. For almost three hundred years people have been looking for the wreck, knowing it was laden with treasures. Then in 1984 some marine archaeologists found it and have been bringing up items from the Whydah ever since then...enough to fill a whole museum. Along with the items they have been discovering aspects of piracy unknown to historians until now. It is fascinating what they have discovered from the wreckage.

This book is a treasure in its self. It is perfect for the young teen boy or girl who likes to read about real life adventures or who is obsessed with pirates. But it is also fascinating for anyone, adults included, who likes to read to find out new information about topics which they thought they already knew plenty.

Since I read The Whydah as part of my quest to discover an award book, I should spend a minute talking about the author. Martin Sandler is an award-winning author for a YA history series, he has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize twice, and has won five Emmy awards for his writings for television. This guy can write! As I was reading The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found I turned to my husband and exclaimed, "Finally, a well-written YA nonfiction books. Just what I've been looking for."

So I guess you can tell that I like this one and highly recommend it for you and your family.  And if you live in or are traveling in Massachusetts, stop at the Whydah Pirate Museum in Cape Cod and see for yourself the treasures from the Whydah, the only pirate wreck ever found and recovered. I know I will visit it myself if I am ever in that part of the country.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Isaac Newton is one of the most important scientists that ever lived. His ability to think outside the box of the traditional thinking of his day led to what is now called the Age of Reason. His laws gave order to the universe, explained by mathematical formulas that he unlocked. Isaac's laws would one day make it possible for us to predict the path of satellites and how much rocket power it would take to get to the moon. He correctly predicted that the force of gravity would diminish as an object got further from Earth. His laws have laid the framework for the physics of today. But before Isaac Newton put his thoughts down in a remarkable book named Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, he was just a kid who enjoyed nothing more than thinking deep thoughts and recording them in big or little notebooks. A lot of his scribbling had nothing to do with science but a lot to do with alchemy.

As a boy Isaac Newton was sent to live with another family and the father of that household was an apothecary who allowed Issac to read his books and to assist with his experiments. Surprisingly, the man we think of as a father of science was actually more interested in magic in the beginning. As he grew into an introverted young man, eventually ending up at Trinity College in Cambridge, he read more and more about alchemy and he even started his own forge and conducted experiments hoping to discover the secrets which would allow him to make gold from lead and to discover the philosopher's stone. It is shocking that he lived to a ripe old age of 84 before he died since many of his experiments involved mercury, which we know today is highly poisonous.

Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal'd by Mary Losure is more about alchemy than about science. It is about Isaac Newton as he develops into the famous man who brought order to our thinking about the universe. It is about the deep thinker who wrote things down in shorthand so that years later his scribblings could be discovered for what they were---often they were not fantastic formulas but just lists of sins he wanted to get off his chest.

This book, written for young teens, is a perfect introduction to Isaac Newton. It is filled with illustrations found in old books available during Newton's lifetime (1643-1727) and it shows pages from Newton's own notebooks, though the marks' meanings are not identifiable. The paragraphs are short, as are the chapters and it is very readable. We learn about Isaac's odd education and come to understand that the way he isolated himself from others allowed him to sit and think about the universe. It was during one year when the bubonic plague caused his school, Cambridge, to close down, that Newton sat at home and pondered mathematics coming up finally with what he called fluxion, but we know today as calculus. That year, 1666, is now called the Year of Wonders, because that was when Newton discovered so many things: optics (prisms), gravitation, calculus, and motion.

John Maynard Keynes, who was a famous economist, bought some of Newton's papers in 1936 and he was surprised to learn that many of them had to do with magic, not science. He famously said that Newton was "not the first of the age of reason, but the last of the magicians." If this is true, then Losure contends that
this magician, this last sorcerer---the greatest of all alchemists---was the same man who banished magic from the scientific world. The alchemist is someone [afterall] who transforms one thing into another. And this, Isaac had done (127).
I liked this book so much. The format, the illustrations, the writing all come together to create a book which is very accessible for teen readers but holds great interest for readers of all ages. I recommend it highly.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Nonfiction November. Week Two. Book Pairings.

Week 2: (Nov. 6 to 10) — Sarah @ Sarah’s Book Shelves — Book Pairing: This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story.

I love this topic. I think that it is important to teach students that they CAN learn things from reading both fiction and nonfiction. Why not offer them options to expand their knowledge? Hey, this is true for all people, not just students.  So with this in mind here are a few nonfiction/fiction pairs I think would be marvelous together.


On piracy:

  • The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found by Martin Sandler. A nonfiction book published this year for young teens. The Whydah is the only pirate ship wreck that has ever been recovered.
paired with
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, the classic tale of piracy and treasure-seeking that gave us a lot of our ideas about pirates.

On the Great American Dust Bowl:

  • The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan. Egan went to Nebraska and Oklahoma and interviewed individuals who lived through the dust bowl, now in their eighties, he wanted to capture the stories first hand.
paired with
  • Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson. A fiction story which takes place in three time periods: the future, the 1920s, and the 1930s in Kansas during the dust bowl. This book was just published this year, 2017.

On Khmer Rouge Victims in Cambodia:

  • First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung. Loung was only five-years-old when the Khmer Rouge killed her parents and sent her to a re-education camp where she lived for their four-year reign of terror. A movie was made of her experience this year.
paired with
  • In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner. A beautifully written fictional account of a young girl's experiences with the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, based on the author's own experiences. (This would be for advanced teen readers or adults.)

On the Indigenous Peoples' experience:
  • Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan. Another book by Egan, a favorite author of mine. This book is about Edward Curtis, a photographer living in the early 1900s who attempted to photograph and capture aspects of the Native American cultures which he recognized was dying out.
paired with
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie. A semi-autobiographical novel about the experiences of an Indian teenager who left the reservation to get a better education. In doing this he found he didn't truly belong anywhere anymore.
  • Flight by Sherman Alexie---a time-traveling Indian youth discovers truths about his anger as he travels back to events from his peoples' past.

On space travel:
  • Isaac the Alchemist: The Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal'd by Mary Losure. Why not read a book about the guy who was able to unlock the mysteries of motion, mathematics, gravity which allowed us to actually figure out how to launch rockets to move outside Earth's orbit? This gem was published this year.
  • Mission to Pluto: The First Visit to an Ice Dwarf and the Kuiper Belt by Mary Kay Carson. Another book published this year, this one about the New Horizons spaceship which visited Pluto in 2015. Written for young teens, this is very interesting and accessible.
paired with
  • The Martian by Andy Weir. Weir, a self-proclaimed science geek says everything in his popular book is possible today, with the possible exception of actually landing on Mars.  But who knows? Maybe in our lifetime?

On Human Trafficking: 
In Our Backyard: Human Trafficking in America and What We Can Do to Stop It by Nita Belles. Prostitution, Child Labor, Slavery. Believe it or not it is still happening. But we can stop it.
paired with
Dime by E.R. Frank. A fictional account of a young girl who gets lured into prostitution. It ends of a hopeful note. 

On Defying Hitler:
  • We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Hitler by Russell Freeman. Some very brave German students defied Hitler and paid with their lives.
  • The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Petersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip Hoose. A team of brave Danish boys "messed" with the Nazi-occupiers in their country. 
paired with
  • Girl With the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse. A fictional account of resistance efforts in The Netherlands.

On Black Lives Matter:
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson. Part of the innocence project, this book points of the inequalities in our justice system for people of color and for juveniles. Eye-opening.
paired with
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. A very NOW fictional account of a black teenager who witnessed the killing of her friend who is killed by the police.

On Living With Mental Illness:
  • The Day the Voices Stopped by Ken Steele. An excellent book on schizophrenia and its treatment. This book will change the way you look at mental illness.
paired with
  • Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. A teen with anxiety and OCD issues tries to cope in a world which becomes ever more confusing and difficult. Published in 2017.

I could go on.
I will stop.
What are some good fiction/nonfiction pairings that you can recommend to me?