Rummanah Aasi
  I've been trying to diversify my reading by adding more nonfiction titles to the mix. I have a harder time selecting these book as oppose to fiction titles. I have to get over my preconceived notions that nonfiction equals boring and dry textbooks.

Description: Nubs, an Iraqi dog of war, never had a home or a person of his own. He was the leader of a pack of wild dogs living off the land and barely surviving. But Nubs's life changed when he met Marine Major Brian Dennis.
   The two formed a fast friendship, made stronger by Dennis's willingness to share his meals, offer a warm place to sleep, and give Nubs the kind of care and attention he had never received before. Nubs became part of Dennis's human "pack" until duty required the Marines to relocate a full 70 miles away - without him. Nubs had no way of knowing that Marines were not allowed to have pets.
So began an incredible journey that would take Nubs through a freezing desert, filled with danger to find his friend and would lead Dennis on a mission that would touch the hearts of people all over the world.

Review: Nubs was a nice, true, and uplifting story about a feral dog from Iraq that found a home in the United States. In October 2007, Border Transition Team 3/5/2 arrived at the border of Iraq and Syria. The team members were greeted by a pack of wild dogs, whose leader became known as "Nubs" because of his docked ears. He developed a bond with Dennis, and as the troops would come and go over the course of several weeks, they were always greeted by the dogs. Nubs exhibited signs of malnutrition and abuse yet he continued to seek food and companionship from the Marines, often trying to follow them when they'd leave. In December 2007, when the Marines relocated to the Jordanian border, Nubs embarked on a treacherous journey across the desert and, two days later, walked into the camp to join Dennis. Since the Marines couldn't have a dog on base, the story then continues on how arrangements and donations were made for Nubs to be sent to the United States. Because Marine regulations prohibit the keeping of pets in a war zone, Major Dennis and his men. The story is quick and the pacing is fast for younger readers who are interested in reading pet stories or inspiring stories featuring animals.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 2 and up.

If you like this book try: Dogs on Duty by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, Tara and Bella by Carol Buckley

Description: A vertible cinematic account of the catastrophe that decimated much of Chicago in 1871, forcing more than 100,000 people from their homes. Jim Murphy tells the story through the eyes of several survivors. These characters serve as dramatic focal points as the fire sweeps across the city, their stories illuminated by fascinating archival photos and maps outlining the spread of fire.

Review: I enjoyed reading the Great Fire since I didn't know a lot about the topic. The inclusion of real life characters and their personal accounts, maps, and illustrations are what brought this book alive for me.  Murphy traces the fire through its three horror-filled days as, fed by prairie winds, cinders from a Saturday night blaze, and structures (even streets and sidewalks) built almost entirely of wood, it consumed block after block of homes, businesses, and bodies, eventually leaving 100,000 people homeless. This was an engrossing read and one I would recommend to readers interested in learning the history of Chicago.

Curriculum Connection: Social Studies, Chicago History

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 5 and up.

If you like this book try: The Great Chicago Fire by Tria Smith, The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 by Paul Bennie

Description: Draws on stories from survivors and archival photographs to describe the history of the "Titanic" from its launch to its sinking.

Review: Hopkinson provides a great overview of the Titanic disaster for young readers without over-dramatizing, drawing unwarranted conclusions, or prolonging the ordeal. She uses real survivors as her "characters," whose voices relay many of the subsequent events, include crew members as well as travelers in first, second, and third class. I liked the inclusion of the characters from different social classes and walks of life. Chapter notes, sources, archival photos, a timeline, short biographies of those mentioned, and more are included. Hopkinson provides a bibliography at the end of the book with suggested readings for those who want to know more details of the Titanic disaster. I would highly recommend this book for readers who don't know much about the Titanic disaster but want to know the gist of what happened.

Curriculum Connection: Social Studies

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for strong Grades 5 readers and up.

If you like this book try: The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan Wolf, Distant Waves by Suzanne Weyn
5 Responses
  1. Candace Says:

    That dog book sounds particularly good! I think my kids would really like the story. It made me tear up just reading about it!
    I've read some other fiction books about the Chicago fire and the Titanic but I always like reading more cause I always seem to learn more!

  2. I'd be most interested in Nubs since it has a good ending. :) The rest do sound good for supplemental reading on history.

  3. "I have to get over my preconceived notions that nonfiction equals boring and dry textbooks." This is so me!

    The story of Nubs sounds so heartwarming, Rummanah.

  4. Ahh that story about Nubs is so sweet. I am glad it had a happy ending. I recently read a book about the Chicago Fire and I would like to know more. I am sure I read the TItanic book already. I can't resist anything Titanic!

  5. My daughter is still too young for anything but Nubs, and wven that seems to require a lot of explanations since she's not American and she doesn't understand Marines or Iraq for that matter. However, she adores animals and these days she wants to be a veterinarian so perhaps it would be worth it.

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