Stranger Than Fiction: Nonfiction You Won't Believe
... for grades 4 through 8

Click a title to check the Skokie Public Library catalog for the status of the book in the Youth Services collection.

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Arnold, Caroline. When Mammoths Walked the Earth. 2002.
Youth Nonfiction 569.67 A
During the Ice Age, the giant animals we call mammoths roamed the earth, some weighing as much as ten tons. Until recently scientists have not known much about them. But newly discovered fossilized bones are painting a better picture of how they lived and why they died out.
Capuzzo, Mike. Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916. 2003.
Youth Nonfiction 597.31566 C
In the summer of 1916, a shark somehow got itself into an inland river in New Jersey. The shark was as terrified as the people who encountered it. And it dealt with its fear by attacking. Mike Capuzzo has put together the story of how it all happened, complete with photos and newspaper clippings. The story is as frightening and full of suspense as the event itself.
Coburn, Broughton. Triumph on Everest: A Photobiography of Sir Edmund Hillary. 2000.
Youth Biography H6493co
Do you like adventure stories? This book is about one of the most astounding adventurers of all time. In 1953, a shy beekeeper from New Zealand named Ed Hillary did what no one had ever done- he climbed to the top of Mount Everest, the tallest and most forbidding mountain in the world. This book tells the story of his achievement with amazing pictures of the actual climb.
Crowe, Chris. Getting Away With Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case. 2003.
Youth Nonfiction 364.1523 C
In 1954 ,while visiting relatives in Mississippi, a 14-year-old African-American boy from Chicago named Emmett Till was kidnapped by a group of men and brutally murdered. In spite of overwhelming evidence, the men were acquitted of the crime in court. The public outrage that followed became the spark that ignited the civil rights movement. Chris Crowe offers details, photos and a gripping story of the murder of a child in the segregated South of the 1950s.
Fleischman, John. Phineas Gage: A Gruesome But True Story About Brain Science. 2002.
Youth Biography 362.197481 F
In 1848 a railroad foreman named Phineas Gage became the victim of a horrible accident. A faulty charge of gunpowder sent a three-foot, 13-pound iron rod through his brain. Gage lived for ten years after this event, but his once friendly personality underwent a dramatic change. Read the details of the accident itself and its aftermath - and what events like this can tell us about the brain.
Fradin, Dennis B. Bound for the North Star: True Stories of Fugitive Slaves. 2000.
Youth Nonfiction 973.7115 F
Have you ever wondered what it was really like to be a slave on a Southern plantation? These are stories from the people who lived it- and escaped. They tell about slavery first-hand- the degradation, unbearable work loads and family separation- and about the courage it took to decide to risk their lives for freedom.
Fredericks, Anthony D. Cannibal Animals: Animals That Eat Their Own Kind. 1999.
Youth Nonfiction 591.53 F
Okay, it's a little weird, but it's true! There are animals that eat their own kind! The most famous of these, of course, is the black widow spider. But there are others. Learn about one of the strangest aspects of animal behavior- and why it might actually help a species out in the long run!
Freedman, Russell. The Life and Death of Crazy Horse. 1996.
Youth Biography C9119fr
Crazy Horse was a Native American leader, born in 1841. Quiet and reserved, he was a highly respected warrior who refused to negotiate with white men. His leadership led to the bloody Battle of the Little Bighorn, described in detail in the book. If you like reading about great heroes who refuse to compromise, you will love this biography from Russell Freedman- a master of the genre.
Henderson, Douglas. Asteroid Impact. 2000.
Youth Nonfiction 567.9 H
Scientists from many disciplines believe that a trillion-ton asteroid struck the earth 65 million years ago, causing the extinction of many life forms, including dinosaurs. What if you were there to see it? In this book, the author re-creates it all for you- the moment of impact and the catastrophic aftermath. The descriptions are based on actual data from many different sciences- geology, paleontology, astronomy and physics.
Holub, Joan. How to Find Lost Treasure in All Fifty States and Canada, Too! 2000.
Youth Nonfiction 973 H
Are you in the mood for a treasure hunt? We know there's treasure buried in our country- from pirate spoils to outlaw gold. In this book, Joan Holub tells 54 stories of hidden loot- one for each state, and four from Canada. She also provides maps, in case you're ready to get going!
Lalicki, Tom. Spellbinder: The Life of Harry Houdini. 2000.
Youth Biography H8363 La
How did he do it? The master magician and illusionist Houdini stunned audiences all over the world with his unbelievable feats. Learn how he became the sensation of the entertainment world- and how he did some of those amazing tricks.
Landau, Elaine. Smokejumpers. 2002.
Youth Nonfiction 634.9618 L
The men and women who fight forest fires often have to jump out of airplanes to battle a fire at its center. The first part of this exciting book tells about the training involved in this most thrilling and dangerous of professions. The second part takes the reader on an actual jump, with photographs so vivid that you will almost feel the heat!
MacDonald, Fiona. A Medieval Castle. 1990.
Youth Nonfiction 940.1 M
Where were the bathrooms in a medieval castle? Where did knights keep their armor? How did the drawbridge work? What were the dungeons like? This book answers these questions and more by telling you about the planning, construction and layout of those amazing fortresses. The drawings are accurate and detailed. Discover how those lords and ladies really lived.
Meltzer, Milton. Piracy & Plunder: A Murderous Business. 2001.
Youth Nonfiction 910.45 M
Pirates were no joke; they were vicious, violent criminals. In this book, readers will learn the real facts about piracy: why people became pirates, what their daily lives were like, their tactics for hijacking ships and their punishment if they were caught. Notorious pirates like Captain Kidd and Blackbeard are given special attention. And yes, women were pirates too!
Montgomery, Sy. The Man-Eating Tigers of Sundarbans. 2001.
Youth Nonfiction 599.7560954 M
In an Indian forest called the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve, the tigers do something that no other tigers on earth do: they prey on people. No one knows why, although scientists and storytellers alike have offered many theories. In this page-turner, the author takes the reader into the heart of the Sundarbans Reserve to explore possible explanations for this most puzzling animal behavior.
Putnam, James. Mummy. 1993.
Youth Nonfiction 393.3 P
Eyewitness Books are famous for their great, fun-to-read layouts. This one is all about mummies: why they came into being, how they were used in ceremonies, and the mummification process itself. Like all books in the series, Mummy is full of fascinating drawings, pictures and charts.
Sandler, Martin W. America's Great Disasters. 2003.
Youth Nonfiction 973 S
This is a must-read for disaster buffs! The author tells the stories of nine horrendous disasters in American history- floods, fires, accidents at sea, hurricanes, disease epidemics, explosions, blizzards- well, you get the picture. Real photos of the events accompany the descriptions. 9/11 is not included.
Settel, Joanne. Exploding Ants: Amazing Facts About How Animals Adapt. 1999.
Youth Nonfiction 591.5 S
Yes there really are exploding ants, birds that make other birds raise their young, and frogs that drop their eyeballs into their mouths! Learn more about these and other bizarre facts from the animal kingdom.
Singer, Marilyn. Prairie Dogs Kiss and Lobsters Wave: How Animals Say Hello. 1998.
Youth Nonfiction 591.59 S
Did you ever wonder how animals communicate with each other? This book tells you! In addition to prairie-dogs and lobsters, zebras chew, giraffes lick and bears circle. Learn about animal social behavior in this fascinating look into how members of different species get along together.
Tanaka, Shelley. New Dinos: The Latest Finds! The Coolest Dinosaur Discoveries! 2002.
Youth Nonfiction 567.9 T
If you're a dinophile, you'll enjoy this book about the latest research and theories on dinosaurs. New finds around the world have given scientists clearer information about dinosaur feeding habits, hunting techniques, anatomy and extinction. Hear the latest from Shelley Tanaka, one of the best writers of nonfiction for kids.
Warren, Andrea. Surviving Hitler: A Boy in the Nazi Death Camps. 2001.
Youth Nonfiction 940.5318092 W
Jack Mandelbaum was twelve when the Nazis invaded Poland. As a teenager he spent three years in a concentration camp. In this powerful story, he tells what it was like to live in a death camp- and how he survived.
Yolen, Jane. The Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery from History. 1999.
Youth Nonfiction 001.94 Y
Here's a real-life mystery for you. In 1872 a merchant ship carrying its captain, his family and a crew of seven left port. Three weeks later, the ship was discovered at sea intact, and completely abandoned. There was no sign of violence. What happened? Jane Yolen asks you to become a detective and solve this mystery, with the help of her detailed facts, probing questions, and possible theories.
Zeaman, John. Why the Cat Chose Us. 1998.
Youth Nonfiction 636.8 Z
Are you one of the fortunate people who live with a cat? Then you'll enjoy this book about how cats evolved from being completely wild to living with and loving human beings. As anyone who has ever owned a cat knows, this was the cat's decision, not ours. But why? What was it about humans that made cats want to move in? Read and find out- and you'll look at your cat in a whole new way!