Tag Archives: nonfiction

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

This book is an absolute must-read!

I don’t care if you say that nonfiction is not your thing.  This book is your thing. Rebecca Skloot has written riveting story of both family and science.  You won’t be able to put this book down.  I promise.  Now get thee hence to a bookstore and BUY it because part of the proceeds go to help the family of Henrietta Lacks. Her cells changed the face of medicine and science and yet her family lives in deep poverty.  They deserve better.

And Rebecca Skloot deserves every one of the hundreds of accolades for this book.  She worked her butt off for ten years, risked her own safety, and pushed far beyond her own comfort zone to research and write this book.  She is a master storyteller!


Tom Thumb: A Man in Minature

I love nonfiction!

Here’s a book you won’t want to miss. Not just a book about smallness, it’s a big story of a remarkable man, who happened to be small.  He also happened to make a hell of a good thing out of a less than rosy set of circumstances.  Thanks, to George Sullivan, for telling the story of Tom Thumb: A Man in Miniature with skill and respect.

If you want to read a killer review/analysis of the book, check out the blog of the divine nonfiction writer, Laurie Thompson.

Get Low & The Importance of Telling Our Stories

Recently I watched Get Low starring Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek,Bill Murray, and the adorable Lucas Black.

IMBD says: A movie spun out of equal parts folk tale, fable and real-life legend about the mysterious, 1930s Tennessee hermit who famously threw his own rollicking funeral party… while he was still alive.

So this guy, Felix Bush, experiences this terrible tragedy and feels responsible.  In order to punish himself, he sequesters himself away from all human contact.  Until, at the end of his life, he realizes that he must tell his story to purge his soul.  And, as the preacher says, find “peace from the burdens of his head and heart.”

I believe that we all have important stories to tell and that in the telling, we become stronger, better people.  If there is one thing I want young readers and writers to know, it is that their stories are valuable beyond measure and well worth telling.

I second the mission of StoryCorps: To provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.

The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy) by Barbara Kerley

This delightful, picture book biography is up for an Oregon Book Award tonight.  I’ll be in the audience clapping loudly for Barbara Kerley.

As a nonfiction writer myself, it has been gratifying to watch picture book biographies and history come into their own. Writers are pushing the form to greater excellence by using innovative formats and many of the techniques of fiction: scenes, voice, character, story arc, etc.

Interestingly, science books for kids have not innovated in the same way (with the exception of scientist profiles).  I think it’s the next frontier and I plan to be there!

Recently I gave my agent a manuscript about extinction biology that melds a graphic novel format with more traditional nonfiction.  I can’t wait to see what he says!