Selected and annotated by Travis Faust
Class 600 of the Dewey Decimal System is devoted to all things related to technology. Some categories may surprise you, including everything from engineering to agriculture to buildings. This bibliography is arranged by Dewey division and features nonfiction for a wide variety of readers.
610: Medical Sciences; Medicine
Harris, Robie H. Who Has What?: All about Girls’ Bodies and Boys’ Bodies; illus. by Nadine Bernard Westcott. Candlewick, 2011. 36p. 3-6 yrs.
Nellie and Gus take a trip to the beach and talk about their bodies. Through a frank and thorough discussion, Harris shows that boys, girls, and puppies all have lots of the same parts, even though there are some important differences. In the words of Nellie and Gus, “…girls’ bodies and boys’ bodies aren’t exactly the same… but… aren’t all that different.”
Jurmain, Suzanne. The Secret of the Yellow Death: A True Story of Medical Sleuthing. Houghton, 2009. 104p. Gr. 5-9.
Dr. Walter Reed leads a team of military doctors in solving the mystery of the Cuban yellow fever outbreak at the start of the 20th century, breaking ground in germ theory and bioethics along the way. Volunteers and researchers both risk their lives for the advancement of science and the good of humanity.
Murphy, Jim. Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure; by Jim Murphy and Alison Blank. Clarion, 2012. 149p. Gr. 5-8.
Murphy and Blank blend history and mystery as they recount the story of tuberculosis, reaching all the way back to the days of Homo erectus and concluding with our current strategy of vaccination and containment. An unflinching examination of the ravages of disease and the often halting progress of science.
Newquist, H. P. The Book of Blood: From Legends and Leeches to Vampires and Veins. Houghton, 2012. 152p. Gr. 5-9.
Newquist includes myths and legends as a matter of history, and quickly bites deep into the development of our modern scientific understanding of blood. Deliberately vivid and graphic, this book is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to know all about blood.
Walker, Sally M. Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland. Carolrhoda, 2009. 144p. Gr. 6-10.
A team of forensic anthropologists analyzes the remains of a half-dozen humans from the Chesapeake Bay area in the 17th and 18th century. Readers follow along with Walker as she assists the team in piecing together the lives and deaths of a teenager, a captain, a servant, and a family.
620: Engineering & Applied Operations
Burleigh, Robert. One Giant Leap; illus. by Mike Wimmer. Philomel, 2009. 40p. Gr. 3-5.
Lifelike oil paintings adorn every other page, with text that focuses on the emotions and sensations of the first humans to walk on the Moon. Burleigh’s narration fills in the dramatic gaps between actual quotations from the event, bringing the glory and terror of visiting another world into robust context.
Floca, Brian. Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11; written and illus. by Brian Floca. Jackson/Atheneum, 2009. 42p. Gr. 2-5.
Endpapers document the assembly of the Saturn V rocket and the logistics of launch/landing, as well as the historical context and some engineering challenges (both in design and during the mission). In between, we get the story of the first Moon landing, with substantial focus on the reactions from Earth.
Goodman, Susan E. How Do You Burp in Space?: and Other Tips Every Space Tourist Needs to Know; illus. by Michael Slack. Bloomsbury, 2013. 71p. Gr. 3-6.
With a glossary, timeline, index, and more, this speculative tourist guide has a veneer of cartoon whimsy over a core of hard science. With recreational space travel looming on the horizon, it is reasonable to expect that children at this age may put this information to practical use as adults.
Macaulay, David. Castle: How It Works; written and illus. by David Macaulay with Sheila Keenan. Macmillan, 2012. 32p. Gr. 2-4.
Lively illustrations (with tongue-in-cheek visual humor) make every page of this architectural investigation, reinterpreted in easy-reader form here from Macaulay’s classic, come alive. Macaulay casts the reader as both attacker and defender to explain the various functions of the castle.
Macaulay, David. Jet Plane: How It Works; written and illus. by David Macaulay with Sheila Keenan. David Macaulay Studio/Macmillan, 2012. 32p. Gr. 2-4.
Macaulay walks young readers through the physics, engineering, and logistics of air travel in broad strokes. The pictures are both expressive and appropriately detailed, abstracting the systems discussed into simple control diagrams (peppered with Macaulay’s understated visual humor, as well).
Mulder, Michelle. Pedal It!: How Bicycles Are Changing the World. Orca, 2013. 48p. Gr. 4-6.
From knife-sharpeners to piles of luggage that would make even the burliest bellhop blush, Mulder’s showcase of worldwide bicycle-based innovation would border on the comical, were it not creating serious change. Thorough history and wide-reaching investigation put bicycles in a new perspective.
Pringle, Laurence. Ice!: The Amazing History of the Ice Business. Calkins Creek, 2012. 74p. Gr. 5-9.
Investigate the tools, logistics, and business of the ice industry around Rockland Lake in New York in this title by veteran nonfiction author Pringle. The demand for ice had far-reaching social, economic, and technical effects that are hidden today by our electric refrigeration technology.
Burns, Loree Griffin. The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe; illus. with photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz. Houghton, 2010. 66p. Gr. 5-8.
Take a look into the lives of beekeepers, and then dive into the mystery of the colony collapse disorder epidemic that’s sweeping across bee colonies of the nation. An appendix, glossary, further reading, bibliography, and index arm readers with the tools to find out more about the unsolved mystery of colony collapse disorder.
Carnesi, Mônica. Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic; written and illus. by Mônica Carnesi. Paulsen/Penguin, 2012. 32p. 3-7 yrs.
In 2010, a lost dog spent over two days trapped on an ice floe during one of Poland’s coldest winter spells. Eventually rescued and adopted by the crew of R/V Baltica, the dog is named Baltic and finds a new home.
Geisert, Arthur. Country Road ABC: An Illustrated Journey Through America’s Farmland; written and illus. by Arthur Geisert. Houghton, 2010. 64p. 6-10 yrs.
Geisert takes readers on a trip down a country road outside Dubuque, Iowa. The images at the bottom of the page provide a continuous panoramic view of the scenery, with close-ups for each letter’s main event. A glossary is included for those wanting more explicit definitions.
Goodman, Susan E. It’s a Dog’s Life: How Man’s Best Friend Sees, Hears, and Smells the World; illus. by David Slonim. Roaring Brook, 2012. 32p. Gr. 3-6.
Joe, a scruffy mutt, walks us through our history, from the early days when we were domesticating each other, all the way through various breeds (and their purposes) to the present day. Lots of behaviors are presented from a dog’s perspective, and Goodman ends with bibliographies for kids and grown-ups.
Heppermann, Christine. City Chickens. Houghton, 2012. 53p. Gr. 3-5.
Mary and Bert let us into their Minneapolis rescue shelter for chickens, Chicken Run Rescue. We get an accessible yet comprehensive look at how chickens are mistreated in modern times and how we can do better.
Kehret, Peg. Animals Welcome: A Life of Reading, Writing, and Rescue; written and illus. with photographs by Peg Kehret. Dutton, 2012. 172p. Gr. 4-6.
Cats, dogs, birds, deer, and even a bear figure into this memoir by animal-loving author Peg Kehret. The book is filled with tips on raising and adopting various animals, as well as stories of some of the animals that inspired her characters.
Lewin, Ted. Stable; written and illus. by Ted Lewin. Flash Point/Porter/Roaring Brook, 2010. 40p. Gr. 2-4.
Kensington Stables, the last public stable in Brooklyn, is home to a band of horses with a variety of jobs. Lewin tells us the story of how horses used to do almost everything, but today have all but disappeared, giving us an inside look at the day-to-day workings of the stable and the 37 horses who live there.
McCarthy, Meghan. The Incredible Life of Balto; written and illus. by Meghan McCarthy. Knopf, 2011. 40p. Gr. 3-5.
McCarthy tells us the story of Balto’s death-defying dogsled run to Nome, following up with the team’s fall into sideshow obscurity and finishing with their rescue by the citizens of Cleveland. End matter includes the detective work of being a nonfiction writer, some activities, and a short bibliography.
Montgomery, Sy. Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot; illus. with photographs by Nic Bishop. Houghton, 2010. 74p. Gr. 5-9.
Shaped by an environment without predators, the kakapo is nearing extinction with the invasive species that humans have brought to New Zealand. Now scientists, rangers, and volunteers are all teaming up to help 87 birds re-establish a healthy breeding population.
Rotner, Shelley. The Buzz on Bees: Why Are They Disappearing?: by Shelley Rotner and Anne Woodhull; illus. with photographs by Shelley Rotner. Holiday House, 2010. 32p. Gr. 3-6.
Rotner and Woodhull show the varied and far-reaching effects that bees have on our lives and environment, opening with the mystery of colony collapse disorder and closing with some possible explanations. A list of web resources and bee facts are included.
Sobol, Richard. The Life of Rice: From Seedling to Supper; written and illus. with photographs by Richard Sobol. Candlewick, 2010. 37p. Gr. 3-5.
Traveling Photographer series author Richard Sobol opens this story with an invitation from the king of Thailand, and from there documents the whole life cycle of rice – which in Thailand is interwoven with culture and daily life. Interesting facts, a glossary, rice holidays, and rice dishes are in the end matter.
Spinner, Stephanie. Alex the Parrot: No Ordinary Bird; illus. by Meilo So. Knopf, 2012. 40p. Gr. 2-4.
Everyone knows that parrots can parrot our language back to us, but Alex and Irene Pepperburg showed that parrots can also recognize shapes and colors, do arithmetic, and other things that shocked scientists and will delight kids. Be prepared to get a new respect for bird brains.
650: Management & Auxiliary Services
Blackwood, Gary. Mysterious Messages: A History of Codes and Ciphers. Dutton, 2009. 170p. Gr. 5-9.
In an extensive history and how-to manual of cryptography, Blackwood entertains, informs, and challenges the reader by turns. With the book’s little puzzles sprinkled throughout like Easter Eggs and appropriately extensive end matter, anyone who’s ever wanted to communicate in secret will be hooked.
660: Chemical Engineering
Aronson, Marc. Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science; by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos. Clarion, 2010. 166p. Gr. 7-12.
With over thirty pages of end matter, this book tells the story of our sweeteners and how the demand for them drove Europeans to cross oceans and enslave people. Starting in the Age of Honey and ending in the twenty-first century, we get the historical, scientific, economic, and social sides of the story of sugar.
McCarthy, Meghan. Pop!: The Invention of Bubble Gum; written and illus. by Meghan McCarthy. Wiseman/Simon, 2010. 32p. 5-8 yrs.
Chewing gum is older than books, but bubble gum has existed for less than a century. From the trial-and-error process of invention and discovery, to the accident of only having pink coloring at the time, McCarthy tells the true story of Walter Diemer’s invention of Dubble Bubble.
Rockwell, Anne. What’s So Bad about Gasoline?: Fossil Fuels and What They Do; illus. by Paul Meisel. Collins/HerperCollins, 2009. 32p. Gr. 2-3.
Fossil fuels are ubiquitous these days, but we still knew about them and used them in ancient times. The industrialization of their acquisition and refinement has led to overuse, which has brought numerous problems with it. Rockwell ends with alternatives, hope, and two pages of sourced facts.
680: Manufacture for Specific Uses
Stone, Tanya Lee. The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie: A Doll’s History and Her Impact on Us. Viking, 2010. 130p. Gr. 7-10.
Barbie is a polarizing figure, and Stone attempts to document the state of the controversy, telling the whole story and placing vehement disagreements side-by-side. Both sides have valid points – Barbie sends messages of unattainable beauty and says that girls can be astronauts – and Stone’s clinical tone (peppered with wry humor) allows kids to consider all sides of a contemporary debate.
Weitzman, David. Skywalkers: Mohawks on the High Steel. Flash Point/Roaring Brook, 2010. 124p. Gr. 5-9.
Weitzman chronicles the modern history of the Mohawks as they adapted from traditional ways of life to become ironworkers in Canada and battled both their fears and the law to earn their livings. Black and white photographs depict vertigo-inducing scenes, accompanied by comprehensive end matter.