Monday, May 18, 2009

Nonfiction Monday

Are you excited about next year's YALSA award for nonfiction? I really, really am.

Here are two books that got YALSA recognition last year (first up an Alex Winner, followed by a Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers)

The Oxford Project Stephen G. Bloom and Peter Feldstein

In 1984, Peter Feldstein set out to photograph all 676 residents of his town, Oxford, IA. In 2005-2007, he tracked down as many as he could and photographed them again, this time bringing along Stephen Bloom to talk to them about their lives.

This book is full of their portraits side by side. The little kids are now grown up with their own little kids. Some haven't changed at all. Some have passed on and some have moved away. Many have the same last names. The text, brief paragraphs about their lives offers us a glimpse not only into their lives, but the town as a whole and how it fits together.

Really amazing stuff. See some of the pictures here.

The photographs of town, especially, made me cry. I know that Iowa fall and winter landscape and I really, really missed it.

No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row Susan Kuklin

This is kids, talking about themselves--talking about life on Death Row and how they got there. Damn is it bleak.

What I liked about it is that Kuklin also talked to the families and how having a member on Death Row affects them. I especially appreciated the final two chapters, one was a man talking about his brother, who was killed by the State. The other was two siblings, talking about their brother, who was murdered one night at work and the work their father does to end the death penalty.

Many of the people in this book share a lawyer, which might skew things a bit. BUT this is a chilling portrait of what prison is and how messed up our justice system is.

Round up is over at the ACPL Mock Sibert blog!


BookChook said...

I don't think I have the fortitude to read the second book, but I can appreciate it gives a voice to those who need it, and does some necessary exposing.

Anonymous said...

I am fond of the Oxford project. I remember it from back when and it was featured in a magazine that I don't remember recently. I think it deserves to be on my 'to get' list. And yes, the Midwest does get deep into your soul sometimes.
Doug (Dad to Jennie)