TLA Presents the 2018 Texas Topaz Nonfiction Reading List

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The Texas Library Association’s Texas Topaz Nonfiction Reading List (Topaz) highlights recently published nonfiction gems for readers of all ages.  Adult services and youth services librarians serve on separate committees that consider hundreds of nonfiction titles for adults and youth respectively. The librarians debate the merits, appeal, and importance of the works to curate a list of engaging nonfiction titles intended to reveal new or little-known information, open doors to other worlds, or introduce fresh voices. With titles for adults and children PreK-grade 12, there is something for everyone on the Topaz list!

Announcing the 2018 Texas Topaz Nonfiction Reading List:

*denotes unanimous vote for title’s inclusion on the list

*Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil Degrasse Tyson (W.W. Norton & Co.)
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan (Penguin Books)
Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich by Norman Ohler (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe's Libraries and the Race to Return a Literary Inheritance by Anders Rydell (Viking Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House)
*Bright Hour:  A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs (Simon & Schuster)
Burglar's Guide to the City by Geoff Manaugh (FSG Originals, an imprint of Macmillan)
Dear Ijeawele, Or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Alfred A. Knopf)
Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh (St. Martin's Press)
End of the Perfect 10: The Making and Breaking of Gymnastics’ Top Score―From Nadia to Now  by Dvora Meyers (Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster)
Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway's Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises by Lesley M. M. Blume (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
*Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency by Chris Whipple (Crown)
Gulf: The Making of an American Sea by Jack E. Davis (Liveright, an imprint of W.W. Norton & Co.)
*Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly (William Morrow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins)
Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate - Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben (David Suzuki Institute/Greystone)
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong (Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins)
I'm Judging You: The Do-better Manual  by Luvvie Ajayi  (Henry Holt & Co.)
In Vino Duplicitas: The Rise and Fall of a Wine Forger Extraordinaire by Peter Hellman (The Experiment)
*Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (Doubleday)
Life Everlasting: The Extraordinary Story of One Boy's Gift to Medical Science  by Sarah Gray (HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
Lost City of the Monkey God:  A True Story  by Douglas J. Preston (Grand Central Publishing, an imprint of the Hachette Book Group)
Marriage Bureau:  The True Story of How Two Matchmakers Arranged Love in Wartime London by Penrose Halson (Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins)
Monopolists: Obsession, Fury and the Scandal Behind the World's Favorite Board Game by Mary Pilon (Bloomsbury)
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant (Alfred A. Knopf)
Originals: How Non-conformists Move the World  by Adam M. Grant (Viking Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House)
Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon by Bronwen Dickey (Alfred A. Knopf)
Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier's Story of a Forgotten War by Matti Friedman (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill)
Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple by Jeff Guinn (Simon & Schuster)
Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe by Mike Massimino (Crown Archetype)
Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World by Aja Raden (Ecco)
Victoria the Queen:  An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire by Julia Baird (Random House)
We Crossed a Bridge and it Trembled: Voices from Syria by Wendy Pearlman (Custom House)
*When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (Random House)
Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper (Pantheon Books)
Year of the Dunk: A Modest Defiance of Gravity by Asher Price (Crown)
*You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir by Sherman Alexie (Little, Brown & Co.)

~denotes an adult title deemed to have interest to teen audience
*denotes a unanimous vote for title’s inclusion on list

Apex Predators: The World's Deadliest Hunters, Past and Present by Steve Jenkins (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Awesome Minds: The Inventors of LEGO Toys by Erin Hagar, illus. by Paige Garrison (Duopress)
Balderdash! John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children's Books by Michelle Markel, illus. by Nancy Carpenter (Chronicle Books)
Becoming Bach by Thomas Leonard (Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan)
Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics by Margarita Engle, illus. by Rafael López (Godwin Books, an imprint of Henry Holt and Co.)
*Bubonic Panic: When Plague Invaded America by Gail Jarrow (Calkins Creek, an imprint of Boyds Mill Press)
~Called to Rise: A Life in Faithful Service to the Community That Created Me by David O. Brown (Ballantine Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House)
Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, a Life in Balance by Simone Biles (Zondervan, an imprint of HarperCollins)
Crossing Niagara: The Death-defying Adventures of the Great Blondin by Matt Tavares (Candlewick)
Danza! Amalia Hernandez and el Ballet Folklórico de México by Duncan Tonatiuh (Abrams Books for Young Readers) 
Dog in the Cave: The Wolves Who Made us Human by Kay Frydenborg (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea by Sungju Lee with Susan McClelland (Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams Books for Young Readers)
Fearless Spies and Daring Deeds of World War II by Rebecca Langston-George (Compass Point Books, an imprint of Capstone Publishing)
Feathers and Hair, What Animals Wear by Jennifer Ward, illus. by Jing Jing Tsong (Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster)
Friend or Foe: The Whole Truth About Animals that People Love to Hate by Etta Kaner, illus. by David Anderson (Owlkids Books)
*Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras by Duncan Tonatiuh (Abrams Books for Young Readers)
Giant Squid by Candace Fleming, illus. by Eric Rohmann (Roarin Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan)
Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting it Done by Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser (HarperCollins)
Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark, illus. by Katie Wu (Sterling Children's Books)
*Grand Canyon by Jason Chin (Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan)
Great White Shark Scientist by Sy Montgomery, photographs by Keith Ellenbogen (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
*Hidden Figures: The Untold True Story of Four African-American Women Who Launched Our Nation into Space (Young Readers' edition) by Margot Lee Shetterly (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins)
How Cities Work: Explore the City Inside, Outside and Underground by Jen Feroze, illus. by James Gulliver Hancock (Lonely Planet Global)
How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child by Sandra Uwiringiyimana with Abigail Pesta (Katherine Tegen, an imprint of Harper Collins Children’s Books)
Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fisherman, illus. by Isabel Greenberg (Greenwillow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
*I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda, with Liz Welch (Little, Brown & Co.)
~I, Who Did Not Die: A Sweeping Story of Loss, Redemption, and Fate by Zahed Haftlang and Najah Aboud, with Meredith May (Regan Arts) 
*In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives by Kenneth C Davis (Henry Holt & Co., an imprint of Macmillan)
*Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal'd by Mary Losure (Candlewick)
John Ronald's Dragons: The Story of J.R.R. Tolkien by Caroline McAlister, illus. by Eliza Wheeler (Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan)
Just Like Us! Birds by Bridget Heos, illus. by David Clark (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Keith Haring:  The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing  by Kay Haring Grades  (Dial, an imprint of Penguin Random House)
~Look at You Now: My Journey From Shame to Strength by Liz Pryor (Penguin Random House)
Martin's Dream Day by Kitty Kelley, photographs by Stanley Tretick (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster)
*Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines by Jeanne Walker Harvey, illus. by Dow Phumiruk (Henry Holt & Co.)
Mickey Mantle: The Commerce Comet by Jonah Winter, illus. by C.F. Payne (Schwartz & Wade, an imprint of Penguin Random House)
~Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae (37 Ink/Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster)
Mountain Chef: How One Man Lost His Groceries, Changed his Plans, and Helped Cook Up the National Park Service by Annette Bay Pimentel, illus. by Rich Lo (Charlesbridge Publishing) 
Music of Life:  Bartolomeo Cristofori & the Invention of the Piano by Elizabeth Rusch, illus. by Marjorie Priceman (Atheneum, an imprint of Simon & Schuster)
~Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik (Dey Street, an imprint of HarperCollins)
One Proud Penny by Randy Siegel, illus. by Serge Bloch (Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan)
Pathfinders: The Journeys of 16 Extraordinary Black Souls by Tonya Bolden (Abrams Books for Young Readers)
Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot and Score in this Game Called Life by Kwame Alexander (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Plot to Kill Hitler: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Spy, Unlikely Hero by Patricia McCormick (Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins)
Poop Detectives: Working Dogs in the Field by Ginger Wadsworth (Charlesbridge)
~Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status Obsessed World by Mitchell J Prinstein (Viking Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House)
*Quest for Z: The True Story of Explorer Percy Fawcett and the Lost City of the Amazon by Greg Pizzoli (Viking Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House)
Ready, Set...Baby! A Kids Know Book by Elizabeth Rusch, illus. by Qin Leng (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers)
~Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin (Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Penguin Random House)
*Sergeant Reckless: The True Story of a Little Horse Who Became a Hero by Patricia McCormick, illus. by Iacopo Bruno (Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
Seven Wonders of the Solar System by David A. Aguilar (Viking Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House)
Soldier Song: A True Story of the Civil War by Debbie Levy, illus. by Gilbert Ford (Disney Hyperion)
Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor by Robert Burleigh, illus. by Raúl Colón (Simon & Schuster)
Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Spinning by Tillie Walden (First Second, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press)
Storm Too Soon: A Remarkable True Survival Story in 80 Foot Seas by Mike Tougias (Henry Holt & Co., an imprint of Macmillan)
Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees by Mary Beth Leatherdale and Eleanor Shakespeare (Annick Press)
~Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel (Alfred A. Knopf)
Strong Inside: The True Story of How Perry Wallace Broke College Basketball's Color Line (Young Readers' edition) by Andrew Maraniss (Puffin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House)
~This is Really Happening: True Stories by Erin Chack (Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Random House)
*Tooth by Tooth: Comparing Fangs, Tusks, and Chompers by Sara Levine, illus. by T.S. Spookytooth (Millbrook Press, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group)
Two Truths and a Lie: It's Alive! by Ammi-Joan Paquette (Walden Pond Press, an imprint of HarperCollins)
Ugly: A Memoir by Robert Hoge, illus. by Keith Robinson (Puffin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House)
*Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin (Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan)
Vincent and Theo: the Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman (Goldwin Books, Henry Holt & Co.)
~We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe by Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson (Riverhead, an imprint of Penguin Random House)
What's the Big Deal About First Ladies? by Ruby Shamir, illus. by Matt Faulkner (Philomel, an imprint of Penguin Random House)
Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found by Martin W Sandler (Candlewick)

The Topaz list provides children and adults with recommended nonfiction titles that stimulate reading for pleasure and personal learning. The list is recreational and not designed to support any particular curriculum, and it is one of several developed by the TLA for readers of all ages. For more information about these lists, including book titles, visit:     

Sara Ortiz | Communications & Marketing Specialist | 512-328-1518


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TLA is the largest state library association in the country with approximately 6,500 members who work in public, school, academic, and special libraries and who support educational institutions. TLA offers a wide range of services, including advocacy, continuing education, research, and public relations. To learn more about TLA, visit or call 512-328-1518.

Created on Dec 6, 2017 | Last updated December 06, 2017