Nonfiction Tuesday | #CYBILS2023 Book Reviews 12.5.2023

Are we late for celebrating Native American heritage? We don’t think so. Here at the CYBILS Awards, we think every day is an opportunity to honor and recognize the life experiences of others and, by extension, learn from those stories.

Today’s selections in corporate history, innovation, athletes, activists, and indigenous culture through biography and hands-on learning.

Does it feel like Deja vu with these books? Sorry about that. It’s not a complete re-run, as we have added a few more books.

Book covers link to Goodreads, where you can add these books to your TBR.


Genevieve @ X/TwitterA gorgeously arrayed story of how Indigenous people protected their land and beat the government and oil companies. This works for me on so many levels. This nominee would grace any classroom or home.

Gary @ What’s Not Wrong – I’m glad that an important baseball picture book has emerged this spring from author Traci Sorrell and illustrator Arigon Starr. Starr’s comics-style approach to the characters maintains an appealing tone even when the social justice themes emerge that may become challenging to some younger readers. I hope Contenders indicates a trend toward more baseball picture books, especially those that illuminate the game while contextualizing its history.


Karen @ Goodreads – Oh, I got this book from my local public library, but this is going on my Amazon Wishlist aka my holiday gift (for me) guide. I can see readers as young as 9 years old enjoying this book, but it has a lot to offer adults. It’s probably designed for middle grade readers, but too many high schoolers, young adults and fully “grown up” readers do not know this information!

Hilary @ Writers’ Rumpus – This is a fascinating book to read straight through, but also wonderfully browsable by a wide variety of topics, ranging from transportation, to communication, to food technology, to fashion. And from serious to light-hearted: Native North Americans had bridges and aqueducts, but they also had whoopee cushions! The layout of this book is visually appealing and user-friendly, even for the most discriminating middle-grade reader.

Hilary @ Writers’ Rumpus – This middle-grade historical book has a little bit of everything, for every kind of reader. The characters and their storylines are so well-developed that the reader forms a personal connection to the main character, Little Bird, and her beautiful family. I found it tender and wonderfully reminiscent of one of my favorite middle grade novels, National Book Award Finalist The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich. The juxtaposition of historical fiction chapters with expository nonfiction ones is powerful and eye-opening. I have not seen another history book for this age group that covers so much of the Indigenous perspective.


Genevieve @ X/Twitter – Finished savoring the Young Readers edition of Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Life in Native America by David Treuer. Now I certainly need to go buy the adult version as well. This is a book that should be in every library and should be in classrooms everywhere.

Hilary @ Writers’ Rumpus – This is the kind of YA memoir you relish from start to finish—one that makes you feel like you’ve just taken a cozy seat at Chuculate’s kitchen table to listen to him recount stories from his life. This is Chuculate’s American story, and it’s also yours and mine. I enjoyed following his life trajectory from childhood to adolescence, as a budding sports journalist and future award-winning author. His humble, hopeful voice throughout gives this memoir a refreshing and rejuvenating spirit that is easy to love.