Nonfiction Tuesday | #CYBILS2023 Book Reviews 12.19.2023

Welcome to Nonfiction Tuesday. Hope you brought a bookmark (or two or three). This week’s selections will captivate readers across a full spectrum of subjects and emotion.

  • We are going to deep, dark places both physical (the Mariana Trench) and intangible (victim trauma).
  • We’ll observe creatures most beautiful (birds) and humans at their ugliest (racism, sexism).
  • Spend time lingering over amazing imagery and hang on every word.

Though very different, these books will stay with us. For their beauty, for their lyricism, for their relevance to daily living.

Summaries via Goodreads. Clicking the cover takes you there.


Sarah on Instagram Reels – I’m all for an animal book that I as the parent actually enjoy reading. Bonus points if I learn something too! This book gave me some spooky vibes because of the season. The kids request to read this book a ton.

Karen @ Goodreads – This picture book is short enough to hold the attention of young readers (or screen-addicted readers of all ages.) But Deep, Deep Down has layers of information through text and images that it invites sustained attention beyond just “getting through the story.” A preview with questions and illustrations of [uncommon creatures]sets the tone for an adventure, a journey promising to be educational and a little bit scary. It’s beautiful and engaging.


Karen @ Goodreads – Sibley’s book is stunning. It would make an ideal gift for a multigenerational household because birdwatching is a great activity that people of all ages can enjoy solo, in pairs, or in a friendship or family “flock.” In the back is a small but encouraging page labeled “Becoming a birder.” However, any young reader who has moved that deep through this detail-rich book has already adopted the role and earned the title.

Genevieve @ Twitter/X – The illustrations are striking and the text is remarkably original.


Cindy on behalf of Kiss the Book, review by L Jones – The best thing about this book is how Slater manages to make you feel compassion and empathy for every person involved in the story. She never excuses the choices of the boys who made and followed the account, but she gives voice to their stories. She also unapologetically shares the trauma of what it’s like to be a victim of racism and sexism. She addresses the science behind justice and punishment and how most – if not all – of these individuals are not rotten at their core. However, I would caution that HS teachers might want to keep an eye on who reads this book and perhaps follow-up with them; it has some heavy content. Nowadays, real accounts of racism are riddled with political tension, and that might make this book controversial.

Gary @ What’s Not Wrong – Like her previous book The 57 Bus, Dashka Slater’s Accountable is a harrowing work of journalism for young adult readers. Those of us who have taught high school for any time at all will recognize each of the individuals in Accountable: the perpetrators who say it was “just a joke,” the victims who struggle to face going to school after being so publicly attacked, the parents who want to protect their children, and the well-intentioned but harried school administrators and teachers. At 450-plus pages, Accountable may scare off some potential readers but those who delve into the first few pages will likely find themselves completely absorbed in a story that is extremely relevant to their everyday lives.

Anne @ My Head Is Full of Books –  I can’t even begin to describe how impactful this book is. Dashka Slater did a masterful job of getting behind every story through interviews, looking at social media, surveillance videos, public records, and other sources and staying with the story for years. She skillfully shows us the complexity of issues that teenagers confront every single time they interact with social media. She questions who is responsible and looks at how racism and racist memes are created and accepted as something funny because the creator didn’t “mean it.” The book is long, 480 pages, but the way the book is organized makes it seem much shorter. It feels like this story has a lot of implications for those of us trying to maneuver through life today. No one knows how to treat other people with respect anymore since it is so easy to anonymously awful to others on-line. Fortunately, the books ends with some positive notes and some signs of growth and self-acceptance.