GUYS READ: TRUE STORIES, edited by Jon Scieszka
Stories by Candace Fleming, Douglas Florian, Nathan Hale, Thanhha Lai, Sy Montgomery, Jim Murphy, T. Edward Nickens, Elizabeth Partridge, Steve Sheinkin, and James Sturm
Ages 8 to 14
Walden Pond Press | HarperCollins Publishers
Jon Scieszka's Guys Read anthology series for tweens turns to nonfiction in its fifth volume, True Stories. The fifth installment in the Guys Read Library of Great Reading features ten stories that are 100% amazing, 100% adventurous, 100% unbelievable—and 100% true. A star-studded group of award-winning nonfiction authors and journalists provides something for every reader, all aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Compiled and edited by real-life literature legend Jon Scieszka, Guys Read: True Stories is a mind-blowing collection of essays, biographies, how-to guides, and more, all proving that the truth is most definitely out there.
Kirkus Reviews (starred review):
"A stellar lineup of nonfiction writers offers true stories, which, like the previous volumes in the Guys Read series, are written to appeal especially to boys. Steve Sheinkin leads off with a survival tale, as Capt. James Riley and his crew are shipwrecked off the coast of West Africa in the summer of 1815 and survive the Sahara desert by drinking their own urine and eating their peeling, sunburned skin. Enslaved, they are eventually saved by Muslim traders, and Riley joins the anti-slavery movement upon his return to the United States. Sy Montgomery writes a beautiful ode to the rain forest of French Guiana and profiles tarantulas and Sam Marshall, a scientist who studies them and who is featured in Montgomery's The Tarantula Scientist (2004). Jim Murphy delivers an unsettling history of dental horrors from 6,500 years ago to the present day (or at least his second visit to the dentist); Candace Fleming profiles Jumbo, the world's largest elephant; Elizabeth Partridge writes about Alan Lomax and Muddy Waters; and T. Edward Nickens is almost killed canoeing frigid Alaskan waters. The stories—prose, poetry and a graphic story—are full of action and lively, sometimes-gross details that make their subjects come alive. An unusually strong volume—a smorgasbord for young nonfiction readers (both boys and girls) and a good pick for the classroom."
"Ten stories by some of today’s most notable nonfiction authors, including Margaret A. Edwards Award winner Jim Murphy and the National Book Award winner Thanhha Lai, make up this entertaining collection. Each story is unique and stylistically appealing. “Sahara Shipwreck”—a good mixture of intriguing plot, gore, and gross, complete with body function descriptions—opens this anthology, but the other stories are just as well written. “A Jumbo Story” follows Jumbo’s interesting life as a circus elephant and ends with his tragic death. “A Cartoonist’s Course” is inspirational and instructive to anyone with a dream. There is much to like about this anthology. It includes first- and third-person accounts, multiple approaches to storytelling (prose, verse, comics), and various subject areas (music, medicine, and science), making it easy for readers to find at least one engaging story. Most of the stories are accompanied by a bibliography that can be used as a springboard for further investigation. For example, at the end of “This Won’t Hurt a Bit: The Painfully True Story of Dental Care,” Murphy offers phrases to use when searching for information (e.g., “Medieval tooth pullers”) and a list of books to peruse. Readers who have enjoyed the established Guys Read series will not be disappointed with this fifth installment." — KaaVonia Hinton