Henrietta Lacks, a very readable, page-turning nonfiction book? Well, Amelia Lost, a YA biography of Amelia Earhart, impressed me just as much.
Candace Fleming makes Amelia's story so compelling. After a brief piece titled "Navigating History," she starts the book with the coast guard's wait for Amelia in the Pacific Ocean. After we read about this particular landing for a rest/refuel stop -- it's a tricky one on an island in the Pacific, and so was carefully planned -- we learn that she hasn't arrived when expected, and they are beginning to worry. Yikes! We know the ending to this, don't we? Or we at least know the mystery.
Then we jump all the way back to Amelia's birth and early life. Surprisingly, Fleming makes this story just as compelling as the disappearance. Lots of photos and quotes from Amelia and others help her story zoom along. Fleming alternates chapters about Amelia's life with chapters about her disappearance, and this back and forth works extremely well. I hated to put the book down, even though I knew how it would end. There were lots of surprises and facts that were new to me, however.
Amelia was a unique, complicated, admirable, and extremely human person. I think Fleming really got to know the whole Amelia while working on this book, and I could feel her excitement in sharing the story of this fascinating person with us. I highly recommend watching the video on Candace Fleming's website, where she discusses how she works on a biography.
Ben Franklin! Eleanor Roosevelt! The Lincolns! P.T. Barnum! What an interesting group of people to explore. I can't wait. And I am excited to see who she will bring to us next.
Happy Nonfiction Monday! Be sure to check out more great nonfiction today at The Children's War.