Non-Fiction

The Neanderthals Resdiscovered by Dimitra Papagianni and Michael A. Morse

In recent years, the common perception of the Neanderthal has been transformed thanks to new discoveries and paradigm-shattering scientific innovations. It turns out that the Neanderthals behavior was surprisingly modern: they buried the dead, cared for the sick, hunted large animals in their prime, harvested seafood, and spoke. Meanwhile, advances in DNA technologies have forced a reassessment of the Neanderthals place in our own past.  For hundreds of thousands of years, Neanderthals evolved in Europe very much in parallel to the Homo sapiens line evolving in Africa, and, when both species made their first forays into Asia, the Neanderthals may even have had the upper hand. Here, Dimitra Papagianni and Michael A. Morse look at the Neanderthals through the full dramatic arc of their existence from their evolution in Europe to their expansion to Siberia, their subsequent extinction, and ultimately their revival in popular novels, cartoons, cult movies, and TV commercials.

Under the Blue Beret: A U.N. Peacekeeper in the Middle East  by Tony “Stoney” Burke

From the 1950s to the present day, Canadian peacekeepers have been employed as a stabilizing force and an instrument of peace in every corner of the globe.

In this first-hand account, Terry “Stoney” Burke paints a graphic picture of a peacekeeper”s life in one of the most tumultuous and dangerous regions of the world. From the war-torn island of Cyprus, through his later missions in Israel, Lebanon, and Syria, we follow him as he weaves an intriguing narrative of life as a Canadian peacekeeper.

Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

The book that inspired the major new motion picture Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country. Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela has been at the center of the most compelling and inspiring political drama in the world. As president of the African National Congress and head of South Africa”s antiapartheid movement, he was instrumental in moving the nation toward multiracial government and majority rule. He is revered everywhere as a vital force in the fight for human rights and racial equality.

The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

Naoki Higashida was only a middle-schooler when he began to write The Reason I Jump. Autistic and with very low verbal fluency, Naoki used an alphabet grid to painstakingly spell out his answers to the questions he imagines others most often wonder about him: why do you talk so loud? Is it true you hate being touched? Would you like to be normal? The result is an inspiring, attitude-transforming book that will be embraced by anyone interested in understanding their fellow human beings, and by parents, caregivers, teachers, and friends of autistic children. Naoki examines issues as diverse and complex as self-harm, perceptions of time and beauty, and the challenges of communication, and in doing so, discredits the popular belief that autistic people are anti-social loners who lack empathy.

Wave by Sonali Deranlyagala 

On December 26, Boxing Day, Sonali Deraniyagala, her English husband, her parents, her two young sons, and a close friend were ending Christmas vacation at the seaside resort of Yala on the south coast of Sri Lanka when a wave suddenly overtook them. She was only to learn later that this was a tsunami that devastated coastlines through Southeast Asia. When the water began to encroach closer to their hotel, they began to run, but in an instant, water engulfed them, Sonali was separated from her family, and all was lost. Sonali Deraniyagala has written an extraordinarily honest, utterly engrossing account of the surreal tragedy of a devastating event that all at once ended her life as she knew it and her journey since in search of understanding and redemption. It is also a remarkable portrait of a young family’s life and what came before, with all the small moments and larger dreams that suddenly and irrevocably ended.

Reality is Broken by Jane Mogonigal

 With 174 million gamers in the United States alone, we now live in a world where every generation will be a gamer generation. But why, Jane McGonigal asks, should games be used for escapist entertainment alone? In this groundbreaking book, she shows how we can leverage the power of games to fix what is wrong with the real world-from social problems like depression and obesity to global issues like poverty and climate change-and introduces us to cutting-edge games that are already changing the business, education, and nonprofit worlds. Written for gamers and non-gamers alike, Reality Is Broken shows that the future will belong to those who can understand, design, and play games.