Discover New Non-Fiction Reads with the Forest of Reading

The Yellow Cedar Award is by far my favourite category in the Forest of Reading program. I always thought non-fiction reads were tedious, but this category changed my mind. There are so many fascinating topics in this section that I never would have read before. It goes so much further than just basic facts. There are a wide range of real-life stories packed into these books.  If you have a child in grades four to eight, these nominees are a gold mine for school projects.

Here are three highlights from this year’s nominees:

Mad for Ads by Erica Fyvie

How many ads do you think the average person sees in a day? 30? 300? Would you believe that we are exposed to over 3000 ads every single day? On TV, search engines, flyers, bus stops, lamp posts, billboards, sports uniforms – anywhere you look, you will see advertisements.

In order to catch our attention, ads are displayed in multiple places using multiple different mediums. We often see and hear the same brand messaging over and over without even realizing it.

We like to believe that advertising doesn’t affect us, but ads have more power over us than we would like to think.  Brands work to leave an impression on our brains. The more familiar a brand becomes to us, the more likely we are to purchase it.

Mad for Ads is a fascinating breakdown of how we are influenced to make purchasing decisions based on the language and placement of advertisements.

The Power of Style by Christian Allaire

Fashion is living art. It makes a statement. Designers use fashion to send a message to the world. It can empower marginalized communities and give a voice to those who go unheard. The Power of Style features young BIPOC designers who break from traditional fashion design to bring their own culture and heritage into their creations. These designs are unique and not normally seen in mainstream media.

Each chapter highlights a different designer who brings something new and diverse to the fashion world: Indigenous ribbon work, natural hair, modest fashion and hijabs, cosplay and body positivity, queer fashion, and more.

Less than a hundred pages, The Power of Style is a quick read. Made up of brilliant full colour photos and short text, this book makes a strong statement about representation in the fashion world.

This is Your Brain on Stereotypes by Tanya Lloyd Ki and Drew Shannon

In 2004 an Indigenous man died in an emergency clinic without being seen by medical staff. The 45-year-old man was a double-amputee in a wheelchair. He waited for over a day and never received any medical care. An inquiry into his death revealed that when doctors and nurses walked by him, they assumed he was drunk, not sick.

Our brains are wired to sort things into categories. For example, we may categorize things that are safe versus things that unsafe – that is normal and part of our survival. However, when we sort people into categories, it can be problematic. Unconsciously, we sort people based on assumptions, which can sometimes have terrible consequences, like the medical staff believing the Indigenous man was drunk.

This is Your Brain on Stereotypes breaks down how we become biased and how science is working to change our subconscious minds.

I strongly encourage you to check out all ten of this year’s Yellow Cedar Award nominees. There are plenty of important topics covered in these books and they are all written from a Canadian perspective.

For fiction reads geared towards children in grades five and six, check out our highlights of this year’s Silver Birch Award nominees, as well as our highlights of the recent Red Maple Award nominees for fiction reads geared towards children in grades seven and eight.