Nonfiction Wednesday: Sept 21, 2016

Nonfiction Wednesday is brought to you by Kid Lit Frenzy, and is a weekly celebration of children’s nonfiction material.

Hold on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen, because today you’re in for a blast from the past!

The World’s Greatest Blunders by Sue Blackhall


Gaffes galore from the world of entertainment, the never-to-be-forgotten 1987 hurricane howler, the canonical con-trick that solved a medieval cash flow problem and still keeps believers on their knees in Turin, the US ex-president’s broadcasting bloomers, the Spruce Goose’s 1-minute-flight, the Sinclair C5’s short run, the Hitler diaries hoax that fooled the wise and worthy, these are among a list of dropped changers resounding worldwide and zippily related here.

Wrongful imprisonments and a near-fatal shoot-out resulting from mistaken identity, the heroic failure of Antarctic explorer Captain Scott and the death dice of air race ace Amy Johnson, as well as a catalogue of tragic human errors leading to disasters the whole world mourns, are also recorded.  Goodreads.

First published in 1989, this fascinating collection of strange and sometimes mind-boggling true stories has been a fixture on my bookshelves for HALF OF MY LIFE. I bought it at a bookshop in New Zealand when I was sixteen years old and spending part of my summer holidays with my grandmother. I think I picked it up at a shop in Hamilton, though it might have been in Auckland. Either way, this book has travelled a long way to be here today!


There are very few books that have survived my many moves, and for some reason I just can’t seem to part with this one. When I say I’ve been a life-long nonfiction addict, here’s the proof – at sixteen years of age, instead of buying a fashion or pop culture magazine or a teen novel, I picked up this adult collection of true tails. I’m mean, just look at that summary – who wouldn’t want to read a book like this? With language level and content in mind, adult nonfiction can be a great option for young people who simply aren’t interested in fiction, or who are hungry for something new and different to sink their death into. If I was a sixteen year today, I would find the dystopian trend just horrifically boring, and would gag at soppy teen romances. Call me crazy, but I’d rather have read about the Spruce Goose than find out if Jenny will finally get a date to the prom, or if Annie will be able to save the universe while figuring out her love triangle!

So, why not think outside the box when it comes to book recommendations – sometimes young people who “hate reading” just haven’t discovered the right books yet!