Why not read about some incredibly true stories this winter?

One Shot at Forever by Chris Ballard
In 1971, a small-town high school baseball team from rural Illinois playing with hand-me-down uniforms and peace signs on their hats defied convention and the odds. Led by an English teacher with no coaching experience, the Macon Ironmen emerged from a field of 370 teams to become the smallest school in Illinois history to make the state final, a distinction that still stands. There, sporting long hair, and warming up to Jesus Christ Superstar, the Ironmen would play a dramatic game against a Chicago powerhouse that would change their lives forever.

Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthal
From the start, his path was never predictable. Steve Jobs was given up for adoption at birth, dropped out of college after one semester, and at the age of twenty, created Apple in his parents’ garage with his friend Steve Wozniack. Then came the core and hallmark of his genius – his exacting moderation for perfection, his counterculture life approach, and his level of taste and style that pushed all boundaries. A devoted husband, father, and Buddhist, he battled cancer for over a decade, became the ultimate CEO, and made the world want every product he touched. Framed by Jobs’ inspirational Stanford commencement speech and illustrated throughout with black and white photos, this is the story of the man who changed our world.

This Is How by Augusten Burroughs
If you’re fat and fail every diet, if you’re thin but can’t get thin enough, if you lose your job, if your child dies, if you are diagnosed with cancer, if you always end up with exactly the wrong kind of person, if you always end up alone, if you can’t get over the past, if your parents are insane and ruining your life, if you really and truly wish you were dead, if you feel like it’s your destiny to be a star, if you believe life has a grudge against you, if you feel so ashamed, if you’re lost in life. If you have ever wondered, How am I supposed to survive this? This is how.

Raiders! The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made by Alan Eisenstock

In 1982, Chris Strompolos, eleven, asked Eric Zala, twelve, a question: “Would you like to help me do a remake Raiders of the Lost Ark? I’m playing Indiana Jones.” And they did it. Every shot, every line of dialogue, every stunt. They borrowed and collected costumes, convinced neighborhood kids to wear grass skirts, cast a fifteen-year-old as Indy’s love interest, rounded up seven thousand snakes (sort of), built the Ark, the Idol, the huge boulder, found a desert in Mississippi, and melted the bad guys’ faces off. It took seven years. Along the way, Chris had his first kiss (on camera), they nearly burned down the house and incinerated Eric, lived through parents getting divorced and remarried, and watched their friendship disintegrate. Raiders! is the incredible true story of how they realized their impossible dream and how their friendship survived all challenges.

Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip Hoose
B95 is a robin-sized shorebird, a red knot of the subspecies rufa. Scientists call him the Moonbird because, in the course of his astoundingly long lifetime, this gritty, four-ounce marathoner has flown the distance to the moon and halfway back! Each February he joins a flock that lifts off from Tierra del Fuego, headed for breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic, nine thousand miles away. B95 can fly for days without eating or sleeping, but eventually he must descend to refuel and rest. However, recent changes at ancient refueling stations along his migratory circuit – changes caused mostly by human activity – have reduced the food available and made it harder for the birds to reach. And so, since 1995, when B95 was first captured and banded, the worldwide rufa population has collapsed by nearly 80 percent. Shaking their heads, scientists ask themselves: How can this one bird make it year after year when so many others fall?

Miles to Go for Freedom by Linda Barrett Osborne
Told through unforgettable first-person accounts, photographs, and other primary sources, this book is an overview of racial segregation and early civil rights efforts in the United States from the 1890s to 1954, a period known as the Jim Crow years. Multiple perspectives are examined as the book looks at the impact of legal segregation and discrimination on the day-to-day life of black and white Americans across the country.

Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: When placed next to radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned 3 continents. In Great Britain and the United States, Soviet spies worked their way into the scientific community; in Norway, a commando force slipped behind enemy lines to attack German heavy-water manufacturing; and deep in the desert, one brilliant group of scientists was hidden away at a remote site at Los Alamos. This is the story of the plotting, the risk-taking, the deceit, and genius that created the world’s most formidable weapon. This is the story of the atomic bomb.

Regine’s Book by Regine Stokke
Regine’s blog about living with leukemia gained a huge following in her native Norway, and eventually turned into this incredible book in which she wrote openly about the emotional and physical aspects of her fifteen month struggle to recover, and explained how her disease affected her life. In the course of her illness, Regine had photography exhibits, went to concerts, enjoyed her friends and family, and advocated for registering as a blood and bone marrow donor. She was a typical teenager with an amazing will to live, and the lessons she learned have relevance for all of us.

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