10 young adult books for smart readers of all ages

Here are 10 young adult books for readers of all ages who like to learn.

10. "Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917," by Sally M. Walker

(Square Fish, 160 pp.)

A collision of two ships, one loaded with munitions, in Halifax Harbor in 1917 caused an explosion of unparalleled magnitude. “Blizzard of Glass” tells the story of this devastating disaster and the heroic recovery efforts in its aftermath.  


“When Mont-Blanc’s cargo exploded, it was the largest manmade explosion that had ever occurred. It remained so until August 6, 1945, when the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II.

“Alan Ruffman and David Simpson, two scientists who later studied the explosive power of Mont-Blanc’s cargo, estimated that the temperature at the center of the explosion was about 9,032 degrees Fahrenheit – more that three times hotter than the temperature needed to melt iron. The initial speed of the shock wave as it traveled out from the explosive cargo was about 5,000 feet per second – nearly five times faster than sound travels through air. No one could outrun the supersonic blast.”

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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