Every time I step into my local B&N, I mourn the loss of actual heaping shelves of books. Instead there are lots of games, knick knacks and plenty of room to stand around and admire their Nook reader. For this reason, if I'm in a bookstore and am allowing myself to spend any money at all, I try to buy books. But lo and behold, sometimes the local independent book store or shop or online store has non fiction non books that's actually good stuff.
My favorite children's bookstore in NYC, The Bankstreet Bookstore, has the most amazing, drool worthy, nonfiction section ever. Isn't it a thing of beauty?
I always want to buy books when I go there. But sometimes, the other non fiction non book stuff, which I also can't find anywhere else, draws me in too. I first bought one box of these fun card sets and now I'm up to four (I believe, but I don't want to go count because it might be five). The American Heroes and Legends set is great for getting a little bit of info.on someone and a question that can start a discussion.
At The New York Historical Society gift shop, I picked up two other non fiction non book I hadn't seen anywhere else. One is a set of cards put out by the Library of Congress called "Historical Encounters! A Quiz Deck on World-Changing Events" which are basically a pack of cards which each describe an encounter between two people in history that changed their lives and history as well. Examples include Lennon and McCartney meeting at ages 16 and 15, Jackie Robinson's meeting with Branch Rickey in Brookyn before he signed him with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Sears meeting Roebuck in Chicago in 1887. I wouldn't go so far as to describe the blurb on each card as "a brief, captivating essay" as the authors do on the box itself, but still lots of interesting information here that might easily lead to the desire to do more research.
The NY Historical Society also has terrific post cards and posters of a handsome, beardless A. Lincoln. This would make a great pairing with the children's book about the girl who wrote to Lincoln and suggested he'd look much better with a beard. Clearly not the best exchange of advice ever given and taken if you look at the photos.
My daughter recently bought me the Teddy shirt from this non fiction non books fabulous hair-storically accurate site. (Yes, I'd also like the Abraham one. Even with the beard.) She has one of the scientists and it was a big hit at her college astronomy society. I will wear mine proudly on the streets of New York and surrounding environs and hope it sparks an interesting conversation, or at least a smile, with another lover of all things non fiction.