• Nonfiction

    A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America

    This is the story of a cook – a quiet, diligent cook who kept to herself. Her speciality was homemade ice cream topped with fresh peaches, which she served on hot summer days. She worked for some of the wealthiest families in New York, who spoke highly of her skills.

    In August 1906, when six members of one household nearly died, the cook mysteriously disappeared – and the hunt for Typhoid Mary began. The resulting story became a tabloid scandal. But the true story of Mary Mallon is far greater than the sensationalized and fear-mongering stories. It’s also a lesser known story of human and civil rights violations. How did this private and obscure domestic cook become one of the most notorious women in American history? What happens to a person whose name and reputation are forever damaged? And who is responsible for the lasting legacy of the woman who became known as Typhoid Mary?

    Look what Terrible Typhoid Mary has done!

    Junior Library Guild selection

    Starred review: School Library Journal: “Energetic, even charming prose will easily engage readers….Middle grade biography lovers will gravitate toward this compelling title.”

    Starred reviewBooklist:a “Little is known about Mary Mallon, better known as Typhoid Mary, apart what can be garnered from case studies and wildly sensationalized newspaper articles, but Bartoletti impressively fills in the gaps with illuminating historical context and live descriptions of events…Expertly weaving together both historical background and contemporary knowledge about disease and public health …[a]completely captivating volume.”

    Starred review: Horn Book:”Bartoletti focuses more on Mary, using her as a lens through which to view – and analyze – a wider swath of American society. What was it like to be a servant, an immigrant, a woman at the dawn of the twentieth century? Bartoletti skillfully weaves the answers….[T]he book contains the hallmarks of excellent nonfiction…”

    Publishers Weekly: “Thoroughly researched biography … this study of Mallon’s ill-fated life is as much an examination of the period in which she lived, including the public’s ignorance about the spread and treatment of disease, the extreme measures health officials took to advance science, and how yellow journalism’s sensationalized stories could ruin someone’s reputation.”



    They Called Themselves the KKK: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group, Houghton Mifflin Books 2010.

    Click here for more information, including behind-the-scenes information about my weekend with the KKK.

    a YALSA Excellence in NonFiction Finalist



    Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow, Scholastic 2005

    Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, Horn Book, The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal.

    Winner: Newbery Honor, Sibert Honor, Orbis PIctus Honor, Parent’s Gold Choice Award, Sydney Taylor Notable, Pennsylvania Carolyn Field Award

    Other Awards and Recognition: Junior Library Guild selection, IRA Notable Book for a Global Society, NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book, Publisher’s Weekly Best Children’s Book of the Year, Kirkus Editors’ Choice, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, Book List Editor’s Choice, Horn Book Fanfare, ALA Best Book for Young Adults Top Ten, ALA Notable Children’s Book, VOYA Nonfiction Honor

    Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850, Houghton Mifflin 2001.

    Booklist and School Library Journal.

    Winner: Sibert Award, Orbis PIctus Award, Golden Kite for Nonfiction, Pennsylvania Carolyn Field Award

    Other Awards and Recognition: ALA Notable Book, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, NCSS Notable Trade Book for Young People, New York Public LIbrary Books for the Teen Age



    Kids on Strike!, Houghton Mifflin 1999.

    Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, School Library Journal
    Winner: Jane Addam’s Children’s Book Award, Pennsylvania Carolyn Field Honor Award

    Other Awards and Recognition: School Library Journal Best Books of 1999, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, NCTE Recommended Title, New York Public Library Best Books for the Teen Age, Jefferson Cup Recommended Title



    Growing Up in Coal Country, Houghton Mifflin 1996.

    Horn Book, Booklist, and School Library Journal.

    Winner: Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, Golden Kite Award for Nonfiction, Pennsylvania Carolyn Field Award, Parent’s Gold Choice Award

    Other Awards and Recognition: ALA Book of Distinction, ALA Notable, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, Booklist Editor’s Choice, NCTE Recommended Title, Notable Book in the Field of Social Studies