Adler, Sabine. Lovers in Art.   New York: Prestel USA, 2002.  Romance and art are natural companions in this gorgeous book that spans five centuries of Western European art.

Belloli, Andrea P. Exploring World Art.   Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 1999.  Take a fresh look at Western European art in a global context and discover the ways in which artists of different times and cultures express universal themes.

Bissinger, H.G.   Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream.   New York: DaCapo Press, 2003 (reprint)  In Odessa, Texas, high school football is more than a recreational interest, it is the whole town’s passion.

Blackstone, Harry Jr.   The Blackstone Book of Magic & Illusion.   Scranton, PA: Newmarket Press, 2002 (reprint).  The classic of legerdemain describes the rich history of magic and reveals a few “tricks of the trade.”

Brassai.   Brassai: Letters to My Parents.   Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.  European photographer Brassai details his life’s experiences in his letters home, describing both his own development as an artist and the fascinating world of Paris from 1920 to 1940.

Card, Orson Scott.   Sarah.   New York: Forge, 2001.  The character of Sarah, Abraham’s beloved wife, illuminates this rendering of a pivotal story from the Old Testament.

Chevalier, Tracy.   Girl With a Pearl Earring.   New York: Dutton, 1999.  Sixteen year-old Griet is hired as a maid in the household of Delft painter Johannes Vermeer, where she becomes an assistant and muse to the famous artist.

Corio, David.   The Black Chord.   New York: Universe Books, 1999.  The often-painful evolution of African American music is explored with a funky text and lively photographs.

Coulton, Larry.   Counting Coup:   A True Story of Basketball and Honor on the Little Big Horn.   New York:   Warner Books, 2000.  Working through racism, alcoholism, and domestic violence, the players on Hardin High School’s girls’ basketball team come out winners in life as well as on the court.

Crutcher, Chris.   Whale Talk.   New York: Greenwillow Books, 2001.  What does a guy do when he has all the talents to be a star athlete, but hates his high school athletic program?

Franck, Frederick (ed.) What Does It Mean to be Human? Reverence for Life Reaffirmed by Responses From Around the World.   New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000.  Thought-provoking essays on one of the most essential questions one can ask.

Garfunkel, Trudy.   On Wings of Joy: The Story of Ballet from the 16 th Century to Today.   New York: E-Reads Ltd., 2002.  Immerse yourself in the world of ballet, from its earliest choreography to the life of a modern ballerina.

Goldberg, Myla.   Bee Season.   New York: Doubleday, 2000.  Eliza’s extraordinary gift for spelling leads her to understand the sounds of the alphabet, in a way that echoes the teachings of the mystical Kabbal.

Greenberg, Jan (ed.)   Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by Twentieth Century American Art.   New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2001.  Can a painting speak?   This collection of lyrical responses to famous American works of art will make you a believer.

Hedges, Chris.   War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.   New York: Public Affairs, 2002  A Pulitzer Prize winning author presents a passionate, thought-provoking look at wars through the ages,   and exposes the myths of the culture of combat.

Howe, Peter.   Shooting Under Fire:   The World of the War Photographer.   New York: Artisan, 2002.  War photographers seek out the most horrifying and dangerous places in the world to practice their craft.   What compels them to do it?

King, Ross.   Brunelleschi’s Dome:   How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture.   New York: Walker and Co., 2000.  In this vivid recreation of the political and artistic milieu of 15 th century Florence, an audacious architect achieves the impossible, and makes possible modern building.

Light, Alan.   The Vibe History of Hip Hop.   New York: Three Rivers Press, 1999.  VIBE magazine looks at the music, dance, and fashion that have evolved into hip hop culture.

Livingstone, Lili Cockerville.   American Indian Ballerinas.   Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999.  Four Native American women from Oklahoma share the struggles and triumphs of their dance careers and personal lives in stories that inspire with courage and beauty.

McGreevey, Tom and Yeck, Joanne.   Our Movie Heritage.   New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1997.  Everyone loves movies.   But film must be preserved or these cinematic treasures will be lost.

Perry, John.   Encyclopedia of Acting Techniques. Cincinnati, OH: Quarto, 1997.  The actor’s life--see how it’s done by the pros in this extravagantly illustrated primer on dramatic performance.

Sandler, Martin W.   Photography: An Illustrated History.   Cary, NC: Oxford University Press, 2002.  Everything you want to know about photography and the people behind the cameras is beautifully presented in a book for readers and browsers of all ages.

Smith, Huston .   Illustrated World Religions.   San Francisco: Harper, 1995.  The interconnectivity of the world’s great religious movements, with their parallel and disparate beliefs, is lyrically explored.

Vreeland, Susan.   The Passion of Artemisia.   New York: Viking, 2002.  This eloquent rendering of the story of Artemisia Gentileschi evokes appreciation of both her magnificent art and her struggles to succeed as an artist, a story that mirrors the experiences of young women today.