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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

Learning By Doing

What Is a Blog, Anyway?

I’ve been using this blog as, in effect, a short column. But looking at, say, Elizabeth Bird’s Fuse 8, or Read Roger over at the Horn Book site, I realize how much I have to learn. They have a great tone, just the right reading length, visuals, links — all of the elements that make a blog a blog, and not something that could, just as well, be in print. I must admit feeling a bit intimidated — fearing I’ll mess up the technical steps — here’s that Nussbaum review from the other day,

and the Science Times article,

Tell if all of these work for you. 

But looking at those other blogs, I realize that the step ahead for me is not just a matter of learning my way around the software. They are really a different form of writing, and one I need to master. So here’s one step in that direction:

 I am sure all of you have followed the James Watson flap. But did you notice that he had been based at Cold Spring Harbor? That is a very respected, honorable, place these days. But it was the home of the Eugenics movement in America. Take a look: So if you have kids who follow the headlines and you want to talk about Watson, race, genetics, you can use his Cold Spring connection to go the darkest side of that story — via Eugenics.

If any of you use the Eugenics material with kids — tell us how it goes.


  1. Hi Marc,

    I echo your sentiment about blogging. As a so called, veteran blogger, of nearly 3 years, I still am trying to develop a ‘voice’. It is, oh so hard to do.
    I will say, however, if it’s any help, I do read your blog regularly, and have learned a lot, so keep up the good work.

  2. Don’t worry. A blog can be anything you want it to be. I like the column aspect of Nonfiction Matters and its consistent voice.

    Susan Thomsen
    Chicken Spaghetti: Books for Children and the Rest of Us, Too

  3. Loree Burns says:

    Consistent voice and thought-provoking content tops hi-tech bells and whistles every time, at least for me. If you keep challenging those of us who write, read, and teach children’s literature to think about important issues, we’ll keep reading your blog. You are doing a fine job!

    Loree Burns

  4. Plus I have nothing but infinite respect for (for lack of a better term) the thinking person’s blogs. You fill a niche that I could never hope to touch, and that’s half the battle of blogging right there. I was just speaking with a teacher the other day about her frustration that your blog does not receive comments more often. Considering how thoughtful your posts are and insightful your topics, I’m inclined to agree. Yours is my favorite non-fiction children’s literature blog.