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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

First Work In Progress

The Taj Mahal

Here it is, courtesy of Liz Mann of Mikaya. This is a trial run, I am having some trouble uploading her beautiful Taj photo, but I’ll get that worked out.

From Elizabeth Mann, author of the nonfiction series Wonders of
the World. Titles include The Brooklyn Bridge, The Great Pyramid, The
Empire State Building and, soon, The Taj Mahal.

This is the first blog about how my book, The Taj Mahal, was

The question that kids ask me the most when I visit schools (after
“you’re HOW old?”) is “How do you get ideas for what to write about?”

Kids struggle with that a lot because they have to write so many
different things in the course of a school year.

he truth is I have it MUCH easier than they do. I always write
nonfiction about human-made, giant-size structures. That means I don’t have to think
about writing “Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly” or “What I did on
My Summer Vacation.” Thousands of ideas are automatically, effortlessly
disqualified! And then, once I have an idea, I work on it for a very
long time. That means I only need a new idea every year or two, not
every week.

Whether it’s hard-won or obvious, every writing idea comes from
somewhere. The idea for the Taj Mahal was a gift from a third grade
teacher at a teacher/author lunch at his school in Brooklyn. I was
talking about how important it is to tell a good story when writing
nonfiction. He looked up from his tunafish sandwich, dabbed at the
mayonaise on his chin, and said, “The Taj Mahal has a great story—some
king built it to show his love for his queen.” Wow. Simple as that. A
man-made, giant-size structure, that happens to be unusually beautiful,
with a story just waiting to be told. And a LOVE story at that!

It took another four years, though, before I finally got to India, but
it was worth the wait! Just look at this magnificent building.

(image coming)


  1. Marc Aronson says:

    folks I am struggling with getting the images into the file, hope to do better on the next blog.