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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

The Best and Worst of Newbery-Caldecott

Last night I heard (and more than heard) the two best NC speeches I have ever witnessed, and I’ve listening to them on and off since the 80s. If you were not there, you owe it to yourself to get the next issue of the Horn Book which, as you know, reprints the talks. I [...]

Chasing Its Tail

Subjects, Scope, Sequence One of the first questions an editor will ask when an author suggests a nonfiction subject for younger readers is "when do they teach that subject in schools?" Of course the idea is that if you write a trade book on a topic that comes in a particular grade level, you should [...]

Of Jane Eyre and William Shirer

What Literature Do Teenagers Need? I met with Anita Beamon’s library school studentsin Illinois  last night through a mixture of technologies. They students could mear Anita and me speaking by phone, but they posted their responses through a real time chat room. It worked very well — anyone wanting author visits who doesn’t have a [...]

Virtual Therapy

I Found This Interesting Clip at the New Yorker site: www.newyorker.com/online/video/2008/05/19/080519_halpern/ Sue Halpern shows you images from a war game that has been adapted to a new purpose. The images that you see are a virtual Iraq — you are seeing Iraq as a US soldier would. But a set a therapists use those images [...]

Boston Globe Horn Book — the Wall

The Year of the Personal Voice in Nonfiction Congratulations, once again, to Peter Sis for yet another prize — this time the Boston Globe Horn Book nonfiction award — for The Wall www.petersis.com/content/wall_fr.html I am sending you to his site because you can explore a bit beyond just getting the cover — and same with the [...]

The Junk Yard

If Websites are Coney Island, Then Schools are Demolition Derby Did you catch the NEA/NFT report on teachers and technology? www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/ The report is about how teachers don’t get enough training to use the technology in the schools. As a result, they tend to use computers for administrative tasks or to send kids out to do [...]

Tell Me Why We Teach History to Kids Anyway?

American Idle What is the purpose of trotting through town, state, US, ancient, US, world, US history in schools? What are we hoping students are going to get out of it? At one time there was a civics argument — future citizens of our nation needed to know the history of democratic ideals, values, and [...]

The Web Problem: And A Suggested Solution

Coney Island of the Web From time to time, prompted either by the desperate hope to turn my older son’s internet time into something other than shoot-’em-up games, or by some research project of my own that is leading me to spend a lot of time on the net, I find myself going to a [...]

Progressive Education

Between Harlem and Peoria, I Realized Something Last Friday members of many of the graduating classes from the school I attended from first through 12th grades gathered at the site where we had been students (and teachers). New Lincoln was located on 110th St. — which the alert reader will recognize is both in Harlem [...]

Reading Levels

Something Just Hit Me — Perhaps You Can Help Me Think This Through Have you been following this conflict in England over adding ages and grades to kids books? Publishers feel (probably correctly) that parents want it. Many famous kids authors are against it, feeling — I believe — that is both confining to readers [...]