Subscribe to SLJ
Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

I Just Feel Sad

I Was Going to Post Here About the CSK Debate over at Read Roger and I feel sad about that — as I’ll explain. But I feel sadder about the terrible news from Denver, where Kate McClelland and Kathy Krasniewicz of Perrot Library were killed in a car accident. I have known Kate forever […]

"Hunger for Opposing Points of View"

If You Did Not Catch Dennis Overbye’s Essay, "Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy" here it is, This was in the Science Times yesterday and perhaps your attention was distracted by the awards (I don’t know the Sibert honor books, anyone want to tell us about them, we had discussed We Are the Ship here). I found the […]

Step Behind Step Ahead

I’m Late in Getting ALA Results, so Congrats In General, Specifics to Follow, But I did hear over the weekend that YALSA is awarding a grant to Amy Allesio (with my help) to study what teenagers read for pleasure. We were thrilled — because so little is known about this. Amy has crafted a wide […]

Right Now Write Now

How Do We Write Nonfiction About the Present? We all know that Obama’s election marks a watershed in our history — and not just in the most obvious ways. As I wrote in the last post, you might say that a man with a Kenyan father could be elected not just because of him, but […]

A Person In His Time

Did the Moment Make Barack Obama, or Has Barack Obama Made the Moment? Just before the President spoke yesterday I got a call from a cousin. Whatever time of day or night it was in Jerusalem, he and his wife were watching the inauguration, sounding almost giddy with delight. NPR reported the same mood in […]


Just the Facts? Reading over the posts about biography, role models, the whole "feet of clay" issue, I was struck by how many of the comments expressed a distaste for "speculation," or perhaps related, "psychobiography." When I was working on my doctoral dissertation a classics professor pointed out that the root of the word was the same as […]

Of Roles and Models

First, Read Nancy’s Comment on "Tell All" She argues the LGBT kids need to read about the suicides of HM’s lovers because suicide is such a problem/concern for them. She says that they need role models, but they also need a place to read about this issue. That makes sense, but it forces us to go back and […]

Tell All 2

We Had Such An All Star Cast of Posts Yesterday That I Am Summarizing Them Today Roger Sutton feels that we should not speculate — about sexual orientation, or motivation; we need to stick to what we know. Chris Barton suggests we let the difference between ordinary (normal) and extraordinary (abnormal) guide us; Betsy Patridige […]

Tell All —

Now That We Know So Much About the Private Lives of Public Figures, What Should We Tell Our Readers? It is now very easy to find out about the sexual affairs, the marital compromises, of famous people. But what part of this private history are we obligated to share with our readers? I mean YA, not […]


Many of You Know "Reading Don’t Fix No Chevys I’ve been thinking about it again recently, for two unrelated reasons. The fun bit is that I got an email from an author who was struggling with writing a YA until he read a piece in which I mentioned the book. Seems he has now […]