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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

Are You as Puzzled as I am

By The Google Settlement? You must have all seen the announcement some months ago that the groups representing authors had reached a settlement with Google about digitizing our books. Here is a useful posting about it, with links, from a university librarian: fairuse.stanford.edu/commentary_and_analysis/2009_02_calter_google_settlement.html As I pointed out here, there has been ongoing debate since — the Robert Darnton piece [...]

Bombs, Farts, Ideas

A Story I Just Have to Tell I seem to be the parent of choice for walking my third grader and his pals to school, because each trip we take up the same question: how could we have destroyed the Berlin Wall — what combination of atomic bombs, wrecking balls, stealth teams with special cutting [...]

You Say Transmission, I Say Inspiration

What I Learned On the Road Spending a week meeting with teachers (5th through 11th grade) as well as students (4th-5th and 9th–11th) in a wide variety of West Coast settings was wonderful. And I think it helped me to define more clearly what we trade NF do, and perhaps to help those of you [...]

Making Kids Smarter

The Perfect Response to a Book I was in Las Vegas Friday visiting fourth and fifth grade classrooms. Some of the kids had read the books I was talking about (Ain’t Nothing But a Man; World Made New; How to Get Rich in the California Gold Rush) some had not. In the last school I [...]

Teachers, Textbooks, Secondary Lit

Where In the World Do Trade Books Fit? I was speaking to teachers in Glendale, CA the other day when one of them asked if I had ever written secondary materials for textbooks. I haven’t, indeed I have only the most shadowy sense of what such materials are. And yet it seems that they are [...]

The Textbook Problem

Is It Possible to Teach World History in High School? The other day I browsed through a tenth grade world history textbook. It was full of lush color. It offered many angles of entry into history — through the arts, politics, economics, law, social structure. It was completely even handed in covering all parts of [...]

Delayed Second Post on Hank Greenberg

My apologies friends, I was away from the net yesterday, here is the missing post — Shelley’s second on writing her Hank Greenberg book: I began my biography of Hank Greenberg by sitting on the floor at the local Barnes and Noble.  Next to me was a stack of baseball books, and I opened them [...]

Nonfiction Athletics

I’m On the Road Again, And These Visits Introduced Me to the Academic Decathalon I’m speaking in California next week, and one of my hosts is a bit overwhelmed. That is because Larry is also coach of his school’s Academic Decathalon team — and they are the reigning national champs. www.academicdecathlon.org/news_releases/CAD%20NR09%2001%20_2_.pdf The interesting thing about this competition [...]

What Does Obama’s Education Agenda Mean For Us?

Taking School Seriously President Obama outlined his view of K-12 public education yesterday, www.latimes.com/classified/jobs/news/la-me-obama-education-2009mar11,0,817684.story Most of the news coverage focused on the politics of the speech — the indication that he disagreed with some standard Democratic Party positions on charter schools and merit pay. And since NCLB is up for reconsideration, everyone wanted to know how Obama [...]

A Picture Book is to Theater as YA Nonfiction Is To?

What I Learned From Seeing My Earliest Childhood Friend Roy is the first friend I can recall having. While he lives in Switzerland and grew up in Santa Barbara, his parents and mine were old friends, and when I was about 5 they lived in New York and both families rented summer homes in Connecticut. The [...]