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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

Reading to Know and Knowing How to Read

Learning to Read Somehow I missed this when it first came out: when Obama announced national standards for reading and math, the Times held an online debate/discussion on the issue: The discussion is interesting enough in its own right, but the sentence that caught my eye came in a piece by Sandra Stotsky, a professor […]

Of Songs and Parades

Websites Are Not Picture Books — One of the first things that anyone who works in books for younger readers learns (my experience is in publishing, but this must surely also be true in classes taken by future librarians and teachers, right?) is the artful marriage of art and text in picture books. When a […]

Sail On Textbooks, Sail On

As Textbooks Depart, We Bid Them a Fond Adieu Did you all see this in the Times today? Macmillan, a large textbook publisher, is trying an interesting experiement. It is turning some college textbook into ebooks with a lower price and the feature that the professor can customize the book — from adding or removing […]

Why the Olympics Bug Me

Medal Count I see that the Olympics beat American Idol in viewership the other night: Why? Because three Americans won gold in that broadcast. I am as ready to root as the next guy — last night to my surprise I found my heart pounding during the final of the men’s figure skating Though I found Lysacek’s […]

What Is So, So Wrong in Texas

Have You All Been Following the Texas Social Studies Curriculum Debacle? Here’s a short introduction and a profile of David Barton, one extremist advocate  What disturbs me most here is that the loud screaming of these wild radicals drowns out the most basic truth of Social Studies — none of the content we teach […]

Sometimes You Just Have to Tip Your Hat

In This Case, to a Publisher I don’t like to talk about my own books in this blog — I see myself here as an advocate for great non-fiction for young readers, not an author shilling for his own works. But there is a story I have to tell, and it happens to have to […]

On the Road to Somewhere

I’ve Been Lucky So Far — Left Ahead of the Snow, Returning After the Cleanup Or so I hope — the plane flight home looms ahead. I have been lucky in another way, too — I spent Wednesday in two schools, giving five presentations to classes ranging from 20 9th graders to a 60 or […]

Tell Us

How You Would Like Us to Go About Visiting Your Schools I am doing school visits all this week — in person, in class with my handy flash drive and a powerpoint. I love doing that — getting the kids thinking, talking, arguing, asking questions. But every day some question comes up about digital visits […]

There Must Be a Way Out of Here

That’s a Bob Dylan Quotation, But Also My Sense of This Moment in Nonfiction Here are the contrasting forces of this moment — as they effect all of us in the nonfiction books for kids world. 1) some libraries are buying databases instead of books — this is a financial decision, but also based on […]


Sorry to Be Posting Late — I Am Doing Too Many Things at Once I have the printed out pages of two books on my desk, was working on an Op-Ed, and have to plan for school visits next week — and yet there is an interesting way in which all these parts fit together. […]