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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters


Elizabeth (Betsy) Partridge emailed me the other day to say that she will be presenting at the NCSS conference in Denver from November 12-14 and noticed that I would be as well. That’s true — and the fact that she and I and Ann Bausum (and others? let us know) will be there is significant. […]

When I Hear the Word “Virtual” I…

I recently received an email that shared some new digital resources, including virtual classroom trips. That sounded great, until I tried them out. Here is one, a Trip to the Moon created by NASA: While I am eager to show it to my about to be 6 Year old, who will like the floating water […]

What We Learned in Class Last Week

We were discussing Easy Readers — Levelled Books — in my Rutgers class last week, and my students had been assisgned to cover the waterfront. That is,they each read five books — from the same publisher, at different levels. We then put together a grid examining what all the various levels mean in practice. As […]

A Fascinating, Depressing, and Call to Action Report

The excellent author and librarian Leda Schubert sent me the following survey, which you all should read — not just in its headline points, but in its revealing details: The authors set out to look at why reading ability (not reading choices, but the actual skill in reading carefull) is declining in America. They chose to […]

The NetCapsule

Picture this — once upon a time we had print books with print references to print resources. Now in non fiction for younger readers we most often have print books with print references to both print and online resources. In my last post, and Linda’s responses, I’ve explored the idea of having a dedicated website […]

Notes, Notes, Notes

I have a friend who has been working on a big adult nonfiction books for years. He is a good writer so he is hoping to reach the general reader, the history buff who is not an academic, even though he is writing about a vast topic that spans centuries. Recently he got the bad […]


I am reading Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From I am enjoying it, and — while some of the examples he uses are overly familiar — I am finding myself pausing to think about how his insights apply to my experience. There is one area, though, where I completely disagree, and that particular theme […]

A Second Challenge — Which is Also a Second Opportunity: The Net

Over at CCBC they have been talking about nonfiction this month, and there is a depressing tenor to many of the comments. The thrust of those comments is that kids run to Google for their research and no longer need/want books to find information. Worse, teachers don’t seem to see a difference between bit gleaned […]

The Opportunity, and Challenge, of the Nonfiction Literacy Standard

The best news in the nonfiction universe in recent years has been on the Prize front — first the creation of the Sibert, then the YA NF award, and last year the first NF book to win the National Book Award in the young readers’ category. But this year came word that could be even […]

Picture Books

Did you all see this in the Times today:   The article quotes booksellers, publishers, authors all to the effect that picture books are not selling as well these day (outside of the classics). A number of theories are suggested for why this is — price in a weak economy, parents pushing their kids ahead to Easy […]