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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

School Week

This is my week to plung into teaching. Tuesday through Friday I will be embedded in the Annunciation Orthodox School in Houston, Texas helping 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th graders work on researching and writing nonfiction papers. This is similar to work I’ve been doing with 9th graders in Bloomington, Illinois. It all came […]

small and i hope excusable bit of self promotion

Book-TV will broadcast Marina and me sharing Sugar with 8th graders and high school students on Feb 5 repeated on Feb 6 — we had a great time doing the show and I hope that comes across on air.

Leaks, Journalism, and How To Teach Young People How to Research and Write

This weekend the Times magazine will feature a long article by Times editor Bill Keller about the Wikileaks story. Here it is:  (and if you dig around in the Times site, there are videos to go with the article, as well as a book, available only as an e-book, with even more). I urge […]

Content, Content, Content

Last, President Obama spoke of America’s “Sputnik moment” and vowed to hire 100,000 new science and math teachers. Nice. But he had better hurry up. Yesterday the Nation’s Report Card (National Assessment of Educational Progress) came out, and it showed terrible results: The report writers suggested some caution — the tests are different than in […]

Sports and Games

We turned off the Jets-Steelers game at half-time — looked so bad already and was a late Sunday before a school night. And it was hard to read the paper this morning. I had gotten caught up in the Jets run through the playoffs. Driving alone in the car I’d turn to sports radio channels […]

A Room of Our Own, Or Social Broadcasting

Marina suggested today’s title — for the teenager whose personal room is now a hub, a drawing room, a portal, valuable for its connections not its privacy. I asked my second YA Lit graduate class about this concept yesterday and their responses went in two helpful directions. One student thought that, no matter how many […]

A Room of One’s Own

I began teaching my graduate YA materials class last night at Rutgers talking about the changing meanings of Young Adult, coming-of-age, and the literature of that phase of life. Along the way I gave a potted history of YA and as we reached the 1920s talked about the flapper/raccoon-skin-coat/goldfish-eating image of the college student. We […]

Thoughts on MLK

My Six Year Old knows why he is off school today — Martin Luther King, Jr. was a peace-maker. That is the first grade description. Blacks and whites used to fight, then he gave a speech and things got better. I was glad that he knew that much — though the frame of fighting replaced […]


I’m back from two days of meeting with teachers in California via several Teaching American History grants. The teachers ranged from elementary school through AP and it was, as it always is, great. I got to talk about the approach behind my books as well as some of the content, they got to ask questions […]


I am writing this from Glendale, outside of LA — my last trip for a good while. I’m here to speak to teachers, elementary through high school, through a Teaching American History grant. These are federal funds that brings experts — academics but also authors and, as I’ll explain in a moment, public figures, to […]