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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters


Over at Educating Alice, Monica Edinger cited Jim’s piece and directed people here to see our discussion. She then added that she is “wary of speculation.” It is that very attitude that prompted me to write the piece in the HB. As I say there — speculation has a bad name in kids books, and […]

To Make This Simple

I am not saying NF authors who write for young readers need to speculate to be “in,” “new”, “better.” Rather, I am sayng that authors who speculate may indeed be writing excellent NF for young readers — and I am certain that the children’s book community is not entirely comfortable with that. I am making […]

Speculation and Debate — Responses to My HB Article

Several people have taken issue with the “new knowledge” argument I made in the current Horn Book. In particular, the author I should have mentioned and didn’t, Jim Murphy critiques my piece here: Jim argues that I was unfair to Russell Freedman, and — citing several examples from his own work — to him. Then Laurie […]


I enjoyed my visit with the 4th and 5th graders yesterday. As ever they are lively, bright, full of questions, ready to go out and do research, find answers, come up with their own new theories and explanations. I was intrigued to learn that this paricular school is already doing some interesting prep for nonfiction. […]

Why They Need Us — The Story Gap

I’m visiting a 5th grade class next week, and Susan C. Bartoletti tells me she is as well. We — and other non-fiction authors, have been getting more and more of these requests, especially for classes working on their first research reports. I like doing these visits, and they point to an interesting issue we […]


I asked my Rutgers students to look up a variety of reviews of one of the books we’ve read this semester. As I expected, they came back surprisedto find how often a review was a plot summary along with a single characterizing line. One student, though, liked an interview because it had been posted online and […]

Horn Book Special Issue on Nonfiction

I will be away again tomorrow — the National Archives and Records Administration library at College Park is proving to be such a treasure trove of materials that I cannot stay away. At present I am making my way through the thousands of photos in J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI files — that itself is beyond […]