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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

Women In Science — Another Lesson From Africa

When Dr. Berger told the story of Sediba and the discovery to the world, the press rushed to profile Matthew. He added a charming human interest angle to the science. But, as I learned at the Berger’s home, there is another important science story in the family. Megan is in 9th grade and after winning […]

Sasha’s Interview with Matthew Berger

If you have followed the story of Sediba, the 1.97 million year old hominid skeletons that were recently found in South Africa, you know that Matthew Berger, then 9, made the initial and crucial discovery. Two days ago when we visited the Bergers (is it two days, time blurs after a 16 hour flight) Sasha […]

A Walk in the Present, Past, and Future

Lee took picked us up just after 6 this morning to avoid traffic — and the trip began with one of the unusual things about Johannesburg: it is the second largest city in sub-saharan Africa (after Lagos) — it looks and feels like any large city anywhere. And yet, 10-15 minutes out of town are […]


So far we are exhausted from the 15 hour flight, and have hardly glimpsed South Africa. But there are a few initial impressions: coming here reminds me of going to India and to Israel — very long plane trips, but there is also a kind of magic. However endless the ride, you walk on near […]

We’re Going on a Fossil Hunt — Finding the Fantastic

I’ve often spoken here and elsewhere about the idea that a NF book is not just an illustrated text about a person or subject, it is also the result of a research and writing journey that can be a model for young people. Well this weekend my 11 year old son and I board a […]

Some Thoughts that Circle Back Over The Course of This Blog

I was sorry to hear that Brian Kenney is leaving Mediasource, though heading up the White Plains Library seems like a good post. I can still recall the lunch with Brian and Luanne Toth where we discussed having a blog dedicated to nonfiction on the SLJ site — it sounded like a bully pulpit, and, […]

Where Are We In Time?

I was speaking to juniors at a high school in California last week about history, time, National Parks — making a connection with the past. But then I realized that we are in a moment right now where the challenge is to understand our present. Here’s what I mean — after 9-11, many said America […]

Frank Kameny — The Hero Whose Story We Don’t Teach

If you have not read the obit for Frank Kameny, please do: I only regret that I did not realize until the announcement of his death that he was still alive. I had perhaps vaguely heard his name, but I only realized his crucial role in our history when I began researching J. Edgar […]

Come On In the Water is Fine: Math

I had a 5 hour flight back from California Monday evening, and nothing to read so dashed to one of those terminal bookshops and did what one does — purchased a couple of books interesting enough to buy withouth knowing much about them. The Number Mysteries by Marcus Du Sautoy covered some familiar ground about […]

Local History

I am typing this in the offices of Petaluma High School, where I will soon meet students who were involved with the National Park Service Memory Trail project: Student here mde voice thread recordings of what change they want to make during their lives. I am here to prompt them to look back, at […]