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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

Year End Thoughts

This last post of the year gives us a chance to look back and think about what themes arose here during the year — how would we frame the year in NF for young readers? And then, of course, suggests a delicious opportunity to speculate on what will come up next year. Yes, our friend […]


I received an email the other day from an Israeli online magazine. J. Edgar the movie opens in Israel on the 31st, and a reporter must have found my website which mentions my forthcoming book, and he was trawling for background info for an article about the real man and the fictional depiction. It has […]

It Makes You Wonder — The Twin Stresses on Modern Public Education

Our town is unusual in that it is a relatively small and pretty suburb of a major city — so part of its population are highly educated and succesful professionals who commute to important jobs — and yet it is also contiguous with some of the poorest places in the state — cities that people […]

If We All Have ADD, Who Is Paying Attention?

One of the perks of working at Rutgers is having colleagues — fellow faculty who have research interests that I could never pursue on my own, but which overlap in some ways with books I read and ideas I think about. Dr. Michael Lesk has had a long career in developing and understanding coding, information-retrieval, […]

Signs of Change — Chipping Away at the Iceberg

Very recent sWestern NY State school library (courtesy of Sue Bartle and Pat Griffin): 7th Grade Girl walks up to her teacher and the librarian (Pat) and says: “These are nice fiction books about the Titanic but I really want to read a nonfiction book about the Titanic.” Teacher Response to Student: “Sure, go right […]

Top-Down, Bottom-Up, Or Both/Neither?

One of the talks I gave up in Buffalo was about Boys and Reading, and my belle example was the Guys Read club a wonderful Florida media specialist named Deb Hanson had created. It was a great success in its first year — with boys focusing on handicapping sports events, reading all sorts of materials […]

What We “Cover” and What We Miss in NF: the Case of the Soviet Union

I got a nice email yesterday from a mom who lurks on this blog and faced a problem. Her 14 year old loved Animal Farm and got interested in Soviet history — what could he read? There are plenty of excellent adult books that cover everything from the runup to 1917 through the collapse in […]

What I Learn On the Road

Today is my last day in the Buffalo region meeting with school librarians and teachers to talk about the CC. As always I learn a lot from meeting people who are dealing with the school realities, even as I hope to give them some insights from my perch as an author and professor. I am […]

The More I Read in the CC, the More Clear the Third C Becomes

I’ve written here, and certainly many of you must have heard, that the Language Arts standards now require kids to read 50% NF starting out, and the percentage rises from there. That is true, but also not true — as I have come to understand. But what the CC actually says makes what I’ve called […]

Road Trip

Next week — snow willing — I will be meeting with librarians in the Buffalo, New York area, talking about NF and the Common Core — a three different libraries in three days. This is an interesting challenge, and opportunity, because I will be hosting all-day seminar/workshops, not just giving a talk about a new […]