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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

On “Contempt”

I am a bookseller’s dream: when I see a review of a book that looks interesting or important, I buy it — even if it remains on my shelves, unopened for years. But there it is when I need it. Such was the case with Mark Mazower’s Dark Continent, a history of Europe in the […]

Experiment and Thought Experiment — Try This In Your Library

I am teaching two sections of Materials for Young Adults at Rutgers this semester, one one campus, one online. After we do our introductions, the first real class is always spent exploring “what is YA?” — we look at age range, emotional and physical development, voice, style, subject, coming of age as defined in different […]

Edith and the Ebook — A Blog in the form of an Op-Ed, runs a bit long

This week we celebrate Edith Wharton’s 150th anniversary – and last week Apple launched its new enhanced book authoring tool. What do these two have in common? An opportunity and a warning. When Edith began writing, literary print publishing in America still used a model familiar to everyone who has read Dickens – serialization in […]


It was a rough weekend here in our house — at the crossing point of many binary decisions. Sasha is preparing for his first middle grade midterms; Marina has been reading very carefully through the scope and sequence of our ELA program for those same Middle Years; the NFC and AFC playoffs filled a good […]

What Does Apple’s Big Announcement Mean to Us?

In case you didn’t follow Apple’s Education day as it happened, here is a summary: Basically Apple is providing tools that make it easy to create enhanced ebooks — but these can only be bought and sold through the iStore — and is getting into the e-textbook business, working with several major textbook publishers. […]

“We Created Something”

NYC recently held an engineering contest for kids 9-14. The kicker of the article is the very last line, from an 8th grader whose robot came in second: “The robot we built, we worked together and created something,” he said. “That teaches you a lot.” Here’s the article: I bring it to your attention […]

Healthy Caution — With Tips of the Hat to Michael Winerip, Monica, and Daniel Kahneman

Last week I posted a link to the long-term study which seemed to show the “value-added” of better teachers, as expressed in lifetime income, and various other factors such as girls who got through teenage without becoming pregnant. Monica quickly expressed her distaste for the whole “value-added” approach to teacher evaluation. Today, Michael Winerip has […]

The Big Challenge for NF in E-Land: Format

One of the main reasons to have a physical convention, not a virtual meeting, is the side conversations that come up naturally but randomly in and around the sessions. As people cluster around the open bar a discussion between two people draws in a third, adds a fourth, and brings in new knowledge that no […]

From EBMA: On the Key, and Under-recognized Role of Black Women, and Other Thoughts

Tonight was the first get-together at the conference, a meet and greet, followed by a dinner in which Sharon Draper was honored. She spoke with wite, style, eloquence about the power of words — having words — in the lives of young people. You could easily see why she was such a wonderful teacher. As […]

The Swerve — and What It Suggests for NF

One of the highlights of being at the National Book Awards was getting to meet Stephen Greenblatt — one of the leading advocates of New Historicism as a form of literary criticism. Both Marina and I had read and been deeply influenced by his work — Marina by his writing on Shakespeare and me by […]