Subscribe to SLJ
Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

A Shout Out to John W. Glenn — and Book Packagers Everywhere

Any of you who have read my recent middle grade books may have noticed an odd credit line in them — to Aronson & Glenn. And if you were really keeping score at home, you might have noticed that John W. Glenn and I co-wrote The World Made New for National Geographic some years ago. […]

The YA NF Blur

I’ve been teaching a class on “The Glories of Nonfiction” at Rutgers this semester and, as I suspected, one of the main reactions from my graduate students — who range in age from their 20s on up — is “I didn’t know about these books,” “these are nothing like the nonfiction I knew about growing […]

Reading, Books, Ebooks, and Us

Nancy Feresten — head of children’s books at National Geographic as well as general coordinator for all things digital and child centered at the company — came to my nonfiction class yesterday, and shared a survey you should all read: the Pew Trust’s very recent survey of ebook reading by poele 16 and older, […]

(Self) Publishing NF By Young People

The New York Times tells us that more and more young people are self-publishing their fiction and sharing it with the world:, and the online magazine Publishing Perspectives has taken this up as a cause: I see nothing wrong for the child in playing at being an author — just as kids play […]

Faith and Doubt: Teenage and the Quest for Meaning

Tonight is the first night of Passover, as well as Good Friday, and, so I see in the Times, yesterday was a Jain holiday in India. Every year I cobble together my own version of the Passover service — which you can do because the holiday is observed at home. While there is a book […]

Artisansal Bookmaking, or the Laying on of Hands

Jim Murphy was gracious enough to come down to Rutgers with me yesterday and to visit with two of my classes: Nonfiction, and YA Materials. In both classes we looked closely at his classic An American Plague and he shared some of the inside stories of how he went about researching all aspects of it. […]


I’ve been thinking about the Treyvon Martin case, the Stand Your Ground law, the Health Care Debate in the Supreme Court (which, it seems, will turn on Justice Kennedy’s vague but firmly held sense of “liberty”), and — oddly enough — libraries and the internet. It strikes me that the heart of the Stand Your […]

Illustration and NF: World Evocation

This business about reviewers and illustration is still bothering me. I wonder if it goes back to MLIS programs: not all of them have courses in NF, or spend more than one class session in a Materials for Children (or YA) on NF. And even if they do have a class or session, I wonder […]

Reviewing a Fraction of a Book — My 900th Blog

This is my 900th blog and I’m going to use it — I hope — to change one crucial way in which people judge middle grade and YA NF. There is one defining characteristic for NF K-12. The books we craft for each and every one of our readers, from concept and board books through […]

Beauty: Lines and Forms

Yesterday afternoon Marina and I treated ourselves to a piano recital by Murray Perahia. I’m going to give you two Youtube links — one for his exquisite playing; another — longer — one in which he talks about form and structure within a Mozart piece he is both rehearsing and conducting. I’m using this […]