Because I tend to do most of my professional reading on-line--and more and more of it via Twitter, I might add--the corresponding print journals tend to pile up on my desk. So in an attempt to make some headway through those intimidating piles, I picked up a recent issue of Booklist (an April issue in fact, which is pretty good for me) and came across this article by Will Manley. First off, if you aren't a regular reader of Will Manley, you should make a point of becoming one--I liken him to Dave Barry for librarians. His connection with Booklist is only slightly longer than my library career, so I feel a kinship with him--that I have grown-up with him, if you......will (ha, ha.) But I digress.
Manley's article was about his recent discovery and joy in children's non-fiction. He goes on to highlight a particular series, but my main point is this--non-fiction needs more face time! As the mother of a reader who is partiularly keen on non-fiction, I get a sense of its worth on a regular basis. And, having recently reviewed a whole bunch of non-fiction series, I admittedly have NF on the brain. But one thing I have noticed is how audience savvy non-fiction books are becoming. They seem to understand that they can be beneficial not only for school reports, but also for hooking reluctant readers. You can do things in non-fiction books that you can't always do in fiction, like use exciting fonts and in-your-face photography, and cool layouts. And the best part is, it's all true stuff!
And while non-fiction has never gotten major literary props (although there is the Sibert Award) there are some real stars in the non-fiction world: Steve Jenkins, Gail Gibbons, Jim Arnosky, Seymour Simon, David Adler, Kathleen Krull, and many, many more. I also recommend checking out I.N.K. Interesting Non-Fiction for Kids, to read what some of these authors have to say for themselves.
Non-fiction--it's not just for homework!