Well, a year or two has turned into a month or two. That’s how quickly the wonderful world of nonfiction for kids is changing right now. And I’m very excited.
Here’s my new version:What has changed? A lot. For starters, I became aware of an article by Marc Aronson in the July 24, 2012, issue of School Library Journal.It recounts Aronson’s experience on a panel at ALA in which Jonathan Hunt (of the Heavy Medal blog) introduced the term “gateway nonfiction”—nonfiction that forms a bridge between the fact-filled record books and gross-out titles that captivate 7 to 10 year olds and middle-grade narrative nonfiction.
According to Aronson, Hunt, and their fellow panelists, gateway nonfiction is a critical stepping stone for young readers, especially boys, and few such trade books currently exist. I completely agree with this idea. So even though these books are currently few and far between, I’ve added it to my tree in the hope that the category will bud and blossom.
I’ve also added some twigs to the straightforward branch. I thought it was a good idea to highlight some of the features that can make straightforward nonfiction outstanding.
And I’ve added a branch called “Experimental” to contrast with “Straightforward." The more I thought about it, the twigs “Strong voice” and “Innovative structure and design” are really two examples of a new, experimental kind of nonfiction.
So what do you think? I’m planning to take a closer look at the twigs and branches over the next few weeks.