Today I’m rethinking the fourth category—life stories.
In the past, I’ve defined life story as a book about a person’s life. I’ve included “cradle to grave” biographies, partial or episodic biographies that focus on a pivotal event or period in a person’s life, autobiographies/ memoirs, and collective biographies that feature many different people.
But recently, I read an advance copy of a wonderful picture book that made me revise my definition to “an account of a life.” Coyote Moon by Maria Gianferrari (due out July 16, 2016) is as much a life story as any picture book biography I’ve ever read. And it made me realize that books like Hip-pocket Papa and A Mother’s Journey by Sandra Markle, Bat Loves the Night and One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies, and The Bumblebee Queen by April Pulley Sayre are too.
Coyote Moon describes the nighttime adventures of a caring mother coyote in search of food for her family. As such, I consider it an episodic life story, similar to Ballet for Martha by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, Brave Girl by Michelle Markel, and When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan.
It’s amazing to me that even though I’ve been thinking and blogging about nonfiction classification for more than 5 years now, I’m still having new insights. I think it’s because this is such an exciting time for nonfiction. Authors are constantly innovating and enriching the genre. I’m excited to see what they come up with next.