Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Behind the Books: Writing STEM Picture Books, Part 4

For the last few weeks, I’ve been discussing the surprising amount of time it can take to write a STEM picture book. Staying the course requires patience and passion. For me, passionate nonfiction starts with a question. It also needs to have a personal connection and irresistible hook. (Scroll down for a full discussion of these characteristics.)
When I stumble upon a topic that has all three of these characteristics, it’s time to take out my writing toolbox and get to work. What’s inside my toolbox? The six major elements of nonfiction craft—categories, writing style, text structure, text format, voice, and point of view.
I’ve discussed all of these elements before on this blog, but the way I think about them is constantly evolving, so I’m going to take a fresh look at each one with a specific STEM picture book lens in the upcoming weeks.  
Today, I’m starting with category. All nonfiction books for children can be classified in one of four categories.

But nearly all STEM picture books are either life stories or concept books. 
Once you determine which category you are writing, you can think about writing style. That’s what I’ll focus on next week.


  1. This is such a helpful way of categorizing NF, Melissa! Your blog is my go-to source for all things NF!

    Love seeing Coyote Moon here among some of my very favorite books!! Thank you for including it :)!

  2. Thanks, Maria. Your book is a great example of an episodic animal life story.