This week I’m continuing that discussion by focusing on books that blur the line between browsable nonfiction and expository literature.
These titles feature a colorful, eye-catching design with such text features as layered text, sidebars and factoids, photos and captions, and bulleted lists. In addition, each spread functions as a discrete unit, making it easy to skip around (broweseable). But instead of providing a broad overview of a topic, these books are narrowly focused. They have a strong hook and delight readers with rich language and a strong voice (expository literature).
Many of you are probably familiar with Jess Keating’s ground-breaking World of Weird Animals series, which includes the uber-popular title Pink Is for Blobfish. Another book that walks the line between browsable and expository literature is my upcoming title Ick! Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwelling, and Defenses.
Here’s a sample of the main text for a spread that describes the range of disgusting foods black-backed jackals eat on a daily basis:
When a mama jackal is so full she can’t eat another bite, she hurries back to her den. As soon as she sees her hungry pups, she regurgitates, or throws up, her last meal as partially digested mush. Then the little ones greedily lap up the putrid puke. Yum!”’
As I was writing this passage, I worked hard to make the text lively by using strong verbs, alliteration, playful word choices, onomatopoeia, and a lighthearted, casual voice. These elements enrich the language, making it fun to read.
For more information about this kind of blended nonfiction, be on the look out for 5 Kinds of Nonfiction: Enriching Reading and Writing with Children’s Books, coming soon from Stenhouse Publishing. Next week, I’ll highlight books with characteristics of both narrative nonfiction and expository literature. Stay tuned.