There are SO many reasons, I love writing nonfiction for children. One of them is my colleagues. I’m so grateful to be part of such a vibrant, supportive community.
Many people warned me that overseeing an anthology featuring fifty award-winning
writers with busy schedules was an act of insanity. But despite their many
priorities, my colleagues never let me down. Each and every one delivered a smart,
thoughtful essay that sheds light on their process. Some were joyful, while
others were heart wrenching. But above all, they were honest and insightful. I
can’t wait for November, when everyone can read them. You can pre-order the
book now at the NCTE website.
In Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep, some of today’s most celebrated writers for children share essays that describe a critical part of the informational writing process that is often left out of classroom instruction. To craft engaging nonfiction, professional writers choose topics that fascinate them and explore concepts and themes that reflect their passions, personalities, beliefs, and experiences in the world.
By scrutinizing the information they collect to make their own personal meaning, they create distinctive books that delight as well as inform. A wide range of tips, tools, teaching strategies, and activity ideas help students (1) choose a topic, (2) focus that topic by identifying a core idea, theme, or concept, and (3) analyze their research to find a personal connection. By adding a piece of themselves to their drafts, students will learn to craft rich, unique prose.
How did this one-of-a-kind anthology come about? Its roots trace back to the 2017 National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, when I was fortunate to participate in a panel titled “The Secret of Crafting Engaging Nonfiction” with two of the most talented children’s nonfiction authors of our time—Candace Fleming and Deborah Heiligman.
During our discussion, moderated by educator and children’s nonfiction enthusiast Alyson Beecher, we dove deeply into what fuels our work and why we routinely dedicate years of our lives to a single manuscript. As we compared our thoughts and experiences, we came to realize something critically important—each of our books has a piece of us at its heart. And that personal connection is what drives us to keep working despite the inevitable obstacles and setbacks.
Several other nonfiction authors attended our presentation, and afterward they praised our insights. That conversation helped us all understand our creative process in new and exciting ways. And it eventually led to the essays in this anthology, which are our way of sharing an important—and often unrecognized and underappreciated—aspect of nonfiction writing with educators and students. Enjoy!
100 percent of the proceeds from Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep will be divided among the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), We Need Diverse Books (WNDB), and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).