Welcome teachers, librarians, homeschoolers and nonfiction writers! This blog offers innovative resources for teaching science and tips for writing nonfiction.
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Behind the Books: A Perfect Pair
it just me or is 2018 shaping up to be an amazing year for nonfiction? I’ve
read a boatload of great titles over the last few months, and my TBR pile is
out of control. I havea lot of catching
up to do.
books have plenty in common—topic, mixed second and third-person point of view,
conversational voice, expository writing style, great photos, dynamic design,
and rich backmatter. They both can be read from beginning to end, or readers
can use the table of contents and index to find one or two sections that they
think will be especially interesting.
books also take advantage of some of the same craft moves. For example, they
sprinkle questions throughout the text to keep readers engaged, and they
include lots of text features. I like that on pp. 14-15 of Dog Days of History, Sarah Albee has used alliteration to make her
headings more fun. Dorothy Patent uses the same craft move on p. 23 of Made for Each Other.
all these wonderful similarities, the two books also have some important
differences, such as approach to the topic (one is more historical and one is
more science-y) and text structure (sequence vs. description). I also have some
questions about differences that I noticed. What do students think about the
difference in type size between the two books? Does that affect their interest
in reading a book? Do they like one trim size better than the other? Which
design elements of each book do they particularly like? If you share these
books with your class, let me know. I’d love to hear their answers.
your students go to the websites of Sarah Albee and Dorothy Patent and look at
other books the authors have written, they’ll see that the approach each writer
takes makes sense. Many of Sarah’s books look at the history of the world, but
through various different lenses—poison, fashion, bugs, even poop. She must really
has written quite a few books about science and animals, especially dogs. Guess
what her twitter handle is . . . @DogWriterDoro. Clearly, she’s a dog lover
and brings her passion for them to the book projects she chooses. In my
opinion, writing about a topic that you really care about is the secret to
creating great nonfiction.
2018 nonfiction titles are you excited about?
Melissa Stewart is the award-winning author of more than 180 nonfiction books for children. Her lifelong fascination with the natural world led her to earn a B.S.
in biology and M.A. in science journalism. When Melissa isn’t writing or speaking to children or educators, she’s usually exploring natural places near her home or around the world. Website: www.melissa-stewart.com; Twitter: @mstewartscience
• AAAS/Subaru Prizes for Excellence in Science Books • ALA Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award • CRA Eureka! Nonfiction Children’s Book Award • Cook Prize for STEM Picture Book • Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices List • Cybils Nonfiction Awards • NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People • NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children • NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 • YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfictionfor Young Adults