It’s National Non-Fiction November, a fitting opportunity to celebrate all that children’s non-fiction offers. Most importantly of all, good information books are fun. They inspire children’s curiosity and open up the world to them. They are accessible to readers of all abilities and interests. They make reading worthwhile and relevant to children who haven’t caught the reading bug through fiction. They also develop vital literacy and information skills, not least comprehension, so are perfect for delivering literacy across the curriculum.
There have been lots of useful articles recently on non-fiction for children.
- Anne Rooney is well worth reading on the value and importance of non-fiction books (and why we shouldn’t call them this). 40% of 8-11 year olds who read for pleasure outside school choose to read true books, she tells us. Sales of children’s non-fiction rose 36% last year. ‘The truth can spark a child’s imagination and curiosity as much as fiction. A true story can rouse empathy as much as a made-up story.’ Information books nourish ‘the sense of wonder that is every child’s birthright.’
- Do read the Society of Authors interview with Rooney too.
- Author Nicola Morgan looks into the reasons children’s non-fiction is less valued than fiction, and shows why that’s inappropriate.
- Here is Morgan again, making a heartfelt plea that children are never stopped from reading non-fiction. ‘By telling half the school population (boys) that their first choice (often) of reading material is not worth their time both undermines them quite horribly and risks turning them off reading forever. It is misguided and counter-productive. It doesn’t make sense.’
- Imogen Russell Williams is very interesting on the appeal of non-fiction, and gives some great book suggestions.
- Julia Eccleshare asks if there is any point in non-fiction books when everything can be looked up online, and in answer explores some fascinating children’s non-fiction books.
- Dawn Finch has written a valuable blog on ways to use non-fiction to support children’s reading, with lots of useful tips and ideas for good books to use.
- Finch is inspirational again in this account of how she has used one of her non-fiction books as the basis for an author visit.
- Chris Routh gives a school librarian’s perspective on NNFN and this year’s theme of maps.
2015 has been a fantastic year for children’s information books, and many are highlighted in these articles. These are useful sources for anyone keen to discover more excellent recent titles: