When it comes to reading, I am decidedly omnivorous.
I’ll happily devour a little historical fiction here, a bit of fantasy there, maybe some mystery sprinkled about, with a taste of science fiction to finish. But my most commonly enjoyed genre would have to be nonfiction, or more precisely, narrative nonfiction. I love writers like Bill Bryson, Erik Larson and Jon Krakauer, in whose skillful hands dry facts and figures are transformed into thrilling yet informative narratives.
When it comes to children’s reading habits, nonfiction is a genre that frequently gets overlooked. Novels are sometimes considered the only true form of literature, and any child who does not enjoy reading novels is quickly shepherded to the graphic novel section of the library, or labelled a “reluctant reader”. While some readers may in fact be reluctant, and some might be tempted by graphic novels, the truth is that for other children fiction in any form simply holds little appeal. Just as some adults prefer reading facts over fiction, so too do some children. By not promoting nonfiction as a valid and viable reading option, we might be denying children a potential opportunity to connect with reading in a meaningful and enjoyable way.
Fortunately the world of children’s nonfiction is more diverse and expansive than ever before, and there really is something out there for almost every reader. Fantastic new nonfiction titles are being released every month, covering just about any topic you can imagine, written in an incredible variety of styles.
Want to dip your toes into the world of children’s nonfiction? Interested in finding out about great new titles to share with young readers at your school or library? Here are a few of my favourite ways to keep up to date with the wonderful world of children’s nonfiction:
Children’s lit blogger and nonfiction champion Alyson Beecher of the blog Kid Lit Frenzy hosts a weekly Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge, in which kid lit bloggers from around the world share some of the nonfiction titles they’ve been enjoying recently. It’s a fantastic resource for learning about new nonfiction, and you’ll often find a post by yours truly linked up there.
Nonfiction Monday is a children’s literature blog roundup dedicated to nonfiction children’s books of all formats and genres. It’s another fabulous resource, and a great way to discover new titles and new children’s lit bloggers.
The two librarians behind The Nonfiction Detectives share and review nonfiction titles for children of all ages.
The team behind The Uncommon Corps take a more academic approach to nonfiction, creating a great resource for teachers wanting to incorporate more nonfiction into their teaching.
Whether it’s in the form of picture book or a graphic novel, and whether it covers dinosaurs or tigers, math or the cosmos, it’s worth taking another look at nonfiction.