Seminar on Lit for Youth: Collection Development
Watch the video, then read the page.
Entire courses are offered on the topic of Collection Development. If you need background in this area, go to my online course Collection Development and Management.
The nonfiction section of the library can be confusing for both children and adults... and librarians too! Graphic novels, fairy tales, alien abductions, and poetry are all shelved in the nonfiction section of the library. However they don't really fit the definition of the nonfiction most children learn.
Over the years, many authors and librarians have expressed frustration about the term nonfiction. Kennemer (1991, 63) stresses
"it's about time we gave appropriate recognition to the 60 to 70 percent of books in both school and public libraries that are presently being defined, not by what they are, but by what they are not. I am referring, of course, to the unfortunate term nonfiction."
Over the past couple decades a growing number of authors are using the term informational rather than nonfiction. According to Mallett (2010, xxii),
"I think 'children's non-fiction literature' sounds better - but it is a bit of a mouthful. Non-fiction texts may be playful, entertaining, innovative, involving, even lyrical but, by definition, they have an informational purpose at their centre and this is what distinguishes them from fiction."
A growing number of librarians would like to simply let go of terms like reference and nonfiction.
Read Harris, Christopher (March 2012). The end of nonfiction. School Library Journal, 58(3), 16. IUPUI students can view the article online. Do you agree or disagree with Harris' conclusions?
Crossreferencing is an interesting shared effort of Mark Flowers and his mom Sarah Flowers. Read their interactions about the issue of nonfiction.
From Mark to Sarah, Thoughts on Nonfiction.
From Sarah to Mark, More Thoughts on Nonfiction.
From Mark to Sarah, Nonfiction, Part 3.
From Sarah to Mark, Librarians and Nonfiction.
Nonfiction is an important component of public, school, and classroom libraries for youth. Aronson (2008, 31) states that the role of the library is essential in promoting quality nonfiction. He states
"You're the ones who read and review books; you're the advance guard; you are, or can be, the eyes and ears of your schools. You're the ones who can explain to teachers why it's important for their students to read nonfiction books from beginning to end. Hint: it's not because nonfiction titles are action-packed (though they can be). It's not because they tell a great story (though they often do). It's because nonfiction provides young people with a golden opportunity to develop the kinds of reading and critical-thinking skills that are essential."
Read Jones, Patrick (April 1, 2001). Nonfiction: the real stuff. School Library Journal, 47(4), 44-45. IUPUI students can view the article online. Although this article is now a decade old, it still provides some wonderful reasons for developing a comprehensive nonfiction collection for youth.
Public Library Collections
The nonfiction collection for youth is often overlooked by public librarians. While children's and young adult librarians often focus on picture books and works of fiction, the responsibility for youth nonfiction sometimes gets lost. It's important that librarians are aware of the overlap between the adult and youth nonfiction sections. For instance, high school students working on their cars may need automotive repair books from the adult section. In the same way, an adult seeking background information on a topic may have more luck reading an informational book written for youth rather than advanced work intended for professionals.
According to Larkin-Lieffers (2001, 3), young children and their parents often miss the informational picture books in the public library. They noted that
"hardcover informational picture books were missed due to less accessible locations, oversize shelving, and fewer displays. The role of accompanying parents in finding materials was pivotal. Improving access for young children to a wide variety of books in their public libraries supports both recreational and educational needs, and need to be considered in library layout."
School Library Collections
When working in a primary grade library, a major issue is placement of nonfiction works. In many cases quality nonfiction picture books are placed in the "easy" section where they are lost among the works of fiction. In addition, many children aren't aware that a separate nonfiction collection exists.
Particularly for the high school level, it's important to reach beyond the typical young adult selections. Many books written for the broader adult audience have teen appeal. For instance, Philippe Petit's Why Knot? (2013) combines a how-to book about knot tying with a fascinating story about how knots can be used.
The amount of money that spent on school nonfiction collections is increasing. Lauren Barack (2016) notes that
"Much of that (the library budget) is being allocated to nonfiction—likely a reaction to the requirements of the Common Core standards. Elementary schools in particular saw an uptick, with 42 percent of school librarians in K–5 schools reporting they are buying more nonfiction than in previous years. Some high schools are also finding they have more money for nonfiction."
While it's important to support the school library, many classrooms also contain small libraries for immediate access to books. In addition, classroom collections often contain book sets and works designed for use in reading groups. In some cases, book set are housed in closets or the reading teacher's room where they are underutilized. When possible, encourage teachers to place their collections on the OPAC so the collection can easily be searched. Most automated systems have a way to tag locations. This greatly facilitates collecting multiple copies for group activities.
It's important that both school and public librarians collaborate with classroom teachers to find the best balance of collection locations.
In addition to examining the research associated with libraries, it's also important to explore educational research associated with informational reading and nonfiction. For instance, Lopez (2016, 2) found that “the literature category of nonfiction produced a high student engagement when texts were selected based on student’s interests.” Understanding the importance of student interest is the key to bridging library and classroom reading experiences.
Skim Young, Terrell A. & Moss, Barbara (2006). Nonfiction in the classroom library: a literacy necessity. Childhood Education, 82(4), 207-212. IUPUI students can view the article online.
Skim Lopez, Jessica Iliana (2016). A Comparison of Student Engagement with Nonfiction and Fiction Text. ProQuest number: 10108636. IUPUI students can view the article online.
Issues in Selecting Nonfiction
"There's a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure truth." - Maya Angelou in I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America
"The truth is more important than the facts." Frank Lloyd Wright
Let's explore issues in selecting works of nonfiction for youth.
Read Sanders, Joe Sutliff (2015). Almost Astronauts and the Pursuit of Reliability in Children’s Nonfiction. Children’s Literature in Education, 46, 378-393. IUPUI students can view the article online.
One of the most important aspects of nonfiction literature for youth is accuracy. Informational works are expected to be accurate. This can be difficult with subjects that are rapidly changing where new information is constantly emerging. However it's not enough to just "get it right". A quality nonfiction work also provides citations and resources that provide multiple sources of information that can be used by readers for triangulation.
When working with content for children, it's sometimes necessary to generalize in ways that some scholars may contest. However at what point does nonfiction become fiction?
Books that are clearly bias, filled errors, and just plain wrong are easy to identify and reject. What is much more difficult is determining whether a few concerns should stand in the way of selecting an otherwise outstanding book.
Award-winning books such as We Are the Ship (2008) by Kadir Nelson have been criticized by some for blurring the line between fact and fiction. Terms like embellishing, glamorizing, reinventing, and cherry-picking have been used to describe this view of history. However others feel that these approaches are transparent and simply used to engage readers and make nonfiction accessible for youth.
With an increasing emphasis on narrative nonfiction, the question of accuracy is going to be a growing concern. Did that meeting in the "story" actually happen? Were those the specific words that were spoken?
In the article Accuracy in Nonfiction, Mark Flowers (2012) notes that two recent controversies reflect the concerns the public, reviewers, and libraries have regarding accuracy. These include Bomb: The Race to Build-and-Steal-the World's Most Dangerous Weapon and Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves.
The award-winning young adult nonfiction history titled Bomb: The Race to Build-and-Steal-the World's Most Dangerous Weapon (2012) by Steve Sheinkin has come to represent the next generation of narrative nonfiction for youth. However, the book came under fire by reviewer Nina Linday in her article Bomb: Nina's Take. The concerns revolved around whether the colorful narratives actually reflected the primary sources used to document the incidents.
Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves (2012) by Henry Wieneck is another example of a controversial book. In this case, the author was pitted against other Jefferson scholars. Although written for adults, this is a topic of interest to young adults who are likely to be drawn to the persuasive content. To learn more about this controversy, skim Some Scholars Reject Dark Portrait of Jefferson.
Misinterpreting facts is a problem for many readers. However, the author is responsible for ensuring that facts are organized in a way that users can come to logical conclusion. In addition, the author is responsible for providing enough documentation to assure readers of accuracy.
Read at least ONE of the following articles.
Read Dar, Mahnaz (January 7, 2013). Getting it right, Making it fun: NYPL panelists talk writing nonfiction. School Library Journal. Available at SLJ. Learn about author experiences dealing with trying to be accurate in today's rapidly changing world.
Read Aronson, Marc (January 16, 2013). Consider the source: Getting history right. School Library Journal. Available at SLJ. Be sure to read author Deborah Hopkinson's comment at the bottom.
Read Epstein, Connie C. (March 1, 1987). Accuracy in nonfiction. School Library Journal, 33(7), 113-115. IUPUI students can view the article online. This "classic" article does an excellent job exploring some of the issues that authors and publishers deal with in trying to ensure accuracy.
Read Accuracy in Nonfiction by Mark Flowers. Read Nina Linday's article titled Bomb: Nina's Take. Be sure to read the discussion at the bottom of the page. Also read March Aronson's Histories of War.
Where do you stand on the question of accuracy in nonfiction works for youth? What about narrative, explanatory, and books that mix these elements? Is there a specific "line in the sand" regarding accuracy or is this an issue that can be discussed as a continuum of concerns? If it's a continuum, what does the range of acceptable "flexible truths" look like? Are "embellishments" and "reinvention" appropriate in nonfiction works for youth? How important is it that authors cite their sources? At what point would these issues impact whether you would select a book for your library?
Examine at least four works of nonfiction for youth. How are author notes, resources, references, and other tools used to explain how information was selected and used? How are primary sources woven into the text and into the sources listed? Use very specific examples from the books to illustrate your thoughts.
At least one of your works should be by Jim Murphy or Russell Freedman. It's fine to use any of the books noted in the assigned articles such as Bomb.
Explore this issue within the context of science works for youth. If you choose this area, be sure to include at least one book from the Scientists in the Field series from Smithsonian.
The best nonfiction books are more than simply facts on the page. They provide clear and accurate information, but they also reflect the passion of the author for the topic. This excitement about the subject brings the content to life and draws in readers.
What makes a book's content authentic? Authenticity goes beyond being accurate and true to the subject. It involves making readers believe that the book is worthy of reading. Reviewers will sometimes say that the book revealed the "heart and soul" of the author or that the descriptions were so clear and true to life that it "transported the reader" to a different time or place.
This type of authenticity is often found in nonfiction narratives like Doreen Rappaport's Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust (2012) (cover below left) and Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles (2013) (cover below right) by Tanya Lee Stone.
Read Stone, Tanya Lee (February 1, 2009). The quest for authenticity. School Library Journal, 55(2), 20-21. IUPUI students can view the article online. Think about the issue of authenticity. What are the characteristics of authentic books?
With all the focus on content, it's also necessary to remember the importance of appeal. In some cases, youth just want to laugh or enjoy their favorite activities. For instance, Magic Up Your Sleeve: Amazing Illusions, Tricks, and Science Facts You'll Never Believe (2010) (cover below left) by Helaine Becker is filled with fun illusions, magic tricks, and cool science facts.
Appeal involves much more than fun topics and colorful images. Marc Aronson suggests that establishing an appealing context for reading is equally important. When examining Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott (2006) (cover above right), he noted the way Russell Freedman introduces the topic.
"Russell's book suggests three good principles for establishing context: offer a lot of photos, open with a generous design that tells the reader there will be plenty to look at, and fill the text with interesting, concrete details." (Aronson, 2007)
Appeal is also a matter of personal preference. While some people enjoy Steve Sheinkin or Marc Aronson's writing style, others prefer the work of Jim Murphy or Tanya Lee Stone.
Crossreferencing is an interesting shared effort of Mark Flowers and his mom Sarah Flowers. Read their interactions about the issue of preferences in nonfiction narrative.
Begin with Sarah's posting called The Bomb! and Nonfiction Styles.
Then, read Mark's reaction called Aronson and Sheinkin and the New Knowledge.
Where do you stand on this family debate?
Whether a book is "age appropriate" is often a question of teachers and parents. While most publishers provide a span of target ages, it's important to remember that each child is unique. In addition, each parent has feelings about the types of materials they feel are best for their child.
In addition to a span of ages, some publishers provide a grade level focus as well as a readability. The grade level is useful when aligning books with school curriculum and the reading level comes in handy when youth are reading above or below their grade level.
Keep in mind that just because a child can read at the 9th grade level, he or she may not be ready for the content presented. In the same way, a middle school student who reads at the second grade level isn't likely to be interested in many of the books written for that level.
Seek out hi-lo (high interest, low reading level) books to help older students enjoy nonfiction at their reading level.
Read Dar, Mahnaz (November 11, 2015). The Whole Truth: The Line Between Providing Age-Appropriate Content and Sugar-Coating. School Library Journal. Available through SLJ.
Hot Button Books
The issue of age appropriateness is a natural lead-in for a discussion of censorship. From books dealing with human sexuality to works focusing on serial murderers, censorship can quickly become an issue when developing youth collections.
The term "age appropriate" is sometimes used a reason to reject a particular book. However, it's important to remember that you're selecting books for all youth. While one parent may hate the idea of books that explore issues of teen sexuality, others are relieved that books can help them talk to their pre-teens about sexual health issues.
Censorship often begins before a book is even purchased. Although librarians may cringe at books on body piecing and the wiccan religion, they're topics of interest to young adults.
Be sure that you're familiar with Library Bill of Rights from the American Library Association. In 1996, the word "age" was added to Item V. that now states:
"A person's right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views."
Although you may think of fiction when you consider book challenges, works of nonfiction are also targets. One of the most famous recent challenges of nonfiction for youth is the book And Tango Makes Three (2005) (cover shown left) by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
This picture book is based on the true story of Roy and Silo, two male penguins who formed a couple and were given an egg to raise. The book was challenged by social conservatives who were concerned about what they viewed as the portrayal of homosexuality in animals.
Another picture book challenged at some libraries is titled My Mom's Having a Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy (2005) by Dori Hillestad Butler. It was number 3 on ALA's most challenged books of 2011. Reasons cited for the challenge (ALA, 2013) include nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group.
It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health (2009) by Robie H. Harris is now in it's third edition, however it continues to be challenged for its focus on sex education. Other books like It's So Amazing! A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families also by Robie Harris have also been challenged.
To learn more about banned and challenged books, go to the ALA website.
Explore the issue of censorship of nonfiction books for youth. Explore two nonfiction books for youth that have been challenged. Share your findings.
If you're ready for more controversy, jump into the discussion of the work of popular historian Howard Zinn's A People's History. This book is designed to provoke and persuade. Go to the Zinn Project to learn more about this ideology. Since it's publication in 1980 through the death of it's author in 2010, it has gone through multiple editions and spurred thousands of letters in both support and protest of his work.
Recently, the debate has been renewed. Read Undue Certainty: Where Howard Zinn's A People's History Fall Short by Sam Wineburg and a rebuttal, When Assessing Zinn, Listen to the Voices of Teachers and Students by Robert Cohen.
The controversy also hit Indiana a few years ago. Read Indiana's Anti-Howard Zinn Witch Hunt.
Explore the series A Young People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn and adapted by Rebecca Stefoff. Locate at least three professional reviews of this series for youth. Also examine informal reviews at Amazon and GoodReads. Notice that with over 50,000 votes, it maintains a very high rating. Discuss the pros and cons of this book as a resource in a public or school library.
To really understand this controversy, it's important to read with works of Howard Zinn yourself and also know a little bit about Sam Wineburg and Robert Cohen.
Write your own article citing Wineberg and Cohen as well as Howard Zinn and informal evaluations.
For school libraries, connections to the curriculum and to standards are important in making selection decisions.
Read Grabarek, Daryl (September 8, 2015). Raising the Bar: New and noteworthy nonfiction for secondary students. School Library Journal. Available through SLJ.
Increasingly librarians must decide on whether to purchase the print version and/or the electronic version of a book. According to Raine and Duggan in E-book Reading Jumps; Print Book Reading Declines (December 27, 2012), ebook reading is increasing, while print book reading is declining.
Publishers and jobbers have been very slow to help libraries find effective ways to loan electronic books to library patrons. However, this is changing. For instance, Follett's ebook customers can now purchase Random House ebooks and lend them to students. A 2012 survey by Library Journal found that two-thirds of schools purchasing ebooks work with Follett and their FollettShelf digital program. Through these programs, libraries can purchase bundles of ebooks.
In most cases, books are simply scanned and placed in an ebook format without changes or additional. Most books for Kindle or Nook fall into this category unless they're specifically identified as "enhanced" versions that incorporate audio, video, links, or other multimedia featured.
Tracks in the Sand (2011) by Loreen Leedy can be purchases as either a print book or a digital book from the iBookstore.
Many popular authors like Doreen Rappaport are designing books specifically for the electronic book format. For instance, StarWalk KidsMedia eBooks by Doreen Rappaport such as Tinker Vs. Des Moines, The Lizzie Borden Trial, and The Sacco-Vanzetti Trial are all available only in the e-book format.
Go to the iTunes website and explore dozens of Children's Nonfiction books that can be purchased for iPhones, iPads, and other devices. The problem with using this system is determining how they would work with your patrons. While a few libraries check out iTouch or iPads, others don't have a means to distribute this type of work. Increasingly, schools are getting iPads for students. However, access to books can be problematic.
To learn more, skip ahead to the Technology Connections page.
Selection Criteria for Nonfiction
For general information about collection development, go to my online course Collection Development & Management: Introduction. For specific information about selection for collection development, go to my online course Collection Development & Management: Selection.
Informational Picture Books
Cianociolo (2000) suggests specific criteria for selecting informational books for children including:
- The facts or concepts included should be explained accurately and should be current and complete.
- The writer should assume that the book will be a starter rather than a stopper.
- The scope of the coverage and the perspective of the content should appeal to a wide age range.
- Books on topics of special interest to a small percentage of the student population as well as those of interest to a large percentage of the students should be included in the collection.
- Stereotypes must not be presented. The writer should alert the reader to what in the book is fact and what is theory, to what is conjecture, opinion, or an educated guess, and to which of each is held by a majority or a minority.
- The information should be presented and explained clearly in the text and illustrations; both of these aspects should be unique and imaginative, interesting, and stimulating.
- Whether it is logically or psychologically developed, the organization of the information should be clear, interrelationships should be indicated, and patterns should be provided. It should be clear from the outset what aspects of a topic the book covers and the depth in which they will be examined.
- The format of the book should be attractive and readable.
Informational Trade Books
Moss, Leone, and DiPillo (1997) suggest the following five As for evaluating nonfiction trade books.
a) the authority of the author;
b) the accuracy of text content;
c) the appropriateness of the book for children;
d) the literary artistry; and
e) the appearance of the book
Common Core State Standards and Materials Selection
As part of the Common Core State Standards, David Coleman and Susan Pimentel (2012) developed a set of criteria for selecting materials that are aligned with the standards. Although these are not necessarily criteria for selecting books for the library, they are important considerations when thinking about the materials needed by students and teachers.
Read Coleman, David & Pimentel, Susan (2012a). Revised Publishers' Criteria for the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Literacy, Grades K-2. IUPUI students can view the article online.
Read Coleman, David & Pimentel, Susan (2012b). Revised Publishers' Criteria for the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Literacy, Grades 3-6. IUPUI students can view the article online.
Selection for Circulation
Just because a new work of nonfiction gets good reviews doesn't mean it's right for your collection. With limited budgets, it's important to consider curriculum connections and what's likely to circulate in your particular library.
Read Wharton, Jennifer (January 28, 2016). Selecting and Promoting Nonfiction in Your Library. School Library Journal. Available through SLJ.
Periodically wedding the nonfiction collection is essential. Pluto's not a planet, climate change research is ongoing, and fashion is constantly changing.
Read Ford, Deborah (September 4, 2015). To Weed or Not to Weed. School Library Journal. Available through SLJ.
There are many sources for accessing book review for nonfiction for youth.
Book Review Databases
You can waste hours searching individual review sources on the web. Instead, use subscription selection tools that access reviews from many different sources.
Book Review Index Online from Gale is a comprehensive online guide to over five million review citations from thousands of publications. This service is available IUPUI.
Book Review Digest Plus from EBSCO is a subscription database that provides excerpts and citations on current adult and juvenile fiction and non-fiction. Critical evaluations are selected from 109 periodicals for inclusion including Booklist, Library Journal, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and reading journals. This database covered the period of 1983-present. This service is available through IUPUI.
You might also find the following resources useful. Useful databases available through IUPUI include:
- Children's Core Collection (EBSCO)
- Middle and Junior High Core Collection (EBSCO)
- Public Library Core Collection: Nonfiction (EBSCO)
- Senior High Core Collection (EBSCO)
In addition to reviews, you may also be looking for other types of information. Use the following book sources:
- Nonfiction Connection from Bowker
- Books in Print from Bowker
- World Cat. This is great if you're looking for all the editions of a particular book.
In most cases review journals are available through IUPUI. Unfortunately, the links aren't stable. You may need to go into the online library and do a journal search.
These are sources you should check regularly. They should become part of your professional reading collection.
- Booklist - this is one of the best sources for reviews. You can use the print version or the online version. You'll need a subscription for the full version. This service is available through IUPUI at ProQuest, Gale's Lit Resource Center, and EBSCO.
- Horn Book - focused on books for children and young adults. This service is available through IUPUI at ProQuest, Gale's Lit Resource Center, and EBSCO.
- Kirkus Reviews - a great source for reviews. This service is available through IUPUI at ProQuest, Gale's Lit Resource Center, and EBSCO.
- Library Journal - a great professional periodical and also a good source for reviews. This service is available through IUPUI at ProQuest, Gale's Lit Resource Center, EBSCO, or LexisNexis.
- Publisher's Weekly - this source provides reviews on fiction, nonfiction, children's, religion, audio, comics, and others. This service is available through IUPUI at ProQuest, Gale's Lit Resource Center, and EBSCO.
- School Library Journal - this is an essential source for school librarians. This service is available through IUPUI at ProQuest, LexisNexis, and EBSCO.
Although general library journals are also useful, seek out periodicals designed specifically to address the youth market.
- Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy
- Journal of Children's Literature
- Knowledge Quest
- Reading Teacher
- School Library Monthly
- Teacher Librarian
- VOYA: Voices of Youth Advocates
One of the most fun ways to get book ideas is to find blogs that review new books and rediscover older works. Look for blogs that focus on your library type such as school or public. Also, look for a nonfiction or informational text focus. If you already have favorite blogs that you follow search for tags associated with nonfiction and informational reading.
Social media is a great way to locate ideas.
Visit I.N.K.: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. This blog is maintained (until 2014) by nonfiction a number of well-known authors including Rosalyn Schanzer.
The Nonfiction Detectives is a blog written by two librarians who enjoy works of nonfiction.
Each Friday the STEM Friday blog shares a nonfiction resource.
The LibraryDoor blog focuses on librarians and the Common Core State Standards.
Also check out the blogroll (list of blogs the bloggers enjoy).
Sometimes you're looking for what youth, parents, or other librarians say about books.
- BookHive - reviews by kids for kids
- Teen Reads - reviews by teens for teens
- Goodreads - reviews
- LibraryThing - reviews
- Shelfari - reviews
Book Awards and Best Lists
In addition to review resources, also check out the book awards.
Although there are many book awards, this list includes only awards for nonfiction for youth.
AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books. Explore outstanding science writing and illustration for children and young adults.
Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults (YALSA-ALA). Honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18).
Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Nonfiction. Winners are selected in three categories: Picture Book, Fiction and Poetry, and Nonfiction.
Cybil's Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards. Honors best nonfiction picture books, middle grade, and young adult books.
Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children (National Council of Teachers of English). Promotes and recognizes excellence in the writing of nonfiction for children.
Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal (ALSC-ALA). Awarded annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published in the United States in English during the preceding year.
SLA-UK Awards. Designed to support school libraries and to reinforce the importance of non-fiction whilst highlighting the high standard of resources available.
Keep in mind that in addition to book awards, many journals have annual "best books" lists to explore such as the School Library Journal Best Books 2015: Nonfiction.
Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People. The books that appear in the annotated book lists were evaluated and selected by a Book Review Committee appointed by National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and assembled in cooperation with the Children's Book Council (CBC). The Notable Trade Books for Young People list is published each year as an insert to the May/June issue of Social Education.
Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12. The books that appear in the lists were selected as outstanding children’s science trade books. They were chosen by a book review panel appointed by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and assembled in cooperation with the Children’s Book Council (CBC).
VOYA Nonfiction Honor List. Young adult books.
Mixed Book Lists
The following book lists contain a mix of fiction and nonfiction works for youth.
ALA Notable Children's Books. Sometimes contains nonfiction works.
Amelia Bloomer Book List. Lists both fiction and nonfiction for youth focusing on feminist content.
Audies. These book awards for audiobooks contain nonfiction, children, and teen sections.
Children's Literature Assembly. Contains some nonfiction.
Choices Reading Lists (International Reading Association). Contains some nonfiction.
Cooperative Children's Book Center (CBC) Books for Children and Young Adults. Booklists in a wide range of topics.
Notable Children's Recordings. ALA's list sometimes includes nonfiction audiobooks.
Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learners. YALSA list across content areas. Mixed fiction and nonfiction.
Odyssey Award. Occasionally an audio book will be listed.
Nonfiction audio is often overlooked as an option in the library audio collection. What are the features of an outstanding nonfiction audiobook for youth? Why are some audiorecordings a hit and others a flop? With increasing access to iPods, iPhones, iPads, and other tools for audio listening, think about the role of nonfiction audiobooks in the collection.
Authors are much more than names on the covers of books. They're the heart and soul of the book. By learning about the authors of nonfiction, librarians can gain insights into their research process and better understand how they intend their works to be read and used.
Most librarians can quickly list popular fiction authors. But what about the writers of nonfiction?
Read Writing Nonfiction by Ann Bausum. She describes her passion for research and writing. Also read about her inspiration for Marching to the Mountaintop and Denied, Detained, Deported.
Read Getting in Touch with Ben by Candace Fleming. IUPUI students can view the article online.
Read Getting Schooled: Nonfiction Authors Tell All About School Visits (January 22, 2016). School Library Journal. Available through SLJ.
The Art and Craft of Nonfiction Writing
While all writing requires research, the production of a work of nonfiction can involve years of research and sometimes thousands of miles of travel.
Read Bartoletti, Susan Campbell (Mar/April 2011). The extreme sport of research. The Horn Book Magazine, 87(2), 24-30. IUPUI students can view the article online.
Think about a topic you think would be fun to write about. What kind of research would it require? How long would it take? Do you have the stamina for this type of work?
There are many wonderful authors of informational books. Only a few are listed below along with examples of their works.
Adler, David A. (author website)
A Picture Book Biography series
(2013). Millions, Billions, & Trillions: Understanding Big Numbers (with Edward Miller).
(2013). Things that Float and Things that Don't (with Anna Raff).
(2012). Mystery Math: A First Book of Algebra (with Edward Miller).
(2012). Perimeter, Area, and Volume (with Edward Miller).
(2011). Time Zones (with Edward Miller).
(2011). Fractions, Decimals, and Percents (with Edward Miller).
(2010). Fun with Roman Numerals (with Edward Miller).
(2009). Working with Fractions (with Edward Miller).
(1997). Fraction Fun (with Nancy Tobin).
(1995). Child of the Warsaw Ghetto (with Karen Ritz).
Aronson, Marc (author website)
(2014). The Griffin and the Dinosaur: How Adrienne Mayer Discovered a Fascinating Link Between Myth and Science. National Geographic.
(2012). Master of Deceit: J. Edgar Hoover and America in the Age of Lies. Candlewick. (biography, Ages YA)
(2012). The Skull in the Rock: How a Scientist, a Boy, and Google Earth Opened a New Window on Human Origins (with Lee Berger). National Geographic (history, prehistoric, science, Ages 10+)
(2011). Trapped: How the World Rescued 33 Miners from 2,000 Feet Below the Chilean Desert. Atheneum. (history, science, Ages 10+)
(2010). Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Spice, Magic, Slavery, Freedom, and Science (with Marina Budhos). Clarion. (history, science, slavery, Ages 12+) (book website)
(2007). For Boys Only: The Biggest, Baddest Book Ever. Feiwel & Friends. (reference, Ages 10+)
(2010). If Stones Could Speak: Unlocking the Secrets of Stonehenge. National Geographic. (biography, archaeology, Ages 10+).
(2009). War Is...: Soldiers, Survivors, and Storytellers Talk about War (with Patty Campbell). Candlewick. (history, historical fiction, essay, interviews, Ages YA)
(2008). How to Get Rich in the California Gold Rush: An Adventurer's Guide to the Fabulous Riches Discovered in 1848. National Geographic. (history, Ages 10+)
(2007). Ain't Nothing But A Man: My Quest to Find the Real John Henry (with Scott Reynolds Nelson). National Geographic. (biography, Ages 10+)
(2005). Witch-Hunt: Mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials (with Stephanie Anderson). Atheneum. (history, Ages 12+)
(2005). The Real Revolution: The Global Story of American Independence. Clarion. (history, Ages 12+)
Bartoletti, Susan Campbell (author website)
(2015). Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America.
(2010). They Called Themselves the KKK: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group.
(2005). Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow.
(2001). Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850.
(1999). Kids on Strike!
(1996). Growing Up in Coal Country
Bausum, Ann (author website)
(2017) The March Against Fear. National Geographic. (book resources)
(2015) Stonewall. Viking (book resources)
(2014) Sergeant Stubby. National Geographic (book resources)
(2014) Stubby The War Dog. National Geographic (book resources)
(2005, 2009, 2013) Our Country's Presidents: All You Need to Know About the Presidents, From George Washington to Barack Obama. National Geographic. (history, Presidents, Ages 10+) (book resources)
(2013) Marching to the Mountaintop: How Poverty, Labor Fights and the Civil Rights Set the Stage for Martin Luther King Jr's Final Hours. National Geographic. (biography, Ages 10+) (book resources)
(2010). Unraveling Freedom: The Battle for Democracy on the Home Front During World War I. National Geographic. (history, WWI, Ages 10+) (book resources)
(2009). Denied, Detained, Deported: Stories from the Dark Side of American Immigration. National Geographic. (history, immigration, Ages 10+) (book resources)
(2007). Muckrackers: How Ida Tarbell, Upton Sinclair, and Lincoln Steffens Helped Expose Scandal, Inspire Reform, and Invent Investigative Journalism. National Geographic. (biography, history, Ages 10+) (book resources)
(2005). Freedom Riders: John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on the Front Lines of the Civil Rights Movement. National Geographic. (biography, history, Ages 10+) (book resources)
(2004). With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman's Right to Vote. National Geographic. (history, biography, Ages 10+) (book resources)
Blumenthal, Karen (author website)
(2016). Hillary Rodham Clinton. Feiwel & Friends. (book resources)
(2015). Tommy: The Gun that Changed America. Roaring Brook Press. (book resources)
(2012). Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different. Feiwel & Friends. (biography, science, technology, biography: Ages 12+)
(2011). Bookleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition. Flash Point. (history, temperance movement, alcohol: Ages 12+)
(2011). Mr. Sam: How Sam Walton Built Wal-Mart and Became America's Richest Man. Viking (biography, business: Ages 10+)
(2005). Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX: The Law That Changed the Future of Girls in America. Athenum. (history, women's history, American history: Ages 8+)
(2002). Six Days in October: The Stock Market Crash of 1929. Atheneum. (history, American history: Ages 12+)
Bryant, Jen (author website)
(2016). Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille.
(2014). The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus.
(2013). A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin.
(2009). Abe's Fish: A Boyhood Tale of Abraham Lincoln.
(2008). A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams.
(2006). Call Me Marianne.
(2005). Georgia's Bones.
Engle, Margarita (author website)
(2015). Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wing.
(2015). The Sky Painter. Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist.
(2014). Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal.
(2010). Summer Birds.
(2008). The Surrender Tree.
Fleming, Candace (author website)
(2014). The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia. Guide Available
(2011). Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart. Schwartz & Wade. (biography, history: Ages 9+) Guide Available
(2009). The Great and Only Barnum: the Tremendous, Stupendous Life of Showman P.T. Barnum. Schwartz & Wade. (biography, history: Ages 9+) Guide Available
(2008). The Lincolns: a Scrapbook look at Abraham and Mary. Random House. (biography, history: Ages 9+). Guide Available
(2005). Our Eleanor: a Scrapbook look at Eleanor Roosevelt's Remarkable Life. Atheneum. (biography, history: Ages 4-8). Guide Available
(2003). Ben Franklin's Almanac: Being a True Account of the Good Gentleman's Life. Atheneum. (biography, history: Ages 9-12). Guide Available
(2003). Boxes for Katje. Farrar, Straus & Giroux (history, picture book: Ages 4-8).
Freedom Russell (selected works)
(2016). We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler.
(2014). Angel Island: Gateway to Gold Mountain.
(2012). Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
(2010). Lafayette and the American Revolution.
(2008). Washington at Valley Forge.
(2007). Who Was First? Discovering the Americas.
(2006). Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Holiday House.
(2004). Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights.
(1993). Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery.
(1991). The Wright Borthers.
(1987). Lincoln: A Photobiography.
Gibbons, Gail (author website)
Holiday House, Harcourt Brace, Harper Collins, Little Brown, Franklin Watts, Simon & Schuster books
Goodman, Susan E.
(2016). The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial.
(2013). How Do You Burp in Space? Bloombury. (space, Ages 8+)
(2012). It's a Dog's Life: Man's Best Friend Sees, Hears, and Smells the World. Flash Point (dogs, Ages 6-9)
(2010). Monster Trucks! (with Doolittle Michael). Step into Reading series. (trucks, Ages 5-8)
(2007). Motorcycles! (with Doolittle Michael). Step into Reading series. (motorcycles, Ages 5-8)
(2007). The Truth About Poop. Puffin. (biology, humor, Ages 7+)
(2007). Gee Whiz! Viking. (biology, humor, Ages 7+)
(2004). Choppers! (with Doolittle Michael). Step into Reading series. (helicopters, Ages 5-8)
Hoose, Phillip (author website)
(2015). The Boys Who Challenged Hitler. Farrar, Stras and Giroux. (book resources)
(2012). Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. (science, birds, Ages: 10+).
(2009). Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. (biography, Civil Rights Movement, American history, Ages: YA).
(2004). The Race to Save the Lord God Bird. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. (science, birds, Ages: 12+).
(2001). We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. (biography, history, Ages: 10+).
Hopkinson, Deborah (author website)
(2016). Dive: World War II Stories.
(2015). Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in World War II Denmark.
(2013). The Great Trouble.
(2003). Shutting Out the Sky.
Jackson, Donna M. (author website)
(2011). The Elephant Scientist (with Caitlin O'Connell). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (biography, mammals, elephants, Ages 10+)
(2011). What's So Funny? Making Sense of Humor. Viking. (humor, culture, Ages 8+)
(2009). Extreme Scientists: Exploring Nature's Mysteries from Perilous Places. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (biography, nature, Ages 10+)
(2008). Phenomena. Little, Brown (senses, paranormal experiences, Ages 8+)
(2005). ER Vets: Life in an Animal Emergency Room. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (animals, careers, Ages 9+)
(2004). Hero Dogs: Courageous Canines in Action. Scholastic. (animals, working dogs, Ages 7+)
(2004). The Bug Scientists. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (biography, insects, careers, Ages 10+)
(2002). The Wildlife Detectives: How Forensic Scientists Fight Crimes Against Nature. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (biography, animals, careers, science, Ages 9+)
(1996). The Bone Detectives: How Forensic Anthropologists Solve Crimes and Uncover Mysteries. Little, Brown. (biography, archaeology, anthropology, Ages 8+)
Around-the House Series
(2009). What You Never Knew about Fingers, Forks, & Chopsticks. Simon & Schuster. (cultural studies, history, Ages 6-10)
(2006). What You Never Knew about Beds, Bedrooms & Pajamas. Simon & Schuster. (cultural studies, history, Ages 6-10)
(2001). What You Never Knew about Tubs, Toilets, and Showers. Simon & Schuster. (cultural studies, history, Ages 6-10)
Leedy, Loreen (author website)
(2015). Amazing Plant Powers. Holiday House.
(2012). Seeing Symmetry. Holiday House. (math, geometry, symmetry: Ages 6-9)
(2011). Tracks in the Sand. (science, sea turtles: Ages 5-10)
(2008). Missing Math: A Number Mystery. Marshall Cavendish. (math, numbers: Ages 5-8)
(2008). Crazy Like a Fox: A Simile Story. Holiday House. (language arts, simile: Ages 4-8)
(2007). It's Probably Penny. Henry Holt. (math, prediction, probability: Ages 6-8)
(2005). The Great Graph Contest. Holiday House. (math, graphs, charts: Ages 6-9)
(2004). Look at My Book: How Kids Can Write and Illustrate Terrific Books. Holiday House. (language arts, writing: Ages 6-9).
(2003). There's a Frog in My Throat! (with Pat Street). Holiday House (language arts, sayings: Ages 6-9)
(2002). Follow the Money. Holiday House. (math, money, coins: Ages 5-8)
(2000). Mapping Penny's World. Holiday House. (math, maps, geography: Ages 6-10)
(2000). Subtraction Action. Holiday House (math, subtraction: Ages 6-7)
(1998). Measuring Penny. Holiday House. (math, measuring: Ages 5-9)
(1997). Mission Addition. Holiday House. (math, addition: Ages 5-7)
(1994). Fraction Action. Holiday House. (math, fractions: Ages 5-8)
(1992). Monster Money. Holiday House. (math, money: Ages 6-9)
(1990). The Furry News: How to Make a Newspaper. Holiday House. (language arts, newspaper, writing: Ages 6-9)
McCully, Emily Arnold (author website)
(2014). Ida M. Tarbell.
(2015). Queen of the Diamond.
Montgomery, Sy (author website)
(2016). The Great White Shark. HMH Books for Young Readers. (science, animals, Ages 10+)
(2015). The Octopus Scientists: Exploring the Mind of a Mollusk. HMH Books for Young Readers. (science, animals, Ages 10+)
(2014). Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa's Fastest Cat. HMH Books for Young Readers. (science, animals, Ages 10+)
(2013). The Tapir Scientist: Saving South America's Largest Mammal. HMH Books for Young Readers. (science, animals, Ages 10+)
(2013). Snowball The Dancing Cockatoo. Bauhan. (science, birds, Ages 8-13).
(2012). Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Austism and Changed the World. HMH Books for Young Readers. (biography: Ages 9+). Activities: Pre- reading, Discussion Guide, Questions, Post-reading
(2010). Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot. HMH Books for Young Readers. (science, animals, Ages 10+)
(2009). Saving the Ghost of the Mountain: An Expedition Among Snow Leopards in Mongolia. HMH Books for Young Readers. (science, animals, Ages 10+)
(2009). Quest for the Tree Kangaroo. HMH Books for Young Readers. (science, animals, Ages 10+)
(2007). The Tarantula Scientist. HMH Books for Young Readers. (science, animals, Ages 10+)
(2007). The Snake Scientist. HMH Books for Young Readers. (science, animals, Ages 10+)
(2004). The Man-Eaters of Sundarbans. HMH Books for Young Readers. (science, animals, Ages 8+)
(2002). Encantado: Pink Dolphin of the Amazon. HMH Books for Young Readers. (science, animals, Ages 9+)
(2004). Search for the Golden Moon Bear: Science and Adventure in the Asian Tropic. HMH Books for Young Readers. (science, animals, Ages 9+)
Rappaport, Doreen (author website)
(2016). Elizabeth Started All the Trouble.
(2012). Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust. Candlewick (biography, Holocaust, Ages 10+) website
(2008). Lady Liberty: A Biography. Candlewick (history, Ages 7-10)
Big Words Books
(2015). Frederick's Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass.
(2013). To Dare Mighty Things: The Life of Theodore Roosevelt. Hyperion. (biography, Ages 6-8)
(2012). Helen's Big World: The Life of Helen Keller. Hyperion. (biography, Ages 6-8) website
(2010). Jack's Path of Courage. Hyperion. (biography, Ages 5-8) website
(2009). Eleanor, Quiet No More. Hyperion. (biography, Ages 5-8) website
(2008). Abe's Honest Words. Hyperion. (biography, Ages 8+) website
(2007). Martin's Big Words. Hyperion. (biography, Ages 5+) website
(2004). John's Secret Dreams. Hyperion. (biography, Ages 5+) website
Sandler, Martin W.
(2015). Iron Rails, Iron Men, and the Race to Link the Nation: The Story of the Transcontinental Railroad.
(2014). How the Beatles Changed the World.
(2013). Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans during World War II.
(2012). The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure.
(2009). The Dust Bowl.
Schanzer, Rosalyn (author website)
(2011). Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem. National Geographic. (history: Ages YA)
(2009). What Darwin Saw: The Journey that Changed the World. National Geographic. (biography, science, history, picture book: Ages 8-adult)
(2006). John Smith Escapes Again! National Geographic. (biography, history, picture book: Ages 7-14)
(2004). George vs. George: The American Revolution as Seen from Both Sides. National Geographic. (biography, history, picture book: Ages 8-adult)
(2003). How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning. National Geographic. (biography, history, picture book: Ages 6-12)
(2001). The Old Chisholm Trail: A Cowboy Song. National Geographic. (song, history, picture book: Ages 4-8)
(1997). How We Crossed the West: The Adventures of Lewis and Clark. National Geographic. (exploration, history, picture book: Ages 7-14)
(1999). Gold Fever! Tales from the California Gold Rush. National Geographic. (history, picture book: Ages 6-12)
Sheinkin, Steve (author website)
(2015). Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War.
(2014). The Port of Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and Fight for Civil Rights.
(2013). Lincoln's Grave Robbers. Scholastic Press. (history, crime, Ages 10+)
(2012). Bomb: The Race to Build-And-Steal-The World's Most Dangerous Weapon. Scholastic Press. (history, crime, Ages 10+)
2010). The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, & Treachery. Scholastic Press. (history, crime, Ages 11+)
Silvey, Anita (author website)
(2016). Let Your Voice Be Heard.
(2015). Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall. National Geographic.
(2012) The Plant Hunters. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. (biography, science, Age s8+)
(2010) Henry Knox: Bookseller, Soldier, Patriot. Clarion Books. (biography, American history, Ages 6-9)
Stone, Tanya Lee (author website)
(2017). A Story of War, A Story of Peace: How Japanese Balloon Bombs Connected Children of Two Nations. Candlewick.
(2016). Girl Rising: Educate Girls, Change the World. Penguin.
(2013). Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles. Candlewick Press (biography, Ages 10+)
(2010). The Good, the Bad, and Barbie. Viking (biography, Ages 10+)
(2009). Almost Astronauts: 12 Women Who Dared to Dream. Candlewick Press (biography, Ages 10+)
(2009). Recycle this Book. Viking (recycling, Ages 8+)
(2008). Up Close: Ella Fitzgerald. Viking (biography, Ages 12+)
Biographies for DK (Amelia Earhart, Abraham Lincoln, Laura Ingalls Wilder)
(2002/2003) Wild America for Blackbirch Press (12 book series)
(2001/2001) Made in the USA for Blackbirch Press (2 book series)
(2001) Living in a World Of for Blackbirch Press (book series)
(1997/1998) America's Top Ten for Blackbirch Press (10 book series)
(2007). Math Fables Too: Making Science Count. Scholastic Press. (math, Ages 7-10)
(2005). Math Potatoes: Mind-Stretching Brain Food. Scholastic Press. (math, Ages 7-10)
(2004). Math Fables: Lessons that Count. Scholastic Press. (math, Ages 7-10)
(2003). Math-terpieces: The Art of Problem-Solving. Scholastic Press. (math, Ages 7-10)
(2003). Math Appeal: Mind-Stretching Math Riddles. Scholastic Press. (math, Ages 7-10)
(2002). The Best of Times. Scholastic Press. (math, Ages 7-10)
(2002). Math for All Seasons: Mind-Stretching Math Riddles. Scholastic Press. (math, Ages 7-10)
(2001). The Grapes of Math. Scholastic Press. (math, Ages 7-10)
(2015). Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh.
(2011). Frozen Secrets: Antarctica Revealed. Google Preview
(2011). Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917. Macmillan. Google Preview
(2009). Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland. Carolrhoda. (archaeology, history, Ages 10+) Google Preview
(2005). Secrets of a Civil War Submarine: Solving the Mysteries of the H.L. Hunley. Carolrhoda. Google Preview
(2003). Life in an Estuary. Twenty-first Century Books. Google Preview
Weatherford, Carole Boston (author website)
(2016). Freedom in Congo Square.
(2016). You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen.
(2015). Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America.
(2015). Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement.
(2010). Obama: Only in America.
(2008). Becoming Billie Holiday.
(2007). Birmingham: 1963.
(2009). The Beatitudes: From Slavery to Civil Rights.
(2006). Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom.
(2004). Freedom on the Menu.
Gear (2008) recommends involving youth in author studies and suggests the following names of nonfiction authors:
- Judy Allen
- Michael Dahl
- Nicola Davies
- Anthony D. Fredericks
- Gail Gibbons
- Deborage Hodge
- Steve Jenkins
- Stephan Kramer
- Kathryn Lansky
- Claire Llewellyn
- Peter Sis
- Diane Swanson
- Seymour Simon
- Jan Thornhill
- Maxine Trottier
- Jeanette Winter
Other authors to explore
- David Adler
- Jennifer Armstrong
- Jacob Berkowitz
- Fred Bortz
- Jen Bryant
- Loree Griffin Burns
- Margarita Engle
- Susan E. Goodman
- Kelly Milner Halls
- Deborah Heiligman
- Kathleen Krull
- Mary Losure
- Ken Mochizuki
- Jon Scieszka
- Joanne Settel
- Catherine Thimmesh
Some nonfiction authors are known as much for their illustrations as they are for their writing.
Read Tavares, Matt (March/April 2011). A reason for the picture: illustrating nonfiction picture books. The Horn Book Magazine, 87(2), 49-55. IUPUI students can view the article online.
Brown, Don (author website)
(2015). Drowned City.
(2015). Aaron and Alexander: The Most Famous Duel in American History.
(2011). America Under Attack.
(2004). Odd Boy Out.
Jenkins, Steve (author website)
(2016). Flying Frogs and Walking Fish.
(2015). How to Swallowa Pig.
(2014). Creature Features.
(2014). Eye to Eye.
(2013). The Animal Book.
(2013). My First Day (with Robin Page). HMH. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
(2013). Animals Upside Down: A Pull, Pop, Life & Learn Book! (with Robin Page). HMH. (pop-up, Ages 4-8)
(2013). How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships (with Robin Page).
(2012). Living Color. HMH. (pop-up, Ages 4-8)
(2012). Dogs and Cats. HMH. (pop-up, Ages 4-8)
(2012). Sisters and Brothers: Sibling Relationships in the Animal World (with Robin Page). HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
(2012). The Beetle Book. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
(2011). Just a Second. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
(2011). Time to Sleep. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
(2011). Time to Eat. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
(2011). Actual Size. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
(2009). Never Smile at a Monkey: And 17 Other Important Things to Remember. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
(2009). Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
(2008). How Many Ways Can You Catch a Fly? (with Robin Page). HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
(2008). What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? (with Robin Page). HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
(2006). Move! (with Robin Page). HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
(2005). Animals in Flight (with Robin Page). HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
(2005). Prehistoric Actual Size. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
(2005). I See a Kookahurra: Discovering Animal Habitats Around the World (with Robin Page). HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
(2004). Hottest, Coldest, Highest, Deepest. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
(2003). Looking Down. HMH. (animals, Ages 5-8)
(2002). Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution. HMH. (animals, Ages 7-10)
(2001). What Do You Do When Something Wants to Eat You? HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
(2001). Slap, Squeak and Scatter: How Animals Communicate. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
(1997). Biggest, Strongest, Fastest. HMH. (animals, Ages 4-8)
Nelson, Kadir (author website)
(2013). Nelson Mandela. Katherine Tegen Books. (Picture book, biography, Ages 4-8)
(2012). I Have a Dream (with Martin Luther King Jr). Schwartz & Wade. (Picture book, biography, speech, Ages 5+)
(2011). Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans. Balzer & Bray. (Picture book, biography, multicultural, Ages 6-10)
(2011). A Nation's Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis (with Matt de la Pena). Puffin. (Picture book, sports, Ages 6-8).
(2008). Coretta Scott (with Ntozake Shange). Katherine Tegen Books. (Picture book, biography, Ages 4-8)
(2008). Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln (with Doreen Rappaport). Hyperion. (biography, Ages 8+)
(2008). We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball. Hyperion. (history, baseball, sports, Ages 8+)
(2007). Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story of the Underground Railroad (with Ellen Levine). Scholastic. (Picture book, history, Ages 4-8).
(2006). Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom (with Carole Boston Weatherford). Hyperion. (Picture book, biography, history, underground railroad, Ages 5-8)
(2010). Market Day. Drawn and Quarterly. (graphic novel, Ages YA, mature readers)
(2010). Deny's Wortman's New York: Portrait of the City in the 20s and 40s. Drawn and Quarterly. (graphic novel, Ages YA/adult)
(2010). Adventures in Cartooning Activity Book (with Andrew Arnold & Alexis Frederick-Frost). First Second. (Drawing, comics, Ages 6-10)
(2009). Adventures in Cartooning: How to Turn Doodles into Comics (with Andrew Arnold & Alexis Frederick-Frost). First Second. (Drawing, comics, Ages 6-10)
(2007). Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow (with Rich Tommaso). Hyperion. (graphic biography, Ages 10-11)
(2007). James Strum's America: God, Gold, and Golems. Drawn and Quarterly. (graphic novel, Ages YA, mature readers)
Tonatiuh, Duncan (website)
(2016). The Princess and the Warrior.
(2015). Funny Bones.
(2014). Separate is Never Equal.
(2011). Diego Rivera.
Read Auerbach, Barbara (October 2, 2012). The wild world of Steve Jenkins: An author study. School Library Journal. Available at SLJ. Notice how Auerbach wove video and book examples into her author study. In addition, she described how the books might be used.
Conduct your own author study. Write a short biographical sketch. Create a short annotated list of key works. Build a set of web links to the author's website, publisher, book trailers, video resources, or other information.
Aronson, Marc (January 16, 2013). Consider the source: getting history right. School Library Journal. Available
Aronson, Marc (November 9, 2012). Histories of war. New York Times. Available
Aronson, Marc (October 2008). Being and Nothingness. School Library Journal, 54(10), 31.
Aronson, March (February 1, 2007). Location is everything. School Library Journal, 53(2), 31. Available
Auerbach, Barbara (October 2, 2012). The wild world of Steve Jenkins. School Library Journal. Available
Barack, Lauren (April 13, 2016). Library Budgets Rise 20%, yet Challenges Remain. School Library Journal. Available through SLJ.
Bartoletti, Susan Campbell (Mar/April 2011). The extreme sport of research. The Horn Book Magazine, 87(2), 24-30. Available
Baxter, Kathleen & Kochel, Marcia Agness (2008). Gotcha Good! Nonfiction Books to Get Kids Excited About Reading. Libraries Unlimited. Preview Available
Dar, Mahnaz (January 7, 2013). Getting it right, Making it fun: NYPL panelists talk writing nonfiction. School Library Journal. Available
Epstein, Connie C. (March 1, 1987). Accuracy in nonfiction. School Library Journal, 33(7), 113-115. Available
Flowers, Mark (December 12, 2012). Accuracy in nonfiction. School Library Journal. Available
Ford, Deborah (September 4, 2015). To Weed or Not to Weed. School Library Journal. Available through SLJ.
Getting Schooled: Nonfiction Authors Tell All About School Visits (January 22, 2016). School Library Journal. Available through SLJ.
Harris, Christopher (March 2012). The end of nonfiction. School Library Journal, 58(3), 16. Available
Jones, Patrick (April 1, 2001). Nonfiction: the real stuff. School Library Journal, 47(4), 44-45. Available
Larkin-Lieffers, Patricia A. (2001). Informational picture books in the library: do young children field them? Public Library Quarterly, 20(3), 3-28. Available
Lindsay, Nina (October 25, 2012). Bomb: Nina's take. School Library Journal. Available
Lopez, Jessica Iliana (2016). A Comparison of Student Engagement with Nonfiction and Fiction Text. ProQuest number: 10108636. IUPUI students can view the article online.
Mandell, Phyllis (November 2012). Now you're talking. School Library Journal, 58(11), 32-38. Available
Moss, B., Leone,S., & DiPillo, M. L. (1997). Exploring the literature of fact: Linking reading and writing through information trade books. Language Arts, 74(6), 418-429.
Raine, Lee & Duggan, Maeve (December 27, 2012). E-book Reading Jumps; Print Book Reading Declines. Pew Internet Libraries. Available.
Stone, Tanya Lee (February 1, 2009). The quest for authenticity. School Library Journal, 55(2), 20-21. Available
Tavares, Matt (March/April 2011). A reason for the picture: illustrating nonfiction picture books. The Horn Book Magazine, 87(2), 49-55. Available
Wharton, Jennifer (January 28, 2016). Selecting and Promoting Nonfiction in Your Library. School Library Journal. Available through SLJ.
Young, Terrell A. & Moss, Barbara (2006). Nonfiction in the classroom library: a literacy necessity. Childhood Education, 82(4), 207-212. Available