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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Nonfictionary

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The Coolest Fact

Reports about animals are boring, and they usually go like this: Honeybees are insects. Honeybees eat nectar. Honeybees live in a hive. See? BORING!

Susan Latta

Sorry—I Mean Structure—Seems To Be the Hardest Word

There’s an old Elton John song titled, Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word. Well, I wonder if he’d mind if I changed the title to, Structure Seems to be the Hardest Word. Structure is a lot like voice; it needs to be present, yet it must be invisible and unforced. Without it, the writing […]

Karen Blumenthal

Re-claiming Women’s History—Still

At a meeting at the Dallas Public Library one day, a retired chief executive explained to me his vision for a permanent display on a soon-to-be-renovated floor honoring the men who built up the city’s downtown after World War II. I looked at him skeptically. “What about the women?” “There aren’t any,” he snapped back. […]

Melissa Stewart

How Infographics Can Help Students Avoid Plagiarism

My book Pinocchio Rex and Other Tyrannosaurs, is chockful of text features, including this fun infographic: The process of designing it began with a VERY rough sketch by me. Let’s face the facts. My drawing skills leave a lot of be desired, but this sketch was enough to give the talented folks in the HarperCollins […]

Jen Bryant

Working with an Editor

“What’s it like to work with an editor?”is a question I often get from teachers, students, and aspiring authors and it’s one that takes some time to fully answer. In the best situations, an editor’s relationship to her author is like a coach’s relationship to an athlete: knowing her author’s personality, talent, and potential, she […]

Karen Blumenthal

The Good Thing about Bad Words

It’s mid-January, I have this Nonfictionary deadline, and all I can think about is President Trump’s latest vulgarity. His recent word choice about certain countries jumped from my phone like an electrical charge, literally and physically jolting me backwards. For the rest of the day and beyond, my soul hurt and my spirit sagged. But […]

Karen Blumenthal

A Picture and a Thousand Words

As a reporter and editor for decades, I often heard people accuse my colleagues and me of “bias,” of having a particular slant on a story—usually a point of view that the accuser disputed. It was a common charge, especially if the issue was controversial. But in truth, reporters are no different than anyone else. […]

Melissa Stewart

Why Young Writers Need an Authentic Audience

For me, writing nonfiction is a fun adventure. A game to play. A puzzle to solve. A challenge to overcome. But many students don’t feel the same way. According to them, research is boring. Making a writing plan is a waste of time. And revision is more than frustrating. It’s downright painful. Why do young […]

Pamela S. Turner

Getting Inside the Head of the Long Dead

Don’t be alarmed by the ghoulishness of my title. Trying to resurrect the life of someone who turned to dust centuries ago is a challenge, especially if the person left behind no personal writings such as letters or diaries. But it can be done. In preparation for writing Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto […]

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Qualifying Credibility

I long for the good ol’ days when everyone agreed that facts were true and fiction was make-believe and made-up facts were lies. Several years ago, the disseminating of current events entered the truthiness zone—only to emerge in today’s surreal “alternate facts” parallel universe. It is understandably difficult for many people—and especially young people—to know […]

Susan Latta

Unearthing the Good Stuff

Five Steps to a Successful Nonfiction Interview I love flowers but no one would ever call my thumb green. Each spring however, I drag the pots to the front step, fill them with soil, plant red geraniums surrounded by marigolds, and water when nature forgets. And when the school buses rumble down the street, I […]

Melissa Stewart

Three Tips for Writing Teachers

Teachers often feel frustrated when the revisions students make to their writing aren’t improvements. And so they ask me how to help the children make their manuscripts better. I wish I had an easy answer for these teachers and for their students, but here’s the truth: Revision is messy. It’s fraught with detours. Even experienced […]