As a children’s librarian, a primary goal for me is to help children embrace imagination through books, from imagining we are superheroes to going on a hunt to find a bear, flying in the sky, exploring a new land, to diving deep in the ocean. For some time however, including nonfiction titles in my programs has been a top request from parents and educators.
“The Boy chiefly dabbled in natural history and fairy-tales, and he just took them as they came, in a sandwichy sort of way, without making any distinctions; and really his course of reading strikes one as rather sensible.” The Reluctant Dragon Kenneth Grahame wrote “The Reluctant Dragon” as a chapter in his book Dream Days, in 1898, ten years before publishing The Wind in the Willows.… more
You would think that being friends with Tanya Lee Stone would mean I wrote lots of nonfiction. But the truth is, until I decided to try and write a biography of Rube Goldberg, I stayed far away from this genre. As a reader, I loved it. As a friend, I learned so much reading Tanya’s work — not just about the facts — but about the foundations of storytelling.… more
Recently I attended a writer’s conference mainly to hear one speaker. His award-winning books remind me that the very best writing is found in children’s literature. When he delivered the keynote, I jotted down bits of his sparkling wisdom. At one point he said that we live in a broken world, but one that’s also filled with beauty. My pen slowed.… more
Our thanks to author Candace Fleming for sitting still long enough to answer in-depth questions about her conception for, research into, and writing decisions for Presenting Buffalo Bill: the Man Who Invented the Wild West, our Bookstorm™ this month. Fleming’s answers will inform educators, providing direct quotes from an oft-published biographer of beloved books that will be useful for teaching writing and research skills in the classroom. … more
Presenting Buffalo Bill provides an excellent opportunity to teach differentiation between fiction and nonfiction, mythology and fact, as well as the discernment, research, and discussion skills that are naturally born out of this type of close reading. Buffalo Bill’s life and Wild West Show are exciting and the author makes them all the more vivid and engaging with her writing.… more
Whether you include social justice, community service, activism, or social action in your curriculum or at your library, this is the ideal book for you. A biography of Pete Seeger, recipient of our National Medal for the Arts, and champion of the people for his 94 years, our Bookstorm this month, Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Life and Times of Pete Seeger, celebrates his life while it inspires each reader to carry on his work.… more