What makes a non-fiction a good read for children?
Children go through phases of wanting information on a particular subject. And picking the right nonfiction book can be overwhelming the selections are as diverse as the topics. Non-fiction books for children have come a long way from just stating a list of facts.
Non-fiction books open up the imagination of children and inspire action.
Couple of things to check in a nonfiction book for children:
Check the author of the book, do they an authority in the area or biography?
This is just one step in your complete evaluation, another place to look is the acknowledgments area where a content specialist has been cited. Or the author has a special relationship with the subject. Like in No Crystal Stair, by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson (Author), R. Gregory Christie (Illustrator). In this Middle-Grade nonfiction, we have the perspective from a family relative, Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. She combines meticulous research with a storyteller's flair to document the life and times of her great uncle Lewis Michaux, an extraordinary literacy pioneer of the Civil Rights era.
Illustrations that gives us a deeper look to the text are important and they might
even extend the image of the subject. For instance, if are no known pictures of the person in infancy the illustrator may want to present them as they imagined them as an infant. As Pitu Saa did for our Frida Kahlo book. The first spread is of a baby Frida Kahlo wrapped in a serpent pattern. It sends the message that this story is about someone growing up and the green Aztec serpent pattern cues us that this is an international story.
In particular, nonfiction for bilingual children is very important to have an accurate translation, but the dialect may not be one that your families shares. There might be a need to explain this to your child.
Is the format laid out in a logical manner?
Look over how it is organized, can you find what you want from the titles of the chapters? Or like in picture books, does the story give you dates or time periods that cue in the reader that this story happened in the past.
Here are a few websites that give children’s book reviews on non-fiction books:
From Cover to Cover Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books by Kathleen T. Horning, HarperCollins, 2010.
Featured Blog By:
Araceli Esparza, the founder of Wisconsin Mujer, has executed many annual events, and lead volunteer teams for over ten years. She is equally fluent in English and Spanish and has expert knowledge in storytelling, audience engagement and event planning. Learn more about her at https://wisconsinmujer.com/
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