Broadening the NF Kidlit Discussion
The following is my response to the most recent article in the #WashingtonPost about the reading preferences of today's children. I had posted an earlier piece on this topic a couple of weeks ago. What sparked the initial discussion was a belief among some that a child would not appreciate a gift of a #nonfiction book as much as he or she might a #fiction book. Today's newest piece on the subject showcases the response of three of today's leading nonfiction #kidlit writers.
So... which kind of books do today's kids prefer to read?
As a retired 5th grade teacher AND as a writer of children's fiction and nonfiction, I'd like to encourage your reading of the article referenced below, and share my perspective on the topic.
Children absorb what they read. Fiction brings them inside life experiences, and in classrooms everywhere, teachers help children do much more than identify essential elements of a story. Wonderful discussions link text and pictures to real life experiences and the myriad ways in which people interpret and act on those experiences. In a way it's as if children gain "virtual" life experiences.
And then there's today's nonfiction kidlit. Wow! Not only does it state facts about a subject or person; it gives children a peek inside an actual life or a part of the ecosystem. It extends their understanding of our amazing world in new and exciting ways. And yes, more kids prefer nonfiction than many adults would believe.
The bottom line is, whatever appropriate subject peaks their interest, kids should be encouraged to read it. Both kinds of books offer knowledge and perspective.
What about reading the same topic over and over? Allow them to gain the depth of topic they want.
And what about stories and topics that are all over the place? Allow them the exposure to all those different perspectives. We need generalists AND experts!
The beautiful language and creative illustrations in childrens literature will also widen their horizons. Kidlit showcases a several artforms.
Show kids the world... let them enjoy whichever appropriate books they want.
Would you like to read the facts on the reading preferences of today's kids? Please click below to read Cynthia, Melissa and Jennifer's article in today's Washington Post!