“Neither fiction nor nonfiction dictates a reader’s stance; the reader always does.”
I’m not sure why, but this quote in Cart’s chapter, resonated (not sure if that’s the right word) with me. I guess because it brings everything back to the reader. Which makes me think of always matching the book to the reader, and not vice versa. But I digress…
I appreciated Morgan’s comments on the DKs: the yays and the nays (or at least the not-so-muches); particularly the bit about it not necessarily being experts writing on the subject. Interesting point. I agree about them being hot sellers: no matter the age group, even kindergarteners not yet reading, are attracted to them and will take them out of the (school) library. For the older ones, these books hold great interest with their combination of text and images, great for sharing with a buddy or reading solo. And for the little ones, great opportunity to share with the adults in their lives (and no doubt more interesting for the adults than the 157the reading of “Goodnight Moon”!). Also, the new books often come with CDs of clipart (or something like that), so that adds to the appeal for some.
But yes, they do have their cons. The text, while in small chunks, can be quite dense in terms of vocabulary, and is often in quite a small font which can be a detraction for some readers.
I have always had a great experience teaching with non-fiction, and I’ve found it that it has far more “range” (trying not to use the word “appeal” again) across the board (in terms of reading skill level, and gender) than fiction. In fact, I always considered “my integrated non-fiction unit” to be my favourite to teach (well, 2nd favourite after poetry), as well as really, the easiest. That idea of the portability of knowledge, to be able to take something away from what’s been read, and pass it on, seems to have a lot of appeal–certainly with the younger ones, and I’d like to think it carries over to the older ones as well.
Oh! The 2011 YALSA Award for Excellence in Non-Fiction for Young Adults: