Informational and Biographical Literature: 2007 version

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  • 1. Informational and Biographical Literature
    ELE 616 Research in Childrens Literature
    Fall 2009

2. What is informational literature?
Opinions differ about what is meant by informational literature
[Some use] the term expository-informational text to refer to titles that are report-like and use expository text structures.
More frequently, the term informational text is used synonymously with nonfiction.
Nonfiction is also the term recognized in the Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress systems.
3. nonfiction
Proseliterary works describing events that actually occurred and characters or phenomena that actually exist or existed in the past. In a more general sense, any piece of prose writing in which the content is not imagined by the author. In libraries that use Library of Congress Classification (LCC) or Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), nonfiction is shelved by call number. Compare with fiction.
4. Informational Books
Informational books deal exclusively with factual material presented to instruct the reader. They are generally consider to be functional or utilitarian books and not part of literature. Children, however, do not always separate fiction and nonfiction and there is an interest/need to have informative books which also appeal to the aesthetic.
We have become accustomed to informational books being dry and dull; however, there is no reason why nonfiction books cannot adhere to finer literary standards and hold our interests as would a good novel.
LSC 300 L Literature for ChildrenMary E. Brown, Ph.D. Informational and reference books
5. Writing Nonfiction for Children
Non-fiction has long been seen as the poor relation in childrens books, inferior to fiction in both quality and sales. But in recent years, leading figures working in childrens books have realized that children should have access to the same high-quality information writing that adult readers take for granted.
The Real World is a Great Story Too: Author Nicola Davies and editor Caroline Royds talk to Madelyn Travis about developments in non-fiction for children.
6. Eleven Tips for Writing Successful Nonfiction for Kids
Tap into your Ew!, Phew!, and Cool! - Think like a kid.
Play with words
Be Conversational
Try Unusual Formats.
Link new information to something kids already know.
Include activities.
7. Eleven Tips for Writing Successful Nonfiction for Kids
Use storytelling techniques.
Narrow your topic.
Use reliable sources.
Know your market.
Do photo research.
Fiona Bayrock is the author of BUBBLE HOME AND FISH FARTS (Charlesbridge) and several other quirky science books for kids.
8. American Library Associations definition
Information books are defined as those written and illustrated to present, organize and interpret documentable factual material for children. There are no limitations as to the character of the book, although poetry and traditional literature are not eligible. Honor books may be named; they shall be books that are truly distinguished.
(Robert F.) Sibert Informational Book AwardTerms and criteria
9. In Quest of Excellence:The Sibert Medal
Beyond Authority, Passion
An Abiding Respect for Children
Fitting and Eloquent Literary Style
Strategic and Artful Graphics
Commitment to Accuracy and Clarity
Thorough and Thoroughly Explained Documentation
Inviting Extensions
Organized to Ease Access and Enhance Meaning
Clear Delineation of Fact
Multilayered Content

  • Supportive Ancillary Material

10. Format Following Function 11. Apt and Appealing Book Design 12. Stimulating Overall Presentation