Posts Tagged ‘non-fiction’

Nonfiction picture books fall into in four categories

Will need 14 to 28 illustration possibilities.


Can be a memoir of a specific period in someone’s life, a slice of a life, or a complete biography of someone’s life.

Broad topics

A book that covers a topic without focusing on one specific area. E.g. Birds.

Narrow topics

A narrow topic is examined in detail. Feathers. Melissa Stewart’s Feathers: Not Just for Flying.

Theme Books

How birds fly. Similar to narrow topics, these titles center on abstracts, that is specific concepts. Science-themed picture books are popular.


Non-fiction magazine pieces are more varied

Will need fewer than 14 illustration possibilities for magazines.


Can be broad topics, but more often are narrow topics. Theme stories, too. This is a broad category, often including science or travel.


For magazines, biographies are often a slice of life or a profile. E.g. “Zigzagging to Success” in the January 2016 Highlights.

How-to pieces

This category covers everything from recipes to repair to building things to art projects. E.g.

How to draw horses.


Brief write-ups of arts and crafts and such make this a fast-paced format. Why not lists of cars or dances? Things to catch a child’s interests.


The quizzes etc. are more to spark interest or entertain than to inform or evaluate. Often they resemble Facebook tests: What is your color personality?


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Courtesy of Publisher’s Weekly:

On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand Year History by Nicholas A. Basbanes. (Alfred A. Knopf).
Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink. (Crown Publishers).
The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin. (Simon & Schuster).

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. (Alfred A. Knopf).
Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat. (Alfred A. Knopf).
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. ( Little, Brown).


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National Book Foundation:


Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers

Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland

(WINNER) James McBride, The Good Lord Bird

Thomas Pynchon, Bleeding Edge

George Saunders, Tenth of December


Jill Lepore, Book of ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin

Wendy Lower, Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields

(WINNER)George Packer, The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America

Alan Taylor, The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1771-1832

Lawrence Wright, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief


Frank Bidart, Metaphysical Dog

Lucie Brock-Broido, Stay Illusion

Adrian Matejka, The Big Poke

Matt Rasmussen, Black Aperture

(WINNER) Mary Szybist, Incarnadine:Poems

Young people’s literature:

Kathi Appelt, The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp

(WINNER)Cynthia Kadohata, The Thing About Luck

Tom McNeal, Far Far Away

Meg Rosoff, Picture Me Gone

Gene Luen Yang, Boxers & Saints

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