Yesterday I posted a reading list for students who were not taking the Common core tests; it was created by New York State Allies for Public Education, an alliance of fifty organizations of parents and teachers. The list is predominantly fiction. As a parent and grandparent and a reader, I love both fiction and non-fiction and don’t think one or the other is “better.” What matters most is the quality of the writing, not the genre.


I received the following comment from Vicki Cobb, a prolific writer of science books for children:


I’m glad you mentioned that there was very little nonfiction on the list. To rectify that, my organization has been posting Check it out. It’s a daily posting of about 400 words written by top children’s nonfiction authors, accompanied by an audio file of the author reading his/her essay to make the content accessible to less fluent readers. Most people do not know the names of the best children’s nonfiction authors partly because we’re cataloged and shelved by the topics we write about instead of our names–as fiction authors are cataloged and shelved. We’re hoping that if kids read a Nonfiction Minute, they just might want to read a book by the author. Nonfiction Minutes are not excerpts from our books. They are stand-alone essays to be read for interest and pleasure. They are edited by Jean Reynolds, one of the best in the business, who founded Millbrook Press and Roaring Brook Press and came out of retirement to do this. We are doing this on a totally voluntary basis, to inform, inspire, and entertain our readers. The web is great when you know what you don’t know. It’s not so good when you don’t know what you don’t know. So we are introducing children to our own individual passions. High interest trumps reading levels.