“It is the engaging with a child’s imagination which is the key to learning.”
Today, November 4th 2010 is the first ever National Non-Fiction Day. Head over to http://nnfd.org/ to find out everything you could ever want to know about this great day which celebrates the wonder of non fiction children’s books.
Started by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups and sponsored by Scholastic, this day hopes to raise awareness of the importance of including non-fiction books in children’s reading experiences. The inclusion of non fiction books in a child’s education is paramount to honing skills they will use later on in life.; be it history, maths or even gruesome statistics. Quite simply, non fiction is important. It grounds us. It provides key knowledge and information…the starting point for any informed opinion or developing passion. And through non fiction books, you never know; your child might just find their life dream.
I was so thrilled to be asked to participate in this day and hope this becomes a recurrence in the years to come. What better way to support children in their education than with amazing, insightful and inspirational books.
As a children’s bookseller, I feel reference and indeed non-fiction in general has taken a back seat in children’s reading patterns and this shouldn’t continue. We shouldn’t get lost in the vampire netherworlds but nor should we stifle children with scientific facts and statistics. Indeed, it is a fine line between deciding when a child’s education stops for the day and when they can start reading for pleasure. And that’s why it’s so great that of late, publishers seem to have recognised the gap in the market for interesting non fiction books. A non-fiction book doesn’t always have to be produced with the preconception that it will be read only for schooling and education purposes. Some children just want to learn, but usually they want to get carried away into an exciting reading experience at the same time.
Take a look at posters, you can buy them from most children’s bookshops. Just stop and look at them. They’re usually educational and yet there are different components which make it engaging, fun, interactive and just that little bit wacky. It is the engaging with children’s imagination which is the key to learning. Thankfully of late, we have caught on to this and books such as ‘Wallace and Gromit’s Cracking Inventions’ and ‘Bill Bryson’s History or Nearly Everything’ are testimony to this.
A leading publisher in non-fiction titles is Usborne. The list of titles, aimed at children of many ages is endless. Usborne sent me ‘The Usborne Kings and Queens Sticker Book’ and ‘The Usborne History of Britain Kings and Queens’ to review. They must have known my history knowledge is rubbish. But to be fair…can you name all of Henry VIII wives? I couldn’t before but I can now!
The Sticker book series is always a winner and this one in particular really helps cement what has been learned from the Kings and Queens history book. The illustrations are diverse and what’s great is that a lot of the stickers are real life photographs and this really brings truth to life. Of course for those who lived a little before the invention of the camera…portraits will just have to do. I still remember one art lesson in year 4 at school in which we had to draw King Henry VIII and I was so proud of how the big fat man came out!
The Kings and Queens history book is a lovely hardback edition, rich in colour, illustration and information with lots of little interesting facts thrown in all over the place. It really is a book you can…correspond with as you wrestle with remembering all the kings and queens of times gone by. You might even impress people with your in the know lingo. For example did you know Richard III was aptly named ‘The dandy king?’ The chronological order of the book also helps with digesting the vast information throughout and the family trees are fascinating.
I was never a history fan and sadly, always had the mindset of ‘It’s already happened…why waste time learning about it?’ Thankfully my ethos towards history has matured and I’m sure any child who gets their hands on these books will love history. It is truly fascinating and a testimony to evolution, telling us how we got to where we are today. And you never know, you might just have fun whilst learning.
Happy Non-fiction day everyone, I hope you can put down your Mr. Gum’s and Beast Quests for one day and find a world of possibility out there.
Usborne Kings and Queens Sticker book…coming soon. Suitable for KS1 ages 7+
Usborne History of Britain Kings and Queens…coming soon. Suitable for KS” ages 8+
Visit www.usborne.com for more information and for more great titles.
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