The importance of teaching students to read nonfiction has never been more clear. To summarize NCTE’s Position Statement: “It is a rich and compelling genre that . . . empowers young people in the face of current and emerging challenges locally and globally, such as racial, cultural, social, and economic injustice, censorship and disinformation, and the climate crisis. In the urgency of this moment, nonfiction for young people has never been more vibrant or vital.”
We also adored the recent 3-part series on nonfiction from SLJ. Read on to get book recommendations and free downloads that support using the 5 Kinds of Nonfiction with your readers!
By Editorial Director Amy Fitzgerald
As a kid, I was obsessed with historical fiction. For me, it was an exciting escape from my generally comfortable but uneventful middle-class white life. Only later did I notice that it’s usually white people who fantasize about living in a different time.
As a teacher, I have used picture books, poetry, memoirs, fiction and nonfiction books to help my students build empathy, social awareness, self-awareness, and self-management skills. Diverse texts and voices help students learn and develop the social and emotional skills they need to succeed not only in school, but in the world beyond. Here are a few newly released books that will engage readers and build strong SEL skills:
Meet Hungarian American biochemist Katalin “Kati” Karikó. She became fascinated by science as a child and grew up determined to find a way to use messenger RNA—a copy of a part of DNA that provides cells with instructions to make proteins—to help fight illness. Never Give Up: Dr. Kati Karikó and the Race for the Future of Vaccines follows her journey from her childhood in rural Hungary to leading the way in the creation of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
Today author Debbie Dadey and illustrator Juliana Oakley join us to discuss the inspiration behind their work and their hopes for young readers as they discover Dr. Karikó for the first time.
Hopeful and compassionate, The Coldest Winter I Ever Spent follows eighteen-year-old Del as she discovers she cannot fully value life without accepting the realities of death. She’s in a healthier place more than a year after a suicide attempt. She’s sober, getting treatment for her depression and anxiety, and volunteering at a suicide-prevention hotline. But when her aunt receives a terminal cancer diagnosis, Del is forced to confront the demons she’s been keeping at bay.
Today author Ann Jacobus shares her inspiration for the book, her research, and her writing routines. Read on to download the free discussion guide!
Content warning: This book does involve discussions of suicidal ideation and references to suicide.