This fall, Lerner published Girl Code Revolutionand the Vidcode Coding Hacks series. These titles are active nonfiction, providing step-by-step instructions to create animations, filters, memes, and more, and provide an online sandbox so readers can practice what they’ve learned. Additionally, Girl Code Revolution highlights some of the amazing women coders that have existed throughout history and others that continue to influence the tech industry today.
To bring readers coding projects that were both challenging and fun, Lerner partnered with Vidcode, a coding platform specifically geared for young coders. To celebrate the launch of these new books, we invited Vidcode to share a little bit about themselves! Read on to learn more about them in their own words, as well as more about active nonfiction and its role in your book collection.
Many teachers and students seem to think that writing nonfiction requires nothing more than doing some research and cobbling together a bunch of facts, but nothing could be further from the truth. To dispel this alarming myth, fifty of today’s most celebrated authors for children have come together to share a critical part of the nonfiction writing process that often goes unseen. The result is the illuminating anthology Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep: 50 Award-winning Children’s Book Authors Share the Secret of Engaging Writing
To craft high-quality prose, nonfiction writers have to dig deep. They have to get in touch with their passions and their vulnerabilities and use them to fuel their work. Each book has a piece of the author at its heart, and that personal connection is what drives writers to keep working, despite the inevitable obstacles and setbacks.
The topics nonfiction writers choose, the approaches they take, and the concepts and themes they explore are closely linked to who they are as people and what’s important to them. For these writers, putting the information they collect through their own personal filters and making their own meaning is the secret to crafting engaging nonfiction.
Six of the essays included in Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep feature books published or distributed by Lerner. Consider these brief excerpts:
“There’s a common, crushing misconception that fiction is creative writing drawn from the depths of a writer’s soul, while nonfiction is simply a recitation of facts that any basic robot could spit out. The reality is very different. My personality, my beliefs, and my experiences are deeply embedded in the books I write.” —Laurie Purdie Salas, author of A Leaf Can Be . . . (Millbrook Press, 2012)
“All of my books are very carefully researched, written, and revised. But they are also a little bit weird—like me. [W]eird is a wonder worthy of exploration. It is the thread of gold that has made my life and my career so joyful.” —Kelly Milner Halls, author of Death Eaters: Meet Nature’s Scavengers (Millbrook Press, 2018)
“Writers are often told to write what they know. As far as I’m concerned, we should write what we’re passionate about. . . . I write about women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) [to] combine two of my passions—STEM and equal opportunity for all.” —Laurie Wallmark, author of Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston Books, 2015)
In the end, the underlying message of Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep is simple but powerful: To create nonfiction that delights as well as informs, professional writers as well as student writers need to have skin in the game. The goal of this anthology is to share personal stories as well as tips, tools, and activities that can help writers at all levels feel personally invested in their writing.
100 percent of the proceeds from Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep will be divided among the National Council of Teachers for English (NCTE), We Need Diverse Books (WNDB), and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).
Melissa Stewart has written more than 180 science books for children, including the ALA Notable Feathers: Not Just for Flying, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen; the SCBWI Golden Kite Honor title Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs, illustrated by Stephanie Laberis; and Can an Aardvark Bark?, illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Steve Jenkins. She also co-wrote the upcoming titles 5 Kinds of Nonfiction: Enriching Reading and Writing Instruction with Children’s Books. Melissa maintains the award-winning blog Celebrate Science and serves on the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators board of advisors. Her highly regarded website features a rich array of nonfiction writing resources.
Last week, Melissa Stewart hosted an absolutely awesome webinar with SLJ – Rethinking Your Book Collection. If you missed it, you can watch it on demand through the end of the year. The presentation and discussion were so great that we couldn’t get to all the questions, so Melissa graciously answered them for our blog.
We explore Expository Literature with Sara Levine, author of Eye by Eye: Comparing How Animals See. The playful picture book keeps readers guessing as they learn wonderfully weird and gross facts and find out how different animal’s eyes are like—and unlike—those of starfish, owls, slugs, and more!Keep reading to learn more about Sara’s process, and about Expository Literature and the 5 Kinds of Nonfiction.
We begin our tour of the 5 Kinds of Nonfiction with Kao Kalia Yang. Her most recent picture book, The Most Beautiful Thing, draws from her childhood experiences as a Hmong refugee and offers a window into the life of a family with little money and a great deal of love. Read on to find out how important storytelling is to sharing the truth of nonfiction, and learn more about Narrative Nonfiction.