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ELE 616 Research in Children’s Literature Fall 2009 Informational and Biographical Literature.

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Presentation on theme: "ELE 616 Research in Children’s Literature Fall 2009 Informational and Biographical Literature."— Presentation transcript:

1 ELE 616 Research in Children’s Literature Fall 2009 Informational and Biographical Literature

2 2 What is informational literature? Opinions differ about what is meant by informational literatureOpinions differ about what is meant by informational literature –[Some use] the term expository-informational text to refer to titles that are report-like and use expository text structures. –More frequently, the term informational text is used synonymously with nonfiction. –Nonfiction is also the term recognized in the Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress systems.

3 3 nonfiction Prose literary works describing events that actually occurred and characters or phenomena that actually exist or existed in the past. In a more general sense, any piece of prose writing in which the content is not imagined by the author. In libraries that use Library of Congress Classification (LCC) or Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), nonfiction is shelved by call number. Compare with fiction.Prose literary works describing events that actually occurred and characters or phenomena that actually exist or existed in the past. In a more general sense, any piece of prose writing in which the content is not imagined by the author. In libraries that use Library of Congress Classification (LCC) or Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), nonfiction is shelved by call number. Compare with fiction.Proseliterary workcharactercontentauthorlibrariesLibrary of Congress ClassificationDewey Decimal Classificationcall numberfictionProseliterary workcharactercontentauthorlibrariesLibrary of Congress ClassificationDewey Decimal Classificationcall numberfiction

4 4 Informational Books Informational Books Definition:Definition: –Informational books deal exclusively with factual material presented to instruct the reader. They are generally consider to be functional or utilitarian books and not part of literature. Children, however, do not always separate fiction and nonfiction and there is an interest/need to have informative books which also appeal to the aesthetic. –We have become accustomed to informational books being dry and dull; however, there is no reason why nonfiction books cannot adhere to finer literary standards and hold our interests as would a good novel. LSC 300 L Literature for Children Mary E. Brown, Ph.D. Informational and reference booksLSC 300 L Literature for ChildrenInformational and reference books

5 5 Writing Nonfiction for Children Non-fiction has long been seen as the poor relation in children’s books, inferior to fiction in both quality and sales. But in recent years, leading figures working in children’s books have realized that children should have access to the same high-quality information writing that adult readers take for granted.Non-fiction has long been seen as the poor relation in children’s books, inferior to fiction in both quality and sales. But in recent years, leading figures working in children’s books have realized that children should have access to the same high-quality information writing that adult readers take for granted. –The Real World is a Great Story Too: Author Nicola Davies and editor Caroline Royds talk to Madelyn Travis about developments in non-fiction for children.The Real World is a Great Story Too

6 6 EEEE llll eeee vvvv eeee nnnn T T T T iiii pppp ssss f f f f oooo rrrr W W W W rrrr iiii tttt iiii nnnn gggg S S S S uuuu cccc cccc eeee ssss ssss ffff uuuu llll N N N N oooo nnnn ffff iiii cccc tttt iiii oooo nnnn f f f f oooo rrrr K K K K iiii dddd ssss 1.Tap into your Ew!, Phew!, and Cool! - Think like a kid. 2.Play with words 3.Be Conversational 4.Try Unusual Formats. 5.Link new information to something kids already know. 6.Include activities.

7 7 7.Use storytelling techniques. 8.Narrow your topic. 9.Use reliable sources. 10. Know your market. 11. Do photo research. –Fiona Bayrock is the author of BUBBLE HOME AND FISH FARTS (Charlesbridge) and several other quirky science books for kids.Fiona Bayrock BUBBLE HOME AND FISH FARTS EEEE llll eeee vvvv eeee nnnn T T T T iiii pppp ssss f f f f oooo rrrr W W W W rrrr iiii tttt iiii nnnn gggg S S S S uuuu cccc cccc eeee ssss ssss ffff uuuu llll N N N N oooo nnnn ffff iiii cccc tttt iiii oooo nnnn f f f f oooo rrrr K K K K iiii dddd ssss

8 8 American Library Association’s definition Information books are defined as those written and illustrated to present, organize and interpret documentable factual material for children. There are no limitations as to the character of the book, although poetry and traditional literature are not eligible. Honor books may be named; they shall be books that are truly distinguished.Information books are defined as those written and illustrated to present, organize and interpret documentable factual material for children. There are no limitations as to the character of the book, although poetry and traditional literature are not eligible. Honor books may be named; they shall be books that are truly distinguished. –(Robert F.) Sibert Informational Book Award Terms and criteria(Robert F.) Sibert Informational Book Award Terms and criteria

9 9 In Quest of ExcellenceIn Quest of Excellence: The Sibert Medal In Quest of Excellence Beyond Authority, Passion An Abiding Respect for Children Fitting and Eloquent Literary Style Strategic and Artful Graphics Commitment to Accuracy and Clarity Thorough and Thoroughly Explained Documentation Inviting Extensions Organized to Ease Access and Enhance Meaning Clear Delineation of Fact Multilayered Content Supportive Ancillary Material Format Following Function Apt and Appealing Book Design Stimulating Overall Presentation

10 Winner of Sibert Medal Winner –The Story of Negro League Baseball is the story of gifted athletes and determined owners; of racial discrimination and international sportsmanship; of fortunes won and lost; of triumphs and defeats on and off the field. It is a perfect mirror for the social and political history of black America in the first half of the twentieth century. But most of all, the story of the Negro Leagues is about hundreds of unsung heroes who overcame segregation, hatred, terrible conditions, and low pay to do the one thing they loved more than anything else in the world: play ball.

11 11 One of the 2008 Sibert Honor books Sibert Honor books Sibert Honor books Nic Bishop SpidersNic Bishop SpidersNic Bishop SpidersNic Bishop Spiders –For the first to third grade set, spiders are fascinating and suitably gruesome, especially when looked at in EXTREME close-up. Amazing images show the beauty and otherworldliness of spiders.

12 12 Another nonfiction award NCTE Orbis Pictus Nonfiction AwardNCTE Orbis Pictus Nonfiction AwardNCTE Orbis Pictus Nonfiction AwardNCTE Orbis Pictus Nonfiction Award –NCTE, through the Committee on the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, has established an annual award for promoting and recognizing excellence in the writing of nonfiction for children. The name Orbis Pictus, commemorates the work of Johannes Amos Comenius, Orbis Pictus—The World in Pictures (1657), considered to be the first book actually planned for children. Read more about how Orbis Pictus Award-winning books are created and chosen in the NCTE book The Best in Children’s Nonfiction Reading, Writing, and Teaching Orbis Pictus Award Books (2001).Committee on the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for ChildrenThe Best in Children’s Nonfiction Reading, Writing, and Teaching Orbis Pictus Award Books

13 13 Criteria for the O O O O O rrrr bbbb iiii ssss P P P P iiii cccc tttt uuuu ssss A A A A Award Each nomination should meet the following literary criteria:Each nomination should meet the following literary criteria: –Accuracy—facts current and complete, balance of fact and theory, varying point of view, stereotypes avoided, author’s qualifications adequate, appropriate scope, authenticity of detail –Organization—logical development, clear sequence, interrelationships indicated, patterns provided (general-to-specific, simple-to-complex, etc.) –Design—attractive, readable, illustrations complement text, placement of illustrative material appropriate and complementary, appropriate media, format, type –Style—writing is interesting, stimulating, reveals author's enthusiasm for subject; curiosity and wonder encouraged, appropriate terminology, rich language

14 w w w w w iiii nnnn nnnn eeee rrrr of Orbis Pictis Amelia Earhart: The Legend of the Lost Aviator by Shelley Tanaka, illustrated by David Craig (Abrams Books for Young Readers)Amelia Earhart: The Legend of the Lost Aviator by Shelley Tanaka, illustrated by David Craig (Abrams Books for Young Readers) Abrams Books for Young ReadersAbrams Books for Young Readers –Ever since Amelia Earhart and her plane disappeared on July 2, 1937, people have wanted to know more about this remarkable woman. Amelia Earhart follows the charismatic aviator from her first sight of an airplane at the age of ten to the last radio transmission she made before she vanished. Illustrated with original artworks, contemporary photographs, quotes, and details, this is a great introduction to the famous pilot. The book includes a bibliography and an index.

15 15 A 2009 Honor Book for Orbis Pictus 2009 Honor Book Orbis Pictus2009 Honor Book Orbis Pictus When the Wolves Returned: Restoring Nature’s Balance in Yellowstone By Dorothy Hinshaw Patent Illustrated by Dan Hartman Photographs by Cassie Hartman and Dan HartmanWhen the Wolves Returned: Restoring Nature’s Balance in Yellowstone By Dorothy Hinshaw Patent Illustrated by Dan Hartman Photographs by Cassie Hartman and Dan HartmanWhen the Wolves Returned: Restoring Nature’s Balance in YellowstoneWhen the Wolves Returned: Restoring Nature’s Balance in Yellowstone –Now, more than a decade after scientists realized the wolves' essential role and returned them to Yellowstone, the park's natural balance is gradually being restored. The informative dual-level text and spectacular full-color photographs show the wolves in the natural habitat that was almost lost without them. Readers of all ages will be inspired by the delicate natural system that is Yellowstone.

16 16 Nonfiction about Native Americans?

17 17 Historical Native American Indian Children’s and YA Non-FictionHistorical Native American Indian Children’s and YA Non-FictionHistorical Native American Indian Children’s and YA Non-FictionHistorical Native American Indian Children’s and YA Non-Fiction –Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage by William Loren Katz (Atheneum, 1986). A thorough but clear look at a critical and traditionally (by mainstream historians) discounted segment of Native America. Ages 10-upBlack Indians: A Hidden Heritage

18 18 Biographical literature biographybiographybiography –A carefully researched, relatively full narrative account of the life of a specific person or closely related group of people, written by another. The biographer selects the most interesting and important events with the intention of elucidating the character and personality of the biographee and placing the subject’s life in social, cultural, and historical context. An authorized biography, written with the consent and sometimes the cooperation of its subject, may be less critical than an unauthorized biography.researchnarrative subjectauthorized biographyunauthorized biography

19 19 Biographies and MemoirsBiographies and MemoirsBiographies and MemoirsBiographies and Memoirs –The mere mention of the biography genre is sometimes enough to cause the eyes to glaze over, especially if you were assigned it once too often in school. Then too, it used to be that biographies written for kids seemed to make the life of even the most exciting person dull. Yet biographies are the favorite genre of many lifetime readers. Biographies can and should provide a way to personalize history, to discover the motivation behind some interesting people and perhaps awaken a new interest or passion.

20 20 Approaches to biography (degree of authenticity):Approaches to biography (degree of authenticity):Approaches to biographyApproaches to biography –Authentic biography -- attempts to convey the factual information of a person’s life; does not include any unsupported facts, facts supported by reliable research; rarely includes dialogue--unless taken from letters or diaries or reliable personal recollections. –Fictionalized biography -- dramatizes events; creates dialogue and scenes to make the story more interesting; good fictionalized biography will not create scenes that did not happen. –Biographical fiction -- pure fanciful invention with only passing regard to the historical facts. LSC 300 L Literature for Children Mary E. Brown, Ph.D. BiographyLSC 300 L Literature for ChildrenBiography

21 21 Biography vs. biographical fiction Sarah Miller (Author of Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller):Sarah Miller (Author of Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller):Sarah Miller Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen KellerSarah Miller Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller –A biography is strictly facts - no invention. Unfortunately, many children’s biographies are a muddy mix of facts and invented conversations. Some authors believe that kids won’t read a book that doesn’t have the feel of a story, so they make up scenes and dialogue to get the facts across in a more “entertaining” way. That really bugs me. –Historical fiction on the other hand is a story based on facts. I believe good historical fiction requires just as much research as non-fiction. Interview with Sarah Miller, October 1, 2007

22 22 A 2008 Orbis Pictus biographical honor book Orbis PictusOrbis Pictus George Washington Carver By Tonya Bolden in association with The Field Museum Imprint: Abrams Books for Young ReadersGeorge Washington Carver By Tonya Bolden in association with The Field Museum Imprint: Abrams Books for Young ReadersGeorge Washington CarverGeorge Washington Carver –With imagination and intellect, George Washington Carver (1864–1934) developed hundreds of unexpected products from everyday plants. This book reveals what an exceptionally uncommon man Carver was: trailblazing scholar, innovative scientist, pioneering conservationist, and impassioned educator.

23 23 A 2009 biographical Sibert honor book What to Do About Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy! written by Barbara Kerley and illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham (Scholastic Press, 2008)What to Do About Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy! written by Barbara Kerley and illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham (Scholastic Press, 2008)What to Do About Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy!What to Do About Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy! –Unconventional in many ways and troublesome in others, young Alice Lee Roosevelt made a name for herself in the White House while living there with her family and president father.

24 24 An author of biographies for children

25 25 A Native American Biography The Life and Death of Crazy Horse by Russell FreedmanThe Life and Death of Crazy Horse by Russell FreedmanThe Life and Death of Crazy HorseThe Life and Death of Crazy Horse –Grade: FOURTH | Age: 10 up –The heroic story of the Oglala Warrior who triumphed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. An ALA Notable Book and a Best Book for Young Adults. Illustrated by Amos Bad Heart Bull.Amos Bad Heart Bull

26 26 Biography raising consciousness African American BiographyAfrican American Biography

27 27 Are Nonfiction and Biography “Just the Facts, Ma’am”? From Mickenberg, Julia. (2002). “Civil Rights, History and the Left: Inventing the Juvenile Black Biography.” Melus 27, 65-93Civil Rights, History and the Left: Inventing the Juvenile Black Biography


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