By Kitty Felde
They say there are two kinds of people in the world: those who read fiction and those who read non-fiction.
Fiction fans argue that stories improve a person’s capacity to understand and mentally react to other individuals and social situations.
Non-fiction aficionados argue that fact-filled books help kids develop critical thinking skills and trains them to understand complex texts.
Some kids want just the facts, ma’am. No fiction for them.
Amy Hermon, a school librarian in Michigan and host of the podcast School Librarians United says when it comes to some of her “tough customers,” she turns to the other half of her collection: non-fiction. “Often I can win over converts by first promoting non-fiction,” she says, “which require less commitment and might be perceived as less intimidating for reluctant readers.”
A few categories work particularly well, she says. Books about gems, dinosaurs, the National Geographic “Weird but True” series, books about paper airplanes, sports, ancient Egypt, spies, sharks, and volcanoes fly off the shelf.
Librarian Amy Hermon confesses that she “didn’t grow up devouring books.” So there’s hope for kids who aren’t natural-born bookworms. (Worms! Another great non-fiction topic!)
Kitty Felde is host of the Book Club for Kids podcast, the award-winning show where kids talk about books.