Choosing High Quality Children's Literature/Informational
By Brittany Dudgeon
Informational books have evolved in the last several years. These books are no longer left on the library shelf. Illustrations have improved and the books are targeted to younger audiences. Authors of informational books are working hard to make learning enjoyable for children. Informational books are nonfiction books that present current and accurate knowledge (Tunnell and Jacobs, 130). Students can use informational books to write reports, develop critical reading and thinking skills, and expand vocabulary. Authors of informational books often write them to encourage self reliance. A great reason to read informational books is for their enjoyment value. Children can spend hours reading and discovering new facts and ideas (Norton, 501).
How to select Quality Informational Books
Several aspects need to be considered when searching for quality informational books. The book should have an attractive format and design. The content should be appealing with a sufficient mix of text and illustrations. The text needs to include compelling details such as quotations and anecdotes. The accuracy of the text is important. It needs to have current information that is factual and reliable(Tunnell and Jacobs, 133). Authors can not include anthropomorphism in the text. This means they can not give animals or objects human-like characteristics. Stereotyping is also discouraged in informational books (Norton, 502).
Teachers and parents can choose award winning books to find quality informational books (Narang, 1). The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award is one well respected award. This award was established by the American Library Association. Three books that were given this medal or honor are described below. Another informational book award to look for is the Orbis Pictus Award. The National Council of Teachers of English give this award to an outstanding nonfiction book published each year.
Excellent Informational Books
Secrets of a Civil War Submarine Solving the Mysteries of the H.L. Hunley
- By Sally M. Walker
This book tells the story of the H.L. Hunley. A Civil War stealth weapon. It was the first submarine to sink an enemy ship in 1864. After the attack, something happened to the submarine because it never returned to port. Decades later the H.L. Hunley was found on the ocean floor. This Robert F. Sibert Medal winning book uncovers the mystery of what happened to the H.L. Hunley.
Sequoyah The Cherokee Man Who Gave His People Writing
- By James Rumford
This Robert F. Sibert Honer book is about a man named Sequoyah who created a writing system for the Cherokee Indians. In the 1820s, Sequoyah invented letters to spell out the sounds of his language. The Cherokee honored Sequoyah by naming him after redwood trees called Giant Sequoias.
- By Lynn Curlee
Brooklyn Bridge is a Robert F. Sibert Honer book about the eighth wonder of the world. The Brooklyn Bridge is a monument that has an interesting and scandelous history. Lynn Curlee presents the story in fascinating text, informative maps, and realistic illustrations.
Informational Books- Internet Links
- Curlee, Lynn. Brooklyn Bridge. New York: Athneum Books for Young Readers, 2001.
- Kurkjian, catherine, Nancy Livingston, and Vicki Cobb. "Inquiring Minds Want to Learn: the Info on Nonfiction and Informational Series Books." The Reading Teacher os 60 (2006): 86-96.
- Narang, Shama. "Choosing the Best Books for Your Child." Scholastic Parents 2008. 26 Mar. 2008 <http:www2.scholastic.com/browsw/article.jsp?id=1518&print=1>.
- Norton, Donna E. Through the Eyes of a Child: an Introduction to Children's Literature. 7th ed. Pearson Education/ Merrill Prentice Hall, 2007. 500-502.
- Rumford, James. Sequoyah: the Cherokke Man Who Gave His People Writing. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.
- Tunnell, Michael O., and James S. Jacobs. Children's Literature Briefly. 2nd ed. Merrill Prentice Hall, 2000. 130-141.
- Walker, Sally M. Secrets of a Civil War Submarine: Solving the Mysteries of the H.L. Hunley. Carolrhoda Books Inc., 2005. 1.