Sunday, February 19, 2012

In Praise of Non-Fiction

Posts on this blog frequently concern works of fiction. Indeed, fiction is what I, myself, am most passionate about writing. I do, however, write 50 -60 book reviews a year for Children’s Literature and most of the books assigned to me are non-fiction. And I love reading them! Over the years, to name only a few of the topics covered in the books I’ve reviewed, I have learned more than I ever thought possible about forensics, climatology, space travel, computer science and medicine, not to mention in-depth studies of many foreign countries and cultures.

So last week I picked up a non-fiction book to read for pleasure: Stephanie Sammartino McPherson’s recent publication, ICEBERG RIGHT AHEAD! The Tragedy of the Titanic. It is beautifully illustrated with photographs, matching the glory of any picture book out there. The drama that unfolded on that April night begins with the first sentence. This book captured and held my interest equally with any fictional adventure I have ever read. I was reminded how consistent the requirements for good writing (and great reading) are across all genres and categories: your writing must captivate and keep the reader’s interest, move the plot forward with the right pacing and rhythm. If illustrated, the book must use images that are relevant and expand on the story, images that are wonderful to look at on their own. With those standards as your guide, you’ll do well whatever you write.

In the interest of full disclosure, Stephanie Sammartino McPherson is a member of our Richmond Children’s Critique group. (See bio at left) ICEBERG RIGHT AHEAD! Is published by Twenty-First Century Books/Lerner Publishing, ISBN: 978-0-7613-6756-7

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