Focusing on the Future of Children’s Nonfiction

Guest post by Sally Isaacs, co-founder and co-chair of the 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference

They come in titles such as Why Do My Teeth Fall Out? And Other Questions Kids Have About the Human Body; Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth; and How Rude! Real Bugs Who Won’t Mind Their Manners. They are children’s nonfiction books, and each year they are gaining more and more space on bookshelves.

Children’s nonfiction is a growing field of publishing for a good reason. It encompasses biographies, travel books, how-to books, encyclopedias, and stories of extraordinary moments in history. These are the books parents turn to when children get curious about how things work. They are the books children need for writing their first school reports. Educators are focusing on building literacy skills through children’s nonfiction because that is predominantly the type of reading we are all required to do for college and careers.  

All the people involved in bringing nonfiction to children – from author’s, illustrators, digital developers, and publishers to educators and librarians will gather on June 10-12 for the 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference held at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York. They will share information and learn the latest developments in the field. This is a unique conference devoted to children’s nonfiction.

The weekend is packed with workshops, presentations, and social time to inspire conversations about taking children’s nonfiction to the next level. Award-winning authors on the faculty include Steve Sheinkin, Candace Fleming, and Lesa Cline-Ransome. Librarian faculty members include Emily Drew and Karen Ginman from school-library partnerships with the New York Public Library. The National Science Teachers Association will be represented by its president Carolyn Hayes. The National Council of Teachers of English will be represented by Cyndi Giorgis, chair of the Orbis Pictus Award Committee for Outstanding Nonfiction. Editors, art directors and others from publishers such as  Abrams, Lerner, Charlesbridge, Scholastic, Capstone, Rosen, National Geographic Kids, and Highlights will be joining conversations.

Workshop topics include “Diversity and Multiculturalism in Children’s Nonfiction,” “Graphic Nonfiction” (Comics and more), “The Power of Audiobooks,” “Next Generation Science Standards,” “Social Studies Framework,” “What’s Going on with Digital Nonfiction,” “What’s New in Teen and YA Nonfiction?” and many others.

KidLitTV is a conference sponsor and its founder, Julie Gribble, is on the faculty.

The full conference program and faculty are available, here.


Lionel Bender, Initiator of the 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference hopes to raise the profile of nonfiction: “to show it can be as creative as Fiction; to highlight changes in the industry; and to help agents and freelance writers and illustrators make connections with commissioning editors and art directors.”

The 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference provides a space for publishers, book packagers, development houses, and digital developers to exchange ideas. Also, it is a space for educators, librarians, publishers, and authors to explore how nonfiction products are created and can be used in creative ways that respond to Common Core standards.

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One Comment

Kid Lit TV Commenter Maraval

This sounds wonderful. Could I learn a little more about the “Next Generation Science Standards?” Does that mean common core goals, or something different. Thank you.


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