One thing is certainly clear about this spring’s new nonfiction series: publishers are focused on helping educators understand and deliver on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). If some sets teeter a bit, others are great resources packed with strong visuals and plenty of prompts to get students thinking critically without making them feel like reading nonfiction is the equivalent of being force fed kale.
When it comes to series nonfiction, it is possible to be both nutritious and delicious.
I like my math with a side of social science (see Stephanie Farnlacher’s “It Adds Up”), my career titles delivered straight up (check out Heather Acerro’s “Professional Pursuits”), and my world history spicy with anecdotes (read Mary Mueller’s “Power, Fortune, and Fame”). Given this season’s selections (most of which have been aimed at elementary and middle school students), I’m not alone in my hunger for facts paired with great photographs, intriguing further reading lists, and links to online games and activities.
As librarians, you know all too well that you can challenge students. You can prompt them to think, and ask them to be engaged. But you can’t just stuff them full of facts. The mark of a great series is one that inspires an omnivorous appetite. With such sets, as soon as readers finish one book, they’ll want to read the next one and then the one after that—each volume as tasty as the one before.
Editor, Series Made Simple