You can find a description of the Nonfiction Minute here on the landing page. The purpose of the Nonfiction Minute is to expose students and teachers to topics that they may not know anything about. The Internet is great for finding what you know you don’t know. It’s not so good at introducing you to what you don’t know you don’t know.
The Nonfiction Minute is an opportunity to discover. We are not trying to be an encyclopedia. We are an organization of skilled writers who have written award-winning books for children about the real world. There’s a pretty good chance that your school library has at least one book by each of our authors. In order to write our books, we don’t just read what others have written about the topic; as much as possible, we write about our experience of the topic. When we do research we travel to historic sites, get access to primary sources, interview experts, visit museums, laboratories, newspaper morgues.
Research is what I call the “guzinta” phase. (Sound it out.) Then the mysterious creative process goes on for each of us until we finally sit down at our keyboards and start the “guzouta” phase. Our brains create a mashup of the information we've shoveled in as they work to make sense of our passions, insights, and knowledge of the material. Fiction has long been author-driven. The Nonfiction Minute is your opportunity to read author-driven nonfiction. I promise it's not like an encyclopedia or a text book. The author never forgets the reader. We write to engage, entertain, inspire and inform our brilliant audience. We do this by writing with “voice”—our personalities and feelings about content are woven into the craft of writing. The Nonfiction Minutes, edited by Jean Reynolds, are good-teaching that is “bottled and preserved” in words.
In our archives, you can find Nonfiction Minutes on topics and subjects in your mandated curriculum. You can use these Minutes to introduce a unit or reinforce an idea. Karen Sterling, our fabulous, hands-on librarian, has done the Herculean task of writing a Transfer-to-Teaching (T2T) for each Minute, to get your creative juices going on how to use the material.
Please use the comment section to have your students (and you) give us thoughtful comments (we will not publish silly ones.) It’s an opportunity to share insights and practice good citizenship in a protected public forum.
Enjoy every Minute!