A common misperception–middle-graders don’t love nonfiction–has become the center of a high profile (and thankfully, courteous) debate, thanks to the Washington Post and one of our very own contributors and MUF STEM Tuesday curator, Jen Swanson.
It all started with this December opinion piece from Jay Mathews.
A month later, nonfiction authors Jen Swanson, Cynthia Levinson, and Melissa Stewart countered with this article for Publishers Weekly, citing multiple studies illustrating just how much middle-grade readers really do like their nonfiction. They also called out the exciting innovation of the format to include comics and narrative nonfiction, as well as a commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Since there’s no such thing as bad press, nonfiction titles get a boost from this debate on such a visible stage. Moreover, in an age when the old fashioned textbook is slowly going gently into the good night, a healthy conversation about keeping our kids engaged and interested in reading works for us all.
Happy New Year to our MUF community. We all wish you a peaceful, purposeful, and productive 2021. To our writers, teachers, librarians, and parents, we applaud your resilience and thank you for your commitment to creativity, learning, books, and children. We are grateful for your work and for your support of our blog, and we’re excited to share more middle-grade book joy in the coming year.
Happy Chanukah (or Hanukkah) to all of our Mixed-Up Files friends who celebrate! We love this time of year when social media is filled with pictures of delicious sufganiyot and beautiful candles in the menorah. (Yesterday, a friend posted her creation: sushi in the shape of a menorah. Brilliant.)
Hanukkah’s eight-day celebration commemorates the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem after the Maccabees recaptured it from the Greeks in the 2nd century BCE. It’s also about the miracle of the oil, and how just a tiny bit lasted for eight days.
I think we can all use the inspiration of that triumph and that magic right now, no matter what holidays we celebrate.
If you’re searching for gifts, look no further than this list of terrific books written by Jewish authors. Adding on to that list, don’t forget A Place at the Table, by Laura Shovan and Saadiya Faruqi.