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.