Monday, March 5, 2018

ReFoReMo Day 3: Heidi E. Y. Stemple Sheds Light on Backmatter

by Heidi E.Y. Stemple


My going-to-bed book, YOU NEST HERE WITH ME, (co-authored by Jane Yolen) has a surprise on the last page.  Backmatter!

If you are as book-nerdy as I am, then you get all giggly-excited about backmatter.
Not all books need it, of course, but some books practically beg for it.  Non-fictions, especially biographies, are really enhanced if they are afforded extra space to tell more of the story.  But, in my opinion, it’s the books where you don’t expect it—books like going-to-bed books-- that are the most amazing when you turn the last page and find backmatter.



What is backmatter?
Backmatter is additional information found in the back of a book.  It can come in many forms:
·      An author’s note.
·      A map or chart.
·      An explanation or definition of subjects or settings of the story.
·      Extra history or science that ties into the book’s subject matter.
·      Place to go to learn more: websites or bibliography.
·      Information about how the book was researched or where the idea came from.
·      A combination or all of the above.


What can you do with backmatter?
·      You can tie your story to a larger subject. This is especially helpful in bringing a book into schools and connecting it to a curriculum, thereby expanding your audience.
·      You can lengthen the age of a younger book by making the text be just the beginning of the story.
·      It can deepen and expand the meaning of your story without burdening it with too much detail and keeping the word count low.
·      It can allow your story to stay lyrical or sweet or compact without bogging it down with extra words or facts that can make a story cumbersome and lose its unique voice.
·      If your story is in a tradition of folk or fairy-lore, it can be a link to the historical tale. 
·      It can anchor your story to history.

Who is doing backmatter well?

The obvious choices are two Caldecott winners: Finding Winnie (with a photo album) and Locomotive (which also uses the endpapers as extra space). But they are the obvious—longer historical non-fiction stories. Of course, these books have taken advantage of the last pages to tell more of the stories.

I think one of my very favorite examples of backmatter is a book 
from 2004.  I Took the Moon for a Walk (Carolyn Curtis, Alison Jay).  This is a lovely story of a boy and the moon’s imaginary friendship as they walk home one evenings.  In the back, there are two spreads: The Mysterious Moon and The World At Night. Though the story is sweet and magical, the facts are there, subtly in the text but also, expanded in a non-fiction format in the back.   Backmatter done brilliantly!

For the really young reader, SOME PETS (Angela DiTerlizzi and Brendan Wenzel) has some fun backmatter in the form of a captioned illustration of the pets from the book, which includes both their pet names and their animal species.  It is both fun and educational.


Best In Snow (April Pulley Sayre) has included, in the back of her photography-illustrated poem, tons of information on snow’s journey from moisture to landing on the ground.  It also includes a bibliography for further reading.









In the back of Quick Little Monkey! (Sarah L. Thomson and Lita Judge) you will find information about the actual monkey (the pygmy marmoset) that is the character in the book.









Though A Perfect Day for an Albatross (Caren Loebel-Fried) is told in first person, in the voice of the albatross, it is filled with information about the bird.  But, even more facts are found in the 5 pages of backmatter which includes ways to help albatrosses and a Can You Find page as an extra activity.








The Alligator’s Smile, (Jane Yolen, Jason Stemple) though poetry, is a unique non-fiction/photography format. It is enhanced by backmatter in 3 parts: More Gator Facts, Glossary, and To Learn More which is a bibliography.







Thunder Underground, also poetry, (Jane Yolen, Josee Masse) about things that live under our feet like the roots of trees, tectonic plates, and basements, has a unique page of backmatter entitled Notes on the Poems, Both Scientific and Personal which gives the reader more information as well as a connection to the author. 







The story of a little girl wishing to be bigger in Imani’s Moon (JaNay Brown-Wood, Hazel Mitchell) is followed by a full-page author’s note explaining the origin of the story and the history of the Maasai people bringing the readers a greater understanding of both the character and setting.







More-igami (Dori Kleber, G. Brian Karas) gives the reader an activity tied-into the subject matter of the book.  Because, what child-reader doesn’t want to be like the character in their book? The story would work just fine without it, but this is a book that, in my opinion, would be silly not to have backmatter.






Listen to Our World (Bill Martin Jr & Michael Sampson and Melissa Sweet), like our You Nest Here With Me, is a sweet text about subjects in the natural world with backmatter that gives more information about each animal’s habitat. 







Heidi is giving away a signed copy of YOU NEST HERE WITH ME! To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must comment on each post, be registered, and consistently read picture books throughout the challenge.


Heidi E.Y. Stemple is a 2nd generation kidlit author.  After college, she didn’t jump right into the family business, instead she went into law enforcement. But, soon enough, writing, which she thought was a hobby, became her full-time job. She has authored and co-authored somewhere around 25 books with 3 new ones coming out in the fall and another 2 in 2019.  She lives and works on a big farm in western Massachusetts with two houses—the other one is occupied by her mother, author Jane Yolen. 
She wishes all books had backmatter.

Join her on Social Media:
Her website is:  HeidiEYStemple.com
Her facebook pages are:  Heidi Stemple, Heidi E.Y. Stemple, and Owl Count
She occasionally re-tweets things @heidieys
And she is trying to be a better Instagrammer @heidieys


216 comments:

  1. Heidi,
    Your posts always teach me something new. I have more ideas for back matter in my manuscripts. Love You Nest with Me and look forward to reading those you have listed.

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  2. I love back matter!

    It was great to look at different types of back matter and see how it is used to enhance different genres. A Perfect Day for an Albatross alone has SO much there. The “Find Me“ pages are especially fun. I love the album in the back matter of Finding Winnie, too.

    I had some confusion with Imani’s Moon. The text contains Swahili words and phrases and Imani is also a Swahili name. But Swahili is not the language of the Maasai, the ethnic group supposedly featured in the book. I’m sure some Maasai people speak it, perhaps learning it at school, but it’s not the logical choice. The mention of Anansi also threw me off as Anansi is from Akan folklore (meaning Ghana, mainly, not Kenya/Tanzania). Again, maybe some Maasai would know the tales of Anansi, as I do as an American, but it was confusing for me. I was hoping the back matter would clarify some of the choices the author made to set the story in a Maasai tribe and include these other elements, but it didn’t really, and that could leave the readers with an inaccurate understanding. I was a bit disappointed with this one. I love books set in Africa, having lived in various African countries for the last ten years, but the books need to be accurate or logical! My Heart Will Not Sit Down by Mara Rockliff is set in Cameroon and based on a true story. The book is fabulous and the back matter is too, connecting the act of kindness in the book to similar instances around the world. And it even explains why in the main character had a name that did not match her region/ethnic group.

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    1. I also want to add I think Imani's Moon is a lovely story (I just wish more of the different Maasai and other African elements had been a bit more explained via the back matter, since back matter in fiction can be so helpful)

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    2. I had the same reaction. I lived and worked in Kenya for 4 1/2 years and the use of Swahili rather than Maasai words also threw me. Even then when they used usiku mwema to say goodnight rather than the more childlike Lala salama "sweet dreams," it took me out of the book and made me wonder about the accuracy of other parts of the book. I agree wholeheartedly with the points you brought up. Will be checking out My Heart Will Not Sit Down.

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  3. I'm looking forward to reading today's titles! My critique partner recently suggested I add a glossary to a picture book manuscript I'm working on, now I'm thinking I may want to include a map too.

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  4. I also love backmatter! When I was teaching, I appreciated picture books with backmatter. It was a way to tie in a fun picture book with curriculum. Does an author's note at the front of a book count as backmatter? Better to call it a Forward? Rabbit Moon by Jean Kim is a lovely book that has an author's note that explains the Korean legend on which she based her book.

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  5. I, too, like looking at the back matter. I agree with all the reasons you listed on why to have back matter and the purpose it serves. Thank you, Heidi!

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  6. Thank you Heidi for sharing these gorgeous stories and showing us how back matter works. Definitely made a note of these to use as mentor texts.

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  7. I Took the Moon for a Walk was one of my son's favorite books.
    And More-igami is just darling (I loved the way the artwork/endpages mirrored the origami process!).

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  8. Thanks for giving back matter a whole new "wrap". The enhancements that it gives stories at the end is like an extra surprise.

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  9. I'm in love with backmatter! Thank you Heidi for sharing titles, some unexpected, where backmatter made all the difference;)

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  10. Many of the pictures books you shared are my mentor texts. I love to weave interesting facts into my stories and add related back matter. These books grow with readers.

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  11. Backmatter can certainly be fun. The first ones I thought about when I read this post was Finding Winnie and Some Pets. That might be because I just read them at the bookstore the other day though 😂

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  12. I love back matter and many books can benefit from including them in their book. I do think they are the perfect addition to simpler text which then can be elevated for higher learners by including the back matter. Nest Here with Me is a great book! My reluctant readers just did the Great Backyard Bird Count with me and I included this book for reference-just in case we saw some nests. :)

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  13. I love these examples, but they only give me more ideas! My challenge already is wanting to include it all! Thanks!

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  14. Heidi, as a former school librarian, I love back matter and all the myriad shapes it can take. I also love YOU NEST HERE WITH ME and the back matter there is excellent. Hope Win this book!

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  15. Love this post, especially as I'm working on backmatter right now for a rhyming nonfiction picture book. I know and love many of these books, but thank you for introducing me to I TOOK THE MOON FOR A WALK. I've never read that one until now, and it's a treasure!

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  16. Thank you Heidi! I have a new appreciation for backmatter and plan to revisit some of my WIPs to see if it can be incorporated. My mom bought "I Took the Moon for a Walk" when it first came out, for my now grown son. It's been a favorite of his and his younger sisters. Thanks again for a great post!

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  17. I love the different types of backmatter that you have highlighted. Your post has got me taking up the challenge to research backmatter for one of my PBs! Thank you

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  18. thank you this post is the best. I also learned a lot from reading the comments. back matter can make the book. I love the research that goes into it.

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  19. Alice Carty FulgioneMarch 5, 2018 at 9:07 AM

    Thanks for all your back matter info.! Loved your reading suggestions!

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  20. I also love backmatter! I can't wait to checkout the book's that you mentioned that I haven't read yet!

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  21. It is fun to see the different ways that backmatter was used. I liked Some Pets the most!

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  22. I loved seeing all the different types of backmatter. It really enhances these wonderful stories and helps them grow with kids. Thanks for a great post. I am eager to see if I can find creative ways to use backmatter in my own writing!

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  23. I Took the Moon for a Walk, is a favorite in our house not just for the beautiful prose but because my kids live the mackmatter and are obsessed with the moon. It certainly enhances the book! Great post!

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  24. Thanks Heidi for sharing your insights with us. I love backwater and like you, I think it's even better when you don’t expect it. I haven't had a chance to read all the mentioned titles, but Finding Winnie is the perfect example!

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  25. I love how Heidi so clearly underscores the importance about how much backmatter matters! The mentor texts mentioned inspire me to read more and to consider more possibilities to use backmatter in my own work. Many thanks for sharing!

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  26. Wonderful post about the how and why backmatter matters! Thank you, Heidi!

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  27. Backmatter really does add a lot to books. You Nest Here With Me is one of my personal favorites, and we've been reading Alligator's Smile every day for weeks. Thanks for an interesting post.

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  28. Very helpful post on backmatter. Thank you!

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  29. Thank you! A wonderful group of books a had not read before. Can an author submitting an unsolicited MS, also submit their own back matter at the same time? Or does the conversation come later? Thank you again!!

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    1. Yes, because it could help sell the mss! Even if the backmatter ends up getting changed, it is a starting place and signals to the editor that YES this book can have backmatter.

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    2. Exactly my question! Thanks for answering it, Jane!

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    3. Jane Yolen, thank you! That is so very helpful to know! And pretty eye opening for me as well!

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  30. Heidi, like you, I wish all books had back matter; it's often the favorite part of the ending for me because there is no true ending, the story keeps going. YOU NEST HERE WITH ME is a brilliant bedtime story and my great-nephew loves it!

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  32. I really enjoyed this post and being introduced to so many new books with back-matter of all kinds. I always thought of back-matter as being only for more serious non-fiction reads, but your "Some Pets" and "More-igami" examples were wonderful for showing how even fiction books for young readers can have some fun back matter to enhance their stories. Thank you!

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  33. Thank you, Heidi! I am enjoying these books, several of which I had not read before. It's fun to consider different ways in which the back matter really does enhance the story. And, as you say, without adding to the word count or making the story ponderous.

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  34. Thank you, Heidi, for the examples of interesting backmatter following fiction. It really adds depth to children's understanding of the story and you provided some wonderful books that do this well.

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  35. Thanks for a great post! The teacher in me loves backmatter. After a child has been engaged in a beautifully told story there a such an opportunity for that teachable moment.

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  36. I love backmatter! Sidebars, too (as in the Alligator's Smile). Just having opportunity to go beyond the text offers so much for curious kids - and parents.

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  37. Heidi, an intriguing new look at back matter. Love the possibilities you suggest. Many thanks.

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  38. I love this idea of using backmatter to allow different ages the chance to get different things from the book!

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  39. Working on some nonfiction right now--thanks for these stellar titles!

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  40. Thanks for this great post! I especially want to read Best in Snow and I Took the Moon For a Walk. The titles and cover images really draw me in! :)

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  41. I love backmatter, too, Heidi! Thanks for all the great examples you provide for me to look into. I also like the ways you describe backmatter, which will help as I write my manuscripts.

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  42. thank you for this post! I know from reading with my own kids that they always love backmatter

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  43. Great choices, many of them new to me. And such a wide variety of how to do backmatter well.

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  44. Love how you have expanded on the role of back matter. So much depth can be added to one's story. thanks

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  45. I'm working on two picture book bios so this is just what I needed. Thank you, Heidi!

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  46. Thank you, Heidi! What a wonderful list of books - i will be checking out many of them! I've read a few already (Imani's Moon was wonderful).

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  47. I love the way backmatter enhances a story. Great titles . . . thank you!!

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  48. Thank you for clarifying backmatter for picture books. I was totally way off base on that one.

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  49. Great, helpful examples backmatter uses -- thanks, Heidi!

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  50. Backmatter can also offer information that addresses different age groups, so the story can expand to be relevant to a larger audience. Thanks!

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  51. I have a fictional story that I've just realized needs back matter to place it in context with its ecosystem. Thanks for these examples!

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  52. I'm looking forward to checking out the back matter in your examples. Thanks!

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  53. A bit of a backmatter geek myself, I appreciate your views and the add'l books to read & review!

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  54. Thank you for your insights on back matter.

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  55. Read I Took the Moon for a Walk. What a lovely book! No wonder new editions keep coming.

    Thanks, Heidi, for helping me understand all the benefits of backmatter.

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  56. I would really like to learn how to do backmatter well. It is great to see so many diverse approaches...from historical pictures, quick author's notes, fun spreads or even lengthy facts...it seems there is a lot of knowledge to be gained from these titles!

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  57. Thanks for the great examples. I love getting a bonus when I finish a book!

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  58. Thanks for these examples of backmatter done well. As I am just dipping my toes into a new NF project, I've been heavily considering the backmatter of each text that I read, but it's also been fun to see examples of fiction and even narrative fiction that include backmatter as an enhancement of the storytelling. I love learning new things about craft and storytelling options!

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  59. This is an exceptional post with so many terrific examples of back matter. I am polishing up my first nonfiction manuscript and first attempt at creating back matter, it really does add another layer to the story. Thank you for bringing my attention to books I haven’t explored yet as mentor texts!

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  60. I really liked how the books showed so many different examples of backmatter. I particularly liked the backmatter in Quick, Little Monkey! because it adds so much to a story for young readers. I'm writing a series of board books that I think would really benefit from backmatter. I'm currently looking for examples of board books that contain backmatter. Does anyone have a recommendation?

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    1. You may want to post this question on the ReFoReMo Facebook page because you'll likely get more eyes on it there!

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  61. Terrific post. Thank you so much for the great examples. I love back matter as well. Always fun and enlightening to learn new things.

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  62. Thank you, Heidi, for shedding light on the use of backmatter in picture books. I'm reading the examples you presented. Always learning!

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  63. Thanks for all these mentor texts - I have two fiction PBs with backmatter, and I know this will help me refine them.

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  64. I like the idea of adding a glossary or back matter to the end of stories that are fiction but have details and vocabulary that are about a habitat many children aren't familiar with. These were all different in their back matter and very interesting. Thanks Heidi.

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  65. Thank you for this particularly informative post about how the story doesn’t necessarily need to end with the final story page!
    Jenna Feldman

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  66. As a writer of nonfiction poetry books, I rely on back matter to provide the facts behind the feeling of the poems, so it was great to see such a variety of back matter strategies in this list. I'm noticing how important it is for back matter to be visually friendly, with images (like the photos in FINDING WINNIE or the diagram in MORE-IGAMI) and/or headings (like April Pulley Sayre's use of words from the main pages as the headings for her back matter.) This really helps readers navigate.

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  67. I love back matter, also. It adds so much. Thank you for the examples.

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  68. Great post, Heidi! Thank you for the great list of books containing back matter. I always find that part of a book very interesting and a good way to start discussions.

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  69. Love this topic! I'm working on two fictional manuscripts that include back matter.

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  70. Thank you for taking us on a guided tour through these fabulous titles and their backmatter. I added I Took the Moon for a Walk to my Pinterest list of favorites.

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  71. Thanks for affirming my intuitions about backmatter, Heidi. I'm looking forward to reading your recommendations with fresh eyes and studying their uses of backmatter.

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  72. This is so helpful...thanks for sharing!

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  73. Who knew! I love back matter, and without knowing what it was called, put one together for my middle grade blend of fantasy/realistic fiction. Whenever I read historical fiction, I always wish for it at the end of the book to know what's true and what's not. I'd love the same for TV programs.

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    1. I totally agree! I didn't know it had a name. And I always end up researching stuff to found out how much fact was used in shows/movies/books.

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  74. Great list of books with backmatter! The range of what is included is as wide and vast as the picture books we read and write. Perfect way to illustrate the topic of backmatter! In love with these books! I am adding all of these books with backmatter to my list of favorites! Thanks!

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  75. Ok I totally just got started on the reading for today. I don't have all the books so while I wait for my library to gather them. I used the amazon's look inside for the book "The Alligators" Smile and Other Poems" and I had to stop. I'm often not fond of children's poem books but this one is great! I can't wait to get it and read it to my class. There is a great rhythm or flow to the poems. Not simply because of the single topic but because they are playful and unique. I also love the added info boxes.

    I can't say on enough words how much I am loving this event. Thank you!

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  76. Thank you, Heidi! It’s as if you read my mind today. I need some good back matter mentor texts as I settle in to write some fun back matter! Yay for today and Heidi!

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  77. Very helpful post on Backmatter. Thank you!

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  78. I love books with back matter! Once I was reviewing a book for our state book award list. It was about chipmunks and was enhanced by exquisite photos by the author. When I got to the end I said to myself, the only thing that would make this book better is the inclusion of back matter. Then I turned the page and there it was!
    Chippy Chipmunk Parties in the Garden, by Kathy M. Miller
    There are several others in this series out now, too.

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  79. Great post and gave me an idea that will finish a story I have been struggling with for over a year on how to end and make relevant. Thanx,

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  80. The titles in our reading list are great examples of back matter. For me, informative back matter as in Best in Snow, helps me wind down from a story while helping me learn or explore a little more.

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  81. I appreciate the clear explanation of the various purposes of backmatter. It was useful to read SOME PETS and see how in cases where extensive backmatter isn't necessary, an approach that's mostly illustration rather than text works well.

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  82. Heidi, I am so glad not to have missed I Took the Moon for A Walk. Thanks for the list. I would also add a book that I have had great success with when teaching 2nd graders during read aloud and that is Ivan - The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla(2014). The words are few and the back matter necessary. I rediscovered and older book If You Hopped Like A Frog - it has some interesting back matter relating to math. I wonder if it is too old to use as an example though. Thanks for the post!

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  83. I have a book with back matter myself an am thrilled to have such a wonderful list of mentor texts to check out.

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  84. Thank you! This is a great way to combine my loves of nonfiction and fiction that I hadn't quite thought of yet.

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  85. Thank you for this informative post!

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  86. Karen M. GreenwaldMarch 5, 2018 at 1:49 PM

    Thank you so much for your "back matter" thoughts about back matter! Your list and comments concerning these pieces (particularly the review of types and approaches) is incredibly useful.

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  87. I loved reading these books with backmatter. I learned a lot about the subjects! -Chantal Ostroske

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  88. Heidi, I love YOU NEST HERE WITH ME. And what a great idea to include back matter in books where you least expect it. Thank you for this fabulous list of back matter done right!

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  89. Heidi always shares #kidlit wisdom. Thanks! I try to add back matter when it's appropriate. Offering a bonus is always a positive action.

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  90. You Nest Here with Me is as sweet as it gets! great back matter examples.

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  91. Thanks for sharing great reasons to include back matter with wonderful examples.

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  92. Thank you for sharing some of the reasons to include back matter in picture books. And thank you for the recommendations since I haven't read all of these.

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  93. I love using backmatter! Thank you for reminding us of the various types and many ways we can use backmatter to expand our books.

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  94. Great examples of backmatter. I only found one of these books but I have many pb bios like Dorthea's Eyes by Barb Rosenstock. I'm not in the US for the book prize.

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  95. Thank you for the variety of mentor texts for this post. Backmatter can enhance many types of books. I'm working on this for my own stories.

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  96. Backmatter does matter! Tahnks for sharing some mentor texts in which to find solid examples.

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  97. Thank you, Heidi. I love research so back matter is always there, but to use it with fiction is so smart! Thanks again.

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  98. I am always drawn to books with backmatter, but I never stopped to think of how many different ways backmatter can be incorporated into a story. Thanks so much for kicking off the week and for this important information.

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  99. Oh, thank you for this, Heidi. Back matter is the bomb. I think I will take a photo of the different books' back matter, attach them to this post and file it away. Such good examples of back matter that pull you in.

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  100. Interesting. You always think of non-fiction backmatter, now I'll look into creating backmatter for fiction as well.

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  101. Wonderful info and perfectly time as I work on glossary for a fiction story. Thank you for this.

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  102. LOVE backmatter. Sometimes the icing on the cake! Thanks for the fab post!

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  103. I love the books you shared. You Nest Here With Me is one of my favorites! Thank you for this wonderful post Heidi.

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  104. Melissa RutiglianoMarch 5, 2018 at 5:28 PM

    helpful to see different types of backmatter!

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  105. Fantastic information. Thank you so very much for this.

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  106. Thanks Heidi. I love the variety of ways authors 'do' backmatter. A great selection of books.

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  107. I love this post, Heidi! And I loved the variety of backmatter in your book recommendations. Thanks again for participating in ReFoReMo 2018.

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  108. Thanks for so many book suggestions with wonderful backmatter and illustrations!

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  109. It was through a ReFoReMo a few years ago that I became aware of the importance of backmatter. With a background in science, I love backmatter, and I especially appreciated the variety that Heidi chose for this post.

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  110. So helpful. Thank you. Back matter really helps 'flesh out' the story and these are great examples!

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  111. These are such wonderful titles! Thanks for highlighting all the various methods for including backmatter.

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  112. I appreciated Heidi's post and learning about creative ways to use backmatter to enhance a text. Thank you!

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  113. I've been thinking about back matter, like adding a recipe, but is this included in the 32 page count? I know the word count for back matter is separate from the story, but I'm thinking a story needs to be shorter. I know end-papers could be used too, but just wondering about page count. Thank you.

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  114. You've brought several new titles to my attention, Heidi. Thank you so much for this in depth lesson on back matter. You are right; it's a goldmine!

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  115. Back matter is so helpful to educators. Thanks for these excellent examples!

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  116. I love reading these books and seeing the various ways they present backmatter. I have especially enjoyed the creative use of a photo album in Finding Winnie and the graphic with pet names in Some Pets. The recommended books have shown me that backmatter can enhance the reading experience for readers of all ages.

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  117. Thank you for illustrating the importance of something I never gave much thought to in the past with such great examples.

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  118. I love backmatter, Heidi! It gives a book another layer and also reaches out to an audience that might not have been attracted to the story alone.

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  119. I Love backmatter, but had not considered it as an option in books that don't ask for it. I LOVE THIS! I AM BEYOND EXCITED to make backmatter possible in the least predictable ways and places! THANK YOU FOR THE INSPIRATION!

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  120. I Love backmatter, but had not considered it as an option in books that don't ask for it. I LOVE THIS! I AM BEYOND EXCITED to make backmatter possible in the least predictable ways and places! THANK YOU FOR THE INSPIRATION!

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  121. Wonderful to see a collection of such varied mentor texts all using back matter. The possibilities really are endless.

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  122. Thanks Heidi! This is a great post. I love reading the back matter and appreciate seeing strong examples of it being well done. Congratulations on your book!

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  123. This was such a useful post. Thank you SO much for all of the great mentor texts and your thoughts on unique ways to use backmatter. You definitely got my wheels turning.

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  124. Thanks, Heidi, for these great titles with their variety of backmatter styles. As a birder and a poet, I'm in love with You Nest Here With Me! The backmatter extends the age span for this book in both text and illustrations. Its illustrated physical profiles of the birds, eggs, and feathers give lifelong value. The conversatioal tone of Thunder Underground's backmatter is magnetic. More-igami's craft tie-in is a great plus! Becky Loescher

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  125. Thank you for all the interesting titles with backmatter! They are all such different styles and it is something I would have never thought to find in a bedtime story or simple books about pets. The variety of backmatter is very interesting as well - from an author's note to origami making. Thanks!

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  126. Enjoyed researching these books as good examples of back matter. Especially loved Finding Winnie and its album style back matter with photos, so well done to enhance the story! I am using back matter in a couple of my pb mss to include language translations and cultural tradition explanations.

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  127. I learn so much reading back matter and I love to write it, as well.

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  128. It seems like the emphasis on backmatter has really shot up over the past few years. Is it the desire to make PBs have more educational value? I appreciate backmatter when it gives readers something new to think about, but sometimes it seems forced.

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  129. Thanks for opening my eyes to the variety of possibilities with backmatter. I love that it lets you keep your story short and sweet, while allowing you to enhance and extend your subject. You can make it as simple or as complex as you want. The backmatter in SOME PETS is so simple and cute, I previously would not have thought of it as backmatter. I'll have to look for ways to use this in my own stories.

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  130. I really like how these books showcased some of the different ways to do backmatter. I especially liked the how-to in More-igami and how so few words were in Best in Snow, but that the author broke her backmatter up into the different lines of her poem. Great ideas. Seems like most any story could potentially have backmatter.

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  131. I’m glad I’m not the only one to get giddy over backmatter!!
    We could start a club!

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  132. I adore backmatter! These are great examples. My oldest daughter especially likes backmatter, because she questions everything. I like the fun and colorful way SOME PETS uses to make learning almost like a game of finding the animal, and how FINDING WINNIE looks like a photo album.

    I wrote backmatter for one of my books, but it was more of a collection of lists. Looking at this group all together, I realize there are so many different ways to make it fun!

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  133. Heidi, thank you for choosing books with such a variety of examples of backmatter. Someday, I hope to read the “backmatter” of how you transitioned from law enforcement to full-time writing.
    Michelle Kashinsky, thank you for asking your question. (That was a question I also had.)
    Jane Yolen, thanks for answering Michelle’s question and thank you for the many ways you support budding writers.
    Thank you to all those who commented about other books with good examples of backmatter. I plan on checking out these books, too.




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  134. I find I’m reading these texts in a totally different way now. I took the moon for a walk in one of my favorites. Sweet concept, and great use of backmatter. More-igami was the other one that really jumped out at me. The illustrations were so complimentary & I love that there’s an origami activity in the backmatter. I’m still waiting for a few of today’s titles to be transferred to my library so I’ll have to revisit this topic when they do!

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  135. Thank you for validating the importance of back matter. Reading the back matter of trxts is like having dessert after a good meal. I just revised the back matter for the picture book biography I wrote. It was great fun writing it too.

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  136. Wow--so much to learn here. Thank you!

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  137. Now comes the fun of looking for backmatter. Thank you for the info!

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  138. Thank you Heidi for this excellent post. It is so fun to see back matter with informational fiction, as well as nonfiction, PBs. I am looking for mentor texts on back matter and these are amazing. Thanks again.

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  139. Last week, I critiqued my first manuscript with backmatter and now I'm seeing it everywhere. Thanks for brining it more into my awareness with these PB selections!

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  140. Thanks Heidi for some great mentor texts. I appreciate the examples of all the different kinds of back matter too!

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  141. Thank you. Back matter can add so much richness to Picture Books )both fiction and non-fiction).

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  142. Back Matter matters! I always appreciate the extras when the author provides them as back matter gives the books a longer useful life, extending the appeal and often spurring interest in similar topics. A Perfect Day for Albatross is a perfect example with the back matter explaining the text, adding to understanding, and providing further ideas for exploration. Thank you for the book list.

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  143. Now I know what back matter is!

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  144. I'm a booknerd in love with backmatter too! (Imagine how thrilled I was/you were when the Magic School Bus books came out and brought everything to the front were we could find the facts right away!) Thoughts about the word count in backmatter? Also, would we included this word count in the overall ms count or list it separately? Thoughts?

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  145. I think one of the reasons I like back matter so much, is that I learn through the visual and listening to stories. Then the story excites me, and I want to know more. Right there at the end is the beginning of that more. I think this style of picture book writing combining fiction and nonfiction, is fantastic 4 children who learn differently.

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  146. Thanks for a great post, Heidi, and for excellent examples of back matter. I love reading authors' notes and extra enrichment about the book's subject matter.

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  147. Backmatter is like an extra surprise at the end of a good story. Thanks for the examples!

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  148. Some Pets (and Some Bugs!) are favorites at my house. I like it when we find just as much pleasure in reading the back matter as we do in reading the story itself!

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  149. Great points, Heidi. Thank you! I add a bit of non-fiction back matter to almost every fiction piece I write now, because you are so right. It *does* round out a fiction story and tie it back to reality for a child.

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  150. Backmatter when you don't expect it is the best! I recently found How Many Hugs? by Heather Swain. Fun story and informative backmatter. Also, when I purchased books for my library, a book with it had an advantage over one that did not.

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  151. Discovering backmatter in picture books is always filled with additional facts and information that encourage the reader to expand, grow and learn.

    Thank you Heidi. You and your Mom are admired.
    Suzy Leopold

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  152. Thank you for the insight into backmatter and the amazing book selections. I agree that backmatter really enhances books and adds to the learning experience!

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  153. The illustration of Some Pets is beautiful and brings so much humor to the story. This is a great example of how illustration can really enhance simple text.

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  154. I had read Some pets, but didn't remember the backmatter till I reread it just now. It is my favorite so far! As an educational psychologist, I love when picture books include it. Thank you for the post!

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  155. A PLACE FOR BATS by Melissa Stewart and Higgins Bond, offers thoughtful and fun back matter as wells throughout the text.

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  156. This post is awesome! I've been struggling with how to do the backmatter in a couple books I'm working on. I kept wondering, does it have to be done a certain way? I've read several PBs with backmatter, but they happened to be similar. After reading the books for this post, I can see there are many ways to go about it. And just to add one more example, the backmatter in Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner and art by Christopher Silas Neal is lovely.

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  157. Wow! This post was so helpful! I really enjoyed looking at the ways the back matter interacted with and enhanced the text.

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  158. I love backmatter. As an adult reader I appreciate more info about where to go to read more about the subject. These books have so many different ideas of how to use backmatter to encourage readers to delve further: interactive, tech (A PERFECT DAY FOR ALBOTROSS), interacitve, hands-on (MORE-IGAMI), further detail (LISTEN TO OUR WORLD), use of primary source (FINDING WINNIE)...and much more. As a teacher the backmatter can connect students who have different styles of learning. Using the primary source in books such as FINDING WINNIE, would be a great jumping off place to do a research project to write a creative or non-fiction book.

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  159. Great examples. And a good reminder for those writing a slice of life biography that you can use the backmatter to tell more about the person.

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  160. This is perfect timing as I am working on several stories that have a lot of history but the actual stories will be purely fiction. Thanks for the insight!

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  161. Wonderful post, Heidi. I have been thoroughly enjoying these books on this list, as have my children - they've been a welcome break from the usual "silly" books we tend to pick up. Not that there's anything wrong with silly! But it's nice to read a book that teaches you something, too.

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  162. Interesting uses for backmatter. Thanks, Heidi!

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  163. Thanks Heidi! I would add A HAT FOR MRS. GOLDMAN by Michelle Edwards to this list for its knitting pattern included as back matter. I also loved the back matter about the scientific method and invitation to connect with the author in CHARLOTTE THE SCIENTIST IS SQUISHED by Camille Andros.

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  164. Thank you for the wonderful examples of well-written backmatter. It's good to know that it doesn't always have to be a NF book to include backmatter.

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  165. Yay for backmatter. Thank you for the wonderful examples.

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  166. Thank you so much Heidi! These are great examples, and I have been very interested in "info-fiction" lately, so the timing is perfect.

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  167. Thank you for your comments about the backmatter in each of these books. Of the 2 libraries I went to, I only found 3 of the books. I agree that the origami lesson at the back is great for kids to try. They love that stuff!

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  169. So many books that are new to me. Thank you!

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  170. Heidi, this post gave me some ideas for ways I could add backmatter to some of the books I am writing. It was interesting to think about the different ways one could add backmatter.

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  171. Wow, you used a lot of great examples to show us the variety of backmatter out there. Thanks!

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  172. Thanks Heidi. I always look for the back matter. Such interesting tidbits are found there. Loved Best in Snow! Carole Calladine

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  173. Thank you, Heidi. Are always look to see if there is back matter for timelines and interesting facts. This is a great list. Carole Calladine

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  174. Great list! I found the diversity in the backmatter interesting. I think of blocks of informative text, but there were also how-to's and pictures of a variety of animals and other creative things. Thanks!

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  175. This post is fantastic, Heidi! I also love backmatter! Thanks for the great examples.

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  176. I loved this post! Thank you for sharing this with us! I loved learning about backmatter. Thank you for all the good examples.

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  177. The backmatter in SOME PETS was fun! I look forward to reading the other mentor texts to see how the story is enhanced with backmatter

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  178. I love the examples shared. Back matter is a great way to add depth and enhance a story. Thank you, Heidi.

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  179. Some of these titles are new to me, but I can't wait to read them. : )

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  180. Thanks for shedding some light on backmatter.

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  181. Some great titles- many of which I had not read. I especially enjoyed Thunder Underground. I love back matter! I wish I could say the same for my daughter... When I linger at the back matter or try to read it to her, she shuts the book on me, ready for the next story. :/ But, of course, back matter is great and an excellent way to add an educational component. great examples

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    1. Also- I thought it was interesting that you considered the back of Some Pets as back matter. I never would have thought of that, but it is, indeed, for the very young.

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  182. I love back story in books. Someone asked me one time if the book would be classified as fiction or non fiction in the library when it has both a fictional story and non fiction back story was on each page as a sidebar. I don't know, I would guess it would be listed as fiction. I've written a couple of my fictional manuscripts with sidebars.

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  183. Thank you Heidi for sharing how special bookmatter can be.

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  184. As an educator, I especially appreciate backmatter in my read-alouds. Additional information at the allows me to differentiate for the various levels of readers and thinkers in my classroom.

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  185. This is encouraging, thank you. One of my manuscripts will have backmatter after I get the research done.

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  186. I just loved seeing the differences in how to include backmatter! Excellent examples!

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  187. I love the range in both the types of stories with backmatter and the types of backmatter they include. How much fun! Thanks for inviting us to geek out over it with you, Heidi!

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