Thursday, March 11, 2021

ReFoReMo Day 9: Author Erin Dionne Finds Storytelling in Nonfiction

As someone who primarily writes fiction, I’m intrigued by elements of nonfiction. These authors show me new ways of storytelling, and open avenues that I may not have thought to explore.

 


Seven Golden Rings, Rajana LaRocca, illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan

LaRocca brings readers right along on this beautiful math journey about binary numbers.

 






Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuko Ando, Andrea Wang
, illustrated by Kana Urbanowicz

Biographies are endlessly fascinating, and when you add in food—I’m hooked. This book is delicious!

 







You’re Invited to a Moth Ball
, Loree Griffin Burns, photos by Ellen Harasimowicz

Bugs are beautiful “party” guests in this evocative book about what we can spot in our own backyard.

 








We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga
, Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frane Lessac

Seasons, festivals, and little things—the Cherokee Nation expresses gratitude for things big and small. I am grateful for this book!

 






Dirt Cheap, Mark Hoffmann

Money, entrepreneurship, and a whole lot of dirt!

 

 


Erin is giving away a picture book critique to one lucky U.S. winner! To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must be registered by March 1, comment on each post, consistently read mentor texts, and enter the Rafflecopter drawing at the conclusion of ReFoReMo.


Erin Dionne is the author of picture books BALLETBALL (Charlesbridge, 2020) and CAPTAIN’S LOG: SNOWBOUND (Charlesbridge, 2018). She’s also published seven novels for tweens. She lives outside of Boston with her husband, children, and a very disgruntled dog. 

191 comments:

  1. Seven Golden Rings was a great book! Looking forward to reading the others that you have listed!

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  2. All great books and I am looking forward to digging into Dirt Cheap. Thanks.

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  3. Love Moth Ball, and We are Grateful- thanks for these story-telling in NF suggestions- Great!

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  4. Seven Golden Rings is like a folktale and teaches effortlessly. These books are so interesting and fun to read. Thanks, Erin. I will look for your books.

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  5. What an awesome selection of picture books today! Thank you Erin,for such a fun group of Nonfiction to read!

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    1. I mean books with Nonfiction elements... whoops!

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  6. Great NF titles, Erin. I'm amazed how these authors spin their tales.

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  7. Creative nonfiction is an amazing direction engaging the child in a way statistics can't. Thanks for the lovely mentor texts.

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  8. These look like fantastic NF recommendations! Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Interesting and fun books! Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Shukran Erin, so many great mentor texts and I love that there is so much diversity!

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  11. I’ve read 3 of your choices & I’m looking forward to reading the others. I especially loved “Seven Golden Rings” . Using a folktale to teach math was ingenious! Loved “Magic Ramen” & “You’re invited to a Moth Ball” too!

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  12. I’ve read 3 of your choices & I’m looking forward to reading the others. I especially loved “Seven Golden Rings” . Using a folktale to teach math was ingenious! Loved “Magic Ramen” & “You’re invited to a Moth Ball” too!

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  13. I’ve read 3 of your choices & I’m looking forward to reading the others. I especially loved “Seven Golden Rings” . Using a folktale to teach math was ingenious! Loved “Magic Ramen” & “You’re invited to a Moth Ball” too!

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  14. Thanks Erin for this great selection of nonfiction.

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  15. Thanks for recommending a great NF selection.

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  16. What wonderful recommendations and what a wonderful prize! Thank you!

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  17. Such a range of NF/fiction with NF elements. I find Seven Golden Rings especially rich and layered.

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  18. I also have become fascinated in how now non-fiction is told and I also write primarily ficton. These have interesting structure and details.

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  19. Erin, thank you for this great list! I have the Magic Ramen book in my ESL classroom and I love it!

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  20. Thanks so much for sharing this great list!

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  21. Thanks for sharing these books.

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  22. Nice to "meet" you Erin, and thanks for sharing these all new-to-me books. I hope your next story will be about that disgruntled dog you live with!

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  23. SUCH a great list of books here! My 11-year-old is obsessed with Dirt Cheap. He's read it many times and says, "I don't know why I like this book so much, but I do!" Clearly, it has a way with kids. I can't wait to read the others!

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  24. Thanks for sharing how you look to nonfiction for storytelling techniques. I look at fiction to find techniques for my nonfiction. Cross-pollination is yielding glorious hybrids. Candace Fleming’s HONEYBEE is another great example.

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  25. Moth Ball was fun to look at all the pics-I have Dirt Cheap on my holds list. Some day it will come in!
    Thanks!

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  26. I enjoyed your post. I loved You’re Invited to a Moth Ball... so clever! I’m looking forward to the others as soon as I can locate them!

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  27. Love these books! Thanks for the reminder of what a nonfiction book can be!

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  28. Thank you for the texts you suggested, looking forward to digging into them!

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  29. Great list of books! And new ways to look at storytelling in nonfiction. Thank you!

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  30. Great examples of all the ways authors can create and spin stories, thank you!

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  31. Erin, I loved your Balletball! Thank you for this post.

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  32. Thanks for sharing your favorite non-fiction titles that craft a story.

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  33. This grouping of books was fun to read. I really liked dirt cheap, it reminded me of me growing up. Mark Hoffman also wrote a book called "The Fruit Bowl". He took fruits and vegetables and gave them voice and personality. It's hilarious and fun to read....falling into the nonfiction category, but you'd not really notice because the fruits and vegetables are nicely animated.

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  34. This is great to read because I, too, write mostly fiction. I love discovering how NF storytelling can inform my fiction storytelling!

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  35. Nice approach to non fiction. Seven Golden Rings and You're Invited to a Moth Ball both introduce concepts and facts in a friendly child oriented manner.

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  36. Thank you for sharing these mentor texts. I have a copy of Moth Ball and a few others of Loree's books (we love her work) and I enjoyed the richness of We Are Grateful Otsaliheliga.

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  37. Thank you for sharing these great non fiction books, Erin!

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  38. I am GRATEFUL for you sharing all these great titles with me! I love ReFoReMo because it introduces me to books I probably never would have ever picked up, like You're INvited to a Moth Ball! So cool!

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  39. So many excellent titles. Thank you for sharing these beautiful books, Erin.

    Suzy Leopold

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  40. Thanks for these super suggestions, Erin!

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  41. Telling the story in nonfiction truly is an art. Thanks for these great examples from authors who have done it well.

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  42. Thanks, Erin for sharing your nf choices. I've read some of these but am intrigued by You're Invited To A Moth Ball and Dirt Cheap. The titles make me want to read! (and, who wouldn't want a critique from you!!!)

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  43. For nonfiction to capture readers attention, it must include elements of storytelling. TY, Erin.

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  44. Interestingly, I never thought about writing NF yet the SCBWI Online NF workshop with the Smithsonian was one of the first online conferences I attended. I was wow'd by the speakers and panelists and completely drawn into their stories by how they approached their topics --- like storytellers! So there was quite a bit of learning on my part; very humbling!

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    1. Totally agree about the SCBWI nonfiction workshop. Such an eye opener.

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  45. ERIN: THANK YOU for the INSPIRATION to look for "new ways of storytelling" by being open to other forms of writing we might not usually pursue. This TRULY DOES "open avenues that [we] may not have thought to explore." I'm EXCITED to EXPLORE the books you've recommended--as well as BALLETBALL and CAPTAIN’S LOG: SNOWBOUND. I have LOTS of tween/middle grade book ideas, too, so I CAN'T WAIT to look yours up! THANK YOU!!!

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  46. I love looking to NF for fiction ideas and storytelling. Thanks, Erin!

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  47. I’m thrilled that nonfiction has become more important since I started writing. I was always drawn to true stories as a kid and why I write historical fiction. I hope to tackle nonfiction so this list is a great resource.

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  48. Loved The Moth a all book and can’t wait to read Dirt Cheap. Great list!

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  49. Still trying to get my paws and eyes on Seven Golden Rings- very curious about presenting binary numbers to kids. Thanks for these titles, Erin, and I hope your dog gets over being disgruntled.

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  50. I love the idea of introducing kids to entrepreneurship. Thanks!

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  51. Thanks for these recommendations! I'm looking forward to reading the ones I haven't yet.

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  52. I own a copy of We are Grateful and recently read Seven Golden Rings. I am going to add the others here to my library holds.

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  53. Thank you, Erin, for introducing me to these picture books. I wasn’t able to get my hands on the books yet, but I did explore on-line so I could hear the various authors sharing about their own books or reading them aloud. I enjoyed listening to the authors describe how they were inspired to write their stories, too. These are wonderful books for teachers and parents to pair with various topics they may be teaching especially at the elementary school level.

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  54. Today's nonfiction picture books are wonderful for their wide variety of topics and creative ways to engage the reader either via the chosen storytelling method or by infusing humor.

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  55. I really enjoyed reading 'Magic Ramen' - thank you for all these suggestions.

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  56. Thank you, Erin for this great list of NF picture books!

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  57. Great list. Its my first time reading Dirt cheap. Its a fun story, with a little learning thrown in.

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  58. I am having so much fun reading both informational fiction and narrative nonfiction as I learn more about these genres. Thanks for adding more great books to my reading list!

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  59. New ways of storytelling - so important to notice and keep reading broadly! Thanks Erin.

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  60. I'm intrigued by elements of NF as well, Erin. Thanks for the great list of recommendations.

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  61. Thanks for sharing these great mentor texsts.

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  62. Thank you, Erin. One of the things I'm really enjoying about ReFoReMo is how much more NF I am reading. I'm so happy to have your recommendations. I'm looking forward to checking out BALLETBALL and SNOWBOUND!

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  63. These look like great recommendations. Putting them on my list now. Thank you so much!

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  64. Thank you for the listing of books with such diverse subjects. Non-fiction has come a long way!!

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  65. Thanks for these, Erin! They can teach us so much!

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  66. After reading, "You're Invited to A Moth Ball," I have a whole new perspective on moths! Thanks for sharing these selections showing different techniques in NF.

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  67. I can't wait to dig into these books. They look great! Thanks for the post!

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  68. Thank you - I appreciate range and depth in mentor texts. Great choices!

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  69. Always something new to learn. Thank you for this post!

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  70. I've never thought of ramen as magical, but after reading how and why they were created, I have a new appreciation for these noodles!

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  71. So fabulous to find a book here that can be so useful to your work but evaded you previously . . . thank you!

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  72. Hi, Erin! I am intrigued by non-fiction as well! Loved Magic Ramen and Dirt Cheap (so clever!) and can't wait to read the others!

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  73. Agreed! Non-fiction has a lot to offer.

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  74. We are grateful is lovely! I was able to watch it on Epic with my son. It was helpful to hear the Cherokee pronunciations. Moth Ball was an interesting and fun book! Thank you for sharing these titles!

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  75. WE ARE GRATEFUL provides teachers an opportunity to practice words in the Cherokee language and discuss customs and the seasons. Very nice!

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  76. Erin, I enjoyed these titles. I'm grateful for your selections and feeling a gnawing for some ramen! Thank you!

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  77. Thank you for sharing these storytelling nonfiction picture books!

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  78. I'm compelled to learn more about using storytelling features in nonfiction writing. Thank you for sharing some of your recommended titles.

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  79. Such great nonfiction books here. Love the title of Dirt Cheap! And it's the only one I haven't read. But it's on my hold list at the library. Am waiting impatiently....tap tap tap...

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  80. Thanks for sharing. Aren't all our lives stories?

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  81. Thank you for this set. I have not read Dirt Cheap. I loved Your Invited to a Moth Ball. Such a fun activity. So many non fiction formats and they can be so entertaining.

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  82. I am someone who has always written fiction for children, but very recently, have felt a burning desire to write something creative in the nonfiction space. Books like the ones you've included are largely to thank for this. Thank you!

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  83. .Another day-another great group of mentor books. These titles were all new to me and thoroughly enjoyable. Seven Golden Rings by Rajana LaRocca was a very clever math puzzle that takes place in India where a boy must pay for his stay with only possessions one coin and a chain of seven rings. What a sneaky way to insert math concepts into a great story. Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuko Ando written by Andrea Wang and illustrated by Kana Urbanowicz is the story of the Japanese man who invented instant Ramen noodles because he wanted to help the poor people that were waiting in long lines for noodles. He worked hard over a long period of time to achieve his dream and provide two minute meals. It is an amazing story! You Are Invited to a Moth Ball by Loree Griffin Burns with photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz is an excellent how to book for kids. It provides all the details needed to attract moths and throw a moth ball. The pictures are excellent and it also contains lots of cool information about moths including the fact that there is a National Moth Week in July. I know students will be v.ery attracted to this book. We are Grateful Ostaliheliga by Tracey Sorrel with pictures by Fran Lessac is a beautiful introduction to modern Cherokee culture through a look at the seasons and why the Cherokee are grateful for each of the seasons and how they celebrate them. Dirt Cheap by Mark Hoffman tells how Birdie is able to raise the 24.95 she needs for a new soccer ball and create a business in the process. These books are great stories that also share culture and lessons for success. Thanks for sharing this group!

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  84. These are great selections. I can't wait to read 'You’re Invited to a Moth Ball' - clever title!

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  85. The biology teacher in me loved You're Invited to a Moth Ball" and it gave me lots of ideas for NF topics. Dirt Cheap absolutely delighted me with its playful illustrations and breaking the 4th wall approach. We are grateful made me reflect on all that we have to be grateful for and what we take for granted.

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  86. Thank you! There are a few new titles for me to discover!

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  87. I, also, have read mostly fiction PBs, so I have been pleasantly surprised at the NF ones that ReFoReMo has introduced to me. They certainly have helped me understand their structure and storytelling aspects as well as how to add in backmatter to further expand all that the book can offer.

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  88. There are so many wonderful nonfiction books available. Thanks for highlighting these titles.

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  89. I wasn't able to get any of the books on today's list or find them at my local bookstore. I've ordered seven Golden Rings, because I've been wanting to read it for a while now. Instead I reread some of the others from the ReFo list and pillaged my library shelves for math, politics, science, and history books with strong narratives that might be like the ones you've recommended. I took a lot of notes and can't wait to compare after I finally find the ones listed above. Either way, I've learned some valuable techniques today. Thank-you!

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  90. Another great list of books today. Thank you!

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  91. Thanks for your post. All great books :-)

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  92. I read Magic Ramen about a year ago as I was studying the non-fiction genre and really enjoyed it. Thanks for this list of mentor texts. Looking forward to reading Dirt Cheap.

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  93. Great titles!! Thanks for the lovely post

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  94. We can learn so much from reading books whether fiction or nonfiction. Thanks for sharing these recommendations.

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  95. Your titles also experimented with POV. I love the 2nd person POV in You're Invited to a Moth Ball, with the author speaking directly to the reader, like a how-to guide. Hoffmann's quirky invisible narrator dialoguing with Birdie in Dirt Cheap intrigues me. Your "elements of nonfiction" is not what I expected. It can be a difficult category to label.

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  96. Thanks for this round-up of great titles!

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  97. What a great post! I've read all of your mentor texts except Dirt Cheap. I just watched it on Youtube. It was adorable!

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  98. Thank you for sharing these mentor texts. Magic Ramen was delightful, and who doesn't like ramen!

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  99. I loved MAGIC RAMEN and MOTH BALL. Thank you for the titles!

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  100. These books are wonderful! Thank you for introducing them to us!

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  101. I enjoyed WE are grateful and Magic Ramen. i"m looking forward to reading Dirt Cheap with tomorrow's library books. I have yet to find the other titles. Seeing creative nonfiction titles inspires me to create my own.

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  102. NF truly piques my interest. I enjoyed the ones you shared.

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  103. Thank you, Erin, for these wonderful book picks! Clever ways of demonstrating mathematical concepts and cultural tradition!

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  104. Signing up for a mothball this summer!

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  105. You're Invited to a Moth Ball by Loree Griffin Burns & Ellen Harasimowicz is a non-fiction book that really caught my attention. The how-to format really draws you into the narrative. I think it is 2nd person POV. If so, it is probably one the best jobs of doing that format. I learned how to draw a person into the reading by inviting them to participate. Enjoyed We Are Grateful:Ostaliheliga helping me with pacing.

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  106. You're Invited to a Moth Ball by Loree Griffin Burns & Ellen Harasimowicz is a non-fiction book that really caught my attention. The how-to format really draws you into the narrative. I think it is 2nd person POV. If so, it is probably one the best jobs of doing that format. I learned how to draw a person into the reading by inviting them to participate. Enjoyed We Are Grateful:Ostaliheliga helping me with pacing.

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  107. Another reminder that 'non-traditional' structures can work well.

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  108. Is there a way to go back and look at the other days posts? I realized today that my name is showing up under my book club program instead of my name, Celeste Turner. I'll try to change it each day. Thanks.

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  109. I love the way You're Invited to a Moth Ball shares an experience with the natural world, while providing all the necessary information to truly appreciate the experience. Wonderful. Dirt Cheap was so well done. The narrator and character interaction is so engaging, and similarly pulls the reader into an experience with money/business while providing all the necessary information. My children loved both of these, too.

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  110. I love your choice of nonfiction books. So many great things to discover!

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  111. Thanks for sharing. Hard work pays off. Love that theme in Nonfiction books:

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  112. I loved Magic Ramen! I'd always wondering about how it came about. Such a great story. NF children's books are the best for learning about new things.

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  113. You’re Invited to a Moth Ball is absolutely perfect. Looking forward to the others too. Thank you!

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  114. Looking forward to reading the ones on this list I haven't read yet, because I also feel inspired by nonfiction though I write mostly fiction. MAGIC RAMEN is a great book. Love the clever titles here, too. Thanks for this post, Erin!

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  115. Thanks for these great mentor suggestions. I'm intrigued by Dirt Cheap. A definite read.

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  116. What a super cute list of books. I just got them from my local library and can’t wait to read them!

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  117. Thank you for these great examples of storytelling in non-fiction! (I can't wait for my grandchildren to be old enough for a Moth Ball!)

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  118. I was able to pick up three of these mentor texts and plan to study them this weekend. Thank you for these great suggestions!

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  119. I have not ready any of these books yet so thank you! I love that there are so many PB coming out that make NF topics fun to explore!

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  120. What a grand selection! Thank you for bringing them to our attention!

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  121. Creative NF is my favorite space to write. Thank you for the mentors.

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  122. Wonderful examples! Dirt Cheap is one of my new favorites!

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  123. A thought-provoking selection of titles and ways that authors make non-fiction come alive for children. Thanks.

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  124. There's a time & place for historical facts & figures, but sharing facts & figures through storytelling is so much more engaging! These are all great examples, thank you!

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  125. Great titles! Thanks for sharing. :D

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  126. More to add to my library list! Thanks!

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  127. Great variety of story structures. Thanks!

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  128. Thanks, Erin for expanding on how fiction and nonfiction elements can blend together for a perfect book. I love Loree's voice in her Moth Ball invitation. And Seven Golden Rings and Dirt Cheap really show how STEM can be woven into an entertaining story-- adding that extra layer for classrooms.

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  129. evafelder@hotmail.com

    Thank you Erin for today's recommendations. Magic Ramen and other biographies from previous days are making me consider following that line in the future.
    Seven Golden Rings and Dirt Cheap such a clever way to introduce Math concepts.

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  130. I love this post, Erin--so many different ways to convey information! Thank you.

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  131. Thanks for such an interesting set of NF books- terrific storytelling!

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  132. Rhonda Gatlin
    Wed, Mar 10, 11:17 PM (2 days ago)
    to Reading

    Tomas the Library Lady, author Pat Mora was my favorite book for today. This is a wonderful book that shows how literacy can be improved if each child is given a book to read. This was a beginning for Tomas Rivera. He grew up to be a chancellor of the University of California at Riverside. He promoted reading throughout his life. The illustrator Raul Colon did a masterful job illustrating Tomas imagination as a boy.
    RhondaKay1 Now I should be in thr right place. Thanks for understanding.

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  133. There is nothing better than a story well told. Thank you for introducing me to these books.

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  134. Great list! I love sharing We Are Grateful as a reminder to students that indigenous people are a vibrant part of the present too.

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  135. Thank you for these thoughts on storytelling in non-fiction books.

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  137. Omg-Dirt Cheap- my daughter, who I know co-write with, sold hand-painted painted mud balls at the end of our driveway when she was about 5 years old. She actually made some money! Adults in the neighborhood thought it was hysterical and bought them. Thanks for this post.

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  138. thanks for this great variety of books! I love looking at storytelling in non-fiction.

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  139. Thanks for highlighting these great mentor texts!

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  140. I loved THE MAGIC RAMEN so much! And DIRT CHEAP is very enjoyable.

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  141. This list is on my TBR list. Can't wait to get to the library.

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  142. Thanks for sharing! Seven Golden Rings gently teaches through the story. Great example. I haven't read You’re Invited to a Moth Ball, yet.

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  143. Dirt Cheap! Can't wait to get it from the library!

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  144. Thank you, Erin! Looking forward to my holds coming in so I can check these out. I love non-fiction picture books and can't wait to read these new titles.

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  145. I LOVE Magic Ramon! Always happy to read it again and again!

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  146. I loved Magic Ramen and learned much at the same time! I also have a new appreciation for moths.

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  147. Such wisdom in Momofuku Ando’s quote from “Magic Ramen” ~ "Peace follows from a full stomach." And I’m ready to smear some overripe bananas and brown sugar on trees near my house to entice moths to a neighborhood ball!
    I am grateful for “We Are Grateful,” which introduced me Traci Sorell, the writer of “At the Mountain’s Base.” (Day 2) Once again, a great compilation of mentor texts to consider and learn from. Thank you, Erin Dionne!

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  148. I loved We Are Grateful and Magic Ramen. I am looking forward to checking out the others. Thank you for the NF recommendations.

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  149. Some of these titles sound fascinating, Erin. By the way, I've attended a few of your past conference workshops on "craft" and they were AWESOME.

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  150. Love the storytelling in these NF books, Erin. Thank you for sharing.

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  151. Would love to dip my toes into NF, thanks for these awesome mentor texts!

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  152. I love the book Magic Ramen. One man trying to help his community after the war, and his persistence. Well written and heart felt. Great example!

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  153. I am absolutely in love with literary non-fiction!

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  154. Terrific NF suggestions for mentor texts. My library resource list grows and I'm so glad my favorite place has reopened! Thanks for your post,Erin!

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  155. Such an interesting list. Thank you!

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  156. Thank you for contributing to my knowledge and appreciation of what NF can be! I would have missed some of these titles!

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  157. I LOVED the Seven Golden Rings. I know my younger self would have checked it out over and over again.

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  158. Thank you for these great NF examples - I'd like to get more comfortable writing NF, and these are helpful resources.

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  159. Thank you for this wonderful list of NF titles.

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  160. I've only read one of these so far, so this is a great list for me to explore!

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  161. Dirt Cheap is a great book for budding entrepreneurs. I loved it!

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  162. Great mentor texts! I love how nonfiction elements are used in each of these stories.

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  163. Thank you for contributing to my knowledge of what NF can be. Most of these were ones I had not seen before.

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  164. I also work on fiction and as an Early Interventionist, I never chose non-fiction stories. Thank you for introducing me to these stories.

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  165. Thanks for these titles - NF PBs are so amazing these days.

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  166. Thanks for this list. As a narrative nonfiction writer, I love taking piles of research and shaping it into a story for young readers!

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  168. Whoops, I just realized I had multiple accounts on Blogger. Reposting, but identifying myself at the end (haha): Thanks for this list, Erin! I love reading excellent NF, and I want to learn how to write it, too, so I'm excited to add these creative titles to my list of texts to study. (Jen Judd)

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  169. Thank you! Great picks to add to my mentor texts list; I especially enjoyed the math-focused stories.

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  170. These are all such great suggestions. "Dirt Cheap" was a fun little read--I couldn't help but say "whoops" as it went on.

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  171. These are great titles! Armani is one of my favorite new writers!

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  172. Love these titles! Thanks for posting!

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  173. I was pleased to find Magic Ramen at our library which doesn't have all the books (Australia). It's such an original great story.

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  174. Great titles to study. Thanks for sharing!

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  175. I’m so excited my library had all 5 of your recommended books (even if I had read a couple before, I like re-reading with new insight). Thanks for sharing!

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  176. Loving all the cool topics posed in these non-fiction books!

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