DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.



While in grade school, I read and learned about many historical figures, however, I do not really remember reading any biographies. If I did, I do not remember reading them. We learned about people of the past through textbooks and films. Since I do not recall reading any biographies, I cannot reflect on the experience of reading one. As an adult though, I have read biographies and autobiographies, and enjoyed reading them, although I do enjoy reading autobiographies more than biographies. There are many famous people from all parts of the world, male and female, who I would like to learn about. They include: Steve Jobs, Pope Francis, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Sally Kristen Ride, Malala Yousafzai, Jane Goodall, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Angelina Jolie. Biographies can be found on all individuals except for Malala Yousafzai and Sally Kristen Ride. I have listed some famous titles below:


  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  • Pope Francis: Life and Revolution: A Biography of Jorge Bergoglio
  • The Stranger: Barack Obama in the White House by Chuck Todd
  • Bill Gates Speaks: Insight from the World's Greatest Entrepreneur by Janet Lowe
  • Jane Goodall: A Biography by Meg Greece
  • Aung San Suu Kyi:A Biography by Jesper Bentsson
  • Angelina Jolie: From Crazy to Courageous (The Unauthorized Biography)



After completing the readings, I noticed many similarities in their criteria used for assessing nonfiction books. Chapter 10 in our textbook titled, Literature and the Child, along with the articles, More than the Facts: Reviewing Science Books and What Makes a Good Dinosaur Book stress the importance of accuracy in nonfiction books. It is agreed that the illustrations in nonfiction picture books should accurately portray the topic being presented, with the informational text being current and factual. According to the article titled, Beyond Barney: What Makes a Good Dinosaur Book, “A good dinosaur book is careful to represent dinosaurs in shapes and colors that are as accurate as the evidence can support. Cartoonlike dinosaurs in soft pastels with big round eyes and hints of smiles on their faces mislead readers” (Ford, 2007).  The article titled, More than the facts: Reviewing Science Books, states “ According to most sources, children’s science books should be error-free in text and illustration, and representative of the prevailing theories and ideas of the discipline covered” (Ford, 2002). Chapter 10 of our textbook reads “First, the facts presented must be current and complete, with a balance between fact and theory, if appropriate, and authenticity of detail" (Galda et. al., 2010). According to three of the readings, design is also important. Chapter 10 in our textbook states “The design of an excellent nonfiction book is attractive, with illustrations that illuminate the text.” “Verbal information can be elaborated by photographs, diagrams, maps, sketches, graphs, or other visual support” (Galda, et. al. 2010). More than the Facts: Reviewing Science Books claims “While a good design and excellent illustrations can enhance a book’s appeal, they must also be scrutinized for alignment with scientific content and the conventions of scientific representation. Including merely decorative photographs or illustrations misses the opportunity to introduce readers to accepted scientific standards for diagrams and figures…”. What Makes a Good Science Book reads, “Simon demonstrates that in a good science book a picture is worth far more than a thousand words. A written description of a planet can’t compare with a photograph of it floating in space” (Hamilton, 2009). Chapter 10 and More than the Facts: Reviewing Science Books agree that style is also important. The author must use appropriate terminology suited for his / her target reader to explain scientific terms and ideas. Regarding style in good nonfiction books, Literature and the Child states that “…terminology is appropriate.” And “The writer uses rich language that stimulates a reader’s curiosity. Technical terms are presented in an understandable way” (Galda et. al., 2010). More than the Facts: Reviewing Science Books expresses that “The clarity of the explanation provided is very important - a scientifically accurate book presented in obscure or jargon-filled language can render a book ineffective. There is an art to explaining science to children, and some authors are able to skillfully balance child-friendly language with scientific rigor” (Ford, 2002). Both of these readings also agree that a good nonfiction book demonstrates the author’s enthusiasm and passion about the subject of which he / she is presenting. Through their works, nonfiction authors illustrate a love and appreciation for science. According to More than the Facts: Reviewing Science Books,“Above all, a good science book is imbued with passion for science and nature, and invites readers to engage with, imagine, and experience science in ways they may never have thought of before” (Ford, 2002). Chapter 10 in Literature and the Child states that “The writing is interesting, revealing the author’s enthusiasm about the subject” (Galda et.al., 2010). Something that Danielle Ford mentioned in her article, Beyond Barney: What Makes a Good Dinosaur Book? that was not mentioned in the others that I found interesting was the importance of focusing on interrelationships between a certain species and their environment, claiming that “Too often, science books focus on individual organisms rather than species interrelationships in an ecosystem. Also, I love that the article, More than the Facts: Reviewing Science Books, pointed out the importance of producing science books that let the reader experiment and form his / her own conclusions. Instead of providing answers or explanations for experiments, it is imperative that authors pose open ended questions in their writings, as to allow the readers to actively participate and become part of the bigger picture.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.