Comment on Nonfiction

What could you think about as you read a nonfiction book?

  1. What is the worldview of the author?
    Do I share the same worldview or is my view different?
    Is the author primarily informing me of facts or trying to convince me?
    Why did the author write this book?
  2. What pictures are being created in my mind by the words in the book?
    What colours do I see? What sounds do I hear? What sensations do I feel?
  3. What ideas do I think are important to remember?
    What evidence is there for those ideas?
    What background knowledge do I have that supports the evidence in this book?
    What background knowledge do I have that disagrees with the evidence in this book?
  4. What connections can I make to other books I have read?
    What connections can I make to my own experiences in life?
    What connections can I make to world events?
  5. How does this book make me see life differently?
    How will this book cause me to change my own behaviour?
  6. Who will I talk to about what I’ve learned in this book?
    What facts do I want to memorize so I don’t forget them?

Here’s a format you could use for writing about a nonfiction book:

 I read ___ by ____ (____ , __ ). I chose this nonfiction book because _____ . Before I even started reading, I already knew that ________ .  Reading this book, I learned a lot more: __________ . Now I wonder, ________ . This book started me thinking more about _______ .

I read A Kid’s Guide to the Brain by Sylvia Funston and Jay Ingram (Greey de Pencier Books, 1994). I chose this book because I hope to become a neurologist, brain specialist, one day and expanding my general knowledge about the brain would help me in the future. This book also had lots of illustrations and fun activities to do that made it more interesting and easier to remember facts. Before I even started reading, I already knew that there were two parts to our brain, a left brain and a right brain. I knew that the right brain was working harder when I was doing something with music, art or creativity and that my left brain was responsible for tasks that require more thinking such as reading, writing and math! Reading this book, I learned a lot more: Our brain started as what we call a “reptilian brain” which control things such as breathing and sleeping. On top of that grew the “feeling brain” that takes care of our body temperature and emotions. Lastly, on the outside we have the “thinking brain” which sets us apart from other creatures, deciding how strong a reaction should be to messages from our feeling brain. Now I wonder, if we started out with just one part in our brain, and now have three, will our brains evolve even more in the future? Or what are our dreams for? Are they highlighting important events of our day, getting rid of unnecessary ideas, or are they just stories of strange images we think about? This book started me thinking more about how we can learn to use our brain more wisely or take it to the full potential it can reach, such as controlling our dreams or hiding our strongest emotions, which I hope to be able to do. (Ilar in grade eight)

 

Here’s another way to briefly tell about a nonfiction book:

Did you know that GIVE AN INTERESTING FACT? Did you know that GIVE ANOTHER INTERESTING FACT? TITLE by AUTHOR (publisher, date) tells all sorts of AN EMOTIVE ADJECTIVE SUCH ‘FASCINATING’  facts about TELL THE TOPIC OF THE BOOK.  I learned that TELL A FACT and TELL ANOTHER FACT. I discovered that TELL A FACT and TELL ANOTHER FACT.  TITLE is a AN EMOTIVE WORD SUCH AS ‘EXTRAORDINARY’ book about TELL THE TOPIC AGAIN.

Did you know that garter snakes are named after a piece of clothing? Did you know that there are 30 different species of garter snakes? Garter Snakes by Heather L. Montgomery (Capstone, 2011) tells all sort of cool facts about garter snakes. I  learned that garter snakes aren’t poisonous and actually make good household pets. I discovered that garter snake enzymes can stun prey and young garter snakes shed their skin four to five times a year. Garter Snakes is a great book about these peaceful reptiles. (Argyle in grade eight)

Here’s a third way to briefly tell about a nonfiction book:

  1. Ask a question.
  2. Briefly answer it.
  3. Give a one-sentence summary of the book, mentioning the title, author, and publication details.
  4. Add a few more details about the book.
  5. End with a recommendation. 

Why do Sikhs remember 1897? Because of the extraordinary courage of some brave men. The Battle of Saragarhi, a graphic novel by Daljeet Singh Sidhu and Amarjit Virdi (Gyan Khand Media, 2012), tells the thrilling true tale of twenty-one riflemen who were stationed at a signalling post in northern India. They were attacked by Afghans and Pathans who greatly outnumbered them. On September 12th of that year, they boldly fought to the death to protect their post. Read this suspenseful story recommended for readers 11 years old and up. (Ramneek in grade 6)

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