Monday, February 13, 2012

using nonfiction

In the preceding blog, I talk about PLANETS, one of the new books in Scholastic's Discover More series. I was thrilled to see national Geographic also had a new book on the planets. 13 PLANETS: THE LATEST VIEW OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM by David Aguilar (National Geographic 2011). However, two things troubled me in the foreword to this book. One was the use of the word "hoards" when the author should have used "hordes." More troubling, though, was a reference to Copernicus as the person who "invented" the solar system. I think the author means that Copernicus might have coined the term solar system or perhaps introduced the concept of the solar system. I am fairly certain, though, that Copernicus did not "invent" said system. Since this is in the foreword, most kids will never even see it, but it did give me pause. The remainder of the book seems to be accurate and, like its counterpart from Scholastic, contains great photos, drawings, and text. But one of the things I demand of nonfiction is accuracy. I have seen errors in otherwise wonderful books, errors that have prevented those books from becoming part of my recommended lists. And I am not someone with a huge breadth of knowledge.

I would give students both books and see what they can find in terms of similarities and differences. Let them evaluate the books. See what happens. Here is a real world activity. <59>

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