Welcome to National Non-Fiction November 2023
To kick off this year’s celebrations, last year’s NNFN co-ordinator, Chris Routh takes a look at what’s in store this November!
National Non-Fiction November is one of FCBG’s three annual initiatives that offer a range of opportunities to engage young readers in reading for pleasure & personal interest. This year’s theme of Wonderful Water provides a focus for NNFN’s blogs & book reviews, suggested activities, recommended books and a competition, details of which can be found here https://fcbg.org.uk/nnfn/
There’s still plenty of time to get involved – take a look at the brilliant book of inspirational ideas https://fcbg.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/NNFN-2023-Booklet.pdf
You’ve also got until Monday 4th December to get creative with your book group, class or family designing postcards for the competition inspired by Sea Change: Save the Ocean (Otter-Barry Books, 2023). NNFN is a celebration of the creators and publishers of information books, the wide range of titles available to suit all interests and the enjoyment to be had from reading about all things factual.
Around the country, FCBG’s children’s book group members are organising and delivering a variety of NNFN related events and activities including:
Ipswich CBG, who are planning to run a water-themed session in a new pop-up children’s bookshop;
Plymouth CBG, who are planning an event at their local tennis club, which overlooks Plymouth Sound, involving simple water experiments, boat making and rock pooling on the seashore;
Reading CBG, who have organised a visit by non-fiction author Andy Seed to two of their member primary schools in addition to their regular bookshop-based book group meetings for 5-8s and 9-11s, both of which will focus on the ‘Wonderful Water’ theme;
Somerset CBG, who have organised a fantastic one-day conference on Saturday 11th November, featuring three key non-fiction authors, a non-fiction publishers’ exhibition and a bookshop. Tickets are still available https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/one-day-non-fiction-conference-tickets-704302135647; or for FCBG members from firstname.lastname@example.org
South Bucks CBG, who are holding a ‘Wonderful Water’ event for 7-12-year-olds in a Community Library, where the children will be invited to create their own river, from source to shore, using information books to select relevant landscape features.
This diversity of events exemplifies some of the many ways in which the FCBG’s children’s book groups work with their local communities to bring children and books together during NNFN. You can find out more about what groups do generally here https://fcbg.org.uk/what-groups-do/
Of course, anyone and everyone can participate in National Non-Fiction November – and you can join the conversation about non-fiction on X (formerly known as Twitter) @FCBGNews, where you can also share your pictures of themed book displays, special events and favourite information books using #NNFN2023 and/or #WonderfulWater. And while you’re there, keep a look out for giveaways!
And there are plenty of other events taking place during the month. For example, individuals and teams of school children from around the country will be competing in the What on Earth Quiz and the What on Earth Schools Quiz respectively, to demonstrate their unquenchable thirst for knowledge and enjoyment of competing. The grand finals will be taking place during the last week of November. Even if you haven’t registered this year, consider organising your own water-themed or general knowledge quiz for a library lesson or book group meeting during the month – perhaps with the help of your pupil librarians or senior students. The Britannica’s What on Earth quizzes are based on the magazine of the same name. https://britannicamagazine.co.uk/ is a monthly non-fiction magazine designed for curious 6-14-year-olds packed with ‘amazing facts, extraordinary feats and awe-inspiring true-life stories.’ Offering information in a different format to books, magazines provide an alternative, and for some a more appealing reading experience. For a round-up of other magazines and newspapers currently available for young readers, have a look at this list of recommended titles recently compiled by Tom Tolkien (October, 2023) https://schoolreadinglist.co.uk/resources/magazines-and-newspapers-for-children-and-teenagers/
There will also be announcements made about a couple of non-fiction book awards. Both the School Library Association’s Information Book Award and the Royal Society’s Young People’s Book Prize provide opportunities for young people to get involved in the judging process, which is another great way to promote an interest in reading non-fiction for pleasure. What’s more, keeping an eye on the books that are long or shortlisted for such awards is a great way to build awareness of titles deemed to be amongst the best non-fiction available. The winners of the SLA’s IBA are chosen by a panel of adults, plus the Children’s Choices which are regarded as equally important https://www.sla.org.uk//article/becky-west/sla-announces-shortlist-for-2023-information-book-award
The shortlist for the Royal Society’s Young People’s Book Prize 2023 will also be announced in November and you can find out about past winners and shortlisted books here https://royalsociety.org/grants-schemes-awards/book-prizes/young-peoples-book-prize/past-winners/
The booklists compiled by the Federation also help to inform and guide your choices. https://fcbg.org.uk/booklists/ Facts at Your Fingertips, for example, which was published earlier this year, is designed to highlight some of the best information books around at the time. It draws together books that are funny, entertaining, informative, challenging and downright awesome – in other words, something for everyone! And during November follow FCBG’s programme of blogs and book reviews to find out about even more brilliant books!
Chris Routh, November 2023
Many thanks to Chris for her commitment to and enthusiasm for National Non-Fiction November. A new NNFN booklist, ‘More Facts at your Fingertips’, has been added to the available FCBG collection which can be found on the website.