One of the hot topics regarding the new Common Core state standards is how to incorporate more high-quality nonfiction texts into the curriculum. A successful and innovative way to do this is to take fiction books and pair them with nonfiction books that somehow relate. Authors have been combining nonfiction details into fiction works for years – just take a look at Historical Fiction and Science Fiction. I’m noticing more books really getting into scientific details, and working the STEM angle too. (Shannon Hale’s science fiction Dangerous did this amazingly well last year).
The Nassau Library System just made a wonderful booklist of Perfect Pairs that combines fiction and nonfiction books to read together. Here is the 6th grade list:
Here’s an example:
The Holocaust (History)
Lowry, Lois. NUMBER THE STARS (Fiction)
In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis.
Rappaport, Doreen. BEYOND COURAGE: THE UNTOLD STORY OF JEWISH
RESISTANCE DURING THE HOLOCAUST (Nonficton)
Recounts the efforts of Jews who organized others and sabotaged the Nazis during the Holocaust, including Georges Loinger who smuggled children from occupied France into Switzerland and four brothers who led refugees into the forest to build a village and an army.
There are lots of good examples from the booklist, and I wanted to add one of my own, perhaps for a slightly older reader (8th grade and up perhaps):
Imperial Russia (History)
Maguire, Gregory. EGG & SPOON (Fiction)
An impoverished Russian country girl Elena Rudina and the aristocratic Ekatrina meet and set in motion an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and the witch Baba Yaga.
Fleming, Candace. THE FAMILY ROMANOV : MURDER, REBELLION, AND THE FALL OF IMPERIAL RUSSIA. (Nonfiction)
The award-winning author of The Lincolns traces the story of the Russian Revolution, the lives of the Romanov family and the story of their tragic deaths, in an account that draws on primary source materials and includes period photography.
I just stumbled upon these 2 new titles and was amazed at how well they complemented each other. Granted, one is a fantasy, the other, a biography of a family, but both were easy-to-read books with fascinating details that took a look at the lavish lifestyles of the royal family of Russia and compared it to the impoverished and sad lives of the peasants living on the land they ruled.
I hope you find something that you enjoy and learn a little extra in the process!
Teen Services Librarian