Tag Archives: school

Non-Fiction or Not Fiction, Going to School

After my last non-fiction Monday post, I really started thinking about the distinction between fiction and non-fiction. Some books automatically fall into one or the other category, particular those series books written for school reports, like the titles I recently ordered on each of the United States. But others are more flexible, particularly in the areas of non-fiction for very young children and narrative non-fiction. I think that this lack of clarity is one of the reasons I try to present the distinction as more of a cataloging issue than a moral imperative when talking to kids. Non fiction is not true and fiction is not false.

As a librarian, I’ve looked at books cataloged in the non-fiction and thought they’d circulate better in the picture book section, while other times I’ve wondered why some titles end up labeled as picture books. (Truthfully, the cataloging team here just goes by whatever comes with the book, and since they don’t do their own cataloging can’t switch from fiction to non-fiction easily) I think there isn’t a right or a wrong place to put these books, though sometimes I wish we could have copies in both sections so they could be discovered by more people. This is particularly true of books that depict the everyday experiences of children, because books on going to school, going to the dentist, and going potty are staples of picture books and non-fiction sections.

Today I want to share a selection of books that fit into this category, some are in the non-fiction and some in the picture book section, but I would say all of them are not fiction. Bonus points if you can guess which are cataloged as non-fiction and which as picture books.

Rain School

Rain School, James Rumford, This is the story of a school in Chad, where students have to build their school every year during the dry season only to have it wash away in the monsoons.

Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan

Nasreen’s Secret School, Jeanette Winter, Set in Taliban Afganistan, this book tells the story of girls who secretly sought education, how they escaped detection, and how education provided light in a dark time.

Kindergarten Day USA and China/Kindergarten Day China and USA

Kindergarten Day USA and China/Kindergarten Day China and USA, Trish Marx, Ellen Senisi, In a neat flip format, this book tells the story of two kindergartens, one in the USA and one in China, following each class through very similar days.

Deron Goes to Nursery School

Deron Goes to Nursery School, Ifeoma Onyefulu. Starting nursery school is similar all over the world, as readers discover as they follow Deron to his nursery school in Ghana.

Listen to the Wind: the Story of Dr. Greg & Three Cups of Tea

Listen to the Wind: the Story of Dr. Greg & Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson and Susan Roth. Though initially skeptical about this adaption of the popular adult book, I was charmed by the illustrations and the simple story of building a school in Nepal.

Non-Fiction Monday is hosted this week by The Children’s War, check out the other interesting posts there!


Getting Ready for the First Day!

Today is my first day at my new job, and I am super excited! It is sort of like the first day of a new school year. I’m going to meet all my new coworkers, figure out lots of information I need about my job and their expectations, and jump right into work. The only difference is that I am the only new student starting right now.

Just like starting the first day of school, I did a little clothes shopping in preparation. Back when I was in grade school I always went shopping with my mom to get all the clothes I would need for the school year. She and I didn’t always agree, and I’ve never been the most fashionably dressed. But somehow in elementary school it was enough to do a big shopping trip before school began, and get through the school year with maybe only the purchase of a few sweaters for Christmas. For my new position at the library I don’t exactly need a new wardrobe, but it is the beginning of the summer so my wardrobe needs some nice staples for the warmer weather. I bought two pairs of khakis and a new black skirt, a few short sleeved tops, and a new pair of brown shoes.

Beyond worrying about looking nice for the first day, I’ve been getting ready in other ways. I got a new notebook, a stack of books for a program next week, piles of stickers and prizes, and files of information on schools in the area. It is kind of silly in a way, because I don’t really have all the information I need to start making plans, but I’ve been so excited to start that I run ahead of myself.

Since I really want to get all the staff excited about the HHC and my work in general, I am concerned about making a good impression with my coworkers. I really should have taken more time to try to familiarize myself with the staff I will be working with–all of their pictures and job titles are on the intranet, but I was too busy at work to take the time, plus it is a little stalkerish. My hope is that they will be as excited to have me as I am to join them–or at least excited about having a HHC!

Distance Learning–an education in education

Though I have been working in education for a long time, ugh, I haven’t been an actual student alone for some time, and never before in a distance education type of setting (unless you count my adviser being AWOL). Last semester and during the next couple of weeks, I will be trying out two different types of distance education. Since Kent State’s MLIS program is the only one in the state, it offers programs for the entire area, which means that it provides various ways for students to attend classes. Last semester I was in an on-line management class and this intersession, I am in a video conference class.

Years ago, I graded classes for an on-line class and helped with running it, so I thought an on-line class would be easy peesy. However, it was not so. Neither the work nor the readings were particularly onerous, but the direction of the class made it incredibly difficult to complete the assignments. The professor’s expectations were never fully explained, and when questioned he provided little feedback and even less personal assistance. My thoughts on this, is that it is partially due to the format of the class that makes it difficult for some people to pick up the implications of questions. In an in-person class, the teacher can see and hear the ways the students are asking and responding to directions.

Despite this, I am signed up for a video class, where the teacher is teaching a full class in Kent and a full class in Columbus. Today is only the second class, but I’m hoping that the communication will improve between the students and the teacher. In the first class, it was very difficult for the Columbus students to respond to the teacher and the Kent students. As the two classes have students at very different levels of experience in libraries, and distance in the program, it should be interesting to see how the materials are presented.