A survey of ten Children's Non-Fiction books

Uneven realities

Nigel Pearn


The elasticity of fiction, the ‘what if’ – in other words, the genre’s very virtues and interests – are often the characteristics that alienate ‘sensible’ readers. To the literal-minded, literature can present as a self-defeating puzzle. All that pretence is exhausting, irrelevant at best, or, drawing a long line from the Ancient Greeks, morally bankrupt. ‘I don’t read fiction anymore,’ Everyman says (and most often it is a man): ‘thank goodness for non-fiction, for plain speech, for things as they truly are.’

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Published in April 2011 no. 330
Nigel Pearn

Nigel Pearn

Nigel Pearn is a teacher at Dodges Ferry Primary School, a beachside public school forty-five kilometres north of Hobart, on the top end of the Tasman Peninsula. He is currently working with teachers and students as part of an Aboriginal Expansion Program funded through Education Tasmania and the Federal Government’s Closing the Gap initiatives. Nigel is President of e:lit, the Primary English Teaching Association of Australia. He is interested in all aspects of students’ love of literature and growth in literacy, but has particular professional interests in school-level program evaluation and educational measurement; the interface between arts practices and literacy; building school/university partnerships; and the policy and practice of teacher professional learning. He is married to Sarah Kanowski, the editor of Island magazine, and is the father of two rambunctious, not-yet-school-aged children.

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