Monday, August 1, 2011

Why nonfiction? (or, heard on a moonlit night)

Thoughts for Nonfiction Monday ...

On a recent summer evening, my husband and I headed up to the beach to watch the full moon rise. Moonrise was scheduled for 9:05pm, and we were a few minutes late. As a beautiful strawberry moon emerged from the clouds in the darkening horizon over the Atlantic Ocean, we stood gazing from the boardwalk.  The moon had not yet fully appeared, and the sky around it was tinged with red.

A young adult man and his female companion were walking by and stopped to see the reason for our eastward attention. With a puzzled, slightly worried expression,  he asked, "Excuse me, but you can you please tell me what all that red stuff in the sky is?" 

Several minutes later, at about 9:20pm, the moon had risen in all it's rosy glory, and three young men on bicycles rode by, and I overheard: "Hey, dude!  Check out the sun!"  "So what. That's no big deal.  I see that all the time." "C'mon, let's go."

Photo by David Saddler
Creative Commons license 2.0
I understand that not everyone lives near the ocean and has seen the moon rise up over the horizon, and I don't mention these conversations to ridicule people enjoying the beach at night.  Many people do not get to see the moon until it rises high and white in the sky.  However, it is my wish that all children (and adults!) know that the sun sets in the west, that it is the moon that rises at night, and that a full moon rising in any location is a beautiful thing.  Thankfully, commonplace, awesome, and terrible things that we are not fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to experience for ourselves, may be experienced through books.

"Common knowledge" exists only between people with common experiences. In working with children, we cannot assume that anything is "common" knowledge.

If we share nonfiction books and make the natural world a source of interest and wonder, then we will have done a great deal in educating children and making the world a better place.

Today's Nonfiction Monday is at Lori Calebrese Writes!  Please, visit and share!


  1. That was a beautiful commentary. I hope that what you have heard has not diminished the lovely reds you see in the skies. I could just imagine it. Must have been breathtaking. Thank you for sharing that.

  2. Great post! So important that parents and teachers are actively involved in teaching not just to a test but every day life events.

  3. Excellent post! We so need to build knowledge about the world around us. Plus, there are things in this world that are truly stranger than anything you can create in your imagination.


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