Nonfictional books are informational sources that explain a subject. Children are normally curious about the world they inhabit. They observe and explore, question and hypothesize about how this world works. Nonfiction outnumbers fiction.
12 to 1 in most children’s libraries and is available for children preschool through the advanced grades
Lee Galda and Bernice E. Cullinan
Literature and the child
Use this handout to guide your evaluation of an informational book.
Overall evaluation Begin your overall evaluation by examining the book’s cover:
- What can you learn about the book by examining the cover?
- Is the cover appealing?
- Is the book an appropriate size for its intended audience?
- Who is the author of the book?
o What are his/her credentials?
- Does the book contain any useful aids?
- Does the scope of the information presented appear to be appropriate for the book’s intended audience?
Evaluating the page layout
Using one page, evaluate the effectiveness of its layout:
- Does the page appear too crowded?
- Does the page have a clear focal point?
- How do your eyes move around the page?
- Is white space used effectively?
- Are design tools such as headings, boxes and/or colour used to highlight important information or break up the text?
Evaluating the illustrations
Open your book to a two-page spread, and examine the effectiveness of the illustrations:
- What style of illustration is used?
- Is that style appropriate for the material being presented?
- Do the illustrations help you understand the concepts being presented?
- Are the illustrations close to the text they are illustrating?
- Are explanatory captions provided?
- Are any other visual aids, such as charts, maps or diagrams used?
Evaluating the text
Open your book to another two-page spread. Read the text that is presented on those page sand answer the following questions about the text:
- Is the information presented accurate?
- Is it consistent with present knowledge?
- Has the information been presented in an objective style?
- Have appropriate sources been used?
- Does the text distinguish between facts, opinions and theories?
- Is the information presented in a logical fashion?
o e.g. simple to complex; familiar to unfamiliar
Using another two-page spread, answer the following questions about the style of writing:
- Is the text written in a clear and interesting style?
- Is the level of language appropriate for the book’s intended audience?
- Consider the author’s choice words, sentence and paragraph length.
Any other comments about your book?