Celebrating Non-Fiction for Children and Young People – FCBG plans for the future

Last month the National Executive agreed to a change in the way in which the FCBG celebrates non-fiction for children and young people.

From this year instead of focussing on a single day, we shall be celebrating ‘National Non-Fiction November’, hoping to emulate the success of National Share-a-Story Month. In other words we are encouraging groups to find an occasion, any time during November, to highlight non-fiction.

We took this decision based on feedback from local book groups and other organisations interested in supporting children’s non-fiction. It was widely felt that a month long celebration would facilitate a higher level of participation.

We’ll be calling this celebration “National Non-Fiction November – Adventures in the Real World”. A logo will be forthcoming.

This year’s theme is The First World War, but this theme is not exclusive; all non-fiction for children and young people will be celebrated. The theme is merely to provide a focus for those who want it.

We really hope that groups will use this relaunching of our non-fiction focus to hold an event with a non-fiction theme. To aid this, we have recently sent all groups a directory of non fiction authors who are keen to visit groups for events. The directory includes details of topics of interest, geographical location (perhaps useful if you wish to build up a relationship with a local non-fiction author) and contact details. If for some reason your group did not receive this directory please email info@fcbg.org.uk requesting it to be resent.

We have also negotiated two free events for which book groups can bid:

(1) Sarah Ridley, author of Dear Jelly (Hachette) is available for one free book group visit.

(2) Usborne have very generously agreed to provide a large pack of their First World War themed books and activity sheets to one group anywhere in the country. This “book event in a box” will enable a group to run a Non Fiction event in November at very minimal cost to themselves.

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Details of both events and how groups can bid for them have already been sent to groups, but should you require further information please email nnfn@fcbg.org.uk. Bids for these events must be in by July 11th. Groups who have expressed an interest in these free events will be contacted by July 16th to confirm who has been successful in bidding for them.

Work is also under way with several publishers to produce downloadable activity packs to go with a selection of their First World War titles. These will be available to all groups after the Summer holidays and are being designed to provide a easy-to-use template for book group events. Given the nature of the theme this year it might be an ideal opportunity to run an event with your local museum or genealogical society.

In the Autumn a new section of the FCBG website focusing on non-fiction for children and young-people will be launched. There will be new pages with details of non-fiction awards, how book groups can get involved with these, ideas for using non-fiction in groups, schools, homes, promotional material, videos and much more.

During November we hope you’ll also look out for special online initiative featuring 30 days of (children’s/young people’s) non-fiction around the web, on book blogs, publishers websites, the websites for literacy, reading for pleasure and teacher organisations. As well as author interviews, opinion pieces, and practical tips there will also be several competitions and giveaways which members may take part in. Do keep an eye out for this nearer the time.

As you can see, we have a lot planned! We really hope as many groups as possible will get involved with celebrating children non-fiction with us in November.

A very big thank you to all the non-fiction authors and illustrators who are supporting our non-fiction initiative, and to the publishers working with us on National Non-Fiction November, especially to Hachette, Usborne and Walker Books for supporting us with events and materials.

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