By Wendy Hinote Lanier
In today’s reading circles, the word “nonfiction” is no longer a one size fits all label. The last few years have given rise to new terms that better describe the various kinds of nonfiction available. In a previous post we discussed those terms and the types of books associated with each. In today’s post I’m going to discuss narrative nonfiction a bit more and share some Ninja favorites.
Even though narrative nonfiction may read like good fiction, it’s still nonfiction. Every part of it is true. That’s important, because if it isn’t ALL true, then it isn’t nonfiction. Sometimes called creative nonfiction, the conversations and detailed descriptions included in the text are based on solid research and are easily verified. In fact, most narrative nonfiction includes source notes to indicate where the author found specific details or quotes.
Make no mistake. Crafting good narrative nonfiction takes a lot of work. For example, an author might want to include sentences like, “She hurried along the cobbled stone street clutching her meager shawl around her. It wasn’t much protection against the snow—now falling faster by the minute.” To do this, the author would have to determine if the streets the character was walking on were actually cobblestone, whether the subject in the sentence owned a shawl as described in the sentence, and what weather was occurring at the time of the event the author is trying to describe. All that for one measly sentence. Phew! That’s a lot of work.
One author who is a master at writing narrative nonfiction is Candace Fleming. The Ninjas love her work, not only for the interesting topics she tackles, but for the masterful way she weaves carefully researched facts into the narrative.
In Giant Squid the secrets of the elusive squid are revealed in an almost poetic form. The text evokes feelings of the cold, dark world in which these animals are found, revealing one physical characteristic at a time.
One of Candace’s latest book, Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera is another Ninja favorite. It explores the life of a honeybee in lovely lyrical language from start to finish.
And for a slightly older audience, some of the Ninjas highly recommend The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh—the story of an American hero and the truth behind the public’s perception.
But Candace isn’t the only author writing nonfiction in this way. There are many others. The Ninjas have so many favorites it would be hard to name them all. Just a small sampling includes books like:
Several members of the Nonfiction Ninjas have written narrative nonfiction books, too. Here are a few Ninja narrative nonfiction titles you might enjoy:
We are nonfiction authors who support readers and writers through our writing, author visits, and workshops.
The Nonfiction Ninjas are a group of writers with diverse ideas and a strong belief in The First Amendment. The views expressed in each post are those of the author and may differ from others in the group.