More than Information Reading Non-Fiction for Pleasure

A few years ago, I organised a conference at the London Institute of Education, celebrating the best of non-fiction publishing and innovative teaching with non-fiction texts. The day brought together teachers, writers and illustrators who advocated for  non-fiction as an essential part of children’s reading for pleasure repertoire, not solely reduced to a resource used mechanistically to teach research and information retrieval skills. That is  not to say that those skills are not important, but to pigeon-hole non-fiction as reading  research purposes only is reductive and does not do justice to the wealth of literature available or the ways in which readers chose to engage with it.

In fact many adults read non-fiction for pleasure. Indeed for many it is their reading of preference. Some readers talk about luxuriating in finely written cookery books, others love to pore over the high quality photographs in coffee table books or enjoy the wit of writers like Bill Bryson. Some read to discover things about the world that they will only experience vicariously, or to be  taken by the hand by an expert, or an adventurer, someone who has triumphed over adversity or lived through a momentous occasion in history. Those who have read and enjoyed these books frequently talk about the way the book was written, the ‘voice’ of the writer speaking to them in much the same way that they might appreciate a fiction text.


Thinking about our own encounters reminds us of the different ways in which reading non-fiction is important to us. It is useful to reflect on our own experiences and then consider how this experience translates to the classroom. For instance, in surveying the range of non-fiction books available in the class and school libraries, are subjects that are of child interest evident (and this can be local to the school) or is the library populated only with books that cover curriculum topics? On occasion I have visited schools that have been fortunate enough to have two libraries but then disappointed to discover that the fiction library is for free choice or ‘reading for pleasure’ and the non-fiction library is for study or curriculum work.




Just Imagine promotes and advocates for high quality non-fiction books in the class and school library. Great books are not simply stores for information, after all there are far more efficient ways to store knowledge in a digital age. Well written, illustrated and designed books give us far more than that; they provide a viewpoint on a subject, they enthuse us through expert opinion, they delight us with inventive design and they move us with thoughtfully crafted words and images.


All school libraries should have non-fiction book collections that enable young readers to see the world through fresh eyes and inspire them as much as they fiction they read.

The School Library Association has recently announced the long list for the Information Book Award. This annual event is its fifth year and is a major development for information books, being designed to support school libraries and to reinforce the importance of non-fiction whilst highlighting the high standard of resources available.


The longlist this year includes some stunning books, which show that the printed book is most definitely holding its own in the digital age. Inventive design and high production values make the experience of reading an aesthetic pleasure as well opening up the mind to new discoveries.

We have put together two packs one for 7 – 12 years and another for under 7 at 25% discount off RRP, making this a cost effective way to update your school or class library with some of the best published non-fiction books of the past 12 months





7 - 12 YEAR PACK


Our price £102

Saving: £33.92

William Grill Shackleton's Journey
Michael Hearst, Jella Noorderman Unusual Creatures
Martin Jenkins The Story of Money
Lucy Letherland Atlas of Adventures
Jenny Maizels Pop-Up New York
Mick Manning, Brita Granstrom The Beatles
Anna Claybourne,Timothy Knapman, Adria Meserve The Comedy, History and Tragedy of William Shakespeare
Jenny Broom Animalium
Traer Scott Nocturne: Creatures of the Night
Justin Miles Ultimate Survivial Guide for Kids



RRP £106.90

Our Price £80

Saving 26.90

Laurence Anholt Tell Us a Story Papa Chagall
Camilla de la Bedoyere, Aleksei Bitskoff Could a Penguin Ride a Bike?
Nicola Davies, Emily Sutton The Invisible World of Microbes
Emma Dodds, Patricia Macnair, Marc Aspinall Wow! Surprising Facts About the Human Body
Anita Ganeri, Stuart Carter-Jackson Lifesize Rainforest
Alice Harman The Moon
Danian Harvey, Judy Brown, Mike Philips History Heroes: William Caxton
Mary Hoffman, Ros Asquith Welcome to the Family
Andy Glynne, Salvador Maldonado Ali's Story
Salvatore Rubbino A Walk in Paris



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