Pairing Fiction and Nonfiction

Pairing a fiction book and a nonfiction book is a technique that librarians and teachers are using to engage young readers.  When interested adults do this, they acknowledge that readers have individual tastes.  Just how you choose to pair books can vary.

Book pairings are often based on a topic or theme such as:

The Fourth of July: Americans by Douglas Wood and Looking for Uncle Louie on the Fourth of July by Kathy Whitehead

Grizzly Bears: Grizzly Bear by Joseph Stanley and The Grizzly Bear who Lost His Grrrrr! By Rob Biddulph

Book pairings are a good idea for a number of reasons.  First of all, they tell young readers that you see them as individual s with a variety of tastes. Second, a reader who loves nonfiction and picks that book first may come back to read the fiction title as well.  Third, it gives the reader a choice, which is great, but not so many that they feel overwhelmed.

There are some things you may want to keep in mind when pairing books.  When you choose books, try not to pick two that are too similar.  You want your reader to really have a choice.  Encourage your reader to discuss why this book was the one they found appealing.  You don’t want to assume that a reader is only interested in nonfiction when they simply prefer photos to illustrations.  A reader who wants a light-hearted book may be drawn to a slapstick nonfiction cover vs the more contemplative cover designed for a novel.

Two choices not seem like enough?  Than create a book bundle, four or five choices.  This would enable you to include both serious and humorous nonfiction, a graphic novel, a novel, and a book of poetry.  You might even create a special bookmark to tag your person favorite.

Helping young readers find just the right book can be tricky but by giving them choices you increase the chance that they will open the book’s cover and explore. A book pairing or book bundle helps keep these choices from feeling overwhelming.


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