Nancy's Books

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Writing Nonfiction Picture Books

Many nonfiction books are meant to entertain as well as inform, but the emphasis is on the information. The facts must be accurate. In picture books, facts support the illustrations as opposed to books for older readers in which the illustrations support the facts. The illustrations are large with a small amount of text per page, in most cases. 

In writing fiction, authors ask, “What if…” In nonfiction, authors ask, “Is it true?” The goal is to provide enough information to convey the concept without overwhelming the reader. The amount of information and detail is determined by the target audience. When I wrote BARRELING OVER NIAGARA FALLS, a biography of Annie Edson Taylor, the first person to ride a barrel over the Falls, I focused on her method of preparing for the risky ride. I knew readers would be interested in other daredevils, so I added author notes at the end of the book to inform readers. By adding the notes at the end, I did not overwhelm the text with information that detracted from the biography. 

As with fiction, nonfiction requires a strong narrative voice. Authors have the creative license to use lyrical, upbeat, slow drawl, funny, serious…the list goes on. The narrative style is often based on the subject. Think about the angle, the approach to the telling of the tale. Nonfiction focuses on facts but the facts must not be presented in a tired, boring manner. Use unusual or unexpected word choice, similes, metaphors and other literary devices to breathe life into the work.  Delight the reader as well as inform.  

Call for submissions for Adult Writers

American Cheerleader is published four times a year and is available in both print and digital form. Topics they seek include: biographies, interviews/profiles of sports personalities, cheering how-to, health, beauty, careers, fashion, and sports.  

Submission guidelines: If you have a story idea, email editor at

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