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  • Writer's pictureLittle Thoughts Press

Behind the Curtain: Insight into our Fabulous Facts theme with guest editor, Carrie Karnes-Fannin

teal square with science, space, history graphics and black text that reads Fabulous Facts: A Celebration of Nonfiction for Kids


The leaves are dropping along with the temperatures, Thanksgiving is almost here, and our Fantastical Fall issue is making its way to readers. That means it's time to start thinking about our next issue.

While most Little Thoughts Press issues have included a sprinkling of nonfiction, this one will be special. It’s ALL nonfiction! We’re calling it “Fabulous Facts: A Celebration of Nonfiction for Kids.”

So, what does that mean exactly? Here’s some information to get you started:

Dusty, boring, dull...nope, not on our watch! We want to celebrate the wonderful world of the astonishing facts kids love to learn. Bring us your mini-biographies of outstanding inventors, scientists, and creatives. Send your best STEAM stories and narrative nonfiction poems. Have an out-of-the-box informational fiction idea or illustration? We’d love to see it.
Back matter is welcome, but we ask you to keep it brief due to limited space. For fact-checking purposes, please include citations/sources/references for information that isn’t common knowledge. (References will not be published.)

I hope your nonfiction wheels are already turning. But, if you’re anything like me, you probably want an example or two.

I’m glad you asked. Here you go:

What makes one a “yes” and the other a “no?”

It comes down to the fact that in a magazine (unlike a picture book text), the illustrations are minimal and more decorative than informational or storytelling. The space for back matter is minimal. Therefore, a piece must do most (or all) the heavy lifting for itself, giving the child reader what they need for comprehension within the text.

You can see this at work in the two texts above. The “yes” example doesn’t need much in the way explanation. However, the “no” piece needs illustrations and/or extensive back matter to support the text. Without a picture or sidebar, the reader won’t know that Maria’s “harnessing seawater and sunlight” describes her inventing a solar powered still which turned seawater into fresh, drinkable water.

If your piece must include back matter, keep it short and simple. Here’s an example that could accompany our “yes” piece THE LIST:

Monarch life stages: Egg, larvae (caterpillar), pupa (when the caterpillar turns into an ooey-gooey bit inside the chrysalis case), butterfly. Learn more about monarchs (give book title, etc. here).”

Now, you may be thinking, “Wait – both the YES and NO examples are narrative! What about expository nonfiction? Kids love that, too.”

We say, “Absolutely - bring it on!”

Either way you go, we encourage you to find the hook and framework to get and keep a fact-loving kid reading. (Here is a great article from the master of expository kidlit herself, Melissa Stewart, with some lovely examples of both narrative and expository approaches and various ways of framing them.)

We hope you’re starting to get as excited about this upcoming issue as we are. Keep in mind these general guidelines. Submissions for Fabulous Facts will be open from November 27, 2023 - January 1, 2024. All submissions will receive a response by January 15, 2024.

We can’t wait to celebrate your fabulous nonfiction kidlit with you and our readers.


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