Saturday, March 15, 2008

missing children's non-fiction

It surprises me how little Australian children's nonfiction is published. Nonfiction seems to me to be something culturally important. On those grounds adult nonfiction is supported, but I don't sense anything like the same level of support for children's nonfiction.

Is it that we can't sell our non-fiction overseas? We're not doing much children's nonfiction on Australian topics. Much less it seems to me than New Zealand or Canadians do about themselves. We do even less non-fiction on topics of interest to other parts of the world. Do we lack the confidence in our factual knowledge? Is it a part of our cultural cringe?

I know that publishers argue that nonfiction is more expensive to design and print, so you're having to invest more and, even successful, children's nonfiction peaks in sales and then drops away while successful fiction has the support for a longer life span.


Blithe said...

Could it be because DK has the corner on this market? Two of the books being eagerly perused at the moment by my 8 and 6 year old are DK non-fiction (human bodies and space facts). They definitely enjoy non-fiction but also the Magic Schoolbus brand of science wrapped in a story.

Australian children's non-fiction is markedly absent. I've been looking for a good non-fiction Australiana book to send to a friend's child overseas and haven't found anything yet beyond cutesy Australian animals. I'd like something that represents us to the world because so few overseas know anything about us.

Andrew's black dog blog said...

DK books have certainly stood the test of time. And kids do love them. I feeling that the model they use is ripe for a freshening up.

And I'll keep in mind your second point.