National Non-Fiction November 2021

National Non-Fiction November is the Federation of Children’s Book Groups’ annual celebration of all things factual. Born out of National Non-Fiction Day, the whole month now celebrates all those readers that have a passion for information and facts and attempts to bring non-fiction celebration in line with those of fiction. The theme they have chosen for National Non-Fiction November (NNFN) for 2021 isHeroes’; on their site they explain that not all heroes wear capes…and not all heroes are human.

The theme ‘Heroes’ is a nod to all the real-life superheroes out there. Ordinary people who do the most extraordinary things to make a positive difference to the world we live in. Spanning history and from all around the globe, ground-breakers, freedom fighters, political pioneers, environmental activists, super scientists, awesome authors, inspiring inventors, sporting superheroes, and rebels who have rocked the world.

In the last eighteen months lots of heroes have gone above and beyond. From Sir Captain Tom Moore and Marcus Rashford to the unsung heroes, our keyworkers; the doctors, nurses, care assistants, emergency services and pharmacists who risked their lives to save ours. And the supermarket workers and delivery drivers who kept going to keep us going. So, this November we will be remembering their sacrifices. In 2020, for example, a mural of footballer Marcus Rashford by street artist Akse P19 was painted in the Withington area of Manchester, United Kingdom. The mural was created in recognition of the work Rashford did during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom to help tackle child food poverty.

Not all heroes are human. The Federation of Children’s Book Groups will also be celebrating amazing animal heroes such as Koko, the gorilla who learned to speak in sign language or Jet, the Alsation who pulled survivors from the rubble during the Blitz. Have a look at their Book List – providing an overview of just a few favourites of the many titles available that explore this year’s theme of heroes. While concentrating on more recent publications, it also includes some older titles, and even a couple that won’t be published until November.

Whilst many of us enjoy the escapism we get from narratives and fiction, it’s certainly worth keeping in mind that many people prefer non-fiction. In particular, many learners with conditions such as autism prefer non-fiction to fiction so National Non-Fiction November is a great opportunity to celebrate literature that means the most to those who prefer to read about real people, places and events rather than imaginary ones.

LGfL Resources

LGfL’s library of Widgit Resources (which require you to log in with your LGfL USO) includes a wide range of symbol supported non-fiction texts including books on historical figures such as William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens.  There are also many texts on topics related to geography and history.

If you are looking for accessible non-fiction texts to support the celebration,  you could also check out LGfL’s Fossils and Dinosaurs which a resource all about Palaeontology and the great reptiles which once reigned supreme over planet Earth. The resource is accompanied by differentiated materials designed to make the content accessible uses of a wide range of abilities as well as expert videos filmed with a Paleontologist.

If you are encouraging your pupils to write a Non-Fiction text about Heroes; they may want to research the experiences of polar explorers past and present. The LGfL resource “Polar Exploration – in the Heroic Age of Scientific Discovery” is a cross-curricular resource walking in the footsteps of the great Antarctic explorers.

LGfL worked with the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University in Creating these comprehensive resources, which provides a unique insight into the ‘Heroic Age of Scientific Discovery’ Featuring exclusive access to the historic archive of the most famous polar expeditions of the 20th Century, the resources include:

  • Video footage of equipment and artefacts from the most famous expeditions.
  • High-resolution photographs of objects featured in the video footage
  • Journal extracts read by a descendant of a member of Captain Scott’s Discovery expedition
  • Interactive map of the Polar Regions with plotted locations of the multimedia assets
  • The opportunity to meet a modern-day polar explorer and hear of his experiences living for extended periods of time in some of the world’s most extreme environments.
British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13

Maths in the Real World has a range of activities that could be used to complement work for Non-Fiction November, there is the ‘Search and Rescue‘ resource based around everyday heroes the HM Coastguard.

Ideas with your Adobe Creative Cloud licences

(For more information about licences with LGfL, claim here):

  • The200 word non-fiction challenges from DigiDom. (See below for a tutorial to help you get started with Spark Page)

Watch the video then use the question prompts to write a 200 word response using Adobe Spark Page or Spark Video. Aim for about 50 words for each section.

If you’re self-publishing a book, you’ll know that writing it is only part of the process. You also need to market it, and that requires a descriptive and eye-catching book cover. You may need the expertise of a designer or artist, too. And they’re not cheap. But with Adobe Spark, you can create slick, professional book covers from the comfort of your own home.

During National Non-Fiction November you could also make use of the J2e Tool Suite within school in the following ways:

    • use JIT and j2e5 to create books about Heroes.
    • use the paint features to design paintings that capture heroic sacrifices made by the unsung heroes out there.

ReadingZone Bookclub

ReadingZone Bookclub - free author events

Join the ReadingZone Bookclub programme of free virtual author events each term. The bookclub is aimed at classrooms and libraries that are keen to develop a love of reading. Events for ages 5-11 years.

To sign up for any of these free events, and for more details, email info@readingzone.com

Non Fiction November – How Was That Built?
Friday 5th November, 2pm – 2.45pm
For Years 3-6 (ages 8+)
Join Roma Agrawal MBE, award-winning structural engineer who helped build The Shard, and illustrator Katie Hickey as they introduce How Was That Built? Hear all about the extraordinary people who challenged our beliefs about what’s possible to build. A fun and interactive event!

Other Resources:

Dorling Kindersley Activity Sheets – Downloadable activity sheets are perfect to use as additional teaching resources, these digital activity packs help take children beyond the book, engaging with their imagination and creativity as they colour, draw, play, and write.

The Literacy Shed blog has a great post (from 2018) entitled: With Google at our fingertips, do we still need non-fiction texts? The post includes a short video and recommendations of non-fiction books for the primary classroom.

Whatever you decide to do during National Non-Fiction November, the month provides a great opportunity to promote reading non-fiction for pleasure, to allow young readers to indulge in fascination for facts and to celebrate, the breadth, depth and richness of non-fiction writing, illustrating and publishing for children and young people. (NNFN website)

Please let us know via our Twitter and Facebook pages or leave us a comment here to let us know what you are doing for National Non-Fiction November #NNFN2021 and #Heroes.