Beyond the Nonfiction Unit Series - National Council of Teachers of English

In honor of the recent Position Statement on the Role of Nonfiction Literature (K–12), NCTE will host a webinar series meant to dive deeper into several of the component areas of the position statement throughout the month of June. This series is reserved for NCTE members only. Additional information and registration links are below.

Please contact with any questions.





Series Events

Session 1: Overview—led by Mary Ann Cappiello, Xenia Hadjioannou, and Jason Chin

June 6, 2023, 4:30–5:30 p.m. ET

The co-chairs of the position statement writing group will lead a session exploring grounding information on nonfiction in K-12 education, including nonfiction’s prominent tie to urgent educational challenges, NCTE’s work with nonfiction over time, as well as the history of children’s nonfiction literature. Input from the field on changes in practice tied to the statement will also be explored.

Facilitated by

Mary Ann Cappiello is a professor of language and literacy at Lesley University where she teaches courses in children’s literature and literacy methods. She is the coauthor of Text Sets in Action: Pathways through Content Literacy (Stenhouse, 2021), cofounder of The Classroom Bookshelf and The Biography Clearinghouse, and a former chair of NCTE’s Orbis Pictus Award® for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children.

Xenia Hadjioannou is an associate professor of language and literacy education at the Berks campus of Penn State University. Her scholarship focuses on literacy methodology, children’s literature, and preparing teachers to work with diverse students, including emergent bilinguals. She is president of the Children’s Literature Assembly of the National Council of Teachers of English. 

Jason Chin is a celebrated author and illustrator of children’s books. He received the Caldecott Medal for Watercress, written by Andrea Wang, and the Cook Prize for Your Place in the Universe. Watercress was also named a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book. His book Grand Canyon was awarded a Caldecott Honor, a Sibert Honor, and the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award. His other acclaimed nonfiction titles—Coral Reefs, Redwoods, Gravity, and Island: A Story of the Galapagos—have received numerous starred reviews and other accolades. He lives in Vermont with his wife and children.


Session 2: Writing Instruction and Visual Literacy

June 13, 2023, 4:30–5:30 p.m. ET

Facilitated by 

Xenia Hadjioannou is an associate professor of language and literacy education at the Berks campus of Penn State University. Her scholarship focuses on literacy methodology, children’s literature, and preparing teachers to work with diverse students, including emergent bilinguals. She is president of the Children’s Literature Assembly of the National Council of Teachers of English. 

Melissa Stewart has written more than two hundred science-themed nonfiction books for children, including the Sibert Medal Honor Title Summertime Sleepers: Animals that Estivate, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen. Her most recent title is Whale Fall: Exploring an Ocean-Floor Ecosystem, illustrated by Rob Dunlavey. Melissa cowrote 5 Kinds of Nonfiction: Enriching Reading and Writing Instruction with Children’s Books, edited the anthology Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep: 50 Award-Winning Children’s Book Authors Share the Secret of Engaging Writing, and maintains the award-winning blog Celebrate Nonfiction. Her highly regarded website features a rich array of nonfiction reading and writing resources.

Paula Yoo is a prolific TV writer/producer, freelance violinist, and author of several books for children, including her award-winning debut young adult nonfiction book, From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry. Her next book, Rising from the Ashes, examines the 1992 Los Angeles uprising’s impact on the Korean and Black American communities, and will be released in April of 2024. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Duncan Tonatiuh (toh-nah-tee-YOU) is an award-winning author-illustrator. He is both Mexican and American. He grew up in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and graduated from Parsons School of Design and Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts in New York City. His artwork is inspired by pre-Columbian art. His aim is to create images and stories that honor the past, but are relevant to today’s people, especially children. He currently lives in San Miguel with his family but travels in the United States often. 


Session 3: Research Processes and Information Literacy

June 15, 2023, 4:30–5:30 p.m. ET

Facilitated by 

Kari Johnston is a fifth-grade bilingual teacher in Austin, Texas. She holds a master’s in curriculum and instruction with a focus in bilingual/bicultural education from The University of Texas at Austin. She is passionate about creating opportunities for her students to see themselves reflected in the classroom, often through literature. She teaches critical thinkers who know that without appreciating every perspective their learning is incomplete. She works in partnership with families and centers her work on authentic opportunities to leverage student voice.

Ruth Lowery is associate dean for graduate studies and faculty affairs in the College of Education at the University of North Texas (UNT). She is also a professor of children’s literature in the Department of Teacher Education and Administration at UNT. Her research focuses on children’s literature, immigrant and multicultural literature, and the adaptation of immigrant and minority students at risk of school failure. Lowery has over 100 publications including seven books on these topics. She is immediate past-president of the Children’s Literature Assembly of NCTE. Her motto, “Just read,” encapsulates her love of reading and belief in sharing great literature with readers of all ages.

Traci Sorell Best-selling author and Cherokee Nation citizen Traci Sorell writes inclusive, award-winning fiction and nonfiction in a variety of formats for young people. In 2023, she shares Contenders: Two Native Baseball Players, One World Series, a Kirkus Reviews starred nonfiction picture book biography illustrated by Arigon Starr, and Mascot, a middle grade fiction novel-in-verse co-authored with Charles Waters. Traci is a two-time Sibert Medal and Orbis Pictus Award® honoree for her nonfiction work. Her first five books have received awards from the American Indian Library Association. Learn more at


Session 4: Critical Literacy

June 20, 2023, 4:30–5:30 p.m. ET

Facilitated by

Denise Dávila is a children’s literature and literacy education scholar at the University of Texas, Austin. She works within historically marginalized communities to examine the language, literacy, and cultural practices of young children and their families. Denise is a former fellow of NCTE’s Cultivating New Voices among Scholars of Color (CNV) program and a former chair of NCTE Orbis Pictus Award® for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children Committee. Denise started her career as an elementary school teacher who loved reading picturebooks with her students. Twitter: @ddavila_atx

Roberta Price Gardner is an associate professor of reading and literacy education at Kennesaw State University where she also serves as the graduate program coordinator for the MEd program in elementary and early childhood education. She is a CNV fellow, former chair of NCTE’s Elementary Section Steering Committee, and co-director of PDCRT. Roberta is a former early childhood and elementary school librarian. She is coeditor of the book Reading and Teaching with Diverse Nonfiction Children’s Books: Representations and Possibilities (2021). Her research interests include Black children’s literature and literacies, diverse nonfiction, and the aesthetics of reading. Twitter: @robertapgardner

Elizabeth Rusch is the award-winning author of more than 20 books, which have received multiple starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, The Horn Book, Booklist, School Library Journal, and the BCCB. Her work has won the Golden Kite Award, the Subaru Prize, the Cook Prize, and the Green Earth Award, and has landed on many best-of-the-year lists produced by ALA, NCTE, NSTA, Bank Street College of Education, Kirkus, SLJ, and NBC News. New nonfiction includes All About Nothing and The 21: The True Story who Sued the US Government over Climate Change, due out from Greenwillow this fall.


Session 5: Independent Reading and Reading Instruction

June 27, 2023,  4:30–5:30 p.m. ET

Facilitated by

Patricia (Trish) Crawford is passionate about children’ s literature. She is an associate professor in the Language, Literacy and Culture program at the University of Pittsburgh, where she works with aspiring teachers and researchers. She is Editor in Chief of Early Childhood Education Journal.

Trish Bandré is the reading instructional specialist for Salina Public Schools (Kansas), USD 305, where she works with literacy coaches and teachers to increase their knowledge of best practices in literacy instruction. She is a former elementary teacher and associate professor of reading education and serves as treasurer of the Children’s Literature Assembly of the National Council of Teachers of English.

Barb Rosenstock combines playful language and deep research into lively nonfiction books for today’s children. Her work has been recognized with a Caldecott Honor, Golden Kite Award, South Asia Book Award, Sydney Taylor Honor, multiple NCTE Orbis Pictus recognitions, and regularly appears on state award and annual best book lists. Barb loves to visit schools and share ideas about reading and writing with students. She grew up in Chicago, where she lives with her family and hundreds of books. For teacher materials and other information visit; follow her on Twitter (@barbrosenstock) or Instagram (@brosenstock).