Monday, October 19, 2009

Classifying our books

One of the things we hope to do is to create something of a new genre of book: science through picture book fiction. It’s not exactly ‘science fiction’ since it’s not so much futuristic as much as it is science told through stories with fictional elements. We’re not really sure yet what to call it. Every one of our books, however, needs to meet at least one out of two scientific criteria (preferably both): introduce a concept beyond our sensory experience and/or touch on the unknown. They also need to meet at least one out of two literary criteria (again preferably both): strong characters and/or story line. We also ensure that our books have high quality illustrations comparable to main stream picture book fiction. The bottom line is that given that fiction is not generally divided up based on the topics it covers, we are hoping over time to convince booksellers and libraries to classify our books as fiction rather than science on the basis of their literary quality. After all, if a book about a talking animal that teaches the child about good behavior is fiction, why not a book about a mischievous virus that teaches you something about infection and contagion? Fiction has long been accepted as a medium to help children understand how to relate to other people and understand societal norms. Why not as a means to understand our relationship to the microscopic and physical world as well? In the greater context both science and humanities encompass themes that impact our view of the world and our role in it. Classifying our books as fiction and not relegating them to the one ‘science’ shelf at the back that barely anyone visits will widen the audience. We really want to reach children who would otherwise not be exposed to science outside the classroom either because they think they don’t like science or because their parents are science phobic. We believe that every child is born with curiosity about their world and, in the end, understanding ourselves and our relationship to the universe is what science is all about. So ‘science’ or ‘fiction’? Tell us what you think.


  1. how about picture book science literature?

  2. I think you have a wonderful idea of reaching the earlier years through the use of pictures. My 5-year-old loves asking questions and interesting, beautiful picture books, so your combination sounds perfect.