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Trade Books 101

What is a trade book?

A trade book is a book marketed to the general public. These are books purchased by libraries and made available to the public through various venues, such as book stores and catalogs. Increasingly, they have also been purchased and used by schools for instructional purposes that foster literacy development and support content areas.

What are the two main genres of trade books?

The two main genres (types) of trade books are fiction and non-fiction. Within each genre are sub-categories that further differentiate different types of books. Libraries use the Dewey Decimal System to categorize books. In general, fictional books are designated as E (for picture books) or Fic (for fiction) and are organized alphabetically by the author’s last name. Non-fiction books include information books, folktales, and biographies. Most non-fiction is organized by subject category according to the Dewey Decimal designation.

What are some of the basic differences in fiction and non-fiction genres?

What is an information book?

An information book is a non-fiction book that conveys factual knowledge and supports the inquiry of the reader. The term "information book" is often used interchangeably with the term “non-fiction,” however nonfiction is actually a more global category which includes folktale and biography. Information books or texts usually support content area focuses including all the sciences and history.

What is a science-related trade book?

The Elementary Science Integration Projects uses the term “science-related trade book” to refer to all trade books, both fiction and non-fiction, that have a connection to science. This includes the following genres that we use for Search It! Science to categorize science-related trade books:

Information reference: information texts that use text features such as: headings, chapters, indexes, glossaries, graphs, and captions to organize and present information.

Information narrative: information based books that include elements of narrative to deliver the information. An example would be a book written by a scientist who tells the story of an experiment or project that she has directed.

Experiment-procedural: texts that present scientific demonstrations, activities and “how-tos” .

Science-related biography: biographies that feature the lives of scientists and those who work in science-related fields.

Science-related folktales: folktales that share culturally-based stories based on natural or scientific phenomenon.

Science-related poetry: individual poems or poetry collections that explore scientific themes.

Science-related fiction: narrative texts that incorporate scientific information and/or thinking into the story.

Why use science-related trade books in the classroom?

Often science books are thought of only as reference texts. Science-related trade books offer a great deal more than just information. The following are just a few examples of what science trade books can bring to the classroom.





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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 9912078. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.