November 1, 2015

Sources for Nonfiction

When I receive a nonfiction submission for Kid's Imagination Train, I take a glance at the resources before reading the piece.  Our guidelines suggest that writers have three sources, but I'd love to see at least five, reliable resources.

Most writers know that Wikipedia should not be included.  So, where can you find good sources?

  • Start with your library.  Check out books in the adult section, something published less than fifteen years ago.  Some children’s books may be acceptable if they have been written by an authority or a well-respected children’s writer. 

  • Use your library’s database.  If you are not sure how to use a database, ask a librarian.  In the database, you can search for your topic.  Look for newspaper stories and journal articles. 

  • Search the Internet for professional websites.  Reliable websites include university websites or scientific organizations.  

  • Hunt for primary sources.  This can include first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation created by witnesses who experienced the events or conditions being documented.  Primary sources can also include autobiographies, memoirs, and oral histories recorded later.  

  • Locate experts that have experience on your topic.  Read and study their research.  Interview the experts or have them answer a questionnaire.  

Most writers who have published in Kid's Imagination Train generally rely on library books or the Internet.  What impresses me is when writers dig a little deeper and find sources which reveal unique research.  When I see that writers have used outstanding sources, it puts in me the mood to read their work.  

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