While I always loved fiction, as a child I thought of it as frivolous, pure make-believe. When I was given my first library card at the age of 6, I even made a rule to try to keep the seductive things from enchanting me too thoroughly and making me go soft-brained.Obviously, as one who writes about science for kids, this disturbs me. Aside from the fact that the writer imposed this rule on herself at the age of six (six!), I'm dismayed by just how early we absorb the lesson that nonfiction is good for you, like brussels sprouts, and fiction is just candy. Where do we get these ideas? Is it because kids' science books aren't as well written as fiction? Is it because learning about the natural world seems too much like school?
Every time I visited the library I allowed myself to take out one work of fiction. To balance it, I had to take out a book that was good for me, something I could learn from. I forbade myself from reading the storybook before completing the good-for-me book.
Fortunately, Goldstein goes on to write that she's come to view fiction and non-fiction a little differently:
I have come to believe, over the years, that literary fiction is remarkably suited to grappling--as philosophy and science grapple--with the difficulties of reconciling objective truth with inner points of view.What do you think? Is nonfiction your vegetable (not to diss vegetables, you know I love 'em!) or your dessert?