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writing an intro for a NF book

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The second draft of my first non fiction book for children is now back in the editor’s hands, sans an Introduction. I’ve made several attempts but can’t seem to find a version I like. Any tips?
#1 - April 16, 2020, 02:45 PM
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Lois Peterson
Eight published books for readers ages six to 14
Website: www.loispetersonwriter.ca
Facebook: https://tinyurl.com/y2bkjc89

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What sort of intro? Is this the opening of the book? Maybe it doesn't need one. I need more info to answer this.
#2 - April 16, 2020, 07:03 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

It's a book for 9-12 year olds about homelessness.
I worked in the field for 3 years and so have a personal connection, which I do use throughout the 17,000-word text.
But with no access to the library these days where normally I might go to see how other writers handle intros to books on social issues (this is my first non fiction book), I am looking for tips of approaches I might take, and what I might need to include.
I will probably check in with my editor for her input once I get notes back from her on this draft, but meanwhile and looking for any helpful hints I can find.
Tx.
LP
#3 - April 16, 2020, 07:23 PM
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Lois Peterson
Eight published books for readers ages six to 14
Website: www.loispetersonwriter.ca
Facebook: https://tinyurl.com/y2bkjc89

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In my experience you only use an introduction when readers need it to establish context. I wrote two books about spies--one during the cold war and one during world war II. Each had a very short intro about the war to set context.  Most nonfiction probably doesn't need an intro. A short author's note at the end is fairly common, though.
#4 - April 16, 2020, 08:05 PM
Rebecca Langston-George
The Women's Rights Movement: Then and Now
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LPwords, it might be a pain, but if you have a library card you almost certainly have digital access, too. It's not as good as flipping through a dozen books in the stacks, but it still might help.

You might consider making a bullet-point list for yourself of what the book is about, and then what of that needs to go in the introduction. Is it a topic kids won't understand so they need a basic explanation of what you're talking about, or do they need an idea of what will be covered?  Do you need an anecdote to ease readers into a dry first chapter? I guess deciding what you want the intro to do would be the first step.

 :goodluck
#5 - April 16, 2020, 10:36 PM
Learning to Swear in America (Bloomsbury, July 2016)
What Goes Up (Bloomsbury, 2017)
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LP, you can use the Amazon Look Inside feature to see how others have handled an intro, if they even need it.
What I've noticed is that in most picture books, the flap itself serves as an intro and then there's the author's note in the back that gives more information.
Good luck on this your first NF book!
#6 - April 17, 2020, 05:59 AM
Max & Dagny, Why in the World, Tongue-Tied, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
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Some books open with vignettes to get the reader into the subject. Others dive in with a fascinating fact. In your case, I think setting the tone might be good because it can be a tough topic to read about, especially as kids see food lines on the news and may have parents suddenly out of work or even sick. But I bet your story does that already. Perhaps think about it as a hook instead of an intro.
#7 - April 17, 2020, 06:04 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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Can I suggest that you think about the heart of your book. What is the main message? Why did you write it? Why is it important? Why should a child read it? What will they learn from reading it? How will they benefit/be transformed?
These questions may help you form an introduction, however short. Imagine a person picking up the book and reading the first page. They are naive about homelessness.  You may want to set the scene of the day-to-day life of a homeless person: what it's like, how they survive. Or you may want to define what homelessness is, or introduce how people find themselves homeless (that it's not the cliche of old alcoholic men).
The aim is to give a taster of what the book is about, and hook the reader in to turn that page and keep reading.
Best of luck with it.
#8 - April 17, 2020, 07:58 PM
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