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2021’s New Surefire Bestseller Fiction Books
One could argue reading is the quintessential socially distanced activity. And it looks like 2021 will be yet another year that’s perfect for shattering all of your reading challenge records on every bookworm’s favorite social network Goodreads. But because we know finding the perfect read can be a little bit tricky sometimes, we’ve put together a list of 2021’s most highly anticipated new book releases from bestselling authors.
And since sometimes what you need to escape from reality is an international thriller, but there are also weeks when nothing will do but a swooning romance, we made sure to include a diverse array of genres. Now, let’s get reading.
Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas
Author Angie Thomas revisits the universe and characters of The Hate U Give (2017) setting Concrete Rose 17 years before her debut novel. Concrete explores Black boyhood and tells the story of Maverick Carter — Starr’s dad in The Hate U Give — and how he became a father at just 17.
Publication date: January 12, 2021.
The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Vietnamese-American author Viet Thanh Nguyen won a Pulitzer Prize with his 2015 novel The Sympathizer and sold over a million copies of it worldwide . His new work of historical fiction, an account of his narrator and “man of two minds” as he arrives in Paris as a refugee, is a sequel to that award-winning story.
Publication date: March 2, 2021.
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
Japan-born British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro pivots from the historical fiction genre he captured in The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans to take his first plunge into science fiction since Never Let Me Go . Klara and the Sun is the author’s first book after winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2017 and tells the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend hoping for someone to choose her soon.
How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue
Imbolo Mbue’s debut novel, Behold the Dreamers , was an Oprah’s Book Club selection and New York Times bestseller. In How Beautiful We Were , the Cameroon native and New York transplant takes us to the fictional African village of Kosawa to tell the story of its collision with an American oil company degrading the environment.
Publication date: March 9, 2021.
First Person Singular by Haruki Murakami
From Japanese Magical Realism master Haruki Murakami ( Norwegian Wood , 1Q84 ) comes this compilation of eight short stories told in the first person. The stories touch on love and solitude, childhood and memory, and blur the lines between fiction and memoir.
Publication date: April 6, 2021.
Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian
If you saw Kaley Cuoco’s engrossing and very bingeable HBO Max show The Flight Attendant you might be intrigued by the author of the series’ source material. In his new title, Chris Bohjalian narrates the life of a 24-year-old woman living in 1662 Boston who’s trying to escape an abusive husband — all while hoping she doesn’t end up as more prey for the witch hunt.
Publication date: April 20, 2021.
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
One of the biggest names on this list — not everyone gets his first published novel, The Martian , which was made into a movie directed by Ridley Scott — dives into science fiction yet again with Project Hail Mary . In it, the partially amnesiac astronaut Ryland Grace is the only survivor in a mission to save Earth. There’s no doubt that Andy Weir will science the sh-t out of this book too.
Publication date: May 4, 2021.
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
Emily Henry’s previous novel’s title said it all: Beach Read . The contemporary romance was a breezy page-turner with the right amount of romantic angst and humor. Now comes People We Meet on Vacation , a story about two best friends who find their way back to each other while on a trip together.
Publication date: May 11, 2021.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones & The Six won the 2019 Goodreads Choice Awards in the Historical Fiction category and the Book of the Month’s Book of the Year award. And her 2017 novel, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo , was a finalist for the Book of the Year recognition. With Malibu Rising she bets yet again on historical fiction. The book is set in 1983 and tells the story of four famous siblings throwing one over-the-top party before the end of the summer.
Publication date: June 1, 2021.
The Maidens by Alex Michaelides
British Cypriot author Alex Michaelides is another name with Book of the Month and Goodreads Choice Awards credentials, all thanks to his 2019 debut mystery novel The Silent Patient . In his new book, The Maidens , the writer untangles the story of a secret society of female students at Cambridge University and the woman focused on uncovering the mystery behind it.
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Even though The Other Black Girl is Zakiya Dalila Harris’ debut novel, we’ve included it in this list because the book has already secured a contract with Hulu and was in a bidding war among publishing houses that ended in a seven-figure deal for Harris. The author knew the editorial world firsthand after having worked at Knopf/Doubleday for three years. In The Other Black Girl, she tells the story of a young editorial assistant who, for a while, is the only Black employee at publisher Wagner Books.
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
Red, White & Royal Blue author Casey McQuiston opts again for the romantic comedy formula with this girl meets girl story. In One Last Stop , August has just moved to New York and is not completely charmed by the city. But then she meets Jane on her commute and ends up developing more than just a subway crush.
The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang
Confessed shy person and author Helen Hoang has a new romantic proposal about misconceptions and right matches: The Heart Principle . Her bestselling debut novel The Kiss Quotient was inspired by her Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis. It told the story of a successful algorithm expert who hired an escort to make up for her lack of sexual experience.
Publication Date: August 17, 2021.
Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The spooky thriller Mexican Gothic was one of 2020’s literary revelations. This year the Mexican-Canadian author Silvia Moreno-Garcia has a new story to tell. In Velvet Was the Night , Moreno-Garcia writes about Maite, a secretary living in 1970s Mexico City. Maite is obsessed with romance stories and her beautiful neighbor Leonora. When Leonora disappears, Maite starts looking for her — but she isn’t the only one.
Publication date: August 17, 2021.
And Many More Reads
And the list of new book releases in 2021 goes on. There are follow-up novels from fantasy franchises, thrillers co-penned by former US presidents, a new entry from the master of horror himself and a few mysteries with a twist.
Here are a few more titles scheduled for publication this year:
The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins, author of Hex Hall .
Publication date: January 5, 2021.
Lore by Alexandra Bracken, author of The Darkest Minds .
Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner, author of Alone .
Publication date: January 19, 2021.
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah, author of The Nightingale .
Publication date: February 2, 2021.
A Court of Silver Flames ( A Court of Thorns and Roses #4 ) by Sarah J. Maas.
Publication date: February 16, 2021.
The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey, author of Magic for Liars .
Later by Stephen King, author of The Shining and It.
Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly, author of Lilac Girls .
Publication date: March 30, 2021.
The Crown of Gilded Bones ( Blood and Ash #3 ) by Jennifer L. Armentrout.
Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli, author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda .
Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri, author of The Namesake .
Publication date: April 27, 2021.
The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren, author of The Honeymooners.
Publication date: May 18, 2021.
The President’s Daughter by Bill Clinton and James Patterson, co-authors of The President is Missing .
Publication date: June 7, 2021.
Any Way the Wind Blows ( Simon Snow #3 ) by Rainbow Rowell.
Publication date: July 6, 2021.
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Planning Non-Fiction Writing (Years 3-4)
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Help children to develop their knowledge of non-fiction texts with this PowerPoint. It recaps the key features of different non-fiction texts as well as their purpose and audience. Children are then guided through the process of creating a plan for a non-fiction text.
This resource is also available in a handy Lesson Pack, containing a selection of worksheets and PowerPoints on reading and writing non-fiction texts for Y3-4.
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- Key Stage: Key Stage 2
- Subject: English
- Topic: Planning
- Topic Group: Writing
- Year(s): Years 3-4
- Media Type: PowerPoint
- Resource Type: Front-of-Class Teaching
- Last Updated: 23/09/2022
- Resource Code: E2PAT148
Plan their writing by discussing and recording ideas.
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70 Non-Fiction Writing Prompts
Age range: 11-14
Resource type: Worksheet/Activity
12 February 2020
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70 non-fiction writing prompts for KS3/KS4: letters (formal/informal), speeches, articles, leaflets/guides and a review included.
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Really fantastic! thanks so much, going to get a lot of use out of these :)
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Brilliant resource, thanks so much for creating it. The prompts are varied and are beautifully presented, which engages students. They are also fairly nuanced, which helps pupils write developed and lengthy responses.
These are great, thank you!
I have used some these tasks at KS2 - they're engaging and a good assessment of independent writing.
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Unfortunately not the ones with chocolate chips.
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nonfiction writing 3rd grade
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Development teach children writing skills in a variety of non-fiction genres, the differentiated writing scaffolds provide guidance and ideas for planning and writing. Many texts are cross-curricular, thus developing these writing skills will benefit other subject areas.
Year 5 Teachers' Guide includes:
background information on each genre;
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The latest news and views on education from oxford university press., five ideas to fire up children’s non-fiction writing power.
It might be tricky to spot potential novelists in a primary class, but one thing is certain: every child will grow up to be a non-fiction writer. From emails, blogs and reviews to reports, articles and proposals, factual writing is a key communication tool in every line of work.
Information books are often used in the classroom to exemplify text types, but they can also demonstrate how non-fiction writers draw on the same creative thinking and rich language used by writers of fiction. Here are some ideas to get even the most reluctant writers fired up about non-fiction.
- Write what you want to know
When I ask children what they’d most like to write about, one often says ‘Minecraft™’ with a slightly guilty look, certain it’s the wrong answer.
But just as aspiring fiction authors are advised to ‘write what you know’, write what you want to know is great advice for non-fiction. Letting children select their own focus for factual writing gives them permission to indulge real-life passions.
Need to write a report on Ancient Greece but daydreaming about skateboarding? Explore the history of extreme sports. Studying biography and into gaming? Research the lives of the first coders. No topic is off-limits (and that goes for grown-up authors too, with Minecraft ™ non-fiction books unexpectedly topping the bestseller charts in 2014).
- There’s no such thing as boring
It’s hard to get your audience excited about a topic unless you’re excited yourself. This activity helps children to develop their research skills, and find an angle that interests them.
Ask the class to suggest the most boring topics they can think of – something as dull as ditchwater, perhaps, or as dry as dust. Could they write a book about dust?
Encourage them to get hands-on with their research, and find three fascinating facts about the topic. Watching clips, arranging mini field trips, trying out activities and interviewing experts will help children to explore a subject in depth and make their writing richer.
They might swipe a magnet through garden dust to collect micrometeorites, or discover that dust is a vital component of snow. They might find out that the dust in their houses is mostly made up of their family’s skin, or have a microscopic encounter with the mites that feast on it! Any of these would make a good starting point for extended writing.
- Surprising structures
Ask children to imagine that each fact they’ve researched is a Lego brick. Simply scooping up all this colourful information and dropping it onto the page would make a confusing mess. They could stack all the facts in a nice, neat list but it would be a bit boring.
The best non-fiction writing uses nuggets of information to build something unique.
Instead of listing facts about space, why not write a travel guide to the solar system, instructions for building a rocket, or an astronaut’s biography?
Facts about life cycles in the savannah could become instructions for looking after a lion, or a discursive text about which predator would prevail in a hypothetical fight.
Get creative, make connections, and take your readers on a journey.
- Hook your audience
Hooking the audience doesn’t end with a creative angle. Each paragraph and sentence must work hard to keep readers engaged.
This fishing game demonstrates what we mean by engaging text. Print the first sentences from a range of non-fiction texts. Attach a paper clip to each one, and a magnet to a string. Ask volunteers to fish for sentences, and read them aloud. Then hold a class vote – are they hooked, or will they throw their catch back in?
Challenge children to come up with attention-grabbing first sentences of their own, and repeat the game.
- Make comparisons
Some of the world’s most famous non-fiction texts were by early explorers, describing places, people, plants and animals for the first time.
Can you guess what these writers were describing?
1. They are bulkier than horses, have manes and tails, and their heads are like horses’ heads, but their feet like elephants’ feet. 2. They darted tail first, with the rapidity of an arrow, from one side of the pool to the other, discolouring the water with a dark chestnut-brown ink. These animals also escape detection by a very extraordinary, chameleon-like, power of changing their colour. 3. It resembled in size, and in its white woolly covering, a small fat lamb, but had short legs, hand-like feet with large claws, and a long prehensile tail.
1. 14 th Century explorer Ibn Battuta, describing a hippo in the Rihla 2. Charles Darwin, describing a cuttle-fish in The Voyage of HMS Beagle 3. Alfred Russel Wallace, describing a cuscus in The Malay Archipelago
Try passing something unusual around the room (though probably not a hippo). Challenge children to write descriptions for different audiences. They should use all of their senses to come up with the best comparisons. Each group could be challenged to draw an object they have never seen before, based on another group’s description. Who has done the best job?Analyzing the way non-fiction writers use comparisons can help children develop the use of metaphor and simile in their own writing.
Isabel Thomas is a science writer, specialising in books and outreach resources for children and young people. She runs non-fiction writing workshops in schools. Her books for Oxford University Press include The Misadventures of Charles Darwin and How to Change the World ( Oxford Reading Tree inFact , 2015). Try free inFact eBooks on Oxford Owl , and find free teaching notes .
Find Isabel on Twitter @raisingchimps
One thought on “ five ideas to fire up children’s non-fiction writing power ”.
[…] 3) Get children writing their own non-fiction books – this is a great way to engage reluctant writers. You’ll find my top tips on the Oxford Education Blog. […]
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