Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fiction, Non Fiction

As I was tucking S into bed the other night, she asked, mildly concerned, "Mommy, I don't understand the difference between fiction and non fiction".

Before I could answer and while I was still sighing with relief that she wasn't asking anything really hard like "where do babies come from", she added: "I said my book was non fiction in library and K laughed at me." K being one of S's outspoken classmates (who frankly should be a little nicer to S as she sacrificed some laps during kilometer club to accompany K while injured).

I explained to S that fiction is stories and non fiction is about real stuff. So books about space, animals, rocks are non fiction. Dora books are fiction.

So I tested her:

Me: What is a book about the moon?
S: Fiction.
Me: Non fiction, since the moon is real.
S: I meant non fiction. How can I remember the difference?
Me: Fiction kind of means story. So fiction means story, non fiction means non story.
S: What does non mean?
Me: Not, so non fiction means not story.
S: Okay Mommy. I get it. So my library book this week, Something From Nothing, that is non fiction.
Me: It's fiction. It's a story.
S: But it takes place in a town and towns are real.
Me: But it's a story that takes place in a town. If it sounds like a story, it's fiction.
S: What does story mean?
Me: (wishing it was Daddy's turn for tucking in): It's what Daddy or I have read to you every night since you were born.
S: Oh.
Me: What are the Captain Underpants books?
S: Fiction. Because when you snap your fingers in front of a principal he won't really turn into Captain Underpants.
Me (rejoicing!): Right!!!
Me: So what would Cinderella be?
S: Non fiction.
Me: Fiction.
S: But Mommy, princesses and step mothers are real, so it would be non fiction.

I don't think I'm prepared for the hard questions.


Ellie said...

I love this post - its so funny how they're questions can leave you feeling like you don't know anything at all, isn't it??

Konnie said...

I know nothing! All that post secondary education I know nothing!

ps I was just reading your blog while you were reading mine ... I don't think that has ever happened before.

Ellie said...

Louis CK, the comedian, does a great bit about the "why?" stage. It ends with him rambling something like "I don't KNOW why! I didn't listen in school, and I have no moral compass... you happy?"

Konnie said...

LOL.I like that.

I finally had to set limits with questions. After a long string I would say "there's no "why" to that question". Usually when asked something like "why does Tuesday come after Monday and not before?".