Fiction vs. Nonfiction

"Believe It or Not"



This song teaches the difference between fiction and nonfiction, and provides several examples for each.





Welcome to the library. Go ahead and take a seat and get comfortable. I’ve got a story for you.

Once upon a time there was an author,
Who wrote lots of books and had much to offer.
She wrote both types, fiction and nonfiction.
You don’t know the difference?
Well, come on, listen.
Fiction is made up, it’s false, not true,
It’s make-believe — that means there is not proof
.
Now, it can sound true,
It can even have facts,
But it’s from the imagination — we’ll leave it at that.
Now nonfiction is based on facts and
True things that have really happened
.
It’s informative, full of information,
Nonfiction can help you with your education.
Our author loved both, as you can tell,
She wrote a nonfiction book about the liberty bell,
And then wrote a story about living on the moon,
Which is fiction for now, but who knows? Maybe soon...

Let me tell you a story,
Yup, I’mma tell you a tale,
Something that’s nonfiction,
And that means that it’s real.
Now you tell me a story,
It doesn't have to be true,
Yeah it can be fiction,
And the author is you!

One day the author picked up a pen,
And started writing a story... Hmm, where to begin?
Should it be fiction? A story? A tale?
Or nonfiction? Something that is real?
A tiger who could talk — what would that be?
(Fiction!)
The life story of an athlete?
(Nonfiction!)
A book about snakes and what they eat?
(Nonfiction!)
A tale of a polar bear that could make beats?
(Fiction!)
The story of the first man in space?
(Nonfiction!)
But Harry Potter and that Hogwarts place is...?
(Fiction!)
Now you get the point, I think you understand,
A book about the pyramids sitting in the sand,
Or any other book that is all about facts,
Is nonfiction, no doubt about that.
But a book that tells a story like Winnie-the-Pooh,
That isn’t true. That’s fiction, yep, but you already knew!

Let me tell you a story,
Yup, I’mma tell you a tale,
Something that’s nonfiction,
And that means that it’s real.
Now you tell me a story,
It doesn't have to be true,
Yeah it can be fiction,
And the author is you!

Alright well, thank you, everybody, for coming out to the library and listening to my story. I hope everybody out there is inspired to write a little story of your own, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, now that you know the difference. So go ahead and pick up a pen, a pencil, a keyboard, whatever you use. And write something!
We can look for clues in a book that tell us whether the writing is fiction or nonfiction. "Once upon a time" is a great clue that we are reading a pretend story, like a fairy tale. Can you think of a story that begins with "Once upon a time"?


Fiction tells a story that came from the author's imagination. If a book is called a novel, it is fiction. Short stories, plays and poems are usually fiction too. This means the characters and stories are make-believe.

Historical fiction is a great example of something that is make-believe but based on facts. The author puts imaginary characters into a real setting. The setting is often an important time in history.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry is an example of historical fiction. The story takes place in Copenhagen during World War II (a real place and a real event), but the characters and the story are pretend.

Nonfiction gives us information about a specific subject. Encyclopedias, textbooks, biographies and newspaper articles are all examples of non-fiction. The people, places and information are all from real life.

One popular type of fiction is science fiction. Science fiction tells make-believe stories about scientific things like robots, the future or aliens. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle is a famous example. It tells the story of a young girl who travels through space and time searching for her father.

What do we call a nonfiction (true) book about a real person’s life? We call it a biography. There are many biographies about important figures in history, like George Washington. People can also write biographies about their own lives, and these are called autobiographies. The Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela are both important figures who have written true books about their own lives.

When we open up a Winnie-the-Pooh book, what are some clues that it's fiction? One clue is that the animals all talk just like people. We know that in real life animals don’t speak to us using words (even though sometimes we wish they did!). What about the pictures? The pictures in Winnie-the-Pooh are drawings, or illustrations. Nonfiction books can have drawings, but they often have photographs of real people, places and things.
What are the two types of books?
Fiction and Nonfiction
Which type is not true?
Fiction
Which type is real?
Nonfiction
Are the following books fiction or nonfiction?
Ready, set, go...
A book about what snakes eat would be...
Nonfiction
A book about Winnie-the-Pooh would be...
Fiction
A book about Harry Potter and his magic wand would be...
Fiction
The story of the first person in space would be...
Nonfiction

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