Splat the fake fact by Adam Frost
Ill. by Gemma Correll. Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408889503
When it comes to free reading choices, young boys, particularly, tend to go for the non fiction titles about sharks, dinosaurs, motor vehicles and the "Guinness Book of Records". They are fascinated by the world of the weird and wonderful that they can pore over and learn so much from in discussions with their friends as they examine the pictures even if they can't read the text yet. They are laying their foundations of the basic concepts of information literacy but their interest is driven by the illustration rather than a need for specific information.
Splat the fake fact takes this interest up a notch, encouraging the reader to actually think about what they are being told, discover the correct answer through some research and then do something about it. On every page there are incredible, hilarious, unlikely facts that are completely true... and one fact that isn't! The reader is invited to find the imposter fact and reveal it before it goes out into the world - and then take some action like scribbling on them, lasering them, drawing silly hats or crossing them out. While that might not be the recommended action for a community library book, nevertheless the combination of humour and cartoon presentation will engage young readers into understanding that not everything they read is true; that there is real "fake news" and the need to verify what they see and hear through some basic research.
While this would make an ideal read for that young person moving on to independent reading and research, it could also have a place in information literacy levels with each page being a jump start for an aspect of the information literacy process. Starting with "What do we already know?" and "What more do we need to know?" and "Where could we find that information?" students can be led on that journey of lifelong learning, developing those core concepts in a way that connects to the interests of the age group.
While many teachers like to use websites like Save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus to have students to learn to test what they are reading and evaluate the validity of it, Splat the fake fact is a few steps before this with its accessible language, funky illustrations, and graphic layout. Each fake fact is identified, often in another crazy puzzle that requires more learning to decipher, but more complete explanations are given at the end of the book.
Some students might even like to use the puzzles as models to create their own fake facts, setting up a weekly challenge for library users to investigate, learning to use the library's resources as they do.
What looks like a book that might be used as a child's Christmas stocking stuffer, might just be the best investment you make in your library collection this year!!!