Campus Affiliation: Queens College
Research Interests: Children's Literacy, Non-fiction Literacy, History for Children
MYRA ZARNOWSKI is a professor in the department of Elementary and Early Childhood at Queens College, CUNY. Since coming to Queens College, she has pursued an interest in nonfiction children’s literature in general, and specifically in the teaching and learning history through literature. These interests are reflected in books such as Learning About Biographies: A Reading and Writing Approach for Children, Children’s Literature and Social Studies: Selecting and Using Notable Books in the Classroom, The Best in Children’s Nonfiction, and History Makers: A Questioning Approach to Reading and Writing Biography. She is currently working on a book to be called Digging into History. She has also published in a number of professional journals including Social Studies and the Young Learner, Reading Teacher, Teaching Children Mathematics, The New Advocate, English Record, and Social Science Record. In order to pursue her interests in nonfiction literature for children, she has served on professional book review committees. She chaired the National Council for the Social Studies committee which prepares the yearly list of Notable Children’s Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies and the Orbis Pictus Award Committee for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children of the National Council of Teachers of English. Together with Dr. Karen Patricia Smith of the Queens College Library School, she wrote a column reviewing professional books in the field of children’s literature for The New Advocate, a journal in children’s literature. With a group of Queens College students, she prepared the chapter on historical nonfiction for the publication Adventuring with Books. Myra Zarnowski has done extensive staff development in District 25 (now a part of Region 3) and for the next three years will be working with Region 4 to introduce a hands-on approach to teaching social studies in the elementary school. This approach emphasizes the use of historical thinking, historical literature, and authentic hands-on experience as a way of making history a vibrant subject for children. This work encourages children to take a critical stance towards history.
Zarnowski, M. (2006). Making sense of history: Using high-quality literature and hands-on experiences to build content knowledge. New York: Scholastic.