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What’s the matter with your book?

What’s the matter with your book?

I’m talking front and back matter. We’ve all heard about it, but what is it really?

The front matter includes things like the title page, copyright page and the dedication page. Other things you might find in the front matter of a book are:

  • half title page
  • copyright acknowledgements
  • colophon
  • table of contents
  • foreword
  • preface
  • epigraph
  • prologue
  • other acknowledgements (may also appear in the back matter)
  • introduction

The back matter comes after the body of the story/book and is often optional. Things you might find in back matter of the book are:

  • epilogue
  • afterword
  • appendix
  • glossary
  • bibliography
  • index

Granted, the majority of the items on these lists never show up in children’s picture books, early readers or even lower level chapter books. In fact, in some recent picture books, the front matter has all been shoved onto a single page and placed on the end paper in the back of the book.

With the dawning of a whole new interest in the story-telling style of non-fiction books for young readers, back matter like a glossary, bibliography and indexes are more likely now than they were in the past.

Pick up some recently published children’s books and check for the front and back matter. What is included? What is excluded? Is it placed in the book where you expect it or is it someplace else?

What’s the matter with your book?

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