I was thinking today about how to deal with nonfiction vs. fiction. I saw some graphic novels that were fictionalized versions of real events. I think that's okay for older readers but I don't think it's okay for younger ones. The reason being that kids have a hard enough time grasping some of the tough things that are being taught to them. If parts of the story are fictionalized they'll be very confused as to what is real and what is not.
I'll give an example: A lot of times when I talk at schools the younger kids (first and second graders) will raise their hands and ask if I've met Seabiscuit or Charles Atlas, etc. I'll respond with, no, Seabiscuit is no longer living... he died in the 1940s. I can tell some of them don't get it. They don't get dates. It's hard for them to understand that a lot of things happened a long, long time ago. So... if you complicate the issue by throwing in fictionalized things then you'll really confuse them! If you're talking to them about history or science then, in my opinion, you need to keep it straight up facts. Of course in my case I do it in such a way that kids think it's fiction. They tell me all the time that my books read like fiction so they're surprised that the events in my books really happened. Good! I'm glad I"m making history and science and biographies entertaining. But I still don't think you can push the boundaries. Not until you get to middle school.
If you disagree I'd love to know! Or if you know of a book that fictionalizes something and you think it works also let me know!