Thursday, October 21, 2010

Historical Fiction

Dry as dirt?
This month I have had many teens coming in to find Historical fiction books. I imagine somewhere out there at the middle school is an english teacher who is trying to broaden the reading horizons of her students. This is pure torture for the poor 8th graders, who can think of nothing worse than reading a book about the past. That is until they see covers with knights, pirates, soldiers and spies. "This is historical fiction?" they ask. It sure is, see it takes place sometime in the past.

My guess is that they are thinking that they must read something about slaves and the civil war or something about Hitler and world war II. Now, I must admit that when I think historical I think dry as dirt, but I put up a display with these historically set titles and some of them do seem interesting to me. A book set during the Salem witch trials, or one set during the Trojan war gets me thinking I could actually read historical fiction and like it!
The other thing about historical fiction is that sometimes kids will ask, "Did that really happen?". I always have to smile at this one because, um, it's called historical fiction. So no, but it sure is fun to think about what it would have been like to live through some of our more interesting moments of history.
I have little hope that most of the teens will continue reading in this genre because nothing is worse than assigned reading! But maybe they will enjoy the one title that they picked up this month.
Michele, Children's Librarian

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