With stacks of YA and children’s historical books being published, looking through them and choosing which ones to feature here can be quite a task. So what exactly does it take for a book to catch my eye?
First, it helps a lot if the book is about a period in history that’s rarely been covered. You have to admit that there have been stacks of books, both fiction and nonfiction, written about World Wars I and II, the Civil War, and the Revolutionary War. I’d rather see a book that takes me to a time and place I’m less familiar with, so I can learn something new rather than going over what I already know.
That isn’t to say I’m not at all interested in books about perennial topics—they just have to be different in some way. I would probably ignore a biography that rehashed the usual facts about its subject, but if the author can introduce a lot of little-known tidbits, I’m intrigued. The same goes for fiction. Ann Rinaldi, an author whose work I really admire, does an excellent job of looking at events from a new angle. Her novel The Secret of Sarah Revere covers the beginning of the Revolutionary War from a unique viewpoint: Paul Revere’s daughter.
So, essentially, I try to choose books by authors who see things differently. And in the end, I think that’s what history is all about.
Melissa L. is the YA Editorial Assistant for Wonders and Marvels. You can read more about her here: Editorial Staff.