At the end of each year, School Library Journal publishes a list of the best books for children and young adults. I was heartened to see that on the 2009 list, fourteen of the fifty-four featured titles were history or historical fiction—that’s about 26%. While that might not seem like an impressive number, it’s definitely better than 2008, when historical titles made up only 18% of this special list.
These statistics tell me that 2009 was a year when lots of great historical titles were being published—and, more importantly, that many of them were being recognized as some of the year’s most outstanding books. History and historical fiction are genres that often don’t get a lot of attention (except, of course, on Wonders & Marvels). By placing so many of these titles on their list, the editors of School Library Journal are giving them the recognition they deserve.
Furthermore, wider recognition for historical titles can also lead to a wider audience. The editors and reviewers for School Library Journal are mostly librarians, and if they’re recognizing these titles for their excellence, they’re probably also buying them to put on their shelves. The more these books are in the libraries, the more they can get into the hands of young people.
What do you think about the year 2009 in history and historical fiction? Were there any titles that were especially great? And finally, what more do you hope to see in 2010?
Melissa L. is the YA Editorial Assistant for Wonders and Marvels. You can read more about her here: Editorial Staff.