Over the past twenty years or so, history and historical fiction books have been used more and more as part of the school curriculum. In many of the books I’ve reviewed lately, I’ve noticed an abundance of features that are clearly intended to make the titles classroom-friendly. Bibliographies or “further reading” sections give teachers resources they can use to build an entire unit around a historical event. Glossaries define unfamiliar terms. And author’s notes provide additional information about a topic and, in the case of historical fiction, help to explain what parts of the book have been fictionalized.
Of course, there are definitely some budding history buffs who read historical books outside of school, and these resources can also help them to sink their teeth into a topic. But overall, it seems to me that features like this are designed to make it easier for teachers to use books in the classroom. Being unpublished myself, I don’t know whether authors write glossaries and author’s notes early in the process and submit them with the manuscript or if the publisher suggests them later, but all of these things are definitely something to consider as you write.
So have you noticed any particular features in historical titles that seem engineered for use in the classroom? What do you think about them?
And if you’re a published author who has experience with glossaries, bibliographies, and the like, I’d love your input on when they become a part of the book!
Melissa L. is the YA Editorial Assistant for Wonders and Marvels. You can read more about her here: Editorial Staff.